Made a terrible mistake by scattering mothballs in my basement?


We have an old home and occasionally get a mouse or two. I read where they hate mothballs. I didn't research beforehand, thinking it would make the basement smell better as well. It was a horrible idea. I removed all the mothballs I could find, but the odor is in the registers and coming up from the basement. I have heard charcoal works, but does anyone know of anything that works asap? Thank you.

  12 answers
  • Depending on what type of floor you have in the basement, mop it with warm water and baking soda. Also place bowls of vinegar around the basement to neutralize the odor.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec 6 days ago

    Here are some suggestions:

    How to Get the Mothball Smell Out of House

    You might be pulling your hair out yelling “my house smells like mothballs”! Not to worry, here are some methods for getting rid of the pesticide scent around your home:

    • Ventilation. One of the best ways to oust the mothball odor is to air out your space. Open the windows and doors. Turn on ceiling fans. Let the air circulate around the room or house for a few hours.
    • Wipe down surfaces. After you have removed the mothballs, spray the floor, counters, and other surfaces with a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water. You can use a rag or mop to wipe down the hard surfaces. Alternatively, you can mix together some water and baking soda for a similar effect.
    • Spread around zeolite. If you have kitty litter in the house, you’re in luck. Cat litter is made from zeolite, a cluster of minerals with a unique structure that causes odors to stick to it. You can scatter around some cat litter on carpets, flooring, and even furniture to suck out the naphthalene smell or in common terms the mothball scent .
    • Set out coffee grounds. Used coffee grounds have many uses, including deodorizing spaces. You can pour the coffee grounds into a small bowl then set it wherever the mothball smell is the strongest.


  • Vimarhonor Vimarhonor 6 days ago

    Hello. Here’s a link that my offer some ideas. Hope this helps

  • GrandmasHouseDIY GrandmasHouseDIY 6 days ago

    A dehumidifier might help quickly to remove the smell. I would thoroughly clean the basement and put little boxes of baking soda on your vents to help absorb the smell.

  • Kathy Gunter Law Kathy Gunter Law 6 days ago

    Wash down with Odoban. That should fix it. As far as mice, cinnamon and peppermint are better scents to drive them away.

  • Betsy Betsy 6 days ago

    Hey Kadie: I hate to laugh, but I am because I've done the same thing! It's down right horrible! Here's a site with several solutions. Give them a look. Left click on the one you want to look at and information will come up on lthe right. Then, on the upper right, there is an X. Click on that and it will take you back to the original site:

    Good luck and open the windows! :)

  • Mogie Mogie 6 days ago

    Remove Mothball Smell From A Room in Your House

    The best way to remove the mothball smell in your home is by using baking soda. Mix some baking soda with warm water and mop the floors with the solution.

    Make sure that you keep the rooms properly ventilated when mopping. Then place a bowl of vinegar, bowl of coffee grounds, or a plate of activated charcoal in the room (or closet). This will absorb any leftover mothball smell. As a temporary option, while you’re removing the smell, you can get scented house cleansers and air fresheners.

  • Em Em 6 days ago

    FIRST ANYONE READING THIS, MOTHBALLS ARE POISONOUS. ONE CAN KILL A DOG. Vets do not know why dogs like the taste of them. SECOND the new mothballs look like pineapple candy lifesavers in color. They are round and have a ridge around them looking very much like a piece of candy to a child. Again....POISONOUS. No idea why anyone would use them in the first place. The camphor smell is awful.

    • Kadie Kadie 5 days ago

      Yes, unfortunately I found this out AFTER spreading them around. I googled ways to use them and got bad advice. I have since removed them, but the odor is still there.

  • Sharon Sharon 4 days ago

    You oould also buy Room Shocker used by contractors for foul odors in homes. They sell it at the big box stores like Lowes, Home Depot etc.

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie 3 days ago

    Hi Kadie, buy some kitty litter and spread it where you placed the moth balls. That should do the trick.

  • Kadie Kadie 3 days ago

    Thank You!

  • Pamela Pamela 2 days ago

    Irish spring bar soap will keep critters out. I don't know about the moth ball odor. Sorry