24 Clever Uses of Pine Needles You’ve never thought of

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Pine trees are America’s favorite conifers. I mean you are walking down the streets and you suddenly have this amazing scent fill your nostrils with the smell of holidays. From having pine-scented candles to real big trees for Christmas every household has use of Pine in one way or another. And if your home doesn’t well then here are 25 ways in which you can use pine needles around your house. And some of them blew my mind. One of the reasons might be because I am very easily impressed but still there are pretty amazing uses of Pine needles.

It is not just about the holidays though. Pine needles can be a household staple throughout the year. There is just so much we can do with them. Let us start with educating ourselves with a little general knowledge about Pines.

What is Pine and Pine Needle?

Pine is a type of conifer but not all conifers are pines. You can differentiate other conifers from pines by their needles. Pine needles are bunched together in clusters of 1-6. Most pine needles are long but there is pine with shorter needles also. There are about 36 species of Pines and most of them are medicinal. Pine is known for being a very high source of vitamin C.

White pines are being used by native Americans for ages, they used pine needles and sap from pines for different health benefits. Some of the other benefits of pines are it being an antiseptic, astringent, antioxidant, inflammatory, expectorant and curing colds, flu, and congestion. Pine needles are also effective in eliminating bacteria and fungus.

Warning for using Pine Needles?

As we know that there are 36 types of Pines but not all pines are safe. There are some pines like the Yew tree which are toxic in nature. Pregnant ladies and children are advised not to ingest Pine needles in any way.

Also, patients with a history of asthma and allergies are advised not to ingest pine as pine pollen can increase allergic symptoms. 

Now that I have scared you enough, let’s get to know about some of its various uses around the house.

24 Uses of Pine Needles

1. Pine needle syrup

Therapeutic properties of pine needles, like it being a decongestant and antiseptic, etc makes it a great ingredient for syrups. Pine needle syrup is very easy to make and is very delicious as well. For children who make faces when they hear the word medicines, it can be a great substituent as the smell of pine will only hold good memories for them.

Here is how you make Pine needle syrup:

Ingredients:

Filtered Water, Honey, White Pine Needles, Spruce Needles

Directions:

  1. The best species to use for making pine needle syrups are white pine needles and spruce needles.
  2. Pour pine needles and filtered water into a pan. The water should be enough just to completely cover the needles.
  3. Bring this to a boil and lower to simmer temperature. Wait till liquid is halved, it will take 8-10 hours depending on the quantity.
  4. Now, strain out the needles and add honey to the reduced liquid in the ratio 1:2.
  5. Stir the liquid to completely mix the honey.

This syrup is a very handy medicine for winters and it smells amazing. On the one hand, white pines are great for respiratory infections while on the other hand, we have spruce needles that help in cutting phlegm. Use it on your morning pancakes mixed with maple syrup, in a bowl of oats, or just on its own. 

2. Pine infused Vinegar

Add fresh pine needles to a jar of apple cider vinegar (for about 2 months) to preserve all its medicinal properties and use it in your recipes to give them that additional Christmas flavor and a healthy dose of vitamin C.

3. Surface Cleaner

A simple pine-scented cleaning solution can leave surfaces so refreshing.

    • To get this cleaning solution boil pine needles in a pot of water for 10-15 minutes and strain the pine needles. 
    • Add 1 tablespoon vinegar and 1 tablespoon baking soda to the previously boiled pine solution (1 liter of pine solution). 
    • Pour this mixture into a spray bottle and the solution to clean countertops and floors.

Both baking soda and vinegar are staples in the world of DIY cleaning and pine needles have disinfectant properties too. Also, that mild pine-scent is always a bliss.

4. DIY Pine soap

 

RELATED:  40 Cleaning Hacks using Denture Tablets You Must Know

DIY pine soap is also a good addition to your home. Safe and natural, it is also easy to make. Here is a step by step DIY Pine soap recipe.

4. Get rid of moles from your garden

Moles and voles can be very pesky especially when it comes to a well-maintained garden. One of the ways, to keep them away is by using pine needles mulch. The smell will keep the moles away. This also works to keep stray dogs or cats away from your beloved garden. Keep changing them from time to time as pine needles tend to lose their smell quickly. 

