10 Ways to Get Mothball Smell Out of Clothes

Mothballs do a great deal of good by helping to ensure that moths and insects do not come near our packed clothing. However, it leaves a pungent smell while at it. 

Though excellent at what it does, it leaves a pile of chores for you because getting the pungent smell of mothball off your clothes is something to worry about. This article will discuss the different methods of getting mothball smell out of clothes. 

Does mothball smell come out of clothes? Yes, and here’s how

Mothballs are added to clothes in storage because they give off a toxic vapor that kills moths and scares off other insects, but the smell isn’t what you want on your clothes.

You can get rid of the mothball smell out of your clothes with our without washing. If you are in a hurry to get rid of the mothball smell on your clothes, you could use essential oils or fabric fresheners to get rid of smell. 

Essential oils and fabric fresheners contain chemical ingredients that obliterate the pH of foul odors. You have to spray your smelling clothes and air dry them. The unpleasant odor will be gone, and your clothes will be left smelling great again! 

If this doesn’t work, or you prefer a long-lasting method, you could try one of the ten different methods of removing the mothball smell from clothes. 

Method 1: Hand-washing

Hand washing the clothes is an effective way of getting the mothball smell out, and it is one of the first things to do. 

However, you have to be thorough while washing. These steps below will inform you on how to go about it: 

Step 1: Make a laundry detergent solution by mixing laundry detergent and water.

Step 2: Soak the smelly clothes in the solution and leave. 

Step 3: Wash the clothes and dry them. 

Note: If you still perceive any smell, repeat the process. 

Method 2: Sun Drying

The easiest way to deal with any smell is to sun dry the clothes. The heat from the sun breaks the smell and makes it disappear, so if your clothes have a mothball smell, hang them outside for a bit of exposure to fresh air and sunlight. 

If the smell is strong, you may have to hang the clothes in the sun for several days for the smell to fade. 

Method 3: Ironing 


Steaming your clothes is another way to get bad odor out of clothes, and one way to steam clothes is to iron them. 

However, before ironing a cloth, remember to check the clothing label to see if you can iron it because if the sun doesn’t do the trick of getting rid of the smell, ironing it should. 

Ironing clothes will usually disperse any odors, especially mothball smell.

Method 4: Spraying of Vodka

Absolut Juice

Spraying vodka on your clothing is another good way to get the smell out of clothing because it is high in alcohol. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use vodka to get rid of the mothballs smell below:

Step 1: Fill a spraying bottle with plain vodka for easy application and spray on your clothes. Using a sprayer that produces a fine diffused spray is recommended rather than a strong directional one. 

Step 2: Leave the clothes to dry for a day or two.

Step 3: Wash and dry clothing. 

Note: Before using vodka on your clothing, try it on an inconspicuous clothing area to ensure it won’t damage your clothes. 

Method 5: Wash with Vinegar

Vinegar has many benefits; one of its benefits is that it eliminates the smell. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use vinegar to get rid of mothballs smell below: 

Step 1: Spray your piece of clothing with a jug of half white vinegar and half water and like the vodka approach, 

Step 2: After spraying, air out the clothes for a day before returning the clothing to your storage room or re-wearing it.  

Note: To guarantee vinegar won’t affect the texture, try it on an inconspicuous area of that clothing.

Method 7: Use Charcoal 

Charcoal Briquettes

You do not have to spray some charcoal mix or rub it on your clothes; you have to put the charcoal in the closet or drawers to let it absorb the mothball smell. 

Method 8: Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is one household ingredient that comes in handy for many things, and cleaning is one of them; baking soda absorbs the smell on clothes when applied. 

Follow these simple steps to use baking soda to get rid of the mothball smell:

Step 1: Place your clothes in a large plastic bag and add baking soda. 

Step 2: Give the bag a good shake so that the baking soda covers all of your clothes, and then leave it to sit for ten minutes. 

Step 3: Remove your clothes and brush off the baking soda. 

Or you could use this other method. 

Step 1: Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with water to form a thick paste 

Step 2: Apply the paste directly to the regions with the most pungent smell.

Step 3: Allow the paste to dry and harden before brushing it off.

Method 9: Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic liquid found in many households; you can use it to clean and get rid of the smell. 

However, to use hydrogen peroxide on the mothball smell, mix it with dish soap to make it more effective. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use hydrogen peroxide to get rid of the mothballs smell on your clothes below: 

Step 1: Mix hydrogen peroxide and dish soap in small but equal parts to form a solution.  

Step 2: Spray some of the solutions on the stain and massage it into the clothes. 

Step 3: Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes, then turn the cloth inside out and repeat the process until you’re sure that the smell is rid entirely before drying. 

Step 4: Wash with warm water and dry.

Method 10: Use Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice

Lemon Juice is a household ingredient perfect for smell removal, and lemon juice is almost as effective as baking soda. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use lemon juice to get rid of the mothball smell below: 

Step 1: Mix lemon juice with water to form a solution. 

Step 2: Soak a clean cloth in the solution and dab the solution on the part of the clothes with the most pungent mothball smell.

Something to Note

When trying to rid your clothes of the pungent smell of mothballs, the first thing to do is to take away every mothball around because while some of the balls may have dissolved, you can still find others in your clothes. 

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