How to Get Rid of the Smell of Mothballs

Written by mary ylisela Google
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How to Get Rid of the Smell of Mothballs
There are other alternatives to keeping moths from eating clothing. (Stephen Schauer/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Mothballs effectively get rid of moths by emitting a chemical vapour called paradichlorobenzene. The strong odour that results from mothballs lingers long after mothballs are disposed of. Headaches and nausea can be caused by the unpleasant and overpowering odour. While mothball smell is not as simple to remove as other household odours, it can be deodorised with the right techniques and cleaning supplies. Prevention is the best method. The use of natural remedies, such as cedar wood and essential oils, can eliminate the need to use smelly mothballs.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Electric fan
  • Bucket
  • Enzyme-based pet odour remover
  • Clean cloths
  • Washing powder
  • White vinegar
  • Bowls

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  1. 1

    Open windows to circulate fresh air around the room. Place an electric fan near the origin of the odour and aim it toward a window. Run the fan to help draw the smell out.

    How to Get Rid of the Smell of Mothballs
    A fan is highly effective for removing mothball smell. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)
  2. 2

    Prepare an enzyme pet odour remover in a bucket, according to directions. Wash all non-washable surfaces, such as walls, floors, furniture and carpeting, with the solution to remove the smell. Enzyme pet odour remover helps to break down odour-causing chemicals so the smell can dissipate.

  3. 3

    Launder washable items that smell of mothballs, such as clothing, linens, curtains and rugs. Use washing powder and 1 cup white vinegar in the wash cycle to get rid of the odour. Hang dry the items to allow the sun and fresh air to remove any lingering odour.

    How to Get Rid of the Smell of Mothballs
    Fresh air eliminates mothball smell in fabric. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)
  4. 4

    Fill small bowls with undiluted white vinegar. Set the bowls in areas affected by mothball smell. Vinegar deodorises the remaining smell.

Tips and warnings

  • Rather than laundering clothing with mothball odour, toss the garments in the dryer with two or three dryer sheets and set the dryer to the air fluff setting.
  • Repeat steps, as necessary, until the overpowering smell is gone.
  • Place cotton balls with vanilla extract in small areas, such as closets, to neutralise mothball odour.

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