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Removing Mothball Smell From Your House

Category Odors
The strong odor of these moth deterrers can linger in your home. This guide is about removing mothball smell from your house.
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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 18, 2017

How do I get rid of a moth ball smell inside my house?

Answer Was this helpful? 1
March 18, 20170 found this helpful

There is a long thread about it here: http://www.thri  -Your-House.html

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March 18, 20170 found this helpful

Air it out as much as possible but when the doors and windows are closed, keep sachets of lavender and cloves in corners.

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0 found this helpful
November 23, 2016

How can I get rid of the smell of moth balls in my basement?

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November 27, 20161 found this helpful
Best Answer

Place charcoal briquettes all around the room. Do not use the ones with lighter fluid added. I place them in an old pie tin. Works great.

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1 found this helpful
June 3, 2014

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

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Anonymous
October 10, 20160 found this helpful

That was just a major redundancy. As cedar itself is a moth deterrent. It's why you make chests and line closets with it. Set it out in the sun, open for an afternoon or so

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November 23, 20160 found this helpful

What was your solution? I have the same problem. Put out snake deterent now smell has permeated my basement storage area and crawl space.

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August 27, 2011

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

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October 21, 20160 found this helpful

I'm having the same issue with moth ball odor in my home. It's been a week and its still very very strong. The owner of the rental put moth balls in our attic and the smell is seeping through the air vents. It has stained EVERYTHING. Every time we leave the home we smell moth balls on our clothing. It's embarrassing! To rid the smell we are going to open every window, turn off the air conditioner and crank up the portable fans in the house for as long as we can (hot weather will cause us to stop doing this step). Once we get the smell out we plan on washing everything...yes EVERYTHING from ceiling to floor in vinegar and laundry detergent in the washing machine...yay ....we also bought some arm and hammer carpet odor eliminater...fingers crossed. BUT I do know that airing everything out (clothing, the house, your car, etc.) gets rid of the smell...oh and time. Definitely give it time...its not an overnight fix.

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May 18, 20170 found this helpful

I hv a sub basement that's filled with mothballs and have no one to go under to gather the balls. Can I just stand at the entrance way and spray the vinegar?

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September 3, 20141 found this helpful

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.

Answer Was this helpful? 1

0 found this helpful
September 5, 2012

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.

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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

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July 21, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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Anonymous
May 3, 20160 found this helpful

This happened to me I simply soaked the dress in cold water with vinegar and baking soda and it worked perfect and didn't damage the dress at all

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February 22, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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February 24, 20120 found this helpful

That's a shame, best air it out, time will heal, also lightly sand inside of the chest and the cedar will be so renewed. gl

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September 2, 20141 found this helpful

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 .

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June 29, 20120 found this helpful

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?

By MT

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
July 3, 20120 found this helpful

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.

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July 30, 20140 found this helpful

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.

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September 3, 20110 found this helpful

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.

By lUPE

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September 4, 20110 found this helpful

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

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1 found this helpful
February 17, 2011

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

Answer Was this helpful? 1
February 20, 20111 found this helpful

Put out bowls of vinegar to help absorb the smell. You may also try some eucalptus scented candles. The best thing though is to remove all moth balls that remain, and keep airing out the house.

I once had a battle with mice, and my house reeked of moth balls for a year. I overdid it on the moth balls, but I never had a mouse invade the house again, lol. :)

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July 5, 20130 found this helpful

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.

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February 17, 20110 found this helpful

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.

By Mary from Valdosta, GA

Answers:

Removing Mothball Smell

First, set up some fans so they'll blow through your RV, and try to eliminate as much of the stagnant air as you can (a breeze through the door/windows is nice, but you need stronger air circulation). That will help get rid of some of the dangerous chemicals in the air.

Then, here's my answer to just about every obnoxious odor: Oranges!

Buy several, cut them in halves or fourths, and leave them on plates in different areas of the RV. (Try to avoid paper plates, as the juice can seep through.) Replace them as they shrivel up, until all the odor is absorbed. As a bonus, your RV will have a nice citrus scent for a while! (04/17/2010)

By WildIrish

Removing Mothball Smell

You could try the activated charcoal, and coffee grounds will work on some odors. Set dishes of grounds around to absorb the odors. Mothballs are a truly horrible smell, and it may take some time to dissipate. I used them once - never again. They are worse than whatever you are trying to prevent. (04/19/2010)

By louel53

Removing Mothball Smell

Next time use mousetraps or D-con. Mothballs are toxic to humans too. The smell gives me a migraine.
To get rid of the smell try diluting some white vinegar with an equal amount of water, put it in a spray bottle and spray the RV inside surfaces, esp fabrics and rugs with it. Vinegar gets rid of a lot of smells and disinfects as well.Let sit overnight and then air it out.
Febreeze can be used also. (04/19/2010)

By kemperjl

Removing Mothball Smell

We've successfully removed a mothball odor that was pervasive throughout an entire house that we had just purchased.

