Learn to Keep Moths Out of Your House Naturally

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Moths in House

Moths in the house? This solution works well, is inexpensive, and is simple to make. Make the sachets, and place them where you have wool in your home!

I love living in the country. Unfortunately, there are a few hard and fast truths that come with wide-open spaces and fresh air:

  1. You will never be able to keep the layer of dust at bay during harvest season.
  2. Spiderwebs that you have just swept away will return almost as fast as you can blink.
  3. You will struggle with moths in the house who want to share your warm indoor space.

This last truth has been especially difficult for us this year. We have found moths in our closet and in the pantry; it is time for them to go.

It used to be more common for people to have moth sachets in their homes. I’m not sure when we got away from this. It could be that we wear less wool clothing. Whatever the case, I am making a call for a reinstatement of these scented pouches, in every room of the house.

Using Southernwood for Moths in the House

Right outside my kitchen door, there is a plant that has a well-earned and ancient reputation for keeping moths out of the house. To date, I have only used it in connection with keeping moths out of my beehives. It has grown wild and unmanageable and I was eyeing it this spring for a major cutback anyway. This plant is called southernwood (Artemisia abrotanum).

Southernwood is a European native that does very well here in North America. It grows happily into a small shrub that is roughly three feet by three feet in size. In the Middle Ages, southernwood was very popular. It was taken inside and thrown on the floor to be walked on, hung in wardrobes and placed in trunks of clothing for its pest rebuffing properties. It is aromatic, smelling of lemon and camphor when crushed. The French call it “garderobe” for its ability to guard their stored wardrobe.

Southernwood used to have quite a reputation as a culinary herb and as an internal healer. It was used to drive off intestinal worms and calm the stomach. Today, it is little used as a remedy and only seen in food in Italy. It makes a great potpourri and incense ingredient.

Making a Moth Sachet

I originally grew southernwood for its reputation for chasing away fleas when sewn into a dog’s bed. This week it’s going to get pressed into service in other areas of my house. I’m making a moth sachet to get rid of the moths in my house.

Making a moth sachet is not a complicated process. You can use just about any kind of cloth bag. I have a big drawer of my grandmother’s handkerchiefs that I have been wanting to use – they’re going to become part of this project.

Other Plants for Getting Rid of Moths in the House

If you don’t have southernwood, or if you want to have a mix of plants instead, here are some other great plants that will help you get rid of moths in the house:

  • lavender
  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • peppermint
  • thyme
  • rosemary
  • cedar
  • orange

(Find all of these dried plants here.)

Sachet for Moths in the House

You will want to make one for hanging on each hanger you use for something that is wool. If you have drawers, or you have put your clothes away in boxes, make a sachet for each of these as well.

Supplies

  • 2-3 pocket handkerchiefs, or any kind of cloth bag (find some here)
  • 1 ounce dried southernwood* (find it here)
  • 1 ounce dried herb(s) of your choice from above* (a traditional recipe uses broken cinnamon sticks here)
  • 8 inches of ribbon for each handkerchief

DO NOT use powdered herbs for this project.

Method

  1. In a bowl, stir your herbs together.
  2. Place a golf-ball-sized mound of the herbs in the center of each unfolded and flattened handkerchief.
  3. Gather the four corners of your handkerchief together.
  4. Fold your ribbon in half and make a knot around the handkerchief corners in the middle of the ribbon.
  5. Tie another knot with the ends of the ribbon.
  6. You should now have a tied herbal sachet with a ribbon hanger. You may shorten the ribbon or just tie the ends into a bow if you would rather not hang your sachet.

To Use

Place one sachet into each drawer or box with wool clothing. Hang one sachet on a hanger with each wool garment in your closet. These sachets can be used to get rid of moths, ants, and mice in your house and food cupboards. You can keep them fresh for 6-12 months by squeezing them occasionally.

We have also written about other homemade moth repellent ideas.

Have you ever used a natural method to get rid of moths in the house? If so, what worked well for you?

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Dawn Combs

About Dawn Combs

Dawn is a wife, mother, farmer, author, ethnobotanist, professional speaker, and educator. She has over 20 years of ethnobotanical experience, is a certified herbalist, and has a B.A. in Botany and Humanities/Classics. Dawn is co-owner of Mockingbird Meadows Farm. Her books include Conceiving Healthy Babies and Heal Local.

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Comments

  1. Kay says

    Great tips, Dawn, thank you! I do not have any southernwood growing, but the native Artemisia ludoviciana grows all