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Mothball smell

FlyingYankee

Active Member
Anyone know how long it takes for the mothball smell to go away after storing sheepskin jackets that way. I stored two jackets for two years and I think I over did it. The smell does not bother me at all , but I sold one jacket and the buyer is asking if there is a way to get rid of the naphtha odor.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
The web says that the quickest way to kill the smell is soaking the garment in a solution of white vinegar and baking soda and then washing it.
Obliviously not an option!
The other suggestion was airing out in sunlight over a period of days and the smell will eventually start to diminish.
In the past I've done that and added a few sprays of Febreze an odor eliminator used on fabrics and had some success with it.
Good Luck
 
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unclegrumpy

Well-Known Member
"The other suggestion was airing out in sunlight over a period of days and the smell will eventually start to diminish."

If this were summer, I would be mentioning to stay out of the direct sunlight on a hot day, but I would not worry about that in December. I have found that days with some humidity sometimes help, and have had good results hanging a garment under the eves of my house...leaving it out a few days to a week to swing in the breeze.

The moth ball smell can be tough, because it can get into the leather or fabric. The positive is, it is chemically supposed to evaporate when air gets to it. The problem is that can take some time and occasionally rather stubbornly does not go away.
 

sg1011

Member
Lol! I was just about to ask this question! I've been airing it out for several days now. I've tried massaging the sheepskin to release the vapors and I very lightly steamed the whole jacket inside and out. The odor is still overwhelming. I have to keep it outside when we are home and I take it with me in the car and crack the windows open to circulate air. I think that it just needs to air out and run its course in terms of the vapors. I wonder if there is a way to restore that leather smell?

I've read that people have washed sheepskin jackets before, but I'm not sure how that would turn out. I think that any kind of detergent or spray is just going to mask the odor. Unfortunately, moth balls present two problems: pungent odor that is also very toxic.
 

unclegrumpy

Well-Known Member
A couple of days is nothing...I have had things that take weeks or months to totally air out. It can be hard to totally get rid of the moth ball smell, but time does wonders. Remember mothballs are designed to make fumes.

Question...why are you putting a sheepskin a jacket in mothballs?
 

sg1011

Member
A couple of days is nothing...I have had things that take weeks or months to totally air out. It can be hard to totally get rid of the moth ball smell, but time does wonders. Remember mothballs are designed to make fumes.

Question...why are you putting a sheepskin a jacket in mothballs?
That’s not what I wanted to hear! Lol. I have noticed that the smell has diminished a little bit. It’s still overwhelming when it’s brought inside the house at room temperature. The fumes definitely seem to have penetrated deep into the sheepskin.

I actually bought it from the original poster on this thread. In the past, I’ve stored my B-3’s in a breathable garment bag with cedar blocks. Worked perfectly for me.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
Sgt 1011
Have you tried using Febreze? It's a substance that takes orders out of everything. I would lightly spray a small section of the area first to test it out. I've used it on jackets that had cigarette smoke odor and it worked well.
 
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unclegrumpy

Well-Known Member
I would not use anything to cover the mothball smell up until the item in question has had a serious airing. The chemicals used in mothballs are meant to get into the material, and then release, so you just have to be patient and let them do their thing. Sometimes it all goes away, but sometimes there are perfumes left or a tinge of the chemical...then I think something like Febreze might be in order. I will say, I never have used Febreze, but have used dryer sheets.
 

sg1011

Member
B-Man 2. I thought about doing that, but it seems like it would be a temporary fix. As Unclegrumpy stated, the chemical is in the sheepskin and has to release. In addition to airing it out, I’ve been lightly running my hands through the pile in the hopes that it would release more of the vapors. Airing it out seems to be working. Slowly but surely. I was only able to get it out in the sun for a few hours.
 

