Asked on Dec 3, 2014

How do I remove moth ball odor from a cedar-lined chest? Help!

Susie DurhamLoriCathy


A previous owner used moth balls inside a beautiful hand-painted cedar-lined hope chest. The odor is so strong. How do I get rid of it?
14 answers
  • Lisadoll
    on Dec 3, 2014

    Found this solution on Pinterest and used it in a STANKY old wooden steamer trunk.. Worked like a charm! Maybe it'll work for you. Got the biggest cheapest container of kitty litter at Target.(.and it had a nice fragrance too, u may want to sniff before u buy) And about 6 jumbo boxes of Arm & Hammer baking soda... Dumped it all in. I let it sit like that for about a month. IT WAS REALLY GROSSLY STINKY. Dumped it in the trash, vacuumed it out, and dusted it out with a damp rag. FRESH AS A DAISY! Of course, you're gonna adjust this to your needs. NOTHING could smell as bad as that old steamer trunk did! Good Luck!

  • Gerry H
    Gerry H
    on Dec 3, 2014

    Lisadoll...I don't see your tip. Could you repost or tell me where to find it?

  • Sherry Fram
    Sherry Fram
    on Dec 3, 2014

    I agree with the kitty litter & baking soda, just make sure the kitty litter has activated charcoal in it to absorb the odor.

  • Lisa Adams
    Lisa Adams
    on Dec 3, 2014

    crumble news papers and place inside keeping it closed up,and in a few days put more in, a little baking soda will help also.I have used the newspapers in old cabinets and chests bought at sales and it has worked for me

  • Duv310660
    on Dec 3, 2014

    Doesn't naptha just evaporate? Try leaving it open in a warm breezy place that is good for airing out. After the smell abates, give the insides a sanding to restore the cedar smell.

  • Liliana Wells
    Liliana Wells
    on Dec 3, 2014

    Good ideas from Lisadoll. Put it out in the sunshine as well.

  • Nancy Yoder
    Nancy Yoder
    on Dec 3, 2014

    I don't know if it works for mothball smell, but whenever we have something that stinks badly I go to the dollar store and get a can of coffee grounds. open the can, set it in the trunk, close and leave for a few days! works wonders. Also removed musty smell form books. I just put the books in a Rubbermaid container sprinkle with coffee leave for about a week.

  • Nelli Walker
    Nelli Walker
    on Dec 3, 2014

    I will try ALL of the above, and thanks for you suggestions!

  • Cheryl Rye
    Cheryl Rye
    on Dec 4, 2014

    Sand the inside with a fine grit sandpaper. That should bring out the cedar smell.

  • Terrry T
    Terrry T
    on Dec 4, 2014

    Purchase some plain charcoal briquettes. Not the quick start kind. Place a few 3-4 in a plastic bag leaving the bag open. Close the trunk for a few days. TA duh!

  • Cathy
    on Dec 10, 2014

    Pour a bag of charcoal barbeque briquettes in a large disposable aluminum cake pan. Set pan in chest and close for a week. If odor remains dispose of old briquettes and add new...the charcoal will absorb the smell and toxins from moth balls. I wouldn't advise burning briquettes after...moth balls are permeated with a very dangerous chemical! There is also a granular product you can buy on sprinkle and it kills just about any odor.It is called Odorzout. I used it for Pet odors and it worked fantastic. As a last resort, buy an ionizer (about $40) and put the chest and ionizer in a closed room for a few days. Good luck!

  • Cathy
    on Dec 10, 2014

    Until you fix the odor, do not leave in areas you sleep or spend time in. Moth balls and the chemical in them are very dangerous to breath fumes.

  • Lori
    on Dec 13, 2014

    Try to find "activated charcoal". It's different than regular and harder to find but check with a drug store or a chemical company. It took the smell out of our freezer of rotten meat. Put it inside and close the lid for several days. Good luck.

  • Susie Durham
    Susie Durham
    on Mar 21, 2020

    I put about a 1/2 lb of new pike place market coffee grounds in the chest for about 3 weeks and then put chest in the sun for a day. Seems to have worked. Our chest was about 18”/36”/18”.

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