How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes? | Taste of Home Community
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How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

Last post Jan 14, 2011 11:49 PM by PalominofillyinMS . 6 replies.

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  • How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

    I was given pristine brand new looking clothes today. Some were kept in totes with moth balls. I think there was poured a quart of moth balls in the tubs. I didn't want to offend the giver. The clothing are gorgeous. BUT!! stinks! I have looked on line for a few solutions.

    I tried a regular warm wash in the washer.No go! still stinks!

    I tried a load with laundry detergant and white vinegar on a warm load. Still no go! Still smells!

    I tried a load with laundry detergant and bleech. Granite the bleech may bleech the clothes. But I figured after two loads of clothes being washed it couldn't cause a combustion with the moth balls odor. I am waiting to see how that load's still washing.

    I figured I would try baking soda next. If that don't do it. Then I guess I am out of luck.

    I have some clothes sitting outside in the freezing temperatures waiting to be washed. Mother nature is suppose to snow, so I will have to do something with them before it snows.But I know fresh air can sometimes freshen things up.

    If I was not in need of some new clothes and these look like they just came off the runway and store racks. I wouldn't even try to see what I can do with them with the moth ball odor. But I would like to see if I can't get some clean. And if not then that will be what it will be.

    Any ideas? 

  • Re: How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

    By Annie B. Bond

    I’ve received a number of questions from readers who need advice on how to remove moth ball odor from baby clothes, sweaters, and other clothes stored in the pesticide.

     People have tried baking soda, white vinegar, as well as many days of fresh air, and nothing seems to work.

    I posed the question of how to remove moth ball odor to an indoor air quality listserve I frequent, and one professional carpet cleaner observed that for reasons nobody quite understands, although possibly because of natural ozone, placing carpets (and presumably other items) outdoors in the sun for as many days as is necessary, will remove the smell of moth balls. Note that she claims that using commercial ozone machines inside will NOT do the trick. You might try placing the clothes outside in the sun every day (bring them in at night) until the smell is gone. Note that even if the odor is removed it doesn’t mean there isn’t still residual moth ball chemical on the cloth.

  • Re: How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

    I havw 2 ideas for you to try:


    1.  Leave out in the sunshine


    2.  Call a dry cleaner for suggestions.


    Good luck - I now the smell....




    "Have a piggy perfect day!"
  • Re: How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

     If you were able to wash the clothes they must be cotton or polyester or a combination of cotton-Poly or other synthetics.

    WHY did they put mothballs in with those clothes?

    Moths larvae will only reat  wool and silk and I don't think you would wash wool or silk clothing with bleach and all the other stuff you used.

    Wait til the weather is nice and hang thm o the line for a few weeks or ask a dry cleaner.

  • Re: How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

    I can't call our only dry cleaner. They would probably tell you to bring it in for a quote. I do know a friend who rents to someone who works at the dry cleaners. Could call them tomorrow.

    Makes you wonder how people could wear the clothes they stored for ever in moth balls?

    A young family member said to me why does the house smell like an old lady smell? I said well I was at an older ladies home and brought somethings home. I posed a question back does so and so in the family (there elderly) house smell the same. The young family member said NO! I knew it didn't. But I wanted to discuss also with their comment on how some homes smell one way and others smell another way. But rudeness doesn't get anyone anywhere.

  • Re: How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

    Guess what helped take the odor out? Dishwasher detergant.

    After using the third thing I posted earlier of bleech with laundry detergant the clothes still had the same odor.

    An older family member said their Grandma would always using baking soda and downy together to get the moth ball odor out. I bet she also hung them outside, but didn't pursue that issue.

    Well I went to get the baking soda out of the cupboard and thought I will definately have to get more of this if it works. Which I know I have used baking soda to whiten clothes over bleech.

    Anyways I was walking by the cupboard with the dishwasher detergant. And I thought hey! When babies were formula feed and spit upon they use to say use dishwashing detergant in your wash. So I grabbed it to see what it would do. I only used a little so the washing machine didn't oversuds. The clothes don't smell that moth ball odor. Maybe 4 washes helped too. PLUS!!! I am very very tired. So will see when I am more awake on how the clothes smell too. I put endless dryer sheets in the dryer too. These clothes are a nice gift. But they are not worth the agrivation.

    I still plan on calling a friend who rents to someone who works at the dry cleaners to see what the dry cleaners do use. Plus if there wasn't to many sticken wood and coal stoves burning in the air, I would hang them outside in the freezing weather to let the winter air freshen them up. BUT!! The wood / coal stove then would add another problem.

    Free gifts do come with a cost sometimes. If the clothes would only get the odor out. I would look like a million bucks with how nice these clothes look. But I know I know it's not the clothes that make a person. It's the heart of love that is inside a person. But it certainly does feel nice to look good at times. Even if it's only once in a blue moon. There is still nothing like enjoying nature and nature can get you dirty too. Night! 

  • Re: How do you get moth ball smell out of clothes?

    I beg to differ with you, dear Grelo, but moths will eat chenille, cotton, any kind of material that clothing is made from.  I had a beautiful black chennile sweater with silver lurex threads in it & moths had eaten a gigantic hole in it when I pulled it out of the blanket box that it was kept in.  Also, they ate a hole in a cotton gauze dress that was hanging in the closet.  I use the moth cakes to keep them from eating my clothes now.