While many people simply don't like the smell of mothballs, there are many other good reasons to find an alternative. Mothballs are primarily made from either naphthalene or dichlorobenzene, which are both toxic and carcinogenic. They are downright dangerous and are poisonous to children and pets that mistake them for innocent toys. There are many natural and effective ways to keep the moths away without risking your family's health.
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Sprays and Oils
There are many sprays and laundry treatments available, typically containing essential oils, such as lavender. Remember that sprays and treatments applied at a dry cleaner are only temporary and not necessarily non-toxic. Always wait for sprays to dry before storing an item, especially in a humid area. You can also make your own wool washes and sprays at home.
Many dried herbs and spices found right in your kitchen can be made into sachets to protect your clothing from moths. These include bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and peppercorn. Many other easy to find and eco-friendly plants that keep moths away include mint, lavender, rosemary, sandalwood, thyme, ginseng and eucalyptus. Ready-made sachets can also be purchased at health food stores.
People have been using cedar chests for generations to keep clothing and bedding moth-free. Make sure to sand a new cedar chest and re-apply cedar oil every few years to keep your cedar chest effective at keeping moths away. If you don't already own a cedar chest and you don't want to invest in one, you can still benefit from cedar's natural ability to repel moths by using cedar chips, either in sachets or wrapped in cheesecloth in your drawers, boxes and plastic storage containers. In addition, never store unwashed clothes or those that need to be dry-cleaned.
Moths can't stand extreme temperatures. Washing clothing that you suspect is infested with moth eggs in hot water, running a dryer cycle on high heat, leaving clothes to dry in direct sunlight and thoroughly ironing clothing can get rid of moths. Freezing clothes in airtight packages can also rid them of moths.
Ultrasonic pest repellents use high energy waves to drive out pests. Although manufacturers claim that they are an ideal way to get rid of moths, no research can back up their effectiveness, and consumers are often left disappointed. Their cost is also a lot higher than other natural methods, so you'd be better off staying away from these gadgets.