Wondering How to Get Rid of Mothball Smell?
The smell of mothballs is distinctive and long lasting by design. Mothballs have traditionally been used to store clothes and furniture and protect them from being destroyed by moths and other insects. You might not even know the strong odor comes from mothballs, but simply associate mothball scent with old houses and items from thrift stores.
While you are probably here because you are wondering how to get rid of mothball smells in rooms, clothing, or furniture, mothballs are not all bad. In fact, these early pesticide pellets are the reason many antiques, handmade tablecloths, and grandmother’s wedding dress still exist.
What Are Mothballs?
Mothballs are a chunk or ball made of chemicals that repel moths and their larvae, as well as other insects that might destroy fabrics. They are also sometimes used to keep insects and rodents out of closets, attics, and basements. They slowly release a vapor that is toxic to insects and can also be harmful to pets and humans in large doses.
Mothballs dissipate with exposure to air, taking 3-6 months to dissolve in the open air and up to a year inside a box or under a seat cushion. Mothball odors saturate the fibers and persist long after the pellet is gone or you have removed the mothballs.
Why Do Mothballs Smell so Bad?
Mothballs are made from powerful chemicals, usually naphthalene. Newer formulations might use paradichlorobenzene. Both of these are poisonous chemicals and potential carcinogens. Naphthalene is also found in tobacco smoke, wood preservatives, leather tanning solutions, dyes, coal, and tar.
You might even be told that carpet needs to be ripped up or that an antique sofa cannot be saved because removing mothball odor can be so difficult. Getting rid of the mothball scent is challenging, but there are several methods that are effective at removing the smell once and for all.
Removing Mothball Smell from Clothing
Clothing, bedding, or linens that have been stored with mothballs can be hung out in the sun, allowing fresh air to help dissipate the worst of the smell. Then wash the items in warm water, by hand, or in a washing machine, adding one cup of white vinegar to the wash water.
Putting those deodorized clothes back into drawers or a closet that still smells of mothballs will allow the scent to seep back in. Washing with vinegar may be effective on a single inherited or thrift store fabric item, but if you need to remove mothball smells from the places you store your clothes, you may need a surface treatment and/or a powerful room deodorizer.
Removing Mothball Smell from Furniture
Mothball odor can permeate not only the fabric of furniture, but even the wood surfaces. Furniture or large items that have been in storage with mothballs will need a surface treatment, assuming the entire room does not need an odor eliminator. To effectively treat furniture:
- Remove any remaining mothballs.
- Move the piece to a well-ventilated area.
- Wipe with vinegar and water.
- Sprinkle with baking soda if odor persists.
- Fill drawers and cavities with bowls of coffee grounds or cedar chips.
- Or, treat with Liquid Shocker, an environmentally safe ClO2 product that can eliminate mothball odor the first time on both fabric and hard surfaces.
Removing Mothball Smell from Rooms, Closets, or Your Home
Maybe you have purchased, inherited, or are renting a home that smells of mothballs. A single room might be affected, or an entire building. You can get rid of the smell of mothballs from your home by:
- Keeping windows open and using fans to fully ventilate your home
- Putting out trays of activated charcoal, coffee grounds, or cedar
- Using scented candles, essential oils, or air fresheners to mask the smell while it dissipates
- Treating individual rooms or your entire home with Room Shocker to fully eliminate the chemical odor of mothballs
How Do Room Shocker and Liquid Shocker Eliminate Mothball Odors?
Odor removal is a chemical process. Room Shocker from Biocide Systems uses power ClO2 vapors to reach the source of the smell and interact with the odor molecules, breaking them apart. After a single 24-hour treatment in a closed room, with open drawers and closets, Room Shocker can destroy the cause of mothball odor.
Room Shocker is the answer to any offensive odor that has soaked into your fabrics and surfaces. Products are available for vehicles, RV’s, and home use. This ClO2 odor eliminator:
- Works in as little as 4-24 hours
- Is environmentally friendly and safe when used according to instructions
- Is activated with warm water making it easy to use
- Completely eliminates odors in rooms up to 400 square feet
- Removes both organic and chemical odors completely
- Leaves behind a slight chlorine smell that dissipates when the room is ventilated
Browse the complete line of ClO2 odor-eliminating products from Biocide Systems and find the answers to all the offensive odors you face!
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