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. ...

MORE FROM LEE

Building a Kids Bed

Have you ever noticed how a kids bed never really seems to be up to all the abuse those darn kids can put it through? Well, ...

Discover More

Restoring Dull and Faded Wood Furniture

Wood furniture can add a wonderful touch of elegance to just about any home. However, over time most wood furniture can ...

Discover More

Dog Ear Cleaning

Dog ear cleaning is an often overlooked portion of basic pet care, and sadly one that if not done regularly or properly, can ...

Discover More

Tough Tools for Tough Cleaning Jobs O-Cel-O sponges and Scotch Brite scrubbers are truly a fashion-meets-function success story. The highly absorbent and durable sponges in this handy six-pack make quick work of tough cleaning problems in any kitchen, bathroom, or garage. Check out Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges today!

More Cleaning Tips

Air Deodorizer

Does the air in your home smell fresh and clean? If not, you may want to try deodorizing it to cover up or remove bad scents.

Discover More

Cleaning Ducts

Have you ever taken a look at the air ducts in your house? You might be surprised by how dirty they can get! If yours are ...

Discover More

Cleaning a Swamp Cooler

Evaporative coolers, also known as swamp coolers, are an inexpensive and efficient way to cool your home. They do, however, ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in Cleaning Tips from Tips.Net. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.