How Do I Clean Mothball Smell From Clothes?

clean-mothball-smell-clothes Credit: Bartomeu Amengual/age fotostock/Getty Images

Not only is the odor of mothballs difficult to remove, it's also a potential health hazard. Methods for removing the smell from clothing range from hanging garments outside to adding baking soda to the washing machine. Style Studio 360 recommends trying various methods, one after the other, until the smell is fully eradicated.

  1. Hang garments in fresh air

    Fresh air is the method of smell removal requiring the least effort. Sunshine and a good breeze tend to remove the odor of mothballs. However, it often takes many days until the smell is removed.

  2. Wash the clothing

    If air drying is unsuccessful, wash the clothing in soap with a small amount of baking soda. It's also a good idea to let the clothes soak in the soapy water and baking soda for a while. Add a cup of vinegar to the washing machine during the rinse cycle.

  3. Dry with fabric softener sheets

    Place clothes in the dryer on the delicate cycle and add two or three fabric softener sheets. Use a no-heat setting, as heat tends to embed odors into fabric.

  4. Take clothes to a professional

    As a last resort, professional dry- or wet-cleaning can usually remove the smell of mothballs from clothing.