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Removing Mothball Smell From Your House

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The strong odor of these moth deterrers can linger in your home. This guide is about removing mothball smell from your house.



Here are questions related to Removing Mothball Smell From Your House.

Question: Getting Rid of Mothball Odor in Cedar Chest

I have a cedar chest that had mothballs in it for about a year and I am trying to get rid of the smell. Can anyone help me?

By Lucretia D.


Most Recent Answer

By nanax209/02/2014

I used a charcoal closet deodorizer I bought at the hardware store. I put it in, and I honestly forgot about it. I don't know how long it took, but it got rid of the odor .

Question: Removing Moth Ball Odor From a House

I am moving into a home that was occupied by an elderly couple who had an extreme fondness for mothballs. The entire house reeks of the odor. How can I remove, not mask with Febreze or the like, but actually remove the odor permanently without tearing out the entire interior of the house. Please please help me.

By MizAyo from Chicago, IL


Most Recent Answer

By Sheilah Link [5]08/29/2011

Air the house thoroughly. Put fans in the windows turned to pull the air out, not in. I use mothballs and to remove the odor from clothes, I hang them somewhere with good air circulation. Good luck. At least you do not have a house full of insects.

Question: Removing Mothball Smell

We are moving in to a small trailer and it reeks of mothballs. Could someone please tell me how to get rid of the awful smell it left behind?

By Anna from Gray Court, SC

Most Recent Answer

By tr4head07/31/2011

Ember - why didn't you just tear down the place and rebuild from scratch! I bet that would work too!

Question: Removing Mothball Smell

How do I get rid of mothballs smell out of my house. I just recently moved in and the previous owners had them all over.

By avaloslupe50 from Baytown, TX

Most Recent Answer

By Rebecca O.07/25/2014

Mothballs will be the death of me. Bought a house that reeked of those suckers. Had owner get rid of them and that helped, but not much. What's really helping me is small bowls of white vinegar all over the house. Helps get rid of cigarette odors also. Going to have to get rid of carpet going upstairs and that will help too. I'm winning but not very fast.

Question: Moth Ball Smell on New Jacket

My daughter bought a jean jacket at Kohl's a couple of weeks ago. A few days later she removed the tags and went to put it on while noticing a strange smell like moth balls. So she figured she would wash it, but that didn't help so she washed it 3 more times, but still nothing. She remembered that putting something in the sun outside would do the trick, but it's been outside in rain and shine and it still stinks.

What she really should have done is return it right away, but she didn't stick her nose in the jacket at the store and when she noticed at home after several washings it's too late. I went to her house and smelled it myself and it still smells like moth balls. What should she have done or what can still be done? Thanks. How in the world did this happen from a Kohl's store?

By Bonnie H

Most Recent Answer

By Jamie W.07/21/2013

I've had this happen a few times from J.Crew and from Hollister and Express and when it happened with Hollister and Express it was much stronger. The smell is formaldehyde. It gets on random pieces of clothing. It really doesn't come out. It's permanent. Both Express and Hollister refunded my money without the receipt, not sure how long ago it was now, but for future reference, take it back as soon as you notice. Tags or receipt are helpful, but not necessary if they ever want your business again.

Question: Getting Rid of Mothball Smell in House

I need to know the best and fastest way to rid my home of mothball smell. We had critters in the ceiling of our trailer (no crawl space) at least not for people. Anyway the good ol hubby decides to put not just the half box of mothballs, but a full one as well. No need to say they work well at getting people out and I'm sure the critters would not want to stay (I hope).
Is there a sure way to get my home back? Do I have to replace my furniture? This really is stressing me out, out of my house. How long do I need to stay out of the house? Are there any companies out there that can help?


Most Recent Answer

By Marie Brack07/03/2012

Are the mothballs still up there? If so of course they have to be gotten out.

For the interior, anything that can safely be set out in the sun should be, including upholstered furniture. Vinegar is a good deodorizer, you could set shallow bowls of it around the house, and wash clothes and bedding in it.

Heat intensifies the release of odors - you could let it get real hot in there, maybe turn on the heat even though it's summer, and go somewhere else for a few hours. Then open all the doors and windows to let out the released odors.

Consider renting an ozone air cleaner - they're available for use after house fires to clear the smell out.

Question: Removing Moth Ball Odor from Clothing

How do I remove moth ball smell from a blouse purchased at a thrift store? I washed the blouse once, in the washer and dried it on a hanger.


Most Recent Answer

By mcw [78]09/04/2011

Try soaking the blouse in a solution of water and white vinegar.

Question: Getting Rid of Mothball Odor in the House

We have a serious problem with a mothball smell which has been an issue for selling our home. Buyers has been turned down because of this. We even painted the whole inside of the house along with an entire carpet shampoo. I mop the floor with Pine Sol everyday, but no luck. Can anyone help with how to get rid of strong mothball odor?

By Sang C.

Question: Removing Moth Ball Odor From Luggage

Moth balls were put in plastic bags with luggage stored in a barn. Now I can't use luggage for intense moth ball smell. Please help. Thank you.

By Charlsa S.

Question: Removing Mothball Smell from House

I am buying a new house. The previous owners put moth balls in every room and closet drawer. The entire house is saturated with this smell. How can I remove it?

By V.C.W.

