And many of us have the belief that mothballs — other than their
aggressive & horrendous stench — are harmless.
But this is not the case at all....and if you can smell them,
that means you are also inhaling the toxic outgassing.
most common chemicals used in their production.
What these chemicals do is to slowly break down from solids into
gases to better kill stuff.
In the process, the outgassing can permeate deep into the wood grain.
chemicals was used to make the deadly little nuggets,
you can't be certain what method will work
as different techniques will have different levels of effectiveness
depending on the chemical used.
Naphthalene will breakdown with sunlight and
moving air after about 3-5 days.
It isn't, however, very water soluble.
On the other hand, paradichlorobenzene resists sunlight
(and has a reported half life of 60 days!)
but is a bit more affected by water.
This might explain why some techniques work, only some of the time.
Regardless, it's not very practical to allow a piece to sunbathe for two months...
before giving it a nice bath!
used with excellent results:
1. Remove any drawers and position the piece to give you the greatest access
3. Add 30 drops of essential oil and give it a good shake.
I use Purification from Young Living www.youngliving.org It's specifically designed to clean, disinfect & neutralise odours, but most essential oils that are citrus-based work well (I've found better than sweet or floral scented oils). Peppermint is another option & it will also help deter bugs & critters from coming back.
4. Spray entire surface, especially untreated timber, until wet.
5. Allow the wood to dry in a well-ventilated area or outdoors, under cover if possible. When you spray, the liquid will reactivate the mothball gases, so take precautions. However, the best way to know that it's worked or if you need to repeat the process...is to give it a sniff!
6. The final step? I add essential oil to my paint! It doesn't alter the colour or finish & it feels like a bit of insurance against any mothball madness creeping back in.
Not a fan of vinegar? Don't have a spray bottle on-hand?
Here are a few more options:
• Sanding is another alternative, but my last as it can be tedious and you really MUST wear a respirator & safety glasses.
• Another alternative is to seal/varnish/shellac the piece entirely to seal the gases in. And if the piece has lots of nooks and crannies and drawer rails, a poly spray would likely be the easiest solution.
Please ask any questions and feel free to share the article. Hoping this helps you and happy upcycling!