The ingredients used in a homemade Christmas tree preservative are chlorine bleach, vinegar or lemon juice, light corn syrup and water. The light corn syrup can be replaced with a clear, non-diet soft drink, such as Sprite, if necessary.
To create the preservative, mix 4 teaspoons of chlorine bleach, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice or vinegar, and 2 cups of light corn syrup or a can of Sprite in 1 gallon of water. If using vinegar instead of lemon juice, mix it into the water first, before adding the bleach. Bleach and vinegar together can create a toxic gas. However, lemon juice works in place of vinegar and can be mixed directly with bleach.
Instead of using light corn syrup or a soft drink, another option is to dissolve 4 teaspoons of sugar into the water first and add a penny to give it the necessary acidity.
Once the preservative is ready, place it in the Christmas tree stand. However, the mixture is not safe to drink, so make sure to keep children and pets away. The preservative can be made in bulk and stored at room temperature for up to five days or in a refrigerator for two weeks.