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Packing Away Winter Without Hazardous Mothballs

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.

Read more: Family, Green, Health, Health & Safety, Home, Household Hints, Non-Toxic Cleaning, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Terri Hall

Terri Hall lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.


+ add your own
12:45AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Thank you for the article

3:12AM PDT on Jul 15, 2012

Thank you

12:40PM PST on Mar 9, 2012

Thank you for the great article.

11:08AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

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

1:12AM PDT on Apr 9, 2011

Thanks for the article.

12:04AM PDT on Jun 26, 2010

thanks for post

11:52PM PDT on May 5, 2010

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

shes dumber than a bag of mothballs.

4:26PM PDT on Apr 1, 2010

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

2:34AM PDT on Mar 31, 2010

thanks for posting! for anyone who's interested here are some other great sites to click for good causes

3:02PM PDT on Mar 29, 2010

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

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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