how to get rid of naphthalene odor in washing machine?

Asked June 6, 2016, 12:30 PM EDT

Hello, I washed an afghan that had been stored for several decades in my washing machine; it had a faint mothball odor before I washed it, but at the end of the cycle the blanket and machine reeked of mothball. Several hours outside took care of the odor in the afghan, but I haven't had any luck getting the smell out of the machine. I've run a cleaning tablet through it, then did a load of old towels in hot water and bleach in the rinse. The odor is slightly reduced, but not enough to make the machine usable. I've read that naphthalene dissolves in alcohol and wonder if there's a way to run a load with rubbing alcohol? I have a front load washer so can't fill it and leave to soak. Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you.

Washington County Oregon

1 Response

I'm very concerned about adding additional chemicals that may react with the mothball ingredients in the washer and create dangerous fumes or be damaging to the washer itself.
The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC), suggested that you contact the manufacturer of mothballs to determinate the safest and most effective way to remove the odor. WIllert Home Products, is one manufacturer. Their number is 1-800-325-9680.
In addition, the manufacturer of the washer should have a toll-free customer service line where they should be able to talk to you about removing odors from the machines they build and what cleaning products and techniques are effective for that model. The number should be printed on the machine's label.