Pillar Pest Control

Pillar Pest Control

How to Get Rid of MothBall Smell?

How to Get Rid of MothBall Smell?

The persistent and unpleasant odour of mothballs can be a significant nuisance, permeating clothing, closets, and other enclosed spaces. Whether you’ve recently unpacked stored items or moved into a space with a mothball odour, it’s important to understand how to effectively eliminate the smell. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore various methods and techniques on how to get rid of mothball smell and restore a fresh and pleasant environment.

Understanding Mothball Odour: 

Mothballs are small white balls made of either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both of which release a strong and distinctive odour. These chemicals are used to repel moths and other insects from fabrics and stored items. The odour from mothballs can linger for a long time, even after the mothballs themselves have been removed.

How to Get Rid of MothBall Smell

Identifying Common Sources of Mothball Odour: 

Mothball smell can be found in various items and areas, including:

  • Clothing and Fabrics: Mothballs are commonly used to protect clothing and fabrics from moth damage during storage.
  • Closets and Storage Spaces: Mothballs are often placed in closets, drawers, or storage containers to repel insects.
  • Furniture and Upholstery: If mothballs were used near or on furniture, the odour can permeate into the fabric and upholstery.
  • Containers and Boxes: Items stored in containers or boxes with mothballs can absorb the smell.

Eliminating mothball odour requires targeted approaches depending on the specific item or area affected.

Prevention Methods to Avoid Mothball Smell:

 Preventing mothball odour is key to avoiding its persistence. Consider the following prevention methods:

A. Proper Mothball Usage:

  • Use mothballs sparingly and strictly follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the quantity to be used.
  • Place mothballs in sealed containers or fabric pouches to prevent direct contact with clothing or other items.

B. Alternative Moth-Repellent Options:

  • Explore natural alternatives to mothballs, such as lavender sachets, cedar chips, or herbal repellent sprays. These options effectively repel moths without the strong and lingering odour associated with mothballs.

Natural Remedies to Remove Mothball Smell: 

When it comes to eliminating the mothball smell, natural remedies can be effective and safe for your environment. Consider the following techniques:

A. Air Out the Affected Items:

  • Take the items outdoors on a sunny day and allow them to air out for an extended period. Fresh air and sunlight can help dissipate the odour naturally.

B. Activated Charcoal or Baking Soda:

  • Place activated charcoal or baking soda near the affected items or in breathable containers. These odour-absorbing agents can help neutralize the mothball smell over time.

C. Vinegar Solution:

  • Prepare a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Use a clean cloth dampened with the solution to wipe down surfaces or launder clothing to neutralize mothball odour.

D. Coffee Grounds:

  • Place coffee grounds in an open container near the affected items. Coffee grounds have odour-absorbing properties that can gradually help eliminate the mothball smell.

E. Freshening Sprays:

  • Create a homemade freshening spray using essential oils such as lavender, lemon, or eucalyptus. Dilute a few drops of essential oil in water and spray it in the affected areas to mask the odour.

Deep Cleaning and Deodorizing Techniques: 

For stubborn mothball odour, a more thorough cleaning approach may be necessary. Consider the following techniques:

A. Washing Clothing and Fabrics:

  • Launder clothing and fabrics using odor-neutralizing products. Add baking soda or vinegar to the washing machine to help remove the odour effectively.

B. Cleaning Surfaces and Furniture:

  • Clean surfaces and furniture using a vinegar solution or specialized odour removers designed for specific materials. Steam cleaning can also be an effective method for eliminating lingering mothball odour.

C. Ventilation and Air Purification:

  • Increase ventilation in the affected area by opening windows and using fans to circulate fresh air. Consider using air purifiers with activated carbon filters to help remove odour particles from the air.

Professional Assistance for Stubborn Mothball Odour: 

If all attempts to eliminate mothball odour prove ineffective, it may be necessary to seek professional assistance. Consider the following services:

  • Professional Dry Cleaning: For delicate fabrics that have absorbed the odour, professional dry cleaning can help remove the smell effectively.
  • Upholstery Cleaning: Professional upholstery cleaning services can deep clean furniture and upholstery, removing embedded odour particles.


How long does mothball smell linger?

The duration of mothball smell varies depending on factors such as ventilation, the number of mothballs used, and the material or area affected. In some cases, the smell can dissipate within a few days or weeks, while in others, it may persist for months. Effective odour removal techniques can help accelerate the process.

Can I speed up the process of eliminating mothball odour?

Yes, there are steps you can take to expedite the elimination of the mothball smell. These include airing out affected items in fresh air and sunlight, using odour-absorbing agents like activated charcoal or baking soda, and deep cleaning techniques such as laundering clothing or steam cleaning furniture.

Can I remove mothball odour from delicate fabrics?

Delicate fabrics that have absorbed mothball odour can be challenging to treat. Professional dry cleaning services are recommended for these items, as they have specialized techniques and products to remove odours while preserving the fabric’s integrity.

Are there any risks associated with using mothballs to eliminate pests?

Mothballs contain chemicals that can be toxic if ingested or inhaled in large quantities. It is important to use mothballs in a controlled manner, following the manufacturer’s instructions, and keeping them away from children and pets. Exploring natural alternatives to mothballs can help avoid the associated risks.

You can also read, What do moths eat.

Conclusion: How to Get Rid of MothBall Smell

By implementing the methods outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can successfully eliminate the mothball smell and restore a fresh and pleasant environment. Prevention, natural remedies, and deep cleaning techniques are key to removing the lingering odor. Follow these strategies, and you’ll be able to enjoy a space free from the unwanted scent of mothballs.

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