Removing Mothball Smell from Furniture

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.

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October 20, 2009 Flag
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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.

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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

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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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

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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April 27, 20100 found this helpful
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Place a slice of lemon on a saucer or bicarbonate of soda in the drawer and it will absorb the odor.

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March 30, 20130 found this helpful
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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!

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November 21, 2004 Flag
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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?

ElectricChameleon

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November 22, 20040 found this helpful
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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.

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November 22, 20040 found this helpful
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1. coffee grounds

2. charcoal

3. kitty litter

4. newspaper

Leave in for as long as it takes.

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Anonymous Flag
November 23, 20040 found this helpful

Thank you all for your suggestions! I will try them and post how it worked in a couple of weeks!

EC

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September 5, 20080 found this helpful

I used coffee grounds. Just pour the coffee grounds right from the can onto a large piece of saran wrap. Believe it or not it does work.

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September 13, 2006 Flag
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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.

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September 14, 20060 found this helpful
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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

Sherry

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September 16, 20060 found this helpful
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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.

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November 9, 20080 found this helpful

Ok, I understand the coffee grounds, but new or wet? Closed lid or open?

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January 21, 2005 Flag
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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!

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January 23, 20050 found this helpful
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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

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February 9, 20050 found this helpful
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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.

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May 22, 20050 found this helpful

i've tried everything to get this smell out of some clothes that we bought for our grandaughter at a rummage sale...is there a miracle cure for the smell...thanx alot..sue

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December 24, 2008 Flag
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How do I get the moth ball smell out of a recliner?

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January 5, 20090 found this helpful
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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.

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December 24, 20080 found this helpful

If the above does not work I suggest to open up all the drawers, burn candles all day near the furniture or near what has a bad smell. I use them while frying fish or cooking anything with a bad smell like cabbage It really works, if this does not work try baking soda. Cut the top of the box off, set it in the drawers. I keep a box in my fridge. Good luck, let us know which one works, ok?

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June 17, 20100 found this helpful

I have a very old cedar chest that had mothball smell for years. I decided to take a damp rag soaked in baking soda and wiped out the inside of the chest. The smell was gone!!! I let it dry, and then for extra measure, I sprinkled dry soda. There is no smell! It worked great!

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September 28, 2010 Flag
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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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