How to Remove Mothball Odor

If you have ever opened a closet or storage space and encountered a pungent and sour smell, it probably contained mothballs. While mothballs can help prevent bugs, rodents and mold from destroying your clothes, the mothball odor can be difficult to get rid of. To successfully remove the mothball odor, there are several tricks you can try.

What Are Mothballs?

Mothballs are small balls of chemical pesticides that are used to absorb liquid and keep moths, mice and other pests from eating clothes. They contain either paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene, which are both toxic chemicals. Mothballs release the chemicals in a gaseous form, causing the distinct mothball odor.

In addition to being unpleasant, the odor can be dangerous if inhaled for an extended period. Prolonged exposure can cause severe headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and other physical symptoms.

Tips for Mothball Odor Removal

One mothball alone can take up to a whole year to dissipate, so removing the odor on your own can be challenging. Try these DIY tips to help get the odor under control:

  1. Clean the area. Eliminate mothballs and then air out the room for a day or two, as fresh air and sunlight help with odor control. Spray surfaces with a solution of vinegar and lemon juice, and let it sit before rinsing it off with warm water. You can also leave baking soda out to help absorb the odor, or mix baking soda with warm water and mop the floors with it. Make sure to keep the room ventilated while you mop.
  2. Wash your clothes. Do an initial wash with a solution of vinegar and water, and then a regular wash with detergent. Once your clothing dries, the vinegar smell will dissipate. Try hanging your clothes out in the sun and using a hot iron press to dry them.
  3. Deodorize your shoes. To remove the smell from your shoes, use the mixture of vinegar and lemon juice, or stuff a paper pouch filled with fresh ground coffee beans into the shoes and let them sit for at least a week. Like baking soda, the ground coffee beans absorb the mothball smell.
  4. Purify and circulate the air: If the odor persists after the room has been cleared out and wiped down, try placing bowls of activated charcoal or white vinegar around the room, replacing them every few days. You should also leave doors and windows open for air circulation. If there are no windows in the room, use an air purifier with a HEPA filter to help remove the odor.

Contact URI for Mothball Odor Control

The fastest and most effective way to remove mothball odor is to use professional services. At URI, we have heavy-duty filtration systems that will purify the air in your building and other specialized tools to quickly get the odor under control.

If you’re struggling to get rid of mothball odors, contact URI today and let us fix the problem for you. We have the skills, experience and resources to successfully remove the odor.


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