How to Remove Naphthalene Smell from Clothes

Naphthalene is a popular insecticide used in many homes, but it also has other uses. Naphthalene is used in mothballs, deodorant blocks, and even as a pesticide for garden use.

While the smell of naphthalene can be pleasant in some situations, you may find yourself with clothes that have been contaminated with this chemical compound. If your clothes have become permeated with the scent of naphthalene, there are several ways to remove it from your wardrobe.

How to Remove Naphthalene Smell from Clothes

What is a Naphthalene

Naphthalene is a colorless, oily liquid that evaporates at room temperature. It has a mild, unpleasant smell and can be found in mothballs and other household products.

Mothballs contain naphthalene, which helps repel moths and other pests from clothes and blankets. However, when the balls are heated during washing or drying, the naphthalene can release vapors that leave a strong odor on clothing.

How to Remove Naphthalene Smell from Clothes With 9 Simple Ways

The following methods have been found effective for removing naphthalene odor from clothing:

Air out the garment

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Naphthalene odor is released when the garment is heated up, so airing out the garment will help eliminate the smell. Wash stained clothing by hand with a mild detergent in warm water and dry them outside in direct sunlight if possible.

Rinse with vinegar and water solution

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Vinegar contains acetic acid that helps neutralize odors. Mix equal parts vinegar and water together in a bowl large enough for your garment, soak the garment for about 20 minutes, then rinse well with clean water before drying it in the dryer on low heat or hanging it outside on a line to air-dry.

Wash with baking soda

how to remove mold from clothes with baking soda
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Baking soda helps neutralize odors without damaging clothes or adding harsh chemicals to your laundry routine. Pour 1 cup of baking soda into your washing machine’s detergent dispenser before adding clothes.

Add detergent as usual and run a regular cycle on warm water with full agitation until the clothes are clean. If there is still an odor left behind after washing, repeat this process again using 1/2 cup of baking soda instead of 1 cup. You can also learn  How To Remove Mold From Clothes With Baking Soda

Dryer sheets

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Dryer sheets are a great way to remove the smell of naphthalene from clothes because they have a fresh scent that helps mask the odor. Dryer sheets can be used in the washing machine or dryer.

Place dryer sheets in your clothes dryer along with the clothing you want to eliminate the smell from.

Fabric refreshers

The easiest way to get rid of this odor is to use a fabric refresher. These products usually come in sprays or liquids and are designed to remove odors from fabrics. They work by releasing chemicals into the air that neutralize bad smells.

For example, some contain enzymes that break down malodorous molecules into less offensive ones. Others contain fragrances that mask the original scent until it fades away naturally over time.


The cold temperatures in a freezer will help remove the odor from your clothes. Place the clothing in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer for at least overnight. Remove them from the freezer and let them thaw before wearing them again.

Deodorizing spray

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A deodorizing spray is a good option for removing the naphthalene smell from clothes. However, it is only effective if you use it right after the clothes have been exposed to naphthalene.

This means that if you apply deodorizer after you’ve already washed and dried your clothes, it won’t do much good because the smell has already been embedded into the fibers of your clothes.

The best way to use deodorizing spray is by spraying it on your clothes and letting it set for 30 minutes before washing them as usual. The deodorizing spray works by breaking down the molecules responsible for the odor and pushing them out of your clothing.


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Vodka is a great natural deodorizer, and the alcohol will kill any bacteria in your clothing. You can add vodka to a spray bottle with water and use it as an all-natural fabric refresher. This will not only eliminate odors but will also leave your clothes smelling fresh.

If you’re looking for an alternative to dryer sheets, try adding a small amount of vodka to the dryer along with your clothes. The added benefit of using vodka is that it will help fluff up your clothes so they feel more like new and don’t need to be ironed after they are dried.

Unused coffee grounds

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Unused coffee grounds can be used to absorb the naphthalene smell from your clothes. The grounds are naturally absorbent, so they will draw out any remaining chemicals left in your clothing after washing it with soap and water.

Put some unused coffee grounds in a bowl of water and soak your affected clothes. Leave them there overnight and you will have fresh-smelling clothes in the morning.

Final Thoughts

There are so many effective ways to remove this nasty smell from clothes. Although there are other methods, these 3 methods we have suggested above will surely work in removing the odor.

The key is to do all of these steps right away.

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