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Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. Try some of these strategies for removing the smell of mothballs from your clothes and closets, and learn how to avoid using mothballs altogether! One of the most successful methods for ridding the mothball smell from clothing is to soak the affected garments in a solution of equal parts water and vinegar. Whatever method you choose, be sure not to put the clothes in the dryer until the smell is gone, as heat could permanently set any mothball smell that remains. The odor can be particularly stubborn in rooms or closets where mothballed clothes have been stored.
While they’re great for protecting fabrics from the ravages of insects, mothballs have bigger drawbacks than simply their smell. One of the things that makes shopping for secondhand clothes fun is that you'll never know what you're going to find. Some people are used to the smell of mothballs, although most people are nauseated by the scent. Mothballs are insecticides and deodorant chemicals packaged into white balls, and are used to preserve clothes from insects like moths, cockroaches, and even rats. A chemical called naphthalene is the traditional ingredient in mothballs, although it is highly flammable and is a possible carcinogen. Mothballs kill insects and arrest the growth of mold through a process called sublimation, or when a solid dissolves and turns into a gaseous form. When you store your summer clothes for the winter, or when you store your winter clothes for the summer, you don't really need to use mothballs. Some people make the mistake of emptying bags of mothballs into storage drawers or closets, and pack their clothes into the mothballs.
Some solid residue from the sublimation process can stick to fabrics, especially for fabrics like silk and wool.
Skin irritation and other diseases can be caused when you wear clothes that smell like mothballs.
Place your clothes in a tumble dryer or spin dryer, with two or three fabric softener pads. Now that you know how to get rid of mothball smells, you don't have to worry about smelling like an relic of a time long since passed.
The purpose of mothballs is controlling clothes-eating moths, but some people use them to control other pests, including rodents, snakes and other insects. The traditional ingredient in mothballs is naphthalene, a compound that can cause serious health problems, especially for children.
When a room has a persistent mothball odor, the first step to eliminating it is to thoroughly clean the area to get rid of any solid particles -- wear gloves and a respirator while doing this. The best way to deal with the odor coming from furniture is to provide heat to increase the rate of sublimation and also provide plenty of ventilation. Mothballs in drawers or closets can crumble, leaving small particles in the pores of the wood, and if assiduous cleaning doesn’t remove all of these, you may have to seal the wood with varnish or paint to get rid of the odor. Mothballs emit a bad odor plus the chemicals present in them are not to be inhaled for far too long as they can cause headaches, confusion, and other health problems. You shouldn't be living with the unpleasant odor of mothballs, and there are ways of getting rid of it. BackFrom BlanketsYou can also put the blanket in a dryer and switch on the 'air only' mode.
BackFrom WoodZeolite, a mineral absorbent used as an air freshener in bathrooms and refrigerators, can be spread across the wood or furniture.
There are deodorizers present in the market that are exclusively formulated to remove mothball odor from wood and furniture.
You can also use the coffee pouch tip (if it is a metal trunk), sanding tip (if it is a wooden trunk), or sun basking tip mentioned above, to get rid of the odor.
BackIn a ClosetIn order to deodorize the mothball smell from a closet, initially you should make all the clothes in it odor-free. Then after removing all the mothballs from the closet, put a bowl of vinegar or vinegar and lemon juice in the closet. Let the room be properly ventilated, and if there is a window to the room, then keep it open for the sun to kill the odor.

