Mothballs are a great barrier for moths, their larvae, and a variety of other insects that can ruin your clothes. Mothballs are pesticides that contain naphthalene (also found in tobacco smoke) or paradichlorobenzene as active ingredients.
While mothballs are unquestionably efficient at keeping your garments safe from moths and other insects, their pungent odor can take ages to dissipate after removing items from storage completely.
Mothballs have a powerful stench, and the pesticide contains naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. These emit toxic chemicals to kill or repel insects, moths, and moth larvae.
While the effectiveness of such fumes makes mothballs a popular choice for protection, removing mothball odor from clothes, rugs, closet interiors, and other items can be a challenge when left with smelly clothing.
While you can use air fresheners to help dispel the pungent smell, these only mask the odor rather than remove mothball smells. However, a little DIY know-how and items from around the home can help you get rid of any mothball smell faster. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Roaches Without An Exterminator)
In our guide, you can learn more about how to get mothball smell out of house after your closet or fabric-covered furniture have faced prolonged exposure to the smell.
By the end, you can find out how easily you can get rid of the smell or use alternatives to do the same but without the toxic vapor.
Will Mothball Smell Go Away?
The mothball smell in house can survive four to six weeks if stored in a properly sealed container. However, the smell of mothballs clings to your garments, giving them an unpleasant odor.
Here are a few simple techniques to get rid of the smell of mothballs in the wash cycle of your washing machine for washable objects and affected clothing.
For garments that can tolerate bleach, you can use this to eliminate the unpleasant smell. First, check you have non-chlorine bleach. Then do a laundry cycle with bleach and water.
You can put a jar of baking soda in your refrigerator to prevent odors, and it even works in your closets or where your stubborn odors are. Baking soda’s absorbent properties help keep all your clothing odor-free.
You can also soak your clothes in a pail of baking soda and warm water or wash in the machine with a cup of baking soda and your regular detergent to remove the smell.
Fresh air helps and takes little effort. For example, place your clothes outside and air dry them in the sun to remove the smell.
Use alternatives to mothballs if the smell bothers you or the disadvantages exceed the benefits.
Essential oils are a natural way to keep moths off your clothes.
You can give your dresser drawers or other storage containers a delicate lavender oil treatment or place cedar wood chips in muslin bags and then place these in the bottom of your containers.
You can prevent insects repellents like lavender blossoms, cloves, cinnamon, and rosemary are all-natural. Plus, these things leave a lovely scent when you pull your clothes out of storage. If you take this way, remember to replace your sachets annually.
You can also spritz them by adding them to a drop of vinegar and water in a spray bottle to get rid of the smell quickly. (Read Do Chipmunks Eat Hostas)
Is The Smell Of Mothballs Harmful?
While mothballs are safe, the gases might create health issues. Handling mothballs can irritate and burn your hands and eyes. In addition, inhaling the vapors might cause headaches, breathing difficulties, nausea, and dizziness.
As long as you take measures and keep mothballs in an enclosed space, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Place cedar chips in mothball-scented drawers, dressers, or closets. This is useful for removing mothball smell from storage rooms. In addition, you can purchase cedar chips to absorb odor from most hardware stores.
How Do You Get The Smell Of Mothballs Out Of Furniture?
Mothballs can stink up a place, clothes, or hands. Vinegar absorbs odors and helps remove mothball smell from garments. Hands smelling of mothballs can be removed by washing in toothpaste or lemon-scented soap.
Fortunately, once the mothball smell is gone, there are several tried-and-accurate methods for preventing it in the future.
Remove Mothball Smell from Clothing
The smell of mothballs will linger on clothing and in confined rooms. In this scenario, activated charcoal tablets can help. Keep a dish of activated charcoal with your clothes so the charcoal can absorb odors from clothes and your furniture.
You can easily find this charcoal in your local hardware store. In tough cases, it could take an ozone machine to eliminate mothballs’ smells.
If possible, wash garments in vinegar to remove mothball smell. Hand wash your clothes in a mixture of white vinegar and water, or swap vinegar for your regular detergent in the washing machine.
You can leave bowls of white vinegar dotted around where it smells, and if you don’t have white vinegar, you can use coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are an effective odor killer and leave a nice smell of their own to replace the mothball scent.
Open windows can naturally remove mothball smell in garments on a breezy night for a clothing store in an attic. (Read How to Get Rid Of Raccoons)
Take clothes out of storage containers to allow open-air circulation to remove mothball odors from garments. Clothes will smell better, yet it won’t remove the mothball smell from clothing together in one go.
Completely Get Rid Of The Smell From Your Hands
Besides getting rid of the mothball smell in the house, you need to get rid of the mothballs smell from your hands. Besides this, it is also wise to wear gloves because of the toxicity of the compounds.
Use lemon-scented dish detergent. Lemon smell can conceal and erase odors, and dish detergent’s grease-fighting components can remove undesirable aromas. After touching mothballs, wash your hands well with a lemon-scented dish detergent.
After washing your hands, sprinkle baby powder on them and rub it in. This removes more mothball odor.
Hand wash with a non-gel toothpaste rubbed into your hands. A dime-sized amount of toothpaste should sufficiently deodorize mothballs.
Baking soda is great for absorbing and eliminating odors. To get rid of mothball smell using baking soda, make a thin baking soda paste and water. Soak your hands in the paste. Rinse it off after three minutes.
Tomato juice can efficiently eliminate odors. Fill a basin with tomato juice. Let your hands soak in tomato juice for 5 minutes before rinsing. To decrease the odor of mothballs in your hands, try the following procedure.
Citrus smells can help remove odors from hands. For example, rub the rinds of an orange into your hands. You can use lemon juice in the same mixture as orange juice to help completely remove the smell of mothballs on your hands.
Store Clothes Without Mothball Odor
It can be tough to remove smell of mothballs, yet it is possible to store clothes and repel moths without using mothballs altogether.
Here’s how you can keep moths off your clothing; mothballs are not required, and thus, no need to remove mothball odor.
Before storing garments, make sure they’re clean and dry. To avoid the scent of mothballs in the future, store your clothes without them. You must first wash and dry your garment before storing it to accomplish this. By reducing scents that attract moths, will help repel them.
Store your clothes in airtight containers rather than using mothballs. Moths will be kept at bay without the use of mothballs. Moths are particularly attracted to vacuum-sealed bags.
Natural repellents in bowls can be used for repelling moths from your clothing. Natural repellents like rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and eucalyptus leaves work well and don’t have a strong odor like mothball smells.
Plants like wormwood and peppercorns can also be used. Cedar chips are proven effective, and many homeowners get rid of plastic containers and use a red cedar chest to store their clothes.
Can You Sleep In A Room With Mothballs?
Chemicals hazardous to humans and animals are used to make mothballs that kill moths and leave horrible mothball smells.
You are exposed to these harmful substances once you smell mothballs. Besides the mothball odors, mothballs are often mistaken as food by children and pets, who try to eat them and make them ill. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Crows)
The compounds used in mothballs, such as naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene, can cause nausea, headaches, coughing, eye and nose irritation, among other side effects.
Long-term exposure could cause kidney and liver damage from naphthalene, a potential carcinogen that could cause hemolytic anemia.
If you clear out your closet and there are still bits of mothballs, place these in an airtight container and dispose of them properly to get rid of unwanted odors and to remain safe.