How To Get Mothball Smell Out of Car and Camper?

Mothballs or naphthalene balls when placed in the car can help keep the insects as well as rodents (like mice) away.

You can use a small bag filled with mothballs to hang under the front of the car’s hood or bonnet as a strong repellent.

Or if you are planning for a campervan drive, put a very small amount under the mattresses to repel the pests.

Although mothballs can help keep a variety of critters out of your vehicle, the only problem is its strong smell that can remain inside.

If left for long, mothballs smell inside the car can permeate the interiors which can be hard to get rid of.

But worry not, here in this article we will discuss how you can stop this powerful smell from the inside of your vehicle by using household natural methods.

So, let’s get into them…

how to remove mothball smell in car

Are Mothballs Dangerous?

Mothballs usually come with ingredients like naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene that have a strong lingering odor.

Whether it’s in the home, car, or a camper van, mothballs can be toxic to humans and pets

Although mothballs are solid at room temperature, it eventually evaporates and turn out into gas that can be highly toxic.

With that being said, there are a few modern brands of mothballs that you can use in your car or camper van if there is a need.

These don’t have that strong smell of good old classic mothballs.

But still, the scent they carry is unpleasant and can remain inside your vehicle for a long.

If inhaled for long it can be hazardous to your health, hence it’s crucial for you to remove the smell of mothballs even after it is entirely dissipated.

Removing the Smell of Mothball

Below are a few steps and remedies you can follow for getting rid of the awful mothball smell in your vehicle…

  1. The very first step is to open all of your car windows and doors to let the vehicle get aired naturally
  2. Keep the two back seats in your car open halfway for 2-3 days. This will let the fresh air back in the trunk of the car
  3. Next, you need to check if there are still some mothballs remained undissolved in your vehicle, if you find them inside remove them carefully

TIP: If it’s a trailer car, caravan, or RV motorhome check under all the seats, beds, cabinets, and other hard-to-reach crevices.

There may be traces of mothballs gotten stuck that can smell for long if not removed.


Neutralizing the Mothball Smell in Your Vehicle

Once you have completely aired your vehicle, it’s time to neutralize the odor for complete removal.

This is also important to ensure that the smell of mothball does not return in your vehicle after a few days.

1- Use vinegar

White vinegar is a great odor neutralizer, so use it for cleaning all the hard surfaces like the dashboard, air vents, glove box, cup holders, walls, and doors.

This will effectively remove any single trace of mothball chemicals inside your vehicle. 

2- Pour baking soda

Sprinkle baking soda all over the carpets, leather seats, upholstered furniture, and fabrics inside your car.

Allow it to sit for about 24 hours and then vacuum it off completely.

If there is any wooden trunk or a chest inside your RV (carrying clothes and woolen sweaters) remove everything out and pour the baking soda there.

Also, leave the trunk open for several days to stop the mothball smell from lingering.

3- Coffee grinds and charcoal

If you do not like using baking soda, you can alternatively use coffee grinds or charcoal in your car to absorb any lingering odors.

In a bowl, pour some regular store-bought coffee grinds or regular charcoal that you use for the grill.

Keep this bowl in your car for at least three days to soak up the bad odor of the mothballs.

If the odor is very strong, you can use two bowls – one of the coffee grinds and the other of charcoal.

Place them in your car at different locations to trap the odor.

Like one in the front driver’s seat and the other in the middle back passenger seat or in the trunk.

Final thoughts

I am sure – everyone has experienced that pungent smell of mothballs in our lifetime.

To many, it smells bitter and for others, it’s like the odor of ammonia, house paint, or even cigarette smoke.

And since mothballs are flammable and hazardous if left ignored inside the car, it’s important to remove them completely from your vehicle.

Hopefully, the above tips will help you get rid of their smell and feel easy when driving.

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