I hate it when moths get into my clothes but the commercial deterrents can be really dangerous, especially for children. I was reading in the papers another story about the toxicity of naphthalene. Despite the chemical being implicated in the death and injury of children, I was shocked to see that it was available on the shelf at my local hardware store.
If you have any of these things in your home, I’d recommend removing them and throwing them out straight away. It’s not worth the risk. But what do you replace them with?
Fortunately, there are plenty of effective natural deterrents that actually smell a whole lot nicer than the fusty chemical mothballs. But still take care and remember that even though something is natural doesn’t mean it is harmless – some people are sensitive or allergic to certain essential oils and you should always check any contraindications (e.g. some essential oils are not recommended for pregnant women). Also make sure that any bottles of essential oils are stored safely away from children as they can be harmful if consumed.
Moth Repelling Plants
These plants and their oils are well known for repelling moths:
- Lavender (this is my favourite)
- Eucalyptus oil
Easy to make natural mothballs
My favourite tip for preventing moths is also one of the easiest. Get cotton wool balls and lightly soak them in a repelling essential oil like lavender, rosemary, lemongrass, clove or eucalyptus. When the ball is dry to the touch scatter them in amongst your drawers. Make sure to refresh every couple of months.
Another simple method is to scatter dried herbs (e.g. rosemary, lavender, cloves) or scatter cedar chips under paper drawer liners (needs to be porous).
Line your drawers to ward away moths
You can also make up sachets using a thin natural material like cotton muslin for use in both your drawers and placed at regular intervals amongst your hanging clothes. These sachets should be filled with one or a mix of repellents such as cedar chips or balls, dried rosemary, dried lavender, cloves, or the cotton wool balls soaked in essential oils.
Moth repelling sachet recipe
A nice recipe for a moth repelling sachet is to use some cedar chips (or balls), a cotton ball soaked in rosemary essential oil and a cotton ball soaked in lavender essential oil. Make sure to refresh the cotton balls every couple of months.
How to kill pre-existing moths
If the fabric can handle it, a hot wash in temperatures 50 − 60 C (122 − 140 F) will kill any present moths. So should dry cleaning for sensitive clothes. However, the most useful method to kill moth eggs that might be present in your clothes is to put the item in a sealed freezer bag and keep them in the freezer for at least 72 hours. It’s important that the temperature of your freezer is below 0 F (18F) – if it is warmer than this, the moths can survive. This is also the recommended normal operating temperature of your freezer so it’s worth checking out anyway.
Refurbish moth damaged clothes
For clothes that have already been damaged, you don’t need to throw them away or get upset every time you see a garment’s moth bitten holes. Pick up some embroidery thread and a needle or sew over an applique to turn the fault into a feature!
Hope you find this article useful! Please let us know if you have any more moth fighting tips…