B-Man2

Well-Known Member
I understand, I've had success with several A2's that were smokers jackets and were saturated with cigarette smoke. Several light sprayings a over a short period of time completely eliminated the problem. I was happy with the result so I thought I might share that with you.
Good Luck with what ever option you choose.
 

unclegrumpy

Well-Known Member
Cigarette smoke is a different animal to deal with. Airing can help if it was in a house that someone smoked, but it was worn by a smoker, then that adds another layer...sometimes literally...meaning a coating of yellow brown cigarette smoke goo. One good thing about leather jackets, is you can hand clean them. That leads to with what, and how much, which always is a quandary....especially if the jacket is old and worn.

Probably going to start a controversy here, but as a general rule, if it won't kill you to eat it, it probably won't hurt the leather much. On modern leather jackets...not suede ones...I have found that mild dish soap...like Dawn...highly diluted with water often takes the cigarette smoke goo off. Patiently working it with a soft towel and not using too much can work wonders. Baby shampoo sometimes works well too.

The odd thing is sometimes one thing works and the other does not...and sometimes nothing works at all...even harsh chemicals, so factor that into the price.
 

FlyingYankee

Active Member
I have been using my M-444 outdoors which was stored with the ELC I sold Steve. As of today there is no detectable mothball odor.
 

sg1011

Member
Update...

I finally had a chance to sit down and give this jacket some attention. As I mentioned before, I tried several things, including constantly airing it out. None of those methods really helped. They toned down the smell slightly to where it didn't smack you in the face, but the smell was still there. I have to give credit to B-Man2 because I did try to febreeze the jacket and that did actually neutralize the mothball smell in the sheepskin pile. I did several light sprays and lightly worked the febreeze in with my hands. As of today, the smell is neutral. However, the odor was still present and it turns out that the horsehide was really hanging on to the smell.

So....today I went ahead and gently cleaned the whole jacket with Lexol cleaner. It worked perfectly! The smell is completely gone. Lexol also has a neutral smell, so the jacket really doesn't smell like anything. I also applied a very light coating of Lexol conditioner and it buffed out perfectly with no stickiness or issues. The jacket now has a neutral smell. I'm going to research other conditioners as I'm looking to restore the leather smell of the horsehide if possible.

So, I think that it's safe to say that when a jacket has a strong odor, you're probably better off trying to clean the surface to get rid of any smell.
 

Falcon_52

Active Member
I'm glad that you were able to resolve the issue. That's a good tip on using Lexol - I will have to remember that one.

Noel
 

dinomartino1

Well-Known Member


I have just received a leather jacket that the previous owner had never worn and put into storage, the problem is it reeks of naphthalene so he must have put it away with moth balls.
I went to the post office yesterday to pick it up and I took it out of the box to have a look, I noticed the smell right away.
I put the jacket in my car and went back to get some shopping, when I got back to car the mothball smell was so overpowering i had to wind down all the windows to able to drive home.

Now some people are more picky than others, I am not a picky person, but the smell of the jacket is incredibly strong, I have a bad cold and can hardly smell anything as it is.

I tried the girls coffee method in the link last night.
I used coffee beans because that was all I had.
The same as her I cut up a pair of tights, I had a 1 kg bag of beans so I divided up into four 250g lots.
I put the jacket with the coffee beans in a plastic bin liner and tied it it up.

I checked after about three hours and the smell was way better.
I checked this morning and the mothball smell was very feint and there now is a coffee smell, not overpowering but you can smell it.
I have put it back in the bag to see what happens.

Now I don't know if this will really work, the moth ball smell may have eventually gone but then again it may have stayed. I think it would have taken a hell of a long time to dissipate.
The mothball stink may still be there and only masked by the coffee and if the coffee wears off it might still there or hopefully they will both just go around the same time if the mothball smell is just being masked.

Only time will tell but a jacket with a slight coffee odour is wearable, a pungent mothball stink is useless.

I will post updates as to what happens.
 
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dinomartino1

Well-Known Member
I have taken the jacket out of the bag again and virtually no mothball smell, I have put it outside to air to see if the effect lasts.
 

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