How to get rid of mothball smell?

Diane Anna
by Diane Anna
I inherited my Grandmother's dining room set and the drawers in the server have that old, stinky mothball smell. It permeates the room when I open a drawer and any linens in the drawers have to be washed a couple of times before using them. Any ideas of how to get rid of that smell.
  13 answers
  • Cheryl Cheryl on Feb 12, 2017
    Fresh air & sunshine ... may take a few days, but, that's the only thing I've found to work for me other than masking the odor with something like a room freshener product.

  • Patti Nicholas Patti Nicholas on Feb 13, 2017
    Yup freah air is the only thing that truly works. When the smell has faded significantly you can try puttin a light coating of baking soda in the bottom of the drawer for a few days to help it along. Then be sure to use some fresh herbal sachets in the drawers to keep it smelling fresh and ward off bugs

  • Hillela G. Hillela G. on Feb 13, 2017
    You can also make a DIY air freshener to help with the now smell.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Feb 13, 2017
    Wash them down with white vinegar and water,allow to dry and place open boxes of baking soda,kitty litter,or deactivated charchol inside.

  • MN Mom MN Mom on Feb 13, 2017
    Remove the drawers if possible and give them a wipe with some white vinegar. Let air dry and then put a shallow dish of kitty litter or baking soda inisde. Let them sit in the fresh air for a couple days. You can also place a couple dryer sheets inside to help with the scent.

  • Millie Millie on Feb 13, 2017
    I tried everything you could imagine except for the litter and charcoal to remove the smell from pillowcases. Washed them numerous times with everything I could think of and even left them outside days at a time, even in the rain. After storing them with fabric sheets in between them the faint odor still remained. I have heard that the smell is easier to remove from furniture. Good Luck!

  • Diane Anna Diane Anna on Feb 13, 2017
    Thanks, everyone, for the suggestions. When we get some warm, dry weather for a few days, I'll pull everything out and try the tricks and let them sit outside. I'll wash everything that's in it (several times) so that I don't put stinky stuff back in there.

    • See 1 previous
    • Diane Anna Diane Anna on Feb 18, 2017
      I didn't know that - that's quite interesting - but I don't recall my grandmother ever doing that - so that's probably why the smell never went away. She still dried her clothes on a line until she moved into assisted living - which I always thought was old-fashioned. She would open the house in the spring and summer (before it would get too hot in Texas) to air it out.

  • Su999 Su999 on Feb 14, 2017
    If you still have smell after lots of fresh air, try spraying with methylated spirit. I got idea from owner of elderly cats to keep air and surfaces clean. I use it with success. I bought a bottle from local hardware shop and have seen in chemists shop. A little goes a long way. Leaves such a freshness after using. Good luck.

  • Zonski Zonski on Feb 16, 2017
    Coffee beans is the thing !! or coffee grounds, which you place in small containers in each drawer of your server. It also works wonders for pans in which you fried fish, or garlic.
    I can't resist telling this cute little joke an old friend of mine (Ron and his wife Lorie B.) told me : do you know what mothballs smell like ? — No. — So, you never got to take their little legs apart ?

  • Judy Judy on Feb 16, 2017
    You may want to put these ( just a couple at a time) in the garage, with some talc, and the fresh air, should do miracles. Being out in the fresh air, will really help. The smell of moth balls, prevents mice, and other bugs. This is always a great idea. Best wishes.

  • Janey kelly Janey kelly on Feb 18, 2017
    When I had a terrible mouse smell in my old car that had been parked for a couple years, I poured dry coffee grounds on the floor and in the trunk for a few days then vac'd them up. Used when gas spilled in the trunk. I just buy the cheapest brand I can find. Works better than anything else I've tried.

  • Shelly Bailey- Gladue Shelly Bailey- Gladue on Feb 19, 2017
    I use imatation vanilla or vanilla extract for everything ! Works great in all containers especially trying to get rid of old smell of nuts or onions or just about anything with an old smell ! A teaspoon or two and let sit smell disappears I even use it in a saucepan on the stove to get rid of smells

  • Debra Ward Metz Debra Ward Metz on Feb 20, 2017
    I would wash with hot water and bleach, then let dry outside in the sun. Also if there is still a mothball scent, crumple up newspaper and put in each drawer. Of course, you'll need to wipe them out again to be sure that any newsprint ink won't rub off onto your linens.. That's how to get the smell out of Tupperware too..!