Does the Christmas tree boiling water hack work? We asked the experts whether this unusual festive trick works

Is boiling water the trick to a happy and healthy Christmas tree?

Neutral living room filled with Christmas decorations
(Image credit: Future PLC / Brent Darby)

Rumours of the Christmas tree boiling water hack have been making the rounds for years now. That’s why we knew we needed to find out whether this rumour had any truth to it.

And while we’re fans of the best artificial Christmas trees at Ideal Home, we certainly understand the appeal of a real Christmas tree. From the festive fragrance of the needles to the full and luscious branches, they can definitely make a statement in your home. However, it’s also important to understand how to care for a real Christmas tree

This is especially true when it comes to Christmas tree hacks. Sure, some hacks work a treat and keep your Christmas tree thriving for weeks on end, but there are others that don’t quite cut it. So, which category does the boiling water hack fall into? 

The Christmas tree boiling water hack 

We know what you’re thinking: what is the Christmas tree boiling water hack? Well, the rumour making the rounds is that you should water your real Christmas tree for the very first time with boiling water rather than cold water. 

Not only is this supposedly meant to ‘wake up’ the tree after being cut down, but it apparently releases a fresh fragrance that fills your whole house. After that first drink of hot water, you’re then supposed to swap back to the usual cold water. 

Dark blue painted living room decorated with Christmas tree and festive decorations

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Of course, using boiling water to water your Christmas tree seems like a fairly unusual thing to do - which is why we decided to reach out to the experts and see what they had to say on the matter. Unfortunately, you might want to put the kettle away. 

‘When the tree is initially cut, sap forms to protect the area where the cut has taken place - you can think of it as a bit like a scab on the human body. This sap can prevent the tree from soaking up water,’ explains Mark Rofe at

‘I guess the idea to use boiling water would be to help 'melt' the sap so the tree can take up water. However, a better alternative would be to use a handsaw to take about 3 cm off of the base of the tree. The few centimetres you've taken off will allow the tree to take up water more easily, so there's no need to use boiling water.’

In fact, Mark has warned people against using this hack, as it may have a detrimental effect on the health and the overall appearance of the Christmas tree itself. He says, ‘Trees really don’t like the heat, and by using boiling water, you risk warming up the tree and potentially shortening its lifespan in your home, not extending it.’

A brightly decorated Christmas tree in a decorated living room

(Image credit: Dunelm)

So, what can you do instead? Oliver Johnson, gardening expert at says, ‘You’ll find your tree will need a lot of water when you first get it home, so give it a drink on a daily basis for the first few days and every few days after that, but you can do this with room temperature water rather than boiling. If you have a stand with a reservoir, simply keep this topped up throughout the festive season.’

Water isn’t the only thing they drink, though. Gardening expert David Domoney has also shared a Christmas tree lemonade hack that others swear by. This hack involves feeding your Christmas tree full-fat lemonade every so often to give it a little boost, as the sugar in the fizzy drink can help to keep the tree looking fresh and full well into December. 

Of course, lemonade should never replace actual water. And it seems as though you shouldn't replace tap water with boiling water, either! 

Instead, Mark says, ‘If you want your tree to last as long as possible, it’s best to keep your tree in your coolest room, away from direct heat such as radiators and underfloor heating, and make sure it always has sufficient water.’


Do you use boiling water for Christmas tree?

Although you can use boiling water to melt the hardened sap that forms at the base of a cut Christmas tree, experts advise against it. In general, Christmas trees don’t like to be exposed to heat. And while watering it with boiling water may indeed melt the sap and allow the tree to soak up water, the heat may have a detrimental effect on the tree in the process. 

It’s better to cut a few centimetres off the base of the Christmas tree and remove the sap that way instead. Some nurseries and tree farms may offer this service for you, but it’s vital that you get your Christmas tree home as soon as possible to ensure the sap doesn’t reappear and harden again. 

What do you put in the water for a Christmas tree to make it last longer?

One of the best Christmas tree hacks is to use full-fat lemonade to make your Christmas tree last longer. The sugar in the lemonade will give your tree a big nutrient boost and often make it look fuller and healthier as the weeks go by.

So, if you spot your Christmas tree looking a little limp, you might want to give it a drink of lemonade every few days. Of course, making sure it has a constant supply of water is also essential in making your Christmas tree last longer. 

Experts may advise against the Christmas tree boiling water hack, but now you can save the water for an extra cup of tea instead! 

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.