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Removing mothball smells

By Daily Herald - | May 24, 2002

Dear Heloise: I have a problem with the odor of mothballs, which my mother-in-law put in the cedar chest that I inherited when she died. I left it open in the sunlight, sanded the interior, put cedar chips in and washed the inside with pine cleaner. Nothing seems to help.

My husband made the chest in high school, and I would love to use it, but anything smells of mothballs if I put it in the chest. I would appreciate any ideas you have. Thank you. — Lois Westerlund, Osco, Ill.

Yuck! Let’s give it a good old-fashioned try. Make a mixture of equal parts rubbing alcohol and vinegar OR lemon juice. Dampen a cloth and rub the inside of the chest. Lemon or vinegar might help counteract the mothball odor. It’s very important to keep the lid open until the chest dries and even leave it open for several days.

Another solution is to fill a bowl with baking soda, place that in the chest, then stuff the chest with newspapers, keeping the lid closed for a week or so. If the newspapers start to smell like mothballs, repeat the process. For other odor-busting hints using vinegar, you can order my pamphlet. Send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped (57 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279. Vinegar does kill bacteria and helps deodorize things, so it just might do the trick. You can also buy cedar oil that you can dab or spray on the wood (the lid) to refresh the smell.

Hope these hints help you and others who have this dilemma. — Heloise

Earring holder

Dear Heloise: To help organize my pierced-earring collection, I painted a piece of cork board and hung it on my bedroom wall.

The post earrings I just pushed in. For the ones with hooks, I screwed in eye hooks to hang them. I keep the post backs in my jewelry box. — Ginny Schofield, Springfield, Ill.

Thanks for sending in the photo of your earring holder. It is so colorful and actually makes a nice decorative wall hanging.

To see the photo of Ginny’s unique earring holder, visit my Web site, www.Heloise.com, and click on “Reader hint and photo.” — Heloise

Travel tip

Dear Heloise: I stay in hotels every week for business. Even though I set my alarm, I always request a wake-up call for 15 minutes later. You would be amazed how this helps. — T.T., Arlington, Va.

This story appeared in The Daily Herald on page C5.

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