Getting Rid of Mothball Smell!

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    • #132343
      Leila Kelly

      Hi all,

      I am the CM for a private art collector who recently acquired over 750 textile bags that were stuffed with mothballs and stored in tightly sealed plastic containers for many months. As you can imagine, the mothball smell is overpowering! What’s more, the fumes are really toxic, which has me feeling really concerned about handling this collection.

      What can I do to both protect myself while handling the textiles and to eliminate the mothball smell? Since I work for a private collection (and have only been here a very short time), I need to be able to build a case to support the need to do anything that my employers might consider “out of the ordinary.”

      Thanks so much!

    • #132345
      Nora Lockshin

      The National Museum of the American Indian conservation department has recently published research on rapid air exchange for reducing napthalene concentration aka mothball smell, through not too challenging technical means! They are working on a fuller publication but a brief writeup is available. Hopefully you can access this publication through ILL, however if you need assistance in obtaining it, do send a note and our librarians can assist. Susan Heald and Odile Madden. 2011. Investigations into Naphthalene Mitigation on Museum Objects, in Pulling Together in the 21st Century, Preprints of the  8th North American Textile Conservation Conference, Oaxaca, Mexico. November 8-11, 2011.

    • #132344

      Nora, I don’t have ILL access but would be grateful for access to this writeup.  Thanks!

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