How Do I Get Rid of Mothball Odor on Clothes?

I need to get the smell of mothballs out of my clothes.

By Sharon Rafferty from East Hampton, NY


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May 8, 20100 found this helpful

There are only 4 ways to remove bad odors from fabrics:

1) Fresh air: You can try airing them out in the fresh air and sunshine, but this rarely removes all the odor.
2) Soap and water: (or dry-cleaning) Wash them as many times as is necessary.
(add 1 can of regular Coca-Cola in with your regular laundry soap)
3) Ozone: Rent a small ozone machine or use an Ozone-based air freshener machine and place this is your closet under the mothball clothes.
4) Febreze: I doubt this will work, but it's worth a try:
Spray (saturate) it before and after hanging it outside in the fresh air.

* With any technique, you'll have to also turn the things inside-out halfway through the treatment to be sure to reach the inside odor as well.

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July 20, 20140 found this helpful

You could soak the clothes in a mixture of vinegar and water, or use a blow dryer to release the smell. The chemicals in mothballs are released with heat, so if you can't let it airdry in the sun, then you should use a blow dryer.

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June 20, 20150 found this helpful

I hate to post something that totally opposes another's point of view, however Cynthia's soap-and-water comment could make your situation worse.


The chemicals in mothballs are NOT water soluble. Wetting down the fabric in any manner can actually make the smell stronger. I would suggest bagging them up tightly and taking them to a cleaners. Any professional dry cleaning establishment has likely dealt with this problem a hundred times.

Call them first tell them what you're dealing with and ask what to expect if they clean your items. If the odor remains will they reclean at no charge?

Call a few places you'll soon be able to tell who can help and who's just giving lip service. Good luck.

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