5. Increase the pH of your soil

Some plants need more alkaline soil while others tend to grow better in acidic soil. Plants like blueberry, holly, azalea, or rhododendron need more acidic soil. Using pine needles on soil under these plants can boost their growth.

6. Pine needles basket

A great family activity that you can enjoy with your kids on a weekend can be knitting a basket from long pine needles. A basket made of pine needles can be a great addition to your millennial home as it brings a bohemian vibe with it. Click here to know how to can you make this basket.

7. As a soft colored dye for natural fibers

Naturals fibers like cotton are very easy to dye and you can get a nice pastel green color on these natural fibers by using pine needles. Make sure you have fresh needles for this.

How to dye natural fibers using pine needles:

      • Firstly wash the fiber and do not let it dry. 
      • Mix vinegar and cold water in the ratio 1:4(Vinegar: cold water), this is called the fixation mixture and it helps fabrics soak up dye more easily.
      • Soak the fabric in the solution and let it sit for at least an hour.
      • Now take an old pot that you won’t mind getting stained.
      • Fill the pot with pine needles.
      • Now pour twice as much water as pine needles in the pot. 
      • Let it heat up for an hour on simmer.
      • Strain out the pine needles.
      • Put your fabric in the liquid and let it sit on simmer for another hour.
      • The darker color you want the longer you would need to soak your cloth in the liquid. Turn off the heat after an hour and soak as long as needed.
      • Wash with cold water to get rid of any excess dye.

Remember natural dyes don’t give bright colors. So you will get a pastel/light green color with this method.

8. No more chapped lips

Winter is here and chapped lips are so not flattering. Here is how you DIY a lip balm made from pine needles.

Ingredients:

    • 25 gms Beeswax 
    • Carrier oil (2 ounces)
    • ¼ Cup chopped pine needles
    • 15 gms shea butter
    • 20 drops of essential oil of your choice
    • Old lip balm container

Step 1: Heat carrier oil and pine needles using a double boiler when the oil is warm( not hot) turn the heat off and let it cool.

Step 2: Repeat the process every 2-3 hours for 24-36 hours. The end product should have a strong smell of pine needles.

Step 3: Now heat shea butter and beeswax in another double boiler till they melt completely.

Step 4: In this mixture of shea butter and beeswax add pine infused oil and heat till both the mixtures are completely melted.

Step 5: Add this into an empty lip balm container and let it set. 

Your own DIY lip balm is ready to use.

9. A pine pain reliever balm

Other than being the amazing fragrance pine needles also have inflammatory properties which makes it a perfect ingredient for a salve/ointment. 

Here is an amazing DIY salve for sore muscles, cracked heels, chest rubs for easing congestion and many more by hobby farms (Pine needle salve).

10. Barbeque

A nice steak with the flavor of pine sounds delicious, doesn’t it? As you are getting that grill ready for a get-together. You may want to raise the flavor bar a little. Use charcoal and dried/fresh pine needles for giving the meat a refreshing pine flavor

11. Use pine needles as Pillow Stuffings

Pillow making is a staple of any DIY queen. Use the leftover from your Christmas tree to make some aromatic pillows that will keep your home smelling like holidays long after they are over. 

    • Dried pine needles should be used for this as they are more aromatic and won’t leak moisture.
    • Once the tree starts to dry, keep it outside for a few days to speed up the drying process( if it rains or snows outside skip this step).
    • Lay newspapers on the base of the tree to gather the falling needles. 
    • Use a glove to pull out the remaining needles of the branches.
    • Use a tightly stitched( so that pine needles don’t poke out) breathable (to let the scent of pines escape easily) fabric for sewing the pillowcase.
    • Cut two square pieces of fabric (each side being 15 inches long).
    • Put on top of each other and sew on three sides. Sew the fourth side about ¾ of the length.
    • Now flip the fabric inside out and fill the needles.
    • Sew the opening to complete your pillow.

12. Make your fireplace smell like Christmas 

Laying in front of a warm fireplace is my favorite thing about the holidays. So if you have a wood-burning fireplace this is a great hack to have the pine-scented smell fill up your home. Just throw some dried pine needles into an already burning fire. 

13. Garden Path

Add pine needles between rows of vegetable beds. It makes your garden look more put together and keeps slugs at bay. 

