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Removing Mothball Odor from Clothing

March 23, 2016

I just got a great score of vintage fabric from an old barn sale. Some smells like moth balls really badly. Most has had some mouse poop/urine on it. The latter I know a wash will fix, but the mothballs?

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Vinegar is my normal go to for things of annoyance. But cold, warm, hot water? I don't want to fade it out, I just want the stench gone.
Would I be better off soaking in a mix of baking soda and vinegar?
Help. Please.

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Anonymous
April 10, 20160 found this helpful
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Try putting a lot of cedar balls everywhere and get the real cedar, that smells the loudest.

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June 19, 20161 found this helpful
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Mouse urine and feces are a scare for the hantavirus. It is best to burn! Be sure to wear mask and gloves!

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14 More Questions

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 6, 2011

How do I get rid of the moth ball smell on clothes?

By Scott from Boise, ID

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November 25, 20141 found this helpful
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I had washed this winter shirt about 5 times & could not get the smell out. You suggested vinegar & someone else also said baking powder! I did them both and it worked! Thank you so much.

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November 4, 2010

How can you get the smell of mothballs out of a natural sheep's-wool lining of a leather jacket?

By Fitschen from IN

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November 5, 20100 found this helpful
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Just hang the item somewhere with air circulation, nearly empty closet, doorway, etc. and the odor will disappear in a few days. It might help to turn the jacket inside out.

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Anonymous
October 27, 20150 found this helpful
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Hang it in the sun. I had no luck just hanging my things, including shearling, outside - but when they were in the sun, the smell went away. good luck

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November 12, 2008

I bought brand new Playtex bras second hand. The catch is I can't get rid of the mothball smell. I've tried vinegar and left it in water over night. Yet the smell is still there. Any answers?



Manon

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful
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Instructions Difficulty: Moderate
Things You'll Need: Laundry Detergent, White Vinegar, Hangers, and biological odor remover

Step 1 Remove clothes from the closet and take them out of boxes, plastic bags or storage containers.

Step 2 Hang clothes outside on a nice day to let them air out.
Step 3 If clothes are washable, place 1 to 1 1/2 cup white vinegar in the load at the beginning of the wash cycle.

Step 4 Dry clothes outside, not in a clothes dryer.

Step 5 Use a biological odor-eliminating product. Follow instructions carefully.

Step 6 Be sure that all family members - especially grandma, who has used mothballs for a good portion of her life - understand the danger that mothballs pose.

www.ehow.com/how_155835_remove-mothball-odors...

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November 12, 20080 found this helpful
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To clean the moth ball smell from scarves, I used Johnson's Bedtime Bath cleanser for babies. I put some in a sink full of water and soaked the items for about 30 minutes and then scrubbed and rinsed. They came out smelling pretty strong at first, but I let them air dry and after the second washing in the machine, smelled like everything else.

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July 14, 2014

I have a fur jacket that has been handed down to me, but it smells of moth balls. How can I get rid of the smell?

By Christine S

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November 5, 20141 found this helpful
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Spray with vinegar & water, 50/50 mixture until it's well wet. Then, leave it out in the fresh air to dry. Repeat the process until the odor is gone. However, if this doesn't eliminate the smell after a couple of tries you could also try using baking soda water, again, a 50/50 solution and let it air dry as well. Leave it out in the air for several days, as fresh air helps more than anything else. The combination of both treatments should work, but then dry cleaning would be an easier remedy - just a lot more costly.

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June 8, 2012

How do you get mothball odors out of your clothes?

By Christelle

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June 11, 20120 found this helpful
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Usually just airing them for a few days will take care of the odor. I have heard that using a clothes dryer set to air fluff will speed the process. I usually put mine on hangers and hand them where the air will circulate around them. I suppose you use a fan to help.

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May 27, 2015

I bought the most adorable purse and it arrived reeking of mothballs! The purse is made of plastic. All suggestions are appreciated!


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May 27, 20150 found this helpful
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Yeah, they are stinky aren't they? You need to remove the smell rather than try to mask it... since it may only smell worse!

I would try airing it outside for as long as possible, then possibly filling the bag directly or make a cheesecloth full of baking soda, tying it shut and leaving it in the bag to absorb some of the odors. You may need to change the baking soda a few times.
Leaving it in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer with the baking soda may help as well.
Good Luck!

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July 27, 2013

How do I get rid of mothball smell on clothing? I have tried lots of fresh air, but the jacket still overpowers the senses. It is dry cleanable, but I do not want to spend the money if it won't come out.

By Bobbie D

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July 29, 20130 found this helpful
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Hope this works: Put the coat on a hanger and put it outside on a nice, sunny day. The sun will help. I had lost my leather jacket and when I got it back, it smelled awful. I did not want to dry clean it. I put it in the sun for a day or two and it was fine! Try it to see if this works. It can't hurt!

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July 7, 2018

The whole house smells like mothballs even our furniture, clothes, and everything. I need help on how to get rid of the smell.

I've tried washing my clothes in different places, but when I bring back the clothes it still smells like moth balls.

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July 7, 20180 found this helpful

Fresh air is the best starting point for eliminating mothball smell. Hang the clothes outdoors for several days. When you bring them in, wash them with a cup of vinegar added to the rinse cycle then dry them outdoors. Good Luck. Eliminating the smell of mothballs in not an easy task. You'll need patience and persistence.

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July 7, 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 (painted) walls with a baking soda and vinegar combo and a clean sponge -- 1 part soda to 2 parts vinegar (it will get super fizzy which is good. Rinse with cool water on a white rag.

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!

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July 7, 20180 found this helpful

I would use Febreeze and a few days out in the sun.

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July 7, 20180 found this helpful

Charcoal and air will be your best friends in this case.

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 18, 2009

How do you remove the Moth Ball smell from clothing? I have just purchased some nice second hand clothing, which have been stored in moth balls.

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March 6, 2011

How do I get the mothball smell from my clothing? I've washed them 4 times.

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October 29, 2010

I cannot get the smell of mothballs out of my clothing. I've washed them twice, hung them outside for 2 weeks, and just washed again with vinegar in the wash to no avail. Help!

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September 29, 2010

How to remove the smell of moth balls from clothes. It's easy and costs nothing (providing you have a steam iron). Wash the garment then iron at the relevant setting.

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November 1, 2006

I put a bunch of clothes in a plastic container and then put in some moth balls since I was storing them in the basement.

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