Natural Products That Keep Bugs From Eating Stored Clothes

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Use natural repellents to keep moths from destroying your off-season clothing.
Use natural repellents to keep moths from destroying your off-season clothing. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Moths and their larvae can invade the smallest hole in your storage closet and wreak havoc. Commercial mothballs contain naphthalene, a strong chemical that repels moths but is also highly toxic. Cedar chests and chips are effective moth repellents but lose their effectiveness over time. The best remedy is to vacuum storage areas regularly and store clothing in tightly sealed plastic bags. To repel moths and keep your clothes intact, try one of these organic alternatives to chemical bug repellents.

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus' clean and woody scent freshens your home while keeping moths away. Pour eucalyptus oil on cotton balls and tuck them into your storage closets and drawers. Or, fill sachets with dried eucalyptus alone or in combination with basil or any of the other natural herbs listed here.

Lavender

Many people find the scent of lavender soothing. Another benefit to using it around your home is its bug-repellent properties. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists lavender flowers among its natural alternatives to mothballs. Sprinkle lavender oils or dried lavender sachets in and around your stored clothes to deter moths. Change or refill the sachets every six months.

Rosemary Mixture

Your local health food store or well-stocked grocery can be your source for natural herbs that not only help to repel cloth-eating bugs but make your closet smell nice as well. Grab a large bowl and mix together 2 oz. of dried rosemary, 2 oz. of dried mint, 1 oz. each of dried ginseng and thyme, and 8 oz. of white cloves. Pour the well-mixed herbs into small sachets, and place in closets and drawers. Replace the contents every few months to keep the aroma fresh.

Neem Oil

Neem oil is a natural plant extract that can be purchased at garden supply stores. Mix 1/4 cup of neem oil with 1/2 gallon of water. Throw in a squirt of liquid Castile soap, mix well, and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray it around the area where you have seen moths or their larvae. Avoid getting the oil on any of your clothing.

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