Solutions: Removing Mothball Smell From Your House

Do you have knowledge about this guide topic? Feel free to share a solution!


Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Removing Mothball Smell

I stored my car for over a year. To keep varmints out we used mothballs in and around the car. I know now that this was a bad idea. Inside the car reeks, and it clings to clothes. How do I get rid of the stink that's in the seats and upholstery? Charles from IL

RE: Removing Mothball Smell

The absolute ONLY WAY to remove moth ball odor is to expose the item to as much fresh outdoor air as possible for several days (bring it in at night). Fresh air is the only way...nothing else (cleaning solutions, washing, etc), does not work. Then after hanging items in fresh air (not in direct sunlight as it can cause fading), you may also put items in dryer on FLUFF or AIR for a while too. IT DOES WORK! (04/15/2006)

By Pam

RE: Removing Mothball Smell

NEVER USE MOTH BALLS ANYWHERE IN YOUR HOUSE!!! Because I was feeding birds in my yard, small grey mice got in my attic. I could hear them scratching at night, and my dog brought a couple of them (that she had killed) into the house. I informed a friend who was a building contractor...who told me he could rid my house of the mice by putting moth balls in my attic. I questioned him about this, asking "wouldn't the smell come down into the rest of the house?" He said "no way" heat rises in the attic and goes out the vents, taking the smell with it. I told him to go ahead and put the moth balls in the attic...which he did. That night, I could not even sleep in my bedroom from the smell...which was making my chest (lungs) hurt. I called and told him about the smell and he told me that was "impossible" as he had done this to other homes before. To make a terribly long story short, after a week of moth ball stench which forced me to move into a guest room and run a fan pulling fresh air into the room, I found another contractor who came and completely removed a section of the wall going into the attic and removed as many moth balls as possible (removed about 80 of the 120 that had been placed there, as it was hard to find white moth balls in the white insulation). He then put in an additional attic vent and a large fan (that works with a thermostat) in my roof, which pulled fresh air through the attic from the 2 vents, removing about 95% of the smell withing 1 hour. I think in a day or so all the smell will be gone completely....I am convinced that only fresh air and sunshine will kill mothball odors . (07/11/2006)

By Charlotte Sarti

RE: Removing Mothball Smell

I have the exact same problem as the last posting from Charlotte!!! We just purchased a home after making a cross country move and let me tell you I have gone through a phase of "buyers remorse" !! MOTH BALLS ARE HORRID! I just cant take the smell in the slightest! And what I thought is my dream home I cant even bring myself to MOVE IN! The sellers put moth balls in the attic! Thier reasoning was to keep a squirrel out from trying to make a home, and probably so but the one and only night I stayed there after buying the home over 3 weeks ago I heard scratching sounds up in the attic. And they were avid bird feeders and squirrel feeders! So I'm sure there are cute little fuzzy grey mice prowling around too! So now I just want to cry! This smell is a serious issue! The seller said he put about 50 moth balls up there and my husband has scoured it and found around 30 - He said the rest may have dissolved from the heat in the attic. So far I haved ordered 6 pouches from AND I plan to order a cleaning solution from AND to go to the extreme measure I will call a contractor like Charlotte did because at this point I am desperate! BTW I'd love to hear your outcome Charlotte! This has been such a LEARNING experience! One that has caused me some sleepless nights! (07/12/2006)

By nixiedoll

Archive: Removing Mothball Smell

I have recently purchased a car from a family member. They put moth balls in the car because it had been setting up for a while. How do I get the moth ball smell out of the car?

Nancy From Birmingham, AL

RE: Removing Mothball Smell

Ventilation is the key to eliminating Mothball's odour. If the odour prevails, check to make sure you have removed all of the Mothballs from the area. Always remember that the vapour is not harmful to humans or animals and acts as the preventative of moths and pests. To speed up the elimination of odour, place bowls of activated charcoal in the room, or spray fabrics with fabric deodorizer (11/14/2006)

By Brenda from Texas

Archive: Removing Mothball Smell

I am in the process of purchasing a new home and the house smells like moth balls. The current owner has a chest of animal pelts in the master bedroom with moth balls in it. What is the best way to get the odor out?

rngrass from Mount Shasta, CA

RE: Removing Mothball Smell

I suggest burning a candle while, you are at home to watch it or several candles, good luck. (01/25/2009)

By k w

Archive: Removing Mothball Smell

How can I remove a strong moth ball odor from a pop-up-camper? I'm asking for a family member who has a 2 year old and they bought a used camper thinking the smell would dissipate. I'm going to tell her about charcoal, baking soda and vanilla.

I would think they don't just want to mask the odor, but eliminate it completely. I've read that naphthalene is a suspected toxin. I would love your ideas on what to tell her to make this camper safe. Thanks.

By sandy/pittsburgh from Pittsburgh, Pa

RE: Removing Mothball Smell

I use mothballs all the time in storing clothing (especially wool ones) and in our RV over the winter. Usually just opening everything up for a couple days, windows open and such the odor is gone. Have they tried airing it out it outside; not in a garage, but outside in the sun? (09/12/2009)

By mom-from-missouri

Archive: Removing Mothball Smell

We used moth balls to prevent getting mice. Now how do you get rid of the moth ball smell in the RV? We have opened all bay doors and aired out several times and smell is still in the RV.