Packing Away Winter Without Hazardous Mothballs

Sunnier, longer days beckon us to enjoy more time outside, and to do the clothing switchover. Bye-bye corduroys, hello linen.

As you pack away your down comforters, favorite sweaters or other items made of wool, be sure to steer clear of mothballs. First of all, they smell gross. When is the last time you paid someone the compliment, “I love your home; it always smells like mothballs”? That distinctive, unpleasant odor is what keeps the moths away.

But more importantly, mothballs typically contain the pesticides naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. According to the EPA, both of these are likely carcinogenic, and chronic inhalation of their fumes can cause damage to the central nervous system, the liver, skin, as well as cause headaches, mental confusion, convulsions and more.  Even the packaging provides ample warnings, including first aid instructions…always an indicator that your messing with something you need to pay attention to.

Even if your exposure to mothballs is limited, having them in your home could prove hazardous, especially if you have young children around who might ingest them.

A great alternative to mothballs is cedar. While cedar won’t get rid of an already present larvae infestation, it will help protect clean items when they are kept in a well-sealed location. If you can, store your woolen items in a cedar chest or a cedar closet. If you need a cheaper option, you can place cedar blocks or shavings (in a cheesecloth baggy) with your goods in an airtight container. If using cedar blocks, be sure to sand or treat them with cedar oil annually to ensure their effectiveness.

Some natural scents that repel moths include eucalyptus, cloves, fresh rosemary, and bay leaves. These too can be inserted into breathable baggies and kept with the items you are protecting.

Click here for more non-toxic moth ball alternatives and tips to remove the moth ball smell.

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380 comments

Ram R.
Ram Reddy3 years ago

Thank you for the article

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

Kristina C.
Kristina C.3 years ago

Thank you for the great article.

Teresa Wlosowicz
Teresa W.4 years ago

Do you think moths are better? As pets?! LOL!

K s Goh
KS Goh4 years ago

Thanks for the article.

gail d.
gail dair5 years ago

thanks for post

Pete C.
Pete C.5 years ago

my neighbors house smells like mothballs. tell her theyre poison but she doesnt believe abything i say.

shes dumber than a bag of mothballs.

Tere M.
Tere M.5 years ago

Thank you Terri! I did know about cedar, but I had no idea about eucalyptus, cloves, fresh rosemary, and bay leaves. :)

Connor H.
Past Member 5 years ago

thanks for posting! for anyone who's interested here are some other great sites to click for good causes
http://www.cleanbreath.org/
http://www.change.org/
http://www.grist.org/
http://takepart.com/

Thomas Klein
Thomas Klein5 years ago

i have never used mothballs and i won´t do this.