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Removing Mothball Smell From Your House

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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June 3, 2014 Flag
0 found this helpful

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

August 1, 20160 found this helpful

Me and my husband have been feeling sick I believe it's the mott balls I put in the room I think I put too many one in each drawer

W . Otherwise have been feeling tired dizzy and headaches please tell me that we are going to be OK

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August 14, 20160 found this helpful

I had to move out of my house for 3 months because previous owner had mothballs. Also had to go to a pulmonologist and had asthma symptoms for 2 months. I highly recommend getting out of your house until the smell goes away. It took 3 months in our case for the smell to go away. There is a machine called the ozone generator that is suppose to be able to get rid of the smell. I never used it because I found out after the fact. I high, highly recommend you try out the machine, if not get out of your place because you will get very sick. Mothballs are actually banned in several countries, including Australia around the world because they have killed babies.

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August 23, 20160 found this helpful

How do I remove moth ball odors from a cedar chest?

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August 27, 2011 Flag
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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

Anonymous Flag
February 15, 20160 found this helpful

Mothballs don't just smell bad, they are bad for you. Their active ingredients, naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, are toxic and can cause headaches and confusion, as well as liver and kidney damage.

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August 7, 20160 found this helpful

fabreeze on you aircondition filter will help

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September 5, 20160 found this helpful

You need to locate all the moth balls (old days they put them in the attic, crawl space, basement for pest control against spiders, roaches, squirrels, mice, rats, snakes, etc.). Once you have located and deposed of ALL the moth balls turn off your A/C unit...

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September 5, 2012 Flag
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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

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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 Flag
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, 2012 Flag
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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, 20140 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, 2012 Flag
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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?


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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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September 3, 2011 Flag
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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.


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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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February 17, 2011 Flag
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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

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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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February 17, 2011 Flag
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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


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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