The smell of moth balls is so characteristic that most people can recognize it even months after moth balls have been removed from a home. The good thing about the strong, lingering smell is that it keeps protecting clothes even after the ball itself has dissolved. The bad thing is that the odor will usually stay on clothes even after they have been washed repeatedly.
If you have tried to remove the smell of moth balls from clothes, you know how hard it can be. The most common way of doing so is to hang the clothes in the sun on and off for at least a week. This seems to work especially well if the clothes are hung dry, before attempting to wash them even once. After the smell has dissipated, it could also help to wash the clothes with a little vinegar added to the water.
It may also be possible to remove the smell by sealing the clothes in a plastic bag together with a powerful deodorizer, such as dryer sheets or a sachet of dry lavender. Lavender is also a natural moth repellent, and it can be used instead of moth balls in the first place.
Removing the smell of moth balls from furniture may be trickier, as the odor can get into the wood grain and become as one with the piece. Baking soda and charcoal may help absorb the smell from the inside of drawers or cupboards, and furniture polish can sometimes help with the outside. The best solution, however, is to let the wood breathe. If you have a chance to put the furniture outside, do it, but make sure it won't get wet. Water will embed the odor even further into the grain.
The best thing you can to avoid the smell is to use moth balls as little as possible. Choose natural scents like lavender, mint, and rosemary, which are natural moth repellents. Moth balls are extremely toxic to pets and children, and they should be avoided in houses trying to keep their surroundings green.