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Cleaning Musty Odors on Christmas Decorations

Category Odors
Christmas decorations are stored for 11 months a year. It can be easy for them to pick up musty odors. This is a page about cleaning musty odors on Christmas decorations.


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By 0 found this helpful
April 9, 2011

Did Megan from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada ever try any of the cleaning suggestions to get rid of the musky odor on the Christmas bulbs she bought? We just bought similar types of Styrofoam, push pin bulbs with fabric coverings.

Like Megan's bulbs, ours are musky smelling. They are beautiful and we want to save them and are curious what was the best method she found to correct this problem.


By Nels Andersen from Arlington, VA


April 12, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Have you tried using ordinary charcoal briquettes, no additives to it, just plain charcoal, and put them and your ornaments. In a container and let it set for a few days. I know that charcoal is good for removing tough odors and my husband even used them when there was a death in the housing authority and the man had been gone for a week and when they found him it was terrible, but my husband set out the charcoal throughout the house and couple days later, the odor was gone.


The housing authority was going to hire a professional to go in and get rid of the odor, but my husband told them what to get and it worked. Hope this helps.

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April 12, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

The "Charcoal treatment' is probably a good idea, because many times these lights are manufactured in China and stores there.They have no health standards and the warehouses are really unsanitary and smell terrible. I own a flower shop and all of the Christmas decor that we import usually has this problem.

Try the charcoal, or do as we do, and store your Christmas decor with bags of potpourri, which you can purchase after the holiday on sale. When you unpack the decor next season it will "smell like Christmas" and the bugs and mice will not bother it while it is in storage. I wish you the best with your light issues. the plastic cords and sockets absorb the odors and it is hard sometimes to get rid of the smell.

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April 9, 20110 found this helpful

I have handmade Christmas ornaments made of material, Styrofoam, and dress pins. They were in the basement and got wet and now smell musty. Any ideas on how to get rid of the smell?


Megan from Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada


Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Last year I bought Christmas tree decorations from an eBayer which did not say she was a smoker and the string fake plastic candy garland just reeked of smoke. Knowing I could not wash it, I bought one of the air fresheners that you lift the tops on with the gel freshers inside. I got a really strong odor scent, like pine tree and then also got a cinnamon one too (I had 2 very long strands). I put each one in a new large garbage bag and opened the fresher up all the way and set it inside the bag with the garland and closed it up tight with a strong knot.

I left it in the bags closed tightly for 3-4 weeks and now they smell like the scent of the fresher not smoke. Try that maybe it will work for yours. Dollar store brand is what I used. Each one was $1 and it's holiday time now so they will have lots of holiday scents to choose from. (11/12/2008)


By Julie

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

You might try wrapping them in newspaper for a few weeks. Someone on this site said using newspaper would remove musty smells. It worked for me. I put a quilt of my great grandmother's in my cedar chest. It did not smell, the next time i opened the chest everything smelled musty. I layered everything in newspaper. Now no musty smell. I thought everything was ruined. That tip saved my cedar chest and lot of quilts and clothes. (11/13/2008)

By Cindy

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Try sealing them in a plastic bag with either baking soda, or coffee grounds, or both. Both of these substances are good for removing all kinds of odors. (11/13/2008)

By Louise B.

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Spray lightly, do not soak, with vinegar and let air dry. The vinegar will kill any mildew and the smell will dissipate after it has been dry for a few hours. It may take a few applications, but it will work. I used this on some ornaments that had gotten moldy (a snowglobe broke in the storage box) and it worked great! (11/13/2008)


By Chris Richman

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Spray them down with white vinegar and hang them outside under the carport or porch. I let some things hang about a week and when I went back they smelled so fresh. (11/14/2008)

By reniesue

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Try charcoal briquettes: store in a closed box, being careful not to get them dirty, open and check in one week. Repeat, if necessary. (11/16/2008)

By mklema92658

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Try the odor neutralizer product from BioWorld Products in Visalia, California. I've used it for several years for all types of musty smells and other household odor problems. It works great and is simple to use. I hate unpleasant odors, so I keep it on my shelf for whenever I need it. Hope this helps! (11/17/2008)


By Ronda Guest Post

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful

I have a wool skirt that smells musty. It was stored in a plastic container along with some Christmas ornaments, magazines, stuffed animals, craft items. They all smell musty and the container also. Can these smells be removed and will it come back? I want to keep these items and not get rid of them.


Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

I have never tried this, but read somewhere, that vinegar will remove mildew and the musty smell of mildew without the smell of vinegar lingering. I told this to a good friend who has a boat, and with the wetness on a boat, there was also mildew. So he tried it (could not use bleach on colored carpet) and said it worked great, and he was surprised. Now he keeps a spray bottle of vinegar on the boat to stay on top of the mess. (12/19/2004)

By Carol

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

Try sprinkling some baking soda on the bottom of the bin, or get one of those Arm & Hammer fridge baking soda boxes. I use baking soda to eliminate odors around my house. (12/19/2004)

By Julia

Musty Odor on Christmas Decorations

I would spray down the skirt & stuffed animals with some fabric freshener & toss them in the clothes dryer for a few minutes. I would also spray the other things with the freshener too. Of course, try it in an inconspicuous place first, to make sure it won't damage the color. (12/31/2004)

By Jeanette

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