Some Christmas tree skirts are very easy to clean and others present more of a challenge when it come to getting them spick and span again.
Cleaning a basic plastic, felt or cotton Christmas tree skirt is often a simple process which can be carried out with the minimum of fuss - however it can be a much trickier task if you have a deluxe skirt which is adorned with lace frills, beads, sequins or delicate embroidery.
The material the skirt is made and the amount of embellishments it features is the key to how much effort will be required to get it looking clean and fresh again.
Obviously a basic plastic or felt skirt can be maintained with just a quick rub down with a damp cloth or antibacterial wipe. Skirts made of other materials, such as felt, silk, wool, jute, satin or cotton made require a bit more effort to get them cleaned properly.
Solid structure willow, wicker, bamboo, zinc and rattan skirts are pretty simple to clean - dust and dirt can be easily wiped away with a cloth dampened with a mild detergent. You could also use an anti-bacterial spray to kill any germs and then wipe all over with a clean cloth.
Some skirts are even suitable for hand-washing or placing in your washing machine - check the label on the skirt or information on the packaging for any instructions about how to clean it.
It is often fine to hand wash a skirt in a sink, bath or bucket of lukewarm water after adding a few drops of mild detergent. Your skirt should then be rinsed carefully, with minimal agitation to avoid damaging it.
Dust is the main culprit at making a skirt look below par, but this is easily removed from most skirts with a hand brush or mini vacuum. Every day dirt and grime, and sap from a real Christmas tree, can also take its toll on a Xmas skirt. Cats, dogs and other pets can also be another source of mess on your tree skirt.
If you own a real tree you will get falling pine needles on your skirt. These shake off easily but sap can be a different matter. If you get sap marks on a skirt you can normally scrape most of it away with a butter knife. You should then dab the sap stains with a mixture of warm water and mild detergent. Finally use a dry cloth to soak up any residue.
You will need to be careful with delicate skirts which have 3d raised festive characters or sequins, beads, appliqués and lacing on them and, of course, embroidered, quilted or crocheted skirts should be handled with care when it comes to cleaning them.
If you have a luxury skirt that is very precious to you, it may be worth taking it to a dry cleaners or professional service for cleaning.
Christmas is a time when drinks are flowing freely, including water, soft drinks for the kids and alcoholic beverages for adults - so there's always a risk of liquid getting spilled on a tree skirt. If this happens you should dab the wet patch with an absorbent paper towel, a cotton towel or sponge.
Water is no problem but you may need to use a stain remover if wine, tea, coffee or certain other beverages are spilled on your skirt. You can also place a skirt in your airing cupboard, clothes airer or washing line if it has become very damp or wet. Some skirts can also be safely placed in a tumble dryer.
Skirts will often become wrinkled or misshapen after a period of time - but some can be returned to their full glory when steam ironed carefully on a very low heat setting.
You should also ensure you store your tree skirt away in a dry place when the festive season is over and you have taken down your Christmas tree. You should fold it carefully and place it in a suitable storage bag which moths or insects will be unable to access.
If looked after a carefully, with regular cleaning and care, a Christmas tree skirt will serve you faithfully for many years.