Busting out your holiday decor? Careful, it might make you sick.

Jeff Bookout
November 5, 2020

Reading Time: 3 minutes

As winter approaches, we asked BioBalance resident expert Jeff Bookout, about what mold issues he sees in the winter.


Getting rid of the thing mold loves: Cardboard.

Right after Thanksgiving I get a lot of phone calls. “Jeff, I’m sick in the house all of a sudden, and I don’t know why.” I’ll ask them “Did you just grab your Christmas decorations?”, and typically the answer is yes.

You see, that old nasty cardboard box that’s in your attic or your crawlspace is a place where mold thrives. Cardboard is like a “Twinkie” for mold when it becomes wet. Mold loves it. Cardboard is also a great reservoir for dust, which includes mold spores and fragments. So all those mycotoxins and mold spores get trapped inside and on cardboard boxes.

Sure, cardboard boxes are nostalgic and cool, but mold loves them too.

We put up our decorations in cardboard boxes, store them in attics or similar locations,  and don’t think about them for a year. We drag all that stuff out and dig through it, then all of a sudden someone’s sick. Storing those items in sealed plastic bags or containers will help that dramatically.

You’ll notice home improvement stores will have rows of those plastic storage containers after the holiday season. And that’s exactly why they have them. So people will start packing their stuff in containers like that.

Storage Tub

Instead of cardboard boxes, store your decorations in plastic storage tubs or plastic bags.

Get rid of the cardboard, without making it worse

Q: Would you recommend them taking that stuff outside and then putting the decorations in plastic tubs now?

Actually, anytime I go to move things, either I’m taking decorations out of the box, or moving the box, I’m getting potentially exposed to mold. If I take it outside from inside, I’m actually exposing my house to mold. So I would recommend a procedure that would give you the best chance of not exposing yourself or your house. First, get a P100 rated mask. This is greater protection than the N95 mask we have all heard of. The P100 mask will filter out 100% of the very small mold spores that are less than 10 microns in size.

Next, get some thick contractor trash bags at the hardware store, mask up, and put those over the cardboard boxes. Then, take them outside of the house and then in the fresh air put the decorations into plastic containers, and dispose of the cardboard boxes in the contractor trash bags. It’s a bit of work but it is the safest way.

Trash Bag

Don’t carry potentially mold carrying cardboard boxes out without putting them in large trash bags first.


Finally, give your decorations a treatment with HavenMist by lightly misting and then wiping them down. Be careful with anything that could potentially be damaged by the watery mist. HavenMist will control any mold or mycotoxins you may have missed on your decor.

Well, we definitely learned something today. Thanks Jeff. 



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