So, what do you do about the stink at your house?
That didn’t sound right. Maybe I had better back up and explain.
A reader asked about how to remove the odor from items that had been stored with mothballs for decades. I have a few ideas. But I’ve learned that, when it comes to odors, other readers are a terrific source of ingenious ideas. So, do you have any odor-fighting tips to share?
Here’s the email: “How can I remove the offensive mothball odor from books and stuffed animals, which I stored in plastic tubs for 20-plus years? What do you know about Nilodor Tap-A-Drop, which has been suggested? … I have saved tons of children’s books, plus many stuffed animals to hand off to my grandchild.”
Here’s what I know about odors: The best solution is to remove the source of the smell and provide lots of fresh air. Ventilate, or place the objects outside in the sun, if there’s no threat of damage from its rays
I checked some websites I trust, and everybody agrees that sanitizers and disinfectants don’t do much good against mothballs, which consist of naphthalene and other chemicals.
A decade ago, I wrote several times about a product called Atmos Klear odor eliminator. It was widely praised by professionals, but not widely available as a consumer product.
Pros – apartment managers, for instance – swore by it. They used it to reduce odors left by pets and smokers.
Readers who tracked it down and tried it raved about its effectiveness.
Scott Androff, whose Minnesota company made and marketed Atmos Klear at the time, suggested dousing your furnace and air conditioning air filters to refresh the air in your home.
Atmos Klear is still available, and now being sold online at www.maryellenproducts.com. A 16-ounce bottle is $9.99 plus shipping.
You’ll also find it on eBay.
Devi Rae of Mary Ellen Products said that, indeed, Atmos Klear will help reduce mothball odor. It’s a question she hears from time to time.
“Absolutely, Atmos Klear would work,” she said.
Dampen a cloth with the product and store it with the offending items.
It might be overkill in this case, but ozone machines work pretty well. They’ll reduce the cigarette smoke smell that clings to carpet and upholstery. But be careful if you or someone at your house has respiratory issues, as I do. It’s no fun.
Some say coffee beans will curb mothball odors. Place the smelly object in a plastic bag along with a paper bag of beans. That would be a quick, affordable tactic to try.
No, I have no idea whether French roast would work better than breakfast blend.