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Made from either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, these little lumps of pesticide give off a toxic vapor that not only kills moths and their larva but also kills or repels a number of other insects.
Alternatively, put the clothes in the washing machine and run a cycle using only vinegar; follow up with another wash cycle using detergent and softener. Durable clothing can be presoaked in hot water and non-chlorine bleach, followed by a normal wash cycle using detergent and softener.
To remove these odors, leave out bowls of vinegar or plates of activated charcoal in the affected areas.
If ingested, can also be toxic to children, pets, and other animals, so it’s important not to use them in outdoor locations or in attics or crawlspaces. Some popular “natural” moth repellents involve ingredients like flowers, herbs, or essential oils. Candidates include bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, eucalyptus leaves, peppercorns, rosemary, wormwood, and many other botanicals. Not only are mothball fumes toxic, but they also don't smell good on clothes that you're going to wear. Mothballs also help prevent the growth of mold and mildew, which can destroy the fibers of fabrics and textiles.
During sublimation, the gases formed by many mothballs and mothball pellets build up and kill moths that try to eat through the fibers of clothes. Some stores use sprays that work in the same way as mothballs, which reduces the chances of you fainting from the strong aroma. If you're not too keen on using chemicals to store your clothes, then you can do it the all-natural way. Mothballs will not stain, although the sublimation process can literally burn a hole into some fabrics. Make sure you're wearing a face mask or a handkerchief around your face so that you won't faint from the strong odor of the mothballs. People with sensitive skin can develop rashes, eczema, and dermatitis because of the chemicals and by-products found in mothballs. You really need that fur coat or sport jacket immediately, but you don't have time to wash it. If you don't have a hair dryer, you can hang out the clothes to dry at a clothesline if you're not in a big hurry.
You can smell fresh and clean all day without having to worry about dizzying smells that come from your clothes again. More recent mothball formulations replace naphthalene with paradichlorobenzene, a slightly less toxic compound, but one that can still cause dizziness and nausea. If you can, move affected furniture outside and leave it in a sunny place for several days. Running an ozone generator may help, but keep in mind that ozone is a pollutant and can create another, more serious, odor problem. The odor has to be done away with for which this Buzzle article lays out methods to get rid of mothball odor from your house.
Other than the many advantages it is endowed with, for many people, getting rid of its odor is a primary concern.
Then with the help of a cloth, dab this solution on the areas of the cloth that emit mothball smell.
For this, try turning the heater of the room (where the wood emitting mothball odor is placed) to the maximum. Add some baking soda or small quantities of scented oils to the water (warm) used to wet the mop. Using an air freshener is a method to quickly mask the odor, but this is just a temporary rescue option.
Vary the treatment depending on the clothing; for example, for more delicate fabrics you might try combining the vinegar and water in a spray bottle and spritzing the fabric. To make one such repellent, combine lavender blossoms, whole cloves, and a couple of handfuls of cedar chips, then place the mixture in cheesecloth or another breathable material, and tie it at the ends.
While there are some sprays available on the market that do the job just fine, mothballs are inexpensive and easy to use.

Today's mothballs are made from a chemical called 1,4-dichlorobenzene, which is also used in some insecticide sprays. The problem is that the fumes can build up so much that you can get knocked out when you take a deep whiff of it. Vacuum sealed plastic bags prevent air, mold, and moths from destroying clothes put in storage. An insecticide spray also works great for storing clothes, although you need to be careful not to spray it directly on the fabric. Older mothball brands made from naphthalene are especially notorious for damaging sensitive fabrics like silk and satin.
Before you store your clothes and use mothballs, make sure that they're absolutely clean, dry, and free from dust and grime.
Do not wear clothes that still smell like mothballs; not only are they irritating, but they're also a major turn-off for people around you.
There’s no magic bullet for neutralizing mothball odor -- the best strategy is to turn up the heat, provide plenty of ventilation and wait. Both chemicals, which are possible carcinogens, enter the air through sublimation -- mothballs change from a solid to a vapor state without becoming a liquid. Furniture that's too large to take outside should at least be moved close to a window with a strategically placed fan blowing the VOCs outside. To avoid mothball odors in the future, consider using alternatives, including cedar shavings, eucalyptus leaves, peppercorns, lavender or rosemary. Being formulated by a compound known as paradichlorobenzene or simple polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, these mothballs sublimate and spread around the place to provide protection. However, if you or people at your home suffer with asthma, then strictly do not try this step. Use gloves and a respirator during the process, and once you are done, paint a coat of varnish or penetrating oil over the wood.
While airing the musty items out helps dissipate the smell, a little DIY know-how and some dedicated effort can help eradicate the mothball scent more quickly. Whichever material you choose, place it in the areas with the heaviest smells, and change it often until the smell is gone. Use these sachets in areas of concern; replace them as the scent wears off to ensure prevention. Whether you get your clothes from the discount store, or remove a winter jacket from the wardrobe, the smell of mothballs can send you to a faint. Rather than walk around town smelling like an old clothes trunk, here are some ways to get rid of that sharp, toxic mothball smell. Some manufacturers try to reduce the pungent smell of mothballs by adding eucalyptus, camphor, menthol, and other ingredients.
Perfume can do a good job at masking mothball smells, but not if you're willing to waste one expensive bottle just to get rid of mothball smells. If you can smell the characteristic odor of mothballs, it means that solid pieces are in the vicinity, although they might be too small to see.
If the residue is minor, a thorough cleaning may take care of the problem, but if the odor lingers, it’s often because small particles have lodged in the pores of unfinished wood, in furniture fabrics, carpets and clothing. Read on for a few strategies for removing the odor of mothballs from your clothes and throughout the home. Many of these mixtures include lavender oil or other fragrant oils that not only deter moths but also give off pleasing scents to delight homeowners and their guests. Clothing can be laundered, but removing particles from upholstery and carpeting isn’t as easy. Do not expect the odor to vanish overnight; it will take time, at least a month or so, depending on the strength of the smell.

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