Removing Mothball Odors

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated September 7, 2015)

If you have ever used mothballs before, then you know exactly how effective they are. Chances are, you also know how difficult it is to remove their odor once they have been used. Unfortunately, if you have allowed the mothballs remain for a number of years, then it will be next to impossible to remove the odor from the wood. That being said, there are a few steps that you can do to mask the odor of long standing mothballs. For those mothballs that have been used for a limited time, there are a few methods that you can use that will actually remove the odor as well.

  • Newspapers and dryer sheets. Fill all the drawers of your armoire or buffet with a combination of newspapers and dryer sheets, and allow theme to sit there for two days. Once the time has passed, remove the newspaper and dryer sheets, and replace them. Discard the old ones, and allow another couple of days to pass. A few repetitions of this method will remove the odor of the mothballs.
  • Use cold to help. If you happen to live in area of the world that gets pretty cold during the winter, then you can actually use the cold to help out. All you need to do is place your armoire or buffet into an outdoor shed, open all the drawers, and allow the furniture to air out. Leave the furniture outside for the entire season, and when you bring it back inside you should notice that it is absent of any strong odors.
  • Seal it in. For long standing odors, you can always attempt to seal the smell into the wood. While this will not actually remove the smell, it will make it so that you cannot smell it. When doing this though, you will need to use something along the lines of a plastic or hard varnish. This will help keep the odor from escaping into the wood, but make sure that you paint all the exposed wood with two or three coats to ensure that there is little chance of the odor escaping.
  • Remove the naphthalene. The active chemical in mothballs is called naphthalene, and can be removed if it isn't too deep. The way that you would do this is to sand down a few millimeters from the surface of the furniture. However, this will also entail that you need to restain resurface your wood furniture, so make sure that you try some of the other methods first.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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