First, we entirely demolished and removed the cedar closet in the basement that was the source of the problem. Though there were no mothballs present, just opening the door of the closet made one's eyes sting. Getting rid of the closet did not solve the whole problem, however, as the whole house still had an odor. It was discovered that the heating duct on top of the closet was punctured by nails in the building of the closet, causing the smell to be distributed throughout the house (if it hadn't already done so through osmosis).

These were the steps that were taken to eradicate the smell:
1) Opening all windows and turning on ceiling fans and exhaust fan in basement all day of each non-rainy day for over a month during the summer.
2) Purchasing and turning on four large dehumidifiers during the night to make the air as dry as possible.
3) Removing the wall to wall carpeting that was present in the entire home.
4) Having the entire home including basement washed by professional cleaners.
4) Getting the ducts cleaned by a reputable duct cleaner.
5) Changing and upgrading the filter on the AC system.
6) Painting using nontoxic AFM SafeCoat Transitional Primer and then a top coat of SafeCoat on the walls and ceilings.

The smell is gone! (07/16/2010)

By ember0775

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April 17, 20100 found this helpful

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

Answers:

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

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March 15, 20090 found this helpful

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

Answers:

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

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

Does anyone have a remedy to remove moth ball odor? I purchased a used auto. The previous owner had put moth balls in the car to cover the smell of mouse urine. I do believe the moth balls smell worse! Any suggestions would be welcome.

Pat from Texarkana, Texas

Answers:

REMOVING MOTHBALL SMELL

There are only a few remedies that are available and these are the ones that work:

SMELLEZE MOTHBALL DEODORIZER is a product that actually removes the smell by attracting it and capturing the molecule from the air. Most every other idea is smothering or covering the odor or masking it.

Napthaline is no longer used in Mothballs. Read above (or below) and some folks have already stated that. Furriers used Napthaline and managed to remove the horrid clinging odor from their garments by using the same formulation in Smelleze.

The new Mothballs, crystals, and disks, usually a blue box, will desicate or turn to a gas in about a month or so. But, that gas then still clings to your linens, clothing, everything. And the more porous the item ie: fur, towels, or carpet, the worse off you are. If you have a sensitive nose, you are in trouble.

The best thing to do is clean, clean, clean. Vaccum your rugs, wash your clothing with plenty of solvents like OXI CLEAN, wipe down your furniture and walls with cleaning solutions, use charcoal in open bowls or BBQ charcoal, real charcoal, not self starting, and just lay out Charcoal sticks on paper towels. Anything that will absorb gases and odors will help. Time will heal this problem completely.

Warning: Never ever allow your children to play near a mothball odor filled area. This chemical is not just toxic and carcinogenic, it acts as a neural destabilizer that can retard intellectual growth over time. And it doesn't take much, just long term exposure. Just like lead painted toys made in China. (09/06/2008)

By DAVAD

Removing Mothball Smell

Use ozone from an ionizer. It is a free radical. It is like using gaseous bleach, in other words. Seal up the area if necessary. I just turn on the ionizer until I can smell ozone and then let it go another 5 minutes or so. The best way is to turn up the ozonizer and leave the house. Go shopping or go to the mall. Ozonizers can be strong enough to clear out an entire hotel. They come with timers and instructions. (09/18/2008)

By DG

Removing Mothball Smell

Where it's feasible, I'd definitely second the fresh air and sunshine. I got a military surplus blanket that reeked of mothballs, and I soaked it in water with blue liquid Dawn dish detergent and rinsed it, my standard treatment for wool, then hung it up on a line for several days,during the day and flipped it so that all sides were exposed to the sun and wind. I did all this maybe three times over a month or two, when I had the time.

The sun and air seemed to be the real magic, but I think the soap and water helped, because in the later rounds, the blanket would smell worse once it got wet, to me this says more of the stuff is evaporating. Anyone know for sure? And then the smell would improve as it dried each time. It got much better after just the first two rounds and by the end of the third wash and dry it was so much better that I packed it in a cloth bag and let it sit and breath for a year or so. If I stick my nose in the blanket now, I don't notice the smell, so I figure I'll try just airing it out for a week or two in the spring, and maybe then I'll want to sleep with it. (12/23/2008)

By

Removing Mothball Smell

We received a bag of baby clothes that smelled really bad from moth balls. I tried washing in white vinegar which did not help. It was winter in New England so I couldn't hang them out. I was getting ready to throw out when I found 2 items and decided to try once again.

First I soaked in Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator (Walmart) I have a front loader so I let run 5 minutes till clothes were soaked then let sit for 2 hours. Then I washed them in Tide with Febreze. I then repeated the soak and wash two more times and the clothes are good as new. Good luck. (01/05/2009)

By Donna

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August 27, 20080 found this helpful
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