Removing the strong odor of mothballs from drawers, trunks, and other furniture can be frustrating. This is a guide about removing mothball smell from furniture.
Read and rate the best solutions below by giving them a "thumbs up".
To remove mothball odor from an old trunk use cheap coffee. Just put it in a nylon that you tie or just sprinkle into the trunk. I did this to a 1800 trunk that even smelled up glassware. It really works.
Source: A friend
By blhooper from Greenback, TN
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Here are questions related to Removing Mothball Smell from Furniture.
I've inherited a chest of drawers and matching bureau from my mother. The interior and drawers stink. I'm at a loss as to what the odor is much less how to get rid of it.
The odor reminds me of Estee Lauder's Youth Dew perfume with a sharp vinegary overtone. I've tried cedar eggs, mothballs, potpourri, bleach, and fabric softener (liquid and dryer sheets).
Does anyone have any idea what might work to kill the odor? I'm handicapped and on a limited budget, so I could really use a great home remedy that is very easy to use. Thank you in advance for any suggestions!
By Susan from Brentwood, NY
I know this sounds silly but it works! Pour fresh (unused) kitty litter in the drawers. Wait a few days and the odor will be gone. I used this technique to remove odors from wooden cheese boxes.
PS keep the cats away while waiting or you will have a bigger issue! Sherielu
Put an open small bag of charcoal that you grill with in the drawers and forget about it for about a week or longer. Amazingly the charcoal will absorb the orders then throw them away. I too am disabled and know that putting them around in a smelly room will keep the air clean smelling! Good luck and keep us posted on what you end up doing.
Place a slice of lemon on a saucer or bicarbonate of soda in the drawer and it will absorb the odor.
This works every time! Line the drawers with a couple sheets of newspaper and put 1/2 cup unused coffee grounds over the paper. Shut the drawers for a week. Voila! No more odor. I also did this with an upright freezer that had lost power and everything spoiled and therefore left an odor. I tried everything and nothing worked until the coffee trick!
I have an old "steamer" style trunk. It belonged to my mother and even though it hasn't had moth balls in it for over 30 years it still stinks! I use it for some storage, but had not gone into it for over a year, and was just overwhelmed by the smell. I do have cedar chunks in there and have tried Fabreeze but to no avail. If I can't get rid of the smell I am going to have to get rid of it and I don't want to do that. Any suggestions?
By J Kelly (Guest Post) 11/22/2004
To remove any smell the best thing I have found is baking soda. Sprinkle it on and let it sit. You may have to repeat several times.
By dotty lewis (Guest Post) 11/22/2004
1. coffee grounds
3. kitty litter
Leave in for as long as it takes.
I have 3 antique chests that I inherited. Each one had at least 3 bags of mothballs that had nearly disinigrated over about 60 years of storing things in them. How do I get rid of the strong mothballs smell? My daughter is an asthmatic as well.
Dode from Burnaby, B.C.
Put several plates of Arm and Hammer in it, and close the lid for a week. Open your chest, empty plates and replace with new A & H (yellow box). Try 2-3 times.
Hope this is helpful
By Anna from Maine (Guest Post) 09/16/2006
I have excellent results with removing odors from different things by putting fresh coffee grounds (right from the bag or can) put into a shallow dish and let set for a week, may have to stir up coffee and let set longer or even get fresh and put in, may take some time but I think it will work. I hate moth balls, am allergic to them so know how how they can effect your daughter.
We acquired an old trunk that was very musty smelling, after trying several things I got the 'bright' idea of putting moth balls in it! I stored pictures and picture albums in there, and now everything smells like moth balls, oh to have that 'musty' smell back again! Is there something I can do to get rid of that moth ball smell now? We recently moved to WA state and I have the albums on a shelf in the office, and the smell just won't go away. Help!
There is a product called OZIUM. It comes small thin canister. I have found it in hardware stores. 1 or 2 squirts a day in the room with "smelly" objects and eventually, after just a few days you will notice the odor is gone. Don't spray on the objects and read the warnings. (It is bad for pets and people with breathing problems) use sparingly! it does work
By sandi (Guest Post) 02/09/2005
I bought an old dresser once and it had a musty smell. Try setting a container of fresh ground coffee in it for a few days. It worked for me.
How do I get the moth ball smell out of a recliner?
By Linda (Guest Post) 01/05/2009
My MIL gave me a bed cover set that was moth ball awful. I put it in the back yard for several days -- did nothing; then I sprayed with Febreeze -- did a little; then I sprayed with a product called Odo-Ban. I also dampened a towel with the Odo-Ban and put all in the dryer and ran it for a while. That worked.
My wife just got a nice bed given to her, but the mattress smells of moth balls. Can any one please help us get rid of the moth ball smell on it? Thank you very much.
By Jim S.
I had to get rid of a completely finished wood storage chest that had wools and moth balls in it because of lingering odor, 2 years after emptying it. The clothes put in it afterward got smelly after a month.
I have the same problem with unfinished (oak and luan) dresser drawers. They also were aired out for 2 years. So airing out is not very effective for wood.
Which leaves questions like can it be sealed and with what type of finish? Or washed, with what, etc.? Or is this the end, just get rid of it?
How do I remove moth ball smell from my dinette set that is metal with cloth seats?
By Pat V from Toledo, OH
How can we get the moth ball smell from a dresser? We have used baking soda, charcoal and any other suggestion. But nothing has worked. Any other ideas?