How to Get Rid of Mothball Smell – Steps to Refresh and Revive Your Spaces

Mothballs smell is notoriously hard to get rid of because it is absolutely horrendous.  There are many uses for mothballs, including storing winter clothes, containing rodents, and even killing fleas in your carpet. 

What makes moth balls smell?

Avoide moth balls smell

Odor is caused by either gas or liquid, and mothballs contain crystals of naphthalene (a solid organic compound), which emit a gaseous compound containing a naphthalene smell.

Mothballs work because the chemicals inside react to form a vapor that slowly comes out of the bag, rendering it unusable. Mothball usage leaves behind an odor that originates from the chemical reaction happening in the bag. Depending on where you live, this odor may drift into your home, particularly if you have window seal leaks or cracks in foundations allowing air to enter your home envelope.

If your home or building has been affected by a mothball odor, you may be searching for ways to get rid of the mothball smell as quickly and effectively as possible. That’s where this blog post can help you remove the mothball smell.

These are some easy solutions to eliminate mothball odour in your home.

  • Securely seal the container of mothballs in a large bag. A garbage bag will work well, or you can try a double layer of trash bags to remove mothball odor. If it’s sealed, much of the mothball smell won’t escape into the surrounding area. Make sure that you get all of the mothballs out, though. No matter how tightly it is sealed, if any are left in the bag, it will still smell bad.
  • Place a few dryer sheets inside your storage area to help get rid of the mothball smell in the area.
  • Spray a generous amount of fabric refresher in the area. This product usually has a very light, clean scent that won’t clash with the smell of mothballs in your home and will eliminate mothball odor.
  • Open all of the windows and let fresh air circulate through your home. This will remove mothball odor from clothing, garbage bags, or other things stored nearby.
  • For completely removing mothball odor from home, leave the house for about an hour so it can air out moth smell completely before you return. If you have a strong sense of smell, try wearing nose plugs while the house airs out. This will stop you from smelling anything until it’s completely gone and your home can be aired out safely.
  • Keep your window open for another hour or so after you come back inside, just to avoid the smell of mothballs.
  • Place some scented candles around the room to further mask any mothball odor that may still be lingering in the air. If you’re feeling ambitious and want to get the smell of mothballs out, you can also make your own scented candles at home. Just pour the soy wax into a jar or tumbler with cinnamon sticks, cloves, and other spices.
  • When you are concerned about how to get rid of the mothball smell from clothes, Place any clothes that may have had mothballs stored in them outside until they are fully aired out. Ensure not to use an air freshener when you do this since the chemicals could damage the clothes.
  • Air fresheners can be helpful for mothball odor removal sporadically.  Make your own air freshener using white vinegar, water, or essential oils, which are a natural way to get rid of mothball odor in the home. In lieu of air fresheners and mothball smell removal, you can place some bowls or tumblers filled with baking soda or kitty litter around the room. This will help to reduce any mothball scent that may be lingering in the air.
  • If there is still some persistent smell of mothballs, consider getting a new trash can that won’t absorb them into its plastic or lining. You can also try boiling lemon peels on your stove to help remove any bad scents. Furthermore, there are some costly but effective methods to get mothball smell out, like using ozone generators.
  • When worrying about how to get the mothball smell out of baby clothes, If you can’t get your clothes outside to air out completely when you store them for the summer, put them in an old pillowcase with essential oils before sealing them up in a garbage bag or container. This will help mask any smells from mothballs.
  • If you’re finding that mothballs are sticking to your clothes, try running them through the washer on a regular cycle—not the delicate cycle—with 1/4 cup of baking soda added to the wash.


Mothballs are a great way to protect your clothing from moths, but mothball smell is a common problem in closets and storage areas. When you first open the closet, it may seem like all of your clothes have been drenched with that distinctive odor. 
We have discussed plenty of ways to remove mothball odor from clothing or other items.

Even if the above methods don’t work for you, fortunately, there’s a quick and easy solution for how to get rid of the mothball smell: place the clothes in the freezer overnight. This will kill any remaining moth eggs and also remove that pesky mothball smell in the house. Have you tried this trick before? Let us know if it worked out for you; we would love to hear about your experience using our tips.


How long does a mothball smell last?

Mothballs are a chemical product that is used to deter the growth of moths and other insects that feed on woolens. You should know that mothballs can last from four to six months. The main active ingredient in these products is naphthalene, which is a petroleum-based product.

How to get mothball smell out of wood?

The mothball smell can be easily removed with the help of alcohol, water, sandpaper, and dryer sheets. This process will ensure that there is no foul odor left on the wooden material or product after this transitional period. Here’s how to get rid of the mothball smell on furniture:

1. Mix warm water and a few drops of dishwashing soap in a bucket.

2. Dip a clean rag into the solution and rub it over the wooden surface you want to clean. Continue rubbing until all visible traces of mothball residue have been removed from the wood’s surface.

3. Pour some isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) onto a clean rag and run it over the surface of the wood to ensure that there is no smell emanating from mothball residue.

4. If you want, rub some used dryer sheets on the wooden material or product for a few minutes; this will further help absorb any lingering smell.

5. To protect the newly cleaned wooden material or product, coat it with a clear polyurethane spray. However, ensure that the surface is completely dry before you do this. This will prevent water from seeping into the wood and causing it to warp or crack when exposed to moisture for an extended period of time.

This process should be carried out when you want to repurpose items that have been kept in mothballs for an extended period of time. You can repurpose these items by refinishing or rejuvenating them.

How to get rid of mothball smell from clothes without washing?

You can get rid of mothball odors without washing the clothes by following the below method.
Fill a pot with water and add a cup or two of white vinegar. 
Pour the mixture onto the clothes and let it sit for a few minutes before washing as usual. 
The vinegar will neutralize the mothball smell in your clothes within minutes.

How to get rid of the mothball smell in the closet?

The easiest way to deal with them is by throwing them out if they’re not too old yet. If they’ve already lost their effectiveness or you can’t find any more bags, try putting some baking soda inside the bag instead which will help getting rid of mothball odor. If there’s no bag, rip up some newspaper and put it in the bottom of the closet to absorb any moisture that may be present, which will also help get the mothball smell out.

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