14. Firestarters

Pine needles can be a great firestarter. Take a bunch of dried or fresh pine needles and drip some melted wax on it, let the wax harden. Make many such small bunches and use muffin paper to wrap each of them. Put these in a jar and they will come in handy during a camping trip. Build a fire as usual and place one or two bunch at the bottom of it and light them up.

15. Holiday Treats

From pumpkin-flavored lattes to peppermint-flavored cupcakes we always want those special holiday flavors to boost up our holiday spirits. You know what can be some great addition to your recipe book – treats made of pine needles. Yes, you read that right you get the holiday flavor and all the pine health benefits. Here is a great recipe by “a virtual vegan” to kick in the Christmas mood with Pine needle shortbread cookies.

16. Incense from pine

Pine is known for its refreshing fragrance. Just place a bowl on the counter and put some dried pine needles inside it. Light them up and that is a simple incense(I used an incense diffuser). If you want to make an incense that is not just dried needles in a bowl. Here is How to make an incense” for making a perfect incense using pine needles and sap.

17. Make sachets

Buy sachets bags of breathable fabric ( or make your own by reusing old stocking). Add into these dried pine needles. Use it in your closet, car or luggage to eliminate any odor.

18. For cooking seafood

I love my self some good seafood from time to time, but getting rid of that smell can be from pots and pans can be frustrating. Add some pine needles and cinnamon to your dish next time. This will not only get rid of the odor but will also give a nice pine flavor to your meal. 

19. Use as Mulch

Long needles of pine tend to interlock by themselves making which makes them a good mulch substitute. It won’t blow away easily and provides great protection to roots and flower beds. Just scatter pine needles till they pile up about 3 inches from the ground. If using for flower beds make sure it is at least 1-foot away from the edge of the flowerbed to keep rodents away. Also, pine decomposes slower than any other mulch would so you will not have to change it as often.

20. Stir a refreshing foot bath

Let it be a stressful day at work or just a spa day at home a relaxing foot bath always helps me unwind peacefully. A pine foot bath is even better, the disinfectant properties of pine will kill any germs. Fill a tub/basin with warm water and put into it some fresh pine needles. This works like a charm, you can also add a teaspoon of vinegar to make it more effective.

21. Pine flavored drinks

So now that we have talked about the treats. Let us also know something about pine flavored drinks. From soda to hard liquor there is a whole lot to choose from. Some cheaper options can be infusing pine needles in store-bought drinks like tang(works best with citrus-flavored drinks). 

If you are looking for something fancier, here is a list of drinks by wide open eats that you can try any time of the year to bring back those holiday vibes.

22. Pine scented candles

Pine scented candles are such an essential part of my Christmas decor. And if you get them at one of those fancy Christmas stores they can burn quite a hole in your pocket.

Here is a recipe to make Pine scented candles at home:

  • Firstly, we need to make pine infused oil. 
  • To do this use another oil like grapeseed/olive/coconut oil. Heat the oil in a pan kept on simmer.
  • Add pine needles to the pan (Double the amount of oil).
  • Heat on simmer for 5-6 hours. Strain the needles and your infused oil is ready.
  • Now for making the candle, boil wax in a double boiler until it melts. 
  • Once the wax is melted add pine infused oil. You can also add color if you want.
  • Dip the wick in wax and place them in your molds.
  • Slowly pour the wax into the molds to avoid any air bubbles (Use a funnel if you need too).
  • Let the wax cool at room temperature. And you have aromatic candles to fill your home with the scent of pine. 

23. Get rid of Weeds

Sprinkle pine needles around your plants to get rid of those uninvited garden guests i.e weeds. 

24. Pine Needle tea

A tea made of pine flavor can be very healthy for someone suffering from a cold or flu. Here is how you make a pine needle tea. Boil a cup of water and add to it some pine needles (If you boil the pine needles, you would end up with a very foul-tasting tea). Add to it some jaggery or sugar for taste. And you have a healthy drink to cure that cold or flu.

It is a refreshing drink to have even if you are not suffering from the flu. But if the flu season is in the neighborhood this tea can be a great preventive step for you and your family.

Pine needles fragrance is also said to reduce anxiety and after so many other uses that are listed here, there is no doubt that it is a miracle worker. So stop reading it now and go get started with your own pine needle hacks. And let me know if there is any other use of pine needles that I am unaware of.

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