How To Get Rid of Moth Ball Smell

how to get rid of moth ball smell

How To Get Rid of Moth Ball Smell

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There’s no doubt mothballs protect your clothes and keep moths and other pests away. But let’s face it – they also leave a horrible smell on your clothes that can best be described as ‘musty cellar’ which is off-putting in any social situation.

So, how do you get rid of the smell of mothballs from clothes? And what are the alternatives to mothballs that will help prevent you from having to put up with the smell in the first place?

In this article we’ll explain how you can eliminate the smell of mothballs from your clothes and home using everyday items you probably already have in your cupboards, and why cedar wood is the best natural method of deterring moths and protecting your clothes and furniture.

how to get rid of moth ball smell

Why do people use mothballs?

In the wild, female moths and their larvae feed on sap from trees, and the droppings of various animals. When they end up living indoors, these foods are not available and your clothes offer the best alternative – particularly anything made from natural fibers such as linen, cotton, silk, wool or fur.

Mothballs contain chemicals that kill any moths already living in your clothes and deter any new ones chowing down on your best suit.

How do mothballs work?

Mothballs contain chemicals that are lethal to moths but (pretty much) safe for humans. When placed in your closet or clothes, they ‘sublimate’, which basically means they turn from a solid into a gas.  They are a good way of getting an infestation under control, but as they generally give off noxious fumes in an enclosed space, like your closet, they are not an ideal solution for the long term. 

In fact, overexposure can lead to nausea, headaches and dizziness to you, your children, and your pets.

How do you get the smell of mothballs out of your clothes?

So, now you know what mothballs are, let’s find out how to get their nasty smell out of your clothes.

  • Step 1: Get rid of the moth balls.
    It seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people go through the cleaning process without doing this first – generally because they have failed to find a natural alternative to mothballs. It’s recommended that you wear rubber gloves when removing the mothballs as the chemicals can irritate your skin and eyes.
  • Step 2: Ventilate the area.
    Open the doors to your closet and the windows to your room to let fresh air circulate.
  • Step 3: Place a bowl of baking soda in the closet, putting it as close to where the smell is strongest as is possible.
    Baking soda naturally removes odors from the air so will help prevent the smell lingering and reattaching itself to your clothes when you hang them back up. If you don’t have baking soda, used coffee grounds have the same effect.
  • Step 4: Make a solution of lemon & white wine vinegar.
    Dab it on your clothes or shoes where you can smell the mothballs. 
  • Step 5: Now, hang the clothes outside & let the fresh air work its magic.
    If this works, be sure to check that the smell has completely dissipated from the closet before you put them back. If your clothes still smell of mothballs, move onto step 6.
  • Step 6: Iron your clothes.
    Often, this will lift out any remaining odors.
  • Step 7: Ok, now we’re into the territory of major mothball smells on clothing. There are two possible options if none of the previous attempts have worked:
    If the clothes are ok to be placed in a dryer, you can set it to a low heat and run them through it. If they are not, try putting them in the washing machine – but without using detergent. Instead, add white wine vinegar to the wash. Once the cycle is complete, run it through again, but this time using your usual detergent and fabric softener.

How to prevent the smell of mothballs getting on your clothes

It should be pretty obvious by now that getting the smell of mothballs out of clothes is not always easy. And having spent time and effort doing it, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for the benefits of using natural cedar wood as an alternative to mothballs.

Cedar wood doesn’t kill moths, but it will stop them settling into your clothes in the first place because they hate the smell of it. And it’s not just moths it deters. 

how to get rid of moth ball smell

Cedar wood will also repel:

  • Ants 
  • Termites
  • Mosquitoes
  • Cockroaches
  • Mice
  • Other pests

How do you use cedar wood to prevent moths & other pests?

The beauty of using cedar wood is that it’s 100% natural and couldn’t be simpler.

Cedar balls naturally contain oil that repels the pesky critters, causes no harm to humans or pets, and is quite a pleasant smell.

And if you’re thinking that ticks all the boxes for them being the best alternative to mothballs, wait until you check out the instructions on how to use them:

  • Step 1: Place them in the closet, drawer or directly into the clothes
  • Step 2: That’s it! There is no step 2!

Cedar balls will protect your clothes from moths and other pests and prevent you from having to waste time getting rid of the smell of mothballs for up to seven years. 

They’re natural, affordable and can also work all around the house in areas that might attract moths or other annoyances.

At Cedar Sense, we stock and ship a huge range of cedar products to help you look after your favorite garments with minimal effort. They also save time by preventing the laborious process of ridding your clothes and home of the horrible, noxious fumes from mothballs. Find out more and order your cedar balls today.

how to get rid of moth ball smell

More From Cedar Sense

If you liked learning about how to get rid of moth ball smell, then you’ll really like to learn about the red cedar tree benefits!

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How long does it take for the smell of moth balls to go away?
Mothball odor is a terrible smell to have clinging to your clothing. And we have some shocking news for you: a single mothball takes about 3-6 months to dissipate completely. If you put the mothball under fabric or someplace where there is no air circulation, it takes about 12 months to dissipate!

Can you get the moth ball smell out of a house?
The best way to remove the mothball smell in your home is by using baking soda. Mix some baking soda with warm water and mop the floors with the solution. Make sure that you keep the rooms properly ventilated when mopping

Can the smell of mothballs harm you?
The chemicals in mothballs are toxic to humans and pets. People are exposed to the chemicals in mothballs by inhaling the fumes. If you smell mothballs, you are being exposed to these chemicals. Children or pets sometimes mistake mothballs for food or candy and eat them, which can cause serious effects.


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