How To Deal With Molded Ornaments.

on December 11, 2012 in Ze Bloggy Goodness with 19 comments by

I hope this never happens to you.

Those are my ornaments. That I have been collecting for all the years of my life. And they are molded.

So this is them, still in their disgustingly molded container.

I’m going to tell you what happened quickly so we can move on with our lives: My plastic container that holds all my ornaments apparently was broken on the bottom so every time it rained, my little basement flooded, and water filled my ornament container like they were bathtub toys.

So when it came time to deck the halls, the entire collection was soggy and black with mold.

I panicked [and maybe cried] as I dug through the container and then I put it on the porch [it STUNK] I walked away. And got on google. And ya know what? NO ONE ON GOOGS TOLD ME WHAT TO DO.

I’m going to tell you what I learned by pulling together some internet information and lots of emergency phone calls to moms. Moms know things.

First, I collected the supplies. Gloves, mask, and Dawn. YES! DAWN!

So I put on the gloves and the mask [breathing mold is a bad idea, y’all] and dug through the tupperware. Here’s the truth- I ended up having to throw away about half of my ornaments. Anything that was made of cloth or porous material like clay had to go.

The ones that survived round one moved on to round two- going swimming again, but this time instead of rain water, they are in hot water with Dawn. All the ribbons had to be cut off of ornaments as well because they were mostly black with mold.

I know. Heartbreaking to read.

I dunked them in the kitchen sink and scrubbed them each for about eight minutes. Normal Dawn will do all the work you need without damaging your ornaments like bleach could. Then I rinsed them each in hot water as well.

I was told that they should dry for a bit and then give each ornament another round of the ol’ sniff test. If they still smell like mold after a round of scrubbing, you have to trash them.

So I took the crowd out to the front porch and let them lay out like beach bums and dry off.

Almost all of those guys have now made it onto the tree, sans two that still smelled like they were made of mold.

Do you like how non-emotionally I am telling this story? You’re welcome. It’s been a week or so at this point, so my heart is healed from the trauma of the experience.

And, the tree still looks totes adorbs, so it makes me feel more in the holiday spirit.

[Pardon the lack of a tree skirt… it also got molded. And apparently I have a strand of lights that need some repair work. Who knew.]

. . . . .

Have an unfortunate ornament story? This is a safe place to share. 🙂


  1. ~VA~
    posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 5:33 AM  |  reply

    My ornament story isn’t nearly as tragic…but your story reminded me of an onament story at my house. My brothers and I were probably in elementary school at the time, and we were decorating the Christmas tree. My mom was telling one of my brothers to be really careful because the one she was handing him was a really special one…and then right before she handed it off she accidentally broke her thumb through it and it shattered…

  2. posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 7:09 AM  |  reply

    Oh, I know that was traumatic. I imagine it would be a feeling like when I thought I had lost all my photos from 2005 until 2010. I’m so glad you were able to salvage as many as you did. Did the Teacher one make it? I hope so.

  3. Tam
    posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:06 AM  |  reply

    bummer. hate that you had to throw some ornaments away =(

    but dang it, annie, this post made me laugh. it’s how you write/speak…you’re just too good, lady.

  4. posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM  |  reply

    So glad you at least could salvage some of the ornaments Annie!

  5. Glenda Smith
    posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM  |  reply

    We had the same experience Christmas 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. I collect all the Gone With the Wind keepsake ornaments from Hallmark. I let them soak in hot water and liquid lysol to get the mold of them.

  6. holly
    posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 9:34 AM  |  reply

    i feel your pain. i lost about 90% of my christmas decorations – including my tree (which was only 3 years old) in the flood in ’10. the most heartbreaking of which was a box of christmas books our family used to read each night by the tree. that and my american girl collection.

  7. S
    posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 2:49 PM  |  reply

    So sorry about your ornaments 🙁

    Just this year I picked out a tree and the top of my tree was so weak that it almost didn’t hold out topper.
    It almost fell and broke:(

  8. posted on Dec 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM  |  reply

    I saw this sadness on Instagram! 🙁 Boo!

  9. posted on Dec 12, 2012 at 6:01 AM  |  reply

    You are hilarious!!! Thanks for your happy way of sharing. I lost all of my ornaments one year {stored at the inlaws and then disappeared} I searched their garage for a few years at christmas time, but alas, they were never found. So I know your heartbreak, and every year there will still be a little twang of pain as you think about them, but move through it you shall 😉 God bless, and thank you 🙂

  10. Tabitha
    posted on Dec 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM  |  reply

    So sorry 🙁 actually ive never even thought about my ornaments molding.

  11. posted on Dec 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM  |  reply

    i had mouse-ed ornaments once. that is not something i’d care to go through again. i can only imagine your pain.

  12. Ann : )
    posted on Dec 22, 2012 at 2:45 PM  |  reply

    Quick,versatile solution to no tree skirt is one I use and one Mom used – a table cloth or sheet. A white one can look like drifts of snow.

  13. Diane
    posted on Dec 23, 2012 at 8:59 AM  |  reply

    My first thought was, what a shame to lose your ornaments. As I looked at the picture of the ornaments ,which are wonderful looking, I thought I love that cross one, why don’t I have a cross one . So I am going to find or make a cross ornament for my tree this year. Thanks for sharing.

  14. posted on Mar 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM  |  reply

    I can understand how you must have felt.

    My story is also pretty tragic, my niece had selected some personalized ornaments online and she had even made some. They were all lying on the table ready to be decorated, when my brother tripped and crashed over them. I could barely gather the courage to look at my niece.

  15. Melissa
    posted on Nov 30, 2013 at 5:25 PM  |  reply

    Well, my ornament story is similar to the original. However my water culprit was a prized snow globe my mother had given me. It must have been too hot in the attic and it leaked all over the inside of the box. By the time I opened the box everything was covered. Many of the items had to go. I too washed the remaining items. Sad, time to find a new globe.

  16. Brittney
    posted on Nov 29, 2015 at 5:18 PM  |  reply

    I know your post is old, but I am sitting here in tears because the same thing happened to me. And I just found them. All moldy. The thing is that many of them were little paper ornaments that my 3 kids made. Stuff with their writing on them from when they were little. Or their little thumbprints. All ruined. There are some things that may be salvaged, like the glass ones, but those aren’t the ones I really want. Ugh I am a mess right now. My husband tried to comfort me and tell me that all of the kids are here and healthy and happy, and I know he has a point, but I cannot help but be sad. :'(

  17. Valerie Fuller
    posted on Aug 18, 2016 at 6:36 PM  |  reply

    Mine just went through a hurricane. Am wondering before putting them in Dawn can they be dunked in Pine Sol? They stink to high heaven. Will try and see what happens.

  18. Jessica
    posted on Dec 03, 2017 at 7:02 PM  |  reply

    We just had this happened. We soaked everything we could in Lysol and very hot water. The rest either was attempted to be thrown out or got thrown away. An important tip: do NOT wash the painted ornaments in the sink, especially the hand painted ones

  19. Debbie
    posted on Feb 19, 2018 at 6:20 PM  |  reply

    My ornaments were flooded in Hurricane Harvey and have been sitting dry since late August. I am goIng to follow the Dawn suggestion.

    Can I spray fabric ornaments with Lysol?

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