Please help me tag this post.

Googling provided no answers except for vinegar, which did not work.

I washed this blanket for the first time that was purchased off of ebay. There was a smell emitting from the washer as it was washing clothes.

This is no ordinary "mothball smell". It is extremely stinky, like 30 magic markers were opened in the wash. It's almost as if the blanket was DIPPED in naphthalene.

I tried running it empty with all the vinegar we had which was about 6-10 cups, together with powdered laundry soap, and both hot and cold wash cycles. Will it help if I added some throw-away cloth in it to clean it out? I even put it on a 2-hour wash. The smell is as potent as when we started!

Will airing it out reduce the smell? Ideally, I would like to completely remove the naphthalene, not just the smell.

Is cold better than hot water for this? And lastly, what household compound can I buy that will neutralize the naphthalene?


  • $\begingroup$ Again, this is no ordinary mothball-like smell. The smell was so intense, that I thought I almost poisoned myself. It fills the whole house without the windows open. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2016 at 14:29
  • $\begingroup$ Going to the dry cleaners may be an option; both their experience as well as proper equipment (including using not only water, but organic solvents to remove to clean). Because washing a large tissue like a blanket in vodka or the non-drinkable Everclear's denaturated / rectified spirit may be a bit expensive. $\endgroup$
    – Buttonwood
    Sep 24, 2016 at 21:37
  • $\begingroup$ Air-drying may do the trick. I.e. leave it open in warm wind for a week or two. Other than that the best bet would be either organic solvent, like tetrachloroethylene used in dry cleaning, or a professional detergent. By 'professional' I mean something industrial-grade, made to handle heavy machine oil stains. $\endgroup$
    – permeakra
    Oct 24, 2016 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Napthalene is not water soluble, so the temperature doesn't matter as much as the detergent. What makes you think it's napthalene, though? It could be some organic compound in which case you need a good de-greaser (Dawn is the easiest to get, but there are better industrial ones like what cleaning crews may use). If what you're dealing with is an aromatic hydrocarbon (which napthalene is), airing it out will go a long way. I would see how far you can get with a fan blowing it out before you wash the rest out with a good de-greaser.


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