Welcome to my life . . . .

This is a blog about my passion: dollhouses and miniatures. This particular blog was started to follow my miniature dream: to create a Victorian Mansion. But work on my Mansion is slow. Very slow. Sloth slow. Ice Age glacier movement slow. Why? Because I am easily distracted by other personal miniature projects (I have 50+ roomboxes and 15 dollhouses in various stages of incompletion) and because I work for a miniature shop and am often up to my elbows in miniature projects that aren't mine! So, I thought, some artists work in a particular medium (woods, watercolors, clay, oils, etc.), I work in progress . . . .

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Moldy Horror

I was playing with my Mansion, arranging the Lady's Bedroom furniture, and went off in search of a rug that I knew I had somewhere for the bedroom.  Most of my mansion's furniture is kept in sealed clear roomboxes so I can see what I have even though the mansion rooms they belong in aren't assembled or decorated yet.  A few months ago these boxes were moved from the dining room (my usual work area) to the basement (aka dark, dank spider hotel).  And while searching for the M.I.A. rug in these clear acrylic storage roomboxes on the basement shelves, I was horrified to discover that one box had an explosion of mold in it!
In the dimly lit basement I noticed the faint fuzz of mold on EVERYTHING in the box
Brought the clear box up to the kitchen for further investigation
I was devastated.  I've never experienced anything like this.  And I didn't know where to begin to clean it up.  All the pieces (except maybe the mirror) had mold on them: glass, wood, fabric!  And of course they were expensive Bespaq pieces.  I was sick to my stomach.  Following advice from friends and colleagues I cleaned the pieces with non-chlorine bleach.  I mean, heck, the miniatures were already ruined.  What else did I have to lose?
My supplies of brushes, towels, rags, and non-chlorine bleach in a cup
Process was simple: take the moldy piece.  Lightly wipe it off.  Gently scrub it with a toothbrush dipped in the Clorox (the non-chlorine "for brighter colors" version of Clorox).
A Bespaq piece I had embellished with a gold marker years ago. Mold was growing on the bottom, highlighting (maybe even creating?) the cracks in the wood finish.

Using a toothbrush to gently get the suds into all the nooks and crannies. Seriously, my dentist would flip if she knew what I do with those free toothbrushes they give me. LOL

In the future I think I will need to sand and restain the bottom area where the cracks are but I was so pleased the mold came off as easily as it did!
Luckily almost all of the pieces cleaned up well!
End Table
The mold is even growing on the spider webs or cotton ball remnants stuck between the legs and center post!
All clean!

Might even look better now than it did before the mold grew on it! LOL
Next came the nail-biters (the fabric pieces):

Most of the mold was on the wood pieces with just a small amount touching the fabrics.

Spots all over the arms and legs....

All cleaned up nicely!

Squeaky clean.
I was very worried about the sofa fabric as it had a big old spot front and (almost) center....
Sofa was hit hard by the mold for some reason...

Those mold spots on the fabric were not gonna be fun to deal with

Mold all in the details and carvings of the side
All cleaned!

Mold came off of fabric reasonably well!

Thanks to floral design and decent clean up job, I can barely tell where mold had been!
Sofa, all clean and ready to be admired again
Coffee table was covered in mold; looks like it was dipped in sugar crystals -- not sure why the area my finger swiped from months ago did not grow mold (circle marks are from glass vases that had been displayed on the table...
Cleaned up easily.
Ultimately, I did lose one piece (a chair) due to a moldy black spot I could NOT get out and the fabric faded from my vigorous scrubbing trying to get the spot out.
I circled the mold spots on the fabric as they do blend in with the fabric design

The dark dot under the arm rest was the big problem.
Spot is still faintly there but my scrubbing at it has faded the fabric around it

Stupid spot.
But if I decide that Mansion room absolutely needs two chairs, the furniture is still available for sale so I can get another brand new one and use this chair to reupholster in a coordinating fabric or in another scene!  What a relief!

And I wiped down the other 10 display boxes with the non-chlorine bleach even though they didn't show any signs of mold and I have returned them to the dining room table....just to be safe.  I can once again return to working on the actual Mansion structure now that this crisis has been dealt with.  With the Lady's bedroom being completed and the window openings being cut into the addition pieces, there will definitely be a more exciting blog update in a week or two!


  1. was it chlorine or non-chlorine bleach --- you say both in the blog. ?????

    1. Thank you, Lynda, for the proof reading! It was non-chlorine bleach and I (hope I have) made the edits so it should all say non-chlorine bleach throughout the post! Thanks!

  2. Hello Lori,
    While I am thankful for the cleaning tip, I am very sorry that you had to go through this and especially at the loss of such a lovely chair.
    Big hug

    1. I hope to not lose the chair, Giac! Someday I will have the guts to attempt to reupholster it! But not for many years...my next decade or so is filled up with projects already!

  3. Hi, Lori - I'm so sorry about the mold disaster, but you've done a great job getting all (most) of those beautiful pieces restored. I appreciate your tip about using non-chlorine bleach - although I hope I never need to use it for such a purpose! I'm looking forward to seeing your work on the Mansion.

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Marjorie! I hope you never encounter any mold on your projects: may you only need to use non-chlorine bleach to fade fabrics in your scenes! LOL