Getting Rid of Mothball Smell in the Attic?

So my boyfriend put 2 bags of mothballs (he said not opened just in the punctured bag they came in) in the attic. Well, within 5 minutes it made the whole house smell bad thru the AC vents! He said he threw the bags away right away, but the smell is so strong still a week later! We have tried open windows for days, bowls of vinegar and charcoal and nothing seems to work! It might be a tiny bit less, but the smell is still strong. And I'm 2 months pregnant and terrified! Can anyone help?


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September 25, 20180 found this helpful

I would call the experts and get their advice. But, since I am a DIYer and I suffer from asthma and COPD, that was caused because of chemical spraying of fertilizer on a crop; I like to try my own methods first. Moth balls are not safe to put inside any one's home. I use air conditioning myself, and I think that if you have tried to treat the spot where the mothballs have been, that maybe it is now in the ventilation system. There are small vents for air return, I would try taking them off and placing cheesecloth (you can get it from WalMart) dipped into vinegar or an essential oil, place over the hole, replace the vent. I would also change the filter on the air conditioning unit. Eventually, the smell will go away on its own. I, myself, used snake away by my chicken coop, and sadly it smelled like mothballs, eventually it did fade. Good luck!


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September 25, 20180 found this helpful

Nok-Out is a product that will remove the smell. You can get it at Amazon.


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September 25, 20180 found this helpful



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September 25, 20180 found this helpful

Try cedar chips to absorb the smell. Do run the a/c vents with windows and doors open to bring in natural area and ventilate your home


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September 26, 20180 found this helpful

Oh mothballs...they instantly take me back to my nana's closet. ICK! The only way we got rid of that smell when trying to sell her place was to put activated charcoal pellets in the closet and let it sit for a few weeks. You may be to change the pellets out periodically...this was a long time ago and my memory is a little hazy on the fine details.


Also, if I remember correctly, we wiped down the walls with a baking soda and vinegar combo...but they were painted walls, not sure what yours are.

You should be able to get the pellets at a pet store or maybe even a WalMart or Target if a larger store. Amazon has them as do a bunch of other on line sites. Read the package to see how much you need for the size of your space. The closet didn't need much but it was small (probably 8 ft tall, and 3 ft by 3 ft.) Keep the pellets away from small children and pets! Hope this helps!

Open the windows and set up a box fan so that it pulls the air OUT not, the way it pushes air into a the window, set the fan in the open window and the pulling can help get the smell OUT.

You are smart to be concerned being that you are expecting (blessings and congrats to all). Talk to your doctor ASAP and ask if you should leave the house until the smell is gone. They can give you the truest info.


Websites will scare you as they tell you how dangerous exposure to moth balls is....but is that a days worth of exposure, two days, 9 months??? They don't tell you that and you need REAL info from a REAL EXPERT and your doctor can give you that!

Call, most will answer questions like that over the phone (or if you are lucky enough to have a doc who emails, email.



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October 1, 20180 found this helpful

Activated charcoal is definitely the best thing to use. It has been stated that it can be found in big box stores and pet supply stores but the only supply that I have found in these stores is in very, very small packets that are used in fish aquariums. I'm talking about a few ounces and most of their supply will be powdered and enclosed in small packets or filters.


These are very expensive.

I hope that someone can tell you (and me) where they have found activated charcoal pellets/capsules as powdered is very, very fine.

  • I have called all of my local stores; Walmart, Target, Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace & True Value Hardware and none carry it (local stores and none online).
  • I have been using regular BBQ charcoal (without the starter) and breaking it up into smaller pieces and this works for me but I am not trying to remove mothball odor in an enclosed area so not sure how long it would take to work in an attic.
  • An attic may be a large area to cover but you could try spreading some out (break it up into smaller pieces) on newspaper or in pans/bowls.
  • Try to find the areas where the odor is the strongest.
  • You can also use bowls of vinegar or pans of baking soda. Nothing will work overnight.
  • You should replace your AC filter with a very good (expensive) one that will help capture some of the odor.
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  • You may now have some of this odor on your furniture or carpet so check that out also.
  • If there is insulation in your attic it will probably have to be replaced with new insulation.

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