How to Get Rid of Mothball Smell From Your Home

What are mothballs and why do they smell?

Mothballs are small balls of unpleasant-smelling chemical pesticides that release a gas vapor that repels and kills clothes moths and other fabric pests. You are probably wondering how to get rid of mothball smell as a result of using mothballs. They are great at protecting your clothes against moths and other insects. Additionally, mothballs are used in repelling mice, snakes, and other animals. Although this is not a recommended use since it can be harmful to children, pets, and the environment in general.

Mothballs have a pungent smell and is the very smell of storage. They contain two toxic active ingredients which are the Naphthalene or Paradichlorobenzene. These two are toxic fumigants that volatilize into the air and are required to be present in high doses to be fully effective against insects and more importantly moth. These chemicals are solids at room temperature that are shaped in round balls, flakes, or cakes that slowly change to gas and become fumes in the air over time. This helps to effectively spread the chemical and fight off moths. The toxic smelly vapor not only kills moths and their larva but also kills or repels a number of other insects.

How to get rid of mothball smell from the house using the odor eliminator

One of the hardest areas to remove the mothball odor is from the air in your home. Mothballs usually releases into the air as a vapor and leave a lasting pungent odor throughout the space over time. An effective method of getting rid of the mothball smell from the house is using the odor eliminator.

Hamilton Beach TrueAir Room Odor Eliminator

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There are many home odor eliminator types. For example, sprays, air purifiers, gels, and also odor-absorbing packets. Each is best suited to a specific type of smell, or a specifically-sized area where odors accumulate.

Some whole room odor eliminators just mask pet smells, food, and other odors, while some eliminate them. There is a quiet fan that pulls air through and the carbon filter, trapping and neutralizing odors. It then sends fresh air back into your room. There is also an optional scent cartridge that offers a light and fresh scent. Replacing your filters is simple. Basically take out the bottom of the unit and insert filters on the three sides of the eliminator and re-secure the bottom. It has a two-switch control. You should use the low setting for quiet evenings and the high setting for the quick dusty work or smelly rooms.

The whole room odor eliminator has different types of filters. They differ in their use. The recommended filter destroys noxious chemicals and odors rather than just trapping particulates like other filters. A typical filter removes bacteria and particles like dust and dander to keep your air cleaner, but they do not contain odor-neutralizing capabilities like the recommended filter. Also, you should replace typical filters every month or so, whereas the recommended filter lasts for up to 6 months.

Pros of using the whole room odor eliminator are:

  1. It is a long-term odor solution. A quiet fan that pulls in unwanted smells that are trapped and neutralized by the replaceable carbon filters. This, therefore, brings fresh air back into the rooms.
  2. It has fresh scents. Most of the home odor eliminators in the house offer a light and fresh scent that replaces the unwanted odors. It usually traps and neutralizes the common household odors.
  3. They are very easy to use. A whole-room odor eliminator is a simple 2-speed control switch that offers versatility for maximum odor elimination.
  4. It includes a filter replacement indicator to alert you when it is time to change the filter.
  5. It captures a lot of dust from the air.
  6. It uses low amounts of energy.
  7. It has optional filters and scent cartridges

The cons of using the odor eliminator are:

  1. Replacement filters not readily available in all mass-market stores.
  2. The scent pack that comes with these odor eliminators don’t last very long.
  3. Pricey for a single room electronic odor eliminator

How Do You Get Rid of Mothball Smell from Your Clothes and Closet?

a) Use the odor eliminator somewhere in your closet.

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There are various closet odor eliminators in the market. They are responsible for eliminating musty odors such as mothball smells, dampness stale odor.

They also keep clothes reeking of freshness and prevent the dampness feeling. Most have a hanging bag design which is ideal for closets or wherever there a bad odor.

Pros of closet odor eliminator

  1. No electricity required.
  2. Acquire long-lasting freshness

b)  Place activated charcoal somewhere in your closet

Bamboo Charcoal Air Purifying Bags

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Activated charcoal is one of the most to remove odor from clothes or closets. It is a highly absorbent substance that can help in removing the smell of mothballs. When you purchase sachets of activated charcoal, add a block of activated charcoal in a breathable container and keep it in your closet. These blocks are reusable. Occasionally, place the used block in the sunlight for a few hours to release the absorbed odors from the blocks. Therefore, the blocks of activated charcoal are reusable for up to 2 years.

