Vintage clothing is fun, unique and hugely popular right now. (Be sure to check out my store: It’s also old, which means those funky grandma odors can linger. Fortunately, there are a few tricks to removing body odor, mildew or musty odors, and that unmistakable mothball smell from your treasured garments.

1. GET SOME FRESH AIR. The easiest and cheapest way to remove the odor is to hang your vintage garment outside for a few days (bring it in at night). Hang the garment dry, before you’ve attempted to wash it. Alternate between sun and shade. Direct sun helps break down the moth ball smell. But be careful to not let the clothing sit in the sun too long…You don’t the vintage garment’s color to fade.
2. VINEGAR. Vinegar is especially effective at removing odors from vintage clothing. Put 1 cup in your washing machine at the beginning of the wash cycle. You may need to run the load more than once. After the first load, pull the garment out and run a smell test. Make sure your garment is machine washer safe.
3. GIVE IT A COFFEE FIX. For leather, place garment in a black plastic garbage bag with some dry, unused coffee grounds. Leave sealed for a few days.
4. BAKING SODA. Put your item in a paper bag or pillow case with an open box of baking soda for at least 24 hours. You may also sprinkle baking soda into the pockets and interior of the item or fill a sock with baking soda and leave it inside.
5. SMELLEZE MOTHBALL DEODORIZER. I have not personally tried this product, but it claims that it removes the smell by attracting it and capturing the molecules from the air. It’s a small pouch that you can hang in a closet or place in a drawer. Just place the mothball affected clothing on hangers, hang the bag right near the clothing, and smells will be absorbed. The pouch can be regenerated by placing in the sun for a few hours. This product costs about $12 per pouch and you can find it on the Internet. If you try this let me know how it works!

TIP: Avoid steam ironing and high dryer heat when trying to remove moth ball smell from your vintage clothing. This can actually cause the smell to set into the clothing, making it even more difficult to remove.
Side note: Can anyone tell me why anyone even uses moth balls? Do people have an excessive moth problem in their closets? If so, you might want to call an exterminator! The only moths I’ve ever seen are OUTSIDE my house.

For the best selection of vintage clothing (without the funky grandma smell!)  including vintage baby clothes, vintage dresses, and vintage home decor, go to



Christy (Thrifty Vintage Kitten)