Packing Those Sweaters Away Safely

Now that spring will soon arrive and warm weather will take hold, we can pack away our woolens until next year. There is no longer any good reason to use napthalene moth balls to protect woolens from wool moths; they are carcinogens and highly neurotoxic.

Instead, learn how to compose a sweet smelling sweater chest using the herbs that weavers use to repel wool moths! Weavers can’t take the chance of moths eating their skeins of wool, so their choices of repellent herbs really work.

Find out the simple steps to repelling clothing moths n*aturally, keeping your woolens safe all spring and summer long.

Before packing woolens away, there are a number of important
steps to take to prevent moths, including washing the wool. Here you can
learn about how to wet clean wool without shrinkage, how to
make your own natural moth balls (repellent sachets), and what
to do if you already have clothing moths.

How to Repel Clothing Moths

1. Clean woolen items before storing.
To wet clean wool: The key to not shrinking wool is to never
twist it, agitate it, or wring it out. Gently swirl the wool in
the water, then rinse and press the water out. Wool is an acidic
material, so use a shampoo with its acidic pH. Or an acideic detergent. Any soap or detergent with a pH
above 8 will harm wool. To lower the pH of a soap or detergent,
add 1 tablespoon of white distilled vinegar or lemon juice before
washing. Water temperature when washing wool should be around
100 F. Block wool — lay it flat and shape it — before drying.

2. Air woolen clothing in the sun for a few hours before
packing them away.

3. Make your own moth ball alternatives.
Natural Moth Balls (Repellent Sachets):
These sachets are lovely to tuck into sweater drawers
and hang in closets. Most health food stores sell bulk
dried herbs.

2 ounces each of dried rosemary and mint
1 ounce each of dried thyme and ginseng
8 ounces of whole cloves

Combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Blend.
Make sachets by choosing a 4 x 4 inch
piece of natural fiber with a tight weave, such
as silk. Sew three sides together, then fill with the
herbs and sew the fourth side shut. You can adapt this
pattern to any size you want (2 x 2 is the traditional size
for the undergarments drawer, for example). A good idea for
small sachets is to fill cotton teabags sold for
making your own tea (these are often sold in health food
stores). If you are really in a rush, just tie the herbs
up in a cotton bandana or handkerchief; place the
herbs in the middle, gather the edges together, and
tie with a ribbon.

Variation: Other herbs that are good for repelling moths
include lavender, lemon, sweet woodruff, and tansy.

4. Completely seal clean woolen items in bags, boxes, and
chests. Cedar chests help repel moths, but they must be sealed.

5. If you see moths, freeze the item of clothing for two days
in the freezer.

By Annie B. Bond


Nimue Pendragon

I use cedar/lavender balls, but will try the herbs. Thanks.

KS Goh
KS Goh6 years ago

Thanks for the article.

KARLOLINA G6 years ago

Thanks for the advice. I grow lavender and mint in my yard. I will be putting it to good use.

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

I prefer lavender!

David M.
David M.7 years ago


Broadview I.
Broadview I.7 years ago

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Patrick Whyte
Patrick Whyte7 years ago


Zaibatsu L.
Zaibatsu L.7 years ago

#5 sounds funny and crazy. What would someone think if they would see a sweater in my freezer :)
cotton bedspreads

Zaibatsu L.
Zaibatsu L.7 years ago

really useful information. You;re like a guru to me.

Patty G.
Patty G7 years ago

Thanks for all the wonderful idea's from you readers. I also have mint growing in abundance in my yard. I have cut it near the roots and tied string around bunches and hung it upside down in my basement or garage and it has dried out. Then you can crumble it on newspaper and store in a container for future use.