Pros of activated charcoal as a mothball solution

  1. It fights bad odors – Grab a charcoal air purifying bag and freshen up your car or home. It is a very effective, all-natural way to absorb odors from the air. The activated charcoal bags act as a sponge to absorb and neutralize foul odors.
  2. Most contain natural contents with little to no harmful additives.
  3. Its ten times more porous than regular charcoal – Air-purifying bags with natural bamboo charcoal are 10 times more porous than regular charcoal. That means when you purchase an activated charcoal bag, you’ll be getting one of natures’ most powerful and effective charcoal air freshener solutions. So, get yourself an activated charcoal odor absorber pack that gets the job done right. Bamboo charcoal bags odor absorber results in no foul odors in your home, litter box, closet, car, or gym bag. They supercharge the air you breathe.
  4. Activated charcoal rejuvenates for up to 2 years – Each one of the charcoal air purifying bags for large rooms weighs about 200g each. The breathable design of charcoal air freshener bags makes them stress-free to use anywhere. Furthermore, your activated charcoal every month whenever you place your charcoal bag in the sunlight for a couple of hours. This process rids all gases all of the smell that the charcoal bags have absorbed. Your air purifier bags will be as new again.

How to get rid of mothball smell through DIY

Some other ways you can get rid of mothball smell is by DIY. However, it is highly discouraged with dry clean only items and advisable for only clothes that are washable and dryable.

1. Fresh Air

This is an easy natural hands-off approach to get rid of the mothball smell. It involves taking your clothes outside in your well grown lawn and hanging it in the sun for several hours. This method is best for mild smells. The open-air space can help in getting rid of the smell without spreading inside. Ensure the weather is sunny to avoid drenched clothes as another problem. If this does not completely get rid of the smell, you can try another method.

2. Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural deodorizer. As vinegar is used for many household solutions, it can also be used to get rid of the mothball smell. This is one of the most successful methods. It can be used through a washing machine and also through hand washing. Use white vinegar to avoid possible staining.

For a washing machine, place your clothing in the washing machine and allow it to run through a cycle. Afterward run another cycle with normal detergent as usual. Once the clothes have finished both the cycles, the clothes should be free of the mothball smell. If you notice a lingering smell, repeat the process.

Alternatively, you can soak the clothes in a bucket of water in the ratio of one part of vinegar to eight parts of warm water. You can use this method also for delicate items of clothing.  Let the clothes sit for an hour before rinsing carefully and allowing them to dry. Ensure you have gotten rid of all the smell before allowing your clothes to air dry or go through a dryer cycle. You need to do this as heat could permanently set any mothball smells that remain.

3. Baking Soda

Baking Soda has absorbent powers that reduce smells in containers or refrigerators. This can also be used in clothing too. Soak the clothing in a bucket with baking soda then proceed to wash it with your normal detergent. If the smell remains, repeat the process and if it is still persistent, try another method.

4. Cedar Chips

This is a method that can be used with lingering smell even after several rounds of washing. Cedar has a really strong smell but is very pleasant. Chips of cedarwood can protect clothing from insects and also help to get rid of the smell of mothballs. Place all affected clothing in a sealable container with cedar wood chips for a few days. After a few days, take it out and check for any odor. The clothing is highly unlikely to have any lingering smell left.

5. Bleach

Bleach is an effective odor removal remedy. If you have clothing that can handle the effects of bleach this is a great way to remove odor. Ensure that the bleach you are using is non-chlorine bleach and then you can wash your laundry with bleach and water. Always read carefully the instructions on the bleach bottle to make sure it is safe for your clothing.

6. Essential Oils

This a natural common way to get rid of insects and also prevent them from damaging your clothes. An essential oil that can be used is such as lavender oil. You can carefully apply inside of your drawers or other storage places. Another way of use is making your own sachets which are made up of botanicals. Examples of these include mint, rosemary, eucalyptus leaves, lavender blossoms, and also cinnamon sticks. All of them are effective insect repellents. Furthermore, these essential oils leave a pleasant smell so you don’t have to worry about getting rid of a bad smell. This method requires you to refresh your sachets annually. If your preference is an odor-free way of cloth preservation, you can use airtight containers to store your seasonal clothing items.

How do you properly use mothballs?

Mothballs should be stored in an enclosed space where moths will get trapped with the fumes. You can also make use of airtight containers to avoid the escape of air to the surroundings. The mothball vapors are released inside the airtight containers and they build up and kills the clothes moths. However, it can be very difficult to trap these moths in a sealed container where moths are present. If the vapor accumulates in living spaces, it can lead to long term exposure and may eventually cause health problems for people and also pets.

Health problems mothballs can cause

Examples include; severe headaches, dizziness, lack of appetite, restlessness, and nausea. And even worse, when exposed to high volumes of pesticides, and you are breathing in these pesticides it can lead to the potential development of hemolytic anemia. Hemolytic anemia is when the red blood cells break apart and no longer carry oxygen the way they are designed to. Additional proper use of mothballs is to use them for the required purpose or purpose indicated. All pesticide labels, including mothballs, usually specify where and how you can use the product. The use of mothballs outside can also cause contamination in water, plants, and soil.

How long do mothballs last?

The duration that a mothball can last can vary significantly due to several different factors. However, the rate at which a mothball evaporates really all depends on the temperature and the conditions of the overall environment. The more humid and elevated temperature is in the environment, the quicker it will evaporate. Typically, though, mothballs can last anywhere from 2 months up to a year.

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