How To Get Mothball Smells Out Of Leather? (5 Methods To Try!)

You’re not alone if you’re dealing with mothball smells in your leather items.

Mothballs are commonly used to prevent moth damage to clothing and other fabrics, but they can leave behind a strong, unpleasant odour that can be difficult to remove. 

If you have leather items that have absorbed the smell of mothballs, it’s important to take the proper steps to remove the odour without damaging the leather.

In this guide, we’ll explore some effective methods for getting mothball smells out of leather so you can enjoy your items without lingering unpleasantness.

To get mothball smells out of leather articles, try placing them in a sealed container with baking soda or activated charcoal, using a vinegar and water solution, or using a leather cleaner to remove odours. Test methods on a small area first.

Can you Get Mothball Smells Out of Leather Articles?

Generally Speaking Yes, you can get mothball smells out of leather articles. Effective methods include baking soda, vinegar, activated charcoal, or professional leather cleaning products. Always test any method on a small area first.

How To Get Mothball Smells Out Of Leather Articles? 5 Easy Methods To Try

Leather articles are known for their durability and longevity but can absorb unpleasant smells such as mothball odours.

If you have recently acquired a leather article that smells like mothballs, you may wonder how to eliminate the odour.

Fortunately, there are several methods you can try to remove mothball smells from leather articles. In this article, we will discuss 5 easy methods to try.

Method 1: Using Activated Charcoal Bags 

Activated charcoal bags are an effective way to remove odours from leather articles. The charcoal’s porous surface helps absorb the odour molecules, leaving your leather smelling fresh and clean.

Here’s how to use activated charcoal bags to remove mothball smells from leather articles:

  1. Place the leather article in a plastic bag.
  2. Put the activated charcoal bag in the same plastic bag.
  3. Seal the bag and leave it for a few days.
  4. After a few days, remove the leather article from the bag and check if the mothball smell has gone away.

Method 2: Using an Odor Remover 

Odour removers are designed to remove unpleasant smells from various materials, including leather.

You can use an odour remover to remove the mothball smell from your leather article. Here’s how to use an odor remover:

  1. Spray the odor remover on the leather article.
  2. Rub the surface gently with a soft cloth.
  3. Let it dry for a few minutes.
  4. Repeat the process if the mothball smell is still there.

Method 3: Using Baking Soda & White Vinegar 

Baking soda and white vinegar are two common household items that can remove mothball smells from leather articles.

Baking soda is an excellent odour absorber, while white vinegar is a natural disinfectant that can eliminate bacteria causing the odour.

Here’s how to use baking soda and white vinegar to remove the mothball smell:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda over the leather article and let it sit for a few hours.
  2. Wipe off the baking soda with a soft cloth.
  3. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  4. Spray the solution on the leather article and let it dry.
  5. Repeat the process if necessary.

Method 4: Ventilating Your Leather Articles 

One of the simplest ways to eliminate mothball smells from leather articles is to ventilate them.

Fresh air can help to remove the odor molecules from the leather surface. Here’s how to ventilate your leather article:

  1. Place the leather article in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Open windows and doors to allow fresh air to circulate.
  3. Leave the leather article for a few days.

Method 5: Using a Leather Cleaner & Conditioner 

Leather cleaners and conditioners can clean your leather article and eliminate the mothball smell.

Leather cleaners contain chemicals that break down and remove dirt and grime, while conditioners help to restore the leather’s natural oils and keep it supple.

Here’s how to use a leather cleaner and conditioner to remove the mothball smell:

  1. Apply the leather cleaner on the surface of the leather article.
  2. Rub the surface gently with a soft cloth.
  3. Wipe off the cleaner with a clean cloth.
  4. Apply the leather conditioner on the surface of the leather article.
  5. Rub the surface gently with a soft cloth.
  6. Let the conditioner soak into the leather for a few minutes.
  7. Wipe off any excess conditioner with a clean cloth.

How To Prevent Mothball Smells On Your Leather Articles

Mothballs are commonly used to keep clothes and leather articles from being damaged by moths, but they can also leave a strong and unpleasant smell on your leather items.

Here are some tips to prevent mothball smells on your leather articles:

  1. Store leather items in a well-ventilated area: Mothball odors can be reduced by ensuring that leather items are kept in a well-ventilated area. Avoid storing them in airtight containers or drawers, as this can trap the odor and make it worse.
  2. Use alternative methods to repel moths: There are alternative ways to repel moths that do not involve using mothballs. Cedar wood chips or blocks, lavender sachets, and essential oils such as peppermint, lemon, and eucalyptus can help keep moths away without leaving a strong smell on your leather items.
  3. Air out your leather items: Before using your leather items, air them out for a few hours in a well-ventilated area. This will help to remove any lingering mothball odor.
  4. Use activated charcoal or baking soda: Activated charcoal or baking soda can help absorb any unwanted odors in your leather items. Place a small amount of either substance in a breathable bag or container, and leave it in with your leather item for a few hours or overnight.
  5. Clean your leather items regularly: Regularly cleaning your leather items can help prevent mothball odors from building up. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe down your leather items, and store them in a dry place to prevent mould growth.


Does the mothball smell ever go away?

Yes, mothball smell can go away with proper ventilation, cleaning, and odor removal methods. It may take time and effort, but the odor can be eliminated.

Can I use these methods on any leather article?

You can use these methods on any leather article, including bags, shoes, jackets, and furniture.

How long does it take to remove the mothball smell?

The time it takes to remove the mothball smell depends on the severity of the odor and the method you are using. Some methods may take a few hours, while others may take a few days.

Is mothball smell harmful?

Yes, the mothball smell can be harmful if inhaled in large amounts over a prolonged period. It can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other health issues.

Will these methods damage my leather article?

No, these methods are safe for leather articles and will not damage them. However, testing a small, inconspicuous leather area is always a good idea.


So there you have it! We’ve explored some effective methods for removing mothball smells from leather items.

Whether you’re dealing with a leather jacket, shoes, or a handbag, it’s important to approach the cleaning process carefully to avoid damaging the leather. 

Using simple household items like baking soda, vinegar, and activated charcoal, you can effectively absorb and neutralize the odor of mothballs from your leather items. 

Just be sure to test any cleaning method on a small, inconspicuous area of the leather first to ensure it won’t cause any damage.

With patience and effort, you can get mothball smells out of leather and enjoy your items again.

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