If you have moths and don’t like using chemical-based solutions like mothballs then you’ll love these tips on making natural moth repellents.
Moths may be cute, like the brilliant green Luna moth or the swift Hummingbird moth, but they can also do a lot of damage in your home. From getting into your pantry to chewing holes in your sweaters to eating your carpet, moths don’t belong in the house. Here are some natural solutions to help you avoid the chemicals people most often use.
Traditional Moth Repellent Chemicals
Moths are pests and the chemicals people most often use are pesticides. The most common is naphthalene which usually takes the form of mothballs or flakes. Concentrated naphthalene is formed into small balls or flakes, making them longer lasting and more weather resistant. The bad thing about these products is that they contain high amounts of VOCs and can be bad for the respiratory system. VOCs can cause shortness of breath, sneezing, coughing, and many other health problems.
Other chemicals include hexachloroethane and 1,4-dichlorobenzene. My Mom always says: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t use it. Except for quinoa. Everyone should eat quinoa.
Health Risks to These Chemicals
The US Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that 1,4-dichlorobenzene is a carcinogen and a neurotoxin. The naphthalene in mothballs is also considered carcinogenic. Also, exposure to naphthalene mothballs can cause acute hemolysis (anemia) in people with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. Finally, mothballs containing naphthalene have been banned within the EU since 2008.
Natural Moth Repellent Plants
There are many natural alternatives that you can use safely and effectively.
Both red and white cedarwood will repel moths. This is why closets, drawer liners, and storage chests are made of cedar. Cedar can be expensive, but you can also use cedar chips and/or cedarwood essential oil.
Like mints, moths don’t like the scent. Again you can use dried leaves or essential oils.
Another household herb that moths can’t stand.
Moths don’t like cloves. Cinnamon can also work to some extent, but not as well as cloves.
Eucalyptus also works well as a natural moth repellent. It will also help keep your house smelling fresh and clean.
Like roaches, moths don’t like bay leaves. Bay, like the herbs mentioned above, can be used as a cooking ingredient and a natural moth repellent. Tuck a few leaves here and there in your pantry. Be sure to replace them every six months or so.
Back in the day, ladies use to make a sachet from lavender. Not only did it keep their clothes from smelling stale, but it kept moths away too.
While some other herbs may help in keeping moths away, these are the most effective. You can use them either as a dried herb or as an essential oil.
Homemade Moth Repellent
It is simple to make your own natural moth repellent. Here are a few ways to do it.
Moth Repellent Sachet
Start with a bag of some sort. This can be a muslin bag, organza, or even a bag you’ve made on your own. In a bowl, mix up some lavender flowers, cedar chips, bay leaves, and cinnamon chips. If you don’t have chips, cinnamon sticks will work. When this is all mixed, spoon into the bags. This will stay fresh for several months in the pantry or closet. I change mine every time I change my smoke detector batteries, as six months seems about the time it starts to lose the scent.
Use cotton balls, small or large. Drip a few drops of bay laurel essential oil, cedarwood essential oil, or lavender essential oil on them. Place them in a bag, like one of the ones described above, or on a ceramic dish. These won’t allow the essential oil to touch the paint or wood, possibly staining it. Refresh the mothballs every week or so. Essential oils are volatile and evaporate quickly.
Use water balls, such as Orbeez™ or something similar. Add distilled water to them and wait for them to grow. Once they reach full size, add 10-15 drops of one of the above essential oils, or a combination of a few oils. Mix well. Place in a glass or ceramic bowl and store in the area that you want to keep moths from. Remember that these balls are water-based and will lose moisture and shrink over time. To refresh them, add more water and essential oils and you’re set.
Humidifiers Don’t Seem To Work
Adding essential oils to a humidifier doesn’t seem to work as well because the oils dissipate too quickly. You may get some short-term effects, but for lasting protection, use one of the above methods.
Have you used one of these natural homemade moth repellents? Tell us what worked for you!
- Mothball. Wikipedia. Accessed Oct 2019.