Before I start, I am not going to save this for halfway through, you MUST read this now: If you have purchased or own something you think might be ponging from old mothballs, DO NOT WASH IT WITH ANY CLOTHING THAT DOESN’T. I’m serious, people, we’re talking total quarantine of the affected article. I damn near lost me a favourite sweater, and I don’t want anyone else to have to go through that!
So, I’m sure many of you may be able to relate to this, I was at my favourite
local thrift store with a friend, perusing their latest offerings, when I came
across the most magnificent forest green, knitted mohair (I am fairly certain?)
It was fuzzy, it was oversized, it was
perfect, it STANK TO HIGH HEAVENS. My
word, I couldn’t believe it, my eyes were almost watering; the smell was
somewhat familiar, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it. I decided that
$7.00 was just too much of a steal, and parted with some dosh for my smelly
dreamboat, thinking a simple cycle in the wash would solve the problem. Right?
I can’t tell you how wrong I was; I threw the sweater in with a few others I
had at home which needed a wash, thankfully I always wash on the cold gentle
cycle. After the wash finished up, I was greeted with a wave of that awful
smell. I picked up the sweater, and it stank worse than before. It was almost slick
feeling in my hands, and I had that awful slow motion dreadful realization that
the REST of the clothes stank too! Devastated
and defeated, I thrust the main offender under Alex’s nose and screeched “THIS!
WHAAAT IS THIS?!”
I was convinced I’d been duped into buying petrol soaked clothing, when Alex recognized
the stink: the dreaded, undefeated champion of the unremovable stink world,
Any right thinking person would have just thrown the towel in, admitted defeat
and tossed the jumper, but no-ho, not I! I wasn’t about to have some Naphthalene
soaked abomination ruin my clothing, no sir! And neither do you! Turns out,
removing stinky moth killer is easier than some people give mother nature
credit for. Please note, if you’re not
comfortable with the idea of spritzing pure alcohol on your piece of clothing, take
it to a professional!
All I needed was some baking powder, fresh air and no real urge to wear any of
that load of washing. I think several days of cold wind helped, but that’s not
anything you can’t re-create with a pedestal fan.
Naphthalene is the main ingredient in old school mothballs. It isn’t soluble in non-organic solvents, rather it’s totally soluble
in organic solvents, so if you have any methylated spirits, or rubbing alcohol,
or vodka, they all work wonderfully spritzed on in a spray bottle, undiluted,
in a well-ventilated area.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any alcohol in the house, so I skipped to the next
Nasty ol’ Naphthalene is actually in its gaseous form when it contaminates
clothing and imparting the stench, and dissipates in air. I hung my
sweater up on my clothes horse flat across the wires, so I could ensure maximum
air flow, and pegged it across the shoulders so it wouldn’t escape.
Finally, bicarbonate soda, a big ol’ badass in the stink-defeating world, is a
good finishing touch to ensure the best results. I just poured the stuff
straight onto the sweater, in a good even layer. Surprisingly, even though it
was fairly gusty, the stuff didn’t blow away!
And that was that, all I could do was hope that in a few days, I wouldn’t be
having my eyes burnt out of my head by crazy nanna mothballs. I washed my
washing machine by putting it on a cycle with a couple of cups of vinegar in the
barrel and a hot wash cycle, hopefully the smell of mothballs in my laundry
will go away soon!
I checked my sweater today, and guess what? The
home remedies totally worked! I patted the bicarbonate off the fibers, and good
ol’ windy days seemed to have done the rest. Hip hip hooray!
Gratuitous photos will follow, in the meantime, I suggest raiding your
wardrobes and discarding any nasty chemical mothballs you might have. They
cause nothing but misery when natural preventions work just as well without the
“But I have no natural prevention methods?” I hear you say, never fear! There’s
a super easy way to keep your clothes smelling sweet & the hungry moths
Grab a pair of clean pantyhose/socks/or a hanky, and then go for a wander into
your garden (or past someone elses!) and grab a fistful each of lavender
flowers and rosemary sprigs.
I like to trim the stems and hold them together in a little bouquet shape with
elastic, put the little bunch stem-first into the toe of some pantyhose, tie
off the end and viola! Wonderful, natural and pretty smelling flowers to keep
bugs away! :D
I’ve made a few by rubbing the leaves and blossoms together, and stitching them
in a little pillow shape to hang on my coathangers with my wool jackets.
You can place these inside drawers, or inside the pockets of jackets when they’re
not being worn. I particularly like to suspend some on little pieces of ribbons
from the coathanger to hang down inside clothing to keep them smelling fresh
Happy thrifting and crafting!