Clean and Preserve Pinecones

Fall is upon us and this a good time to talk about how to clean and preserve pinecones.

Our neighbors have a pine tree, and it dropped its pinecones. Knowing that I love decorating and crafting they asked if I would like them? Of course, I’d love these! So, we grabbed them all and can’t believe how many I brought home!

Why Use Pieces From the Food Market?

Use Pieces in the Home From the Food Store

I absolutely love using natural elements in our home for fall and the holiday seasons.

  • It’s budget friendly
  • Nuts, oranges, apples, pears to name a few add color and speak volumes for the cooler months ahead.

Scatter pieces from naturre around centerpieces add them to bowls and vignettes. Be careful loved ones may steal your props to enjoy for themselves as a snack.

If you have been following Cloches & Lavender you are aware I enjoy decorating with pieces from nature in our home. Especially for the fall and holiday seasons so sharing how to preserve pinecones is a must.

Bonus: Learn how to save acorns too. It’s so simple to do and these are gems from nature and look beautiful in any home decor for fall throughout Christmas! I share all the details you need for this easy process.

If you can’t save acorns this is a great shop to purchase them already finished. However, these are free in parks and the yard and saving these acorns is faster than the pinecones so it so worth the effort.

Have Acorns? Here’s an Easy Way to Save these for Year to Come

Preserved Acorns in Décor

By the way, you may enjoy this post where I share how preserve real acorns for years.   Here I share my love of acorns.  I have a collection of 100’s and I share how to clean and preserve these fall gems.  My collection is going on 20 years now.  So, it should be no surprise I’d share how to preserve pinecones.

Preserved real acorn collection

You will see my large collection of preserved acorns and preserved pinecones in home tours for fall and Christmas. 

I also enjoy decorating with walnuts, dried artichokes too.  Using pieces from nature speaks volumes of embracing fall and the beauty it offers for home décor and crafts.

You may also enjoy seeing how I incorporate dried oranges into my fall and holiday décor. Besides being pretty dried oranges are natures gift.  When oranges are dried, they smell and mixed with pinecones for example and make a beautiful combination as well.

I share how to make dried orange slices and clementine.   I also share how to use dried oranges when decorating the home seasonally. By the way, you will see pinecones used here too. Be sure to take a look for some inspiration.

Incidentally, how to preserve pinecones is easy to do and well worth the effort.

Cleaning and Preserving The Fresh Cones

Step 1: Soak Them in Dish Soap and Warm Water

First step, cleaning the pinecones to preserve using dish soap.  I made sure to remove any pine needles and other debris, this dosen’t take long.

Because I have a large sink in my laundry room, cleaning the pinecones before beginning to keep them was an easy job. 

I filled the sink with warm water and 1/4 teaspoon of dish soap and added the cones to get clean.  After the soapy water covers the cones to preserve let them soak for half an hour, this begins the clean and preserve process..

Pinecones soaking in soapy warm water

By the way, I suggest wearing rubber gloves when preserving fresh pinecones.  They are filled with sap and are quite sticky.

picture of why I say wear rubber gloves  because of the sap

In the meantime, grab a large towel.

Letting the Fresh Pinecones Dry

Step 2: Let the Pieces Dry Completely

Remove the pinecones from the soapy water and rinse well.  Here, using a large bath towel, I let the the cones dry overnight before I begin the baking process to preserve them.  Also, before settling in for the evening, turn the pinecones over so the other side air dries so they will be ready to preserve in the morning.

cones on towel drying after being washed

Adding The Pinecones to The Oven to Reopen

Step 3: Adding These to the Oven

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Next, using baking pans, line them with parchment paper before adding the the cones for this easy craft to preserve.  I used four large baking pans because in total we had 78 cones.

Because the fresh pinecones are going in the oven to preserve, this is when they will open again.   As a result of the pinecones opening, it’s important to leave room in between each cone to account for them getting wider. 

I also advise beginning slow with the first sheets.  For my first baking sheet I set my timer for 15 minutes.  I did this because, I didn’t want them to burn.  So, to be on the safe side I wanted to see how the preserving process was going to work.

