Expensive Bag Smells like Mothballs--Advice??


Mar 14, 2009
I have seen several threads on bags purchased off ebay smelling like smoke. I have a similar issue, but the odor is mothballs. When I opened the package I had to jump out of the way because the smell was so overwhelming. Everything smelled of mothballs--the packaging, the bag, the box.

This bag was expensive--$800-- and would have been worth the price if it weren't for the smell. I emailed the seller on the day I received it and said that the bag reeked of mothballs. Unfortunately, I was going out of the country the next day--Sunday-- for 6 days, so I couldn't do more than that.

The seller emailed back and said:
  1. the bag definitely didn't smell before she shipped it and it was probably the packing materials combined with the heat. Of course it wasn't because there were only a few pieces of bubble wrap in the box.
  2. She asked me to sit it out overnight and to email her about the condition the next day. The smell was no better and I emailed her that information.
  3. She asked that I email her about the condition when I came back home after the 6 days out of the country. The bag still smelled and I emailed her this information a few minutes ago.
I want to return this bag as I shouldn't have to deal with a strong mothball smell on an expensive bag. I would never have purchased it if the smell had been disclosed.

So I wondered if anyone who deals with ebay more than me has any thoughts on :

1) Would a strong mothball smell qualify for "not as represented".
2) If so, since the seller initially said that the bag didn't smell when she sent it, should I go directly to paypal and dispute it? I am confident that it had to have smelled when she had it because the smell was overwhelming when I received it . It was only in transit a couple of days. So in my mind she is already not being honest about it.
3)The auction said there were no returns.

Thanks in advance for any feedback you might be able to give me.

Oh, and I think this has cured me of buying on ebay. I had had great luck and gotten some beautiful bags before this one!!
Feb 2, 2009
ooh sad. :sad:

I hear that things like dryer sheets and kitty litter work wonders on absorbing odors??

and luckily for the buyer, an auction stating no returns means nothing to paypal when it comes to a dispute. :balloon:

and I would think that a strong smell of mothballs would qualify as not as represented... or maybe a SNAD?? Since the seller didn't mention any smell, and she even said that the purse didn't smell like mothballs when she sent it. :hrmm:


Mar 14, 2009
I thought about trying to get rid of the odor myself, but then I thought...what the heck? I paid $800 for a bag that I have to work on? I wouldn't have paid $100 for it if I had known about the smell. And if I start working on it and I do any type of damage to it, then I for sure won't be able to return it.

I am glad to hear that paypal doesn't pay attention to the "no returns" when there is a dispute.

Unfortunately the seller has been silent since my original communcation. I have done what she asked and emailed her two more times updating her on the condition the day after I received it -- last Sunday and today.

Thanks for your thoughts mindy621!
Apr 15, 2009
In the seller's defense, she may not have been able to smell the mothballs. After the bag was packed up and more or less "stewed in its own juices" while it travelled to you, the scent MAY have become much more noticeable. (This has happened to me with some cashmere items I've sold.) Regardless, IMHO it is SNAD and if the seller is unwilling to work with you, you are well within your rights to file a SNAD.

I know of no way to remove the scent of mothballs :sad:


London, UK
Dec 3, 2008
London, UK
Bicarbonate of soda in a receptacle placed inside a smelly article is supposed to work but I've never tested it - and one would have to be extremely careful not to spill it. But you shouldn't have to deal with it, I'm sure a SNAD would succeed.

Apr 15, 2007
I wouldn't want to think about what I can do to an item to get rid of the smell.

I would file a claim with an explanation and return the smelly bag. I don't even

know if you can gid rid of that very strong mothball scent and mothball I think is a

hard one to get rid of. If you do something to the bag accidentally, then its yours

I think its best to send it back and find that bag elsewhere which you probably will.


Mar 24, 2009
The Chanel tote I bought off of Ebay is like that, it has a really strong mothball smell. I'm going to have it completely refurbished when I have the money, and I'm hoping that that will take care of the mothball smell.


LV/Coach Collector
Apr 6, 2008
Did this bag come from Asia? They have a horrible time with humidity and will use mothballs to combat mildew. I bought a LV from Hong Kong that smelled like mothballs. I didn't pay anywhere near 800 dollars for it though and was able to get the smell out. Wait and see what the seller says. Hopefully she will let you return without any trouble.

Luxe Diva

Sep 8, 2007
An LV bag I bought off eBay, from Hong Kong, smelled horrible of mothballs as well and I've done everything to try and get the smell out with no luck. It certainly doesn't smell as strong as when I got it, but it's still there. I didn't know that mothballs combat mildew, interesting.
Apr 15, 2009
Has anyone tried ground coffee? It used to be THE remedy for smelly fridges that had sat with their doors closed and power off. We would put a large open plastic container with ground coffee in the fridge, close the door, turn the power back on, and in a couple of days the really NASTY smell would be gone. I've also been told that for suitcases and such, if you stuff them with crumpled up newspaper, and leave it for a couple of weeks, that takes old smells out. I've NOT tried that.

Neither of these is intended for mothballs, but may be worth a try????

Luv n bags

Jun 4, 2008
I once purchased a purse through Nordys. The bag REEKED of mothballs. The SA told me it spent 4 months in Hong Kong and was returned. I tried everything!

Needless to say, I had to return the bag - nothing absorbed that awful mothball smell!


Apr 4, 2009
It's a snad and you shouldn't have to deal with that smell, that's a SNAD. I would not do anything to it and just return it.


Mar 5, 2009
Oooo, I hate stinky purses! :mad:

I've used charcoal filters from aquarium supplies stores to "de-odorize" leather bags, mostly to remove the stink of cigarette smoke. You can also buy activated charcoal or activated carbon loose in cans or bottles from other stores.

Other suggestions: Arm&Hammer Baking Soda with pop-open windows (to prevent spills) although I haven't bought baking soda for ages.

BTW, if you cannot get activated carbon or charcoal, when I was a child, my Mum used lumps of charcoal or charcoal briquettes to freshen up dresser drawers that smelled odd.

Good luck