It’s not really surprising to me that mothballs are quite toxic! So I began investigating some safe alternatives to mothballs.
Have you packed away your winter clothing and bedding yet? I don’t actually own a lot of clothing so most of mine just stays out all year long. I do have a few coats and sweaters that I pack away though, along with my flannel sheets and heavy blankets.
It’s so incredibly frustrating though to get them back out in the fall and find that they have been moth damaged. I remember my aunt using moth balls to take care of this issue but the nasty odor that impregnated the clothing and linens was just awful. And the concerns about their toxicity makes me wary. So, here are some alternatives I have found.
SAFE ALTERNATIVES TO MOTHBALLS
The first thing you need to do in order to get your clothing and linens prepared for packing away in a safe way that helps prevent moth damage is to ensure that it is all clean. This is good for your clothing anyway!
Unseen stains can really set in and develop over the course of a season, making it impossible to remove them. In addition, if any moth larvae have attached themselves to the clothing, washing can get rid of them before they can do any harm.
Store your items in sealed containers. Plastic storage bins, suitcases (a great way to make use of them when not traveling!), garment bags, and wooden chests are all good options.
Don’t use cardboard boxes as they aren’t moth proof. Place these in a closet, under your bed, or in another dry location. Moths love moisture so basements and garages can be a bad idea.
Be sure to vacuum your closets, drawers, and furniture on a regular basis. Moths LOVE lint, pet fur, and human hair so you want to be sure to get rid of their potential breeding grounds.
If you know you have a moth issue, once you’ve vacuumed, be sure to remove that vacuum bag from your home as the moths may survive the vacuuming and they will begin breeding again. When you find an article of clothing or other item with moths in it, seal the item in a plastic bag and in the freezer for 24 hours.
If you have pets, it’s very important to keep their bedding or cages clean. Moths love pet fur so keeping them brushed and clean is crucial. Vacuum their bedding every week. Empty out and wash cages with soap and water weekly as well.
Many people know that cedar can be very effective in repelling moths. Cedar lined chests or closets as well as cedar blocks or chips work quite well in keeping those pesky insects away.
Bear in mind that cedar does begin to lose its effectiveness over time. If using cedar chips, you will need to replace them each season. With other forms of cedar, you can lightly sand the wood or rub on some cedar oil to rejuvenate the scent.
You can make several different kinds of natural moth repellents. Make sachet bags or use essential oils. For the sachet bags, one thing that works really well is coffee filters.
Buy really cheap ones from a dollar store. Or you can also use pieces of cheesecloth.Fill with the dried herb mixture and tie shut with twine. These can be tucked in with your clothing and linens or use the twine to hang one from the hanger inside a garment bag.
With the essential oils, I like to drip some oil onto a few cotton balls. I them place them into some zippered storage bags or small plastic containers with holes punched in them. This allows the scent to release without damaging the clothing with the oil.
Sachet Bag and Essential Oil Mixtures
- Two parts cedar chips or dried peppermint leaves, two parts dried rosemary, one part dried thyme, and a few whole cloves.
- Dried lavender (just by itself) or equal parts cedar chips and dried lavender.
- Two bay leaves, one T. whole cloves, one T. peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 cup of cedar chips.
- Lavender essential oil.
- Peppermint essential oil.
It’s as simple as that! Mothballs are really dangerous and toxic especially to small children and animals or those with asthma and other breathing issues.
Keeping them out of their reach is only half the issue. The lingering odor on articles that were stored in mothballs can also be problematic. Luckily, there are so many safe, natural options that can be used instead! Save these safe alternatives to mothballs for future use.