While mothballs are great for protecting stored items, it’s a good idea to learn how to air out a mothball smell in basement areas as well as other places around the house. This can sometimes be a difficult process, since the aroma of mothballs tends to last a very long time. Fortunately, these methods, plus a little patience, can go a long way toward getting the mothball smell out of your basement and making room for more inviting scents.
- Remove all mothballs from the basement. Pull them out of boxes, corners, or wherever they currently are secreted within the space. Do this before you make any attempt to actually get rid of the mothball smell, and the other methods will have a much greater chance for success.
- Ventilate the area. This is the single most effective strategy to airing out a basement that reeks of mothballs. By opening any small windows as well as any door that leads to the outside ground level, you create cross ventilation that lets fresh air in, while allowing mothball tainted air to escape. Keep in mind that you will need to ventilate the basement for several days in order to really clear out the smell.
- Take everything out of the basement. Cardboard boxes, upholstered furniture, and anything else that absorbs odors is probably loaded with that mothball scent. In order to air out mothball smell in the basement, take all the stored items outside. Allow the furniture to air out in the sun. Unpack all the boxes, and get new storage containers, possibly plastic containers that are less likely to absorb odors.
- Wash everything. All clothing that was stored in the basement should be machine washed or sent to the cleaners in order to remove the mothball smell. At the same time, clean the basement using baking soda and white vinegar. This includes scrubbing down the concrete floors, brick walls, and any other surface in the space. While vinegar does not completely remove the smell of mothballs, it will help a great deal, and allow you to move on to the next step in your strategy.
- Place charcoal in strategic locations around the basement. Charcoal has a tendency to absorb odors of all kinds. By using charcoal briquettes here and there, the last vestiges of the mothball smell should be gone in a few days. For basements that have been sealed for some time, change the briquettes out each day for best effect.
- Exercise patience. Attempting to air out mothball smell in basements and other areas of the home takes time. Even under the best of circumstances, it may take several days to really clear out the scent.
- Always air out the basement during warm weather. Spring and autumn are ideal times for this task. As a bonus, you may find plenty of items to donate to charity and earn a tax deduction, or to hold a yard sale and make a few extra bucks.