Pine cones getting ready to go in the oven on parchment paper and baking sheet

Since I have so many pinecones to preserve, I knew I was going to do the baking process six times.  So, after the first round of baking, I began setting my timer for a half an hour.  Now I knew this was the perfect amount of time for the pinecones to completely open.  During this process it’s quite amazing seeing the cones close and open again.

This is also why I say take advantage of nature when decorating your home for fall and the holiday season.  It’s not only free but is truly amazing to see.

Letting the Pinecones Cool to Add to Home Décor

Step 4: Cooling the Pieces Before Adding Them to Decor

After taking the pinecones from the oven, I did add parchment paper to a cooling rack.  Here, I let them cool as the next parchment paper lined baking sheet was in the oven.

Pine cones after baking in the oven.  They are open again

If you don’t want to preserve pinecones, purchase them on Amazon.

Lastly, I didn’t feel it to be necessary to spray my pinecones with poly or a sealer.  I love the natural look of nature.  Spraying them is optional so you decide what works best for you.

Here, you can see the preserved pinecones I added to an antique French crate for a natural touch. 


preserved pinecones in a French crate
pincones in a crate

I hope you enjoyed learning how to clean and preserve pinecones and will think about trying it for your fall and Christmas and winter décor.

Pinecones work well for any decorating style. And these work great for wreaths, ornaments, centerpieces and more.

Do you enjoy decorating with pieces found outside too? It’s the best because pieces found in the yard are free! Will you use pinecones in your decor?

Arrow pointing to Pin for Pinterest

Preserving Pine Cones

How to preserve pine cones from the yard or a park
Prep Time30 mins
Active Time5 mins
Total Time1 d
Keyword: backyard, christmas ornaments, evergreen trees, nature, outdoors, park, pinecones, rustic
Yield: 78 pinecones


  • 1 large towel
  • 1/4 tsp dish soap
  • 1 cooling rack
  • 1 sheet Parchment paper depending on how mny pinecones are drying. 1 sheet parhment paper per baking sheet


Preserving Pine Cones


Step 1: Washing them

wash pine cones in the sink with dish soap and warm water

Step 2:  Remove From Water and Let Dry

remove from the sink and let dry on a cooling rack for 24 hours – keep towel under the rack while drying for drips
pinecones will close from the water, no worries the oven will reopen them

Step 3:  Preheat Oven

set oven to 200 degrees

Step 4:  Line Baking Sheets with Parchment Paper

line baking sheets with parchment paper
add dry pinecones to the oven and they will reopen
set timer for 15 minutes

Step 5:  After Timer Ghoes Off Make Sure They are Open Again

check to make sure pinecones reopen, if not dry another add 5 minutes
let cool and use as you wish


Posted by

Hello, my name is Cindy and welcome to Cloches & Lavender. I enjoy making our house a home with antiques and thrifted finds. Antiques are used as my staples in my dcor to remain on a budget. I will often upcycle pieces with paint to make them new again. I enjoy DIYs

55 thoughts on “Clean and Preserve Pinecones

  1. This is really such a cool idea. I love the natural look of the pinecones after you baked them to open them up. I have a question for you. I love the spice/cinnamon scent of pine cones. If I wanted to put a scent on them when would I do that? Would it be during the baking process or when I am soaking them. Thanks for the info these are really cool Have a great week. xoxo Kris

    1. Thanks Kris. That part I’m not positive about. I think I have read it’s after they are dry.

      I believe it’s cinnamon oil.

      Tons of information on Pinterest. I’m thinking if you want natural spices add it when they are damp.

      I would ad nutmeg, a dash of clove and cinnamon.

  2. This was such a great post, Cindy! We have a ton of pinecones on our property and it would be so much fun to get to use them. I can’t wait to try this too. It’s going make decorate with them so much easier. Thank you! Hugs, CoCo

  3. Using things from nature brings a warm feeling to any home, doesn’t it? Thanks for this complete tutorial. I have quite a few pinecones that I have been wanting to preserve but haven’t been real sure how to do it. Now I do! Happy Fall!

  4. I didn’t even know preserving pine cones was a thing! Years ago, someone brought me huge ones from California. I just recently threw them out. Too bad I didn’t know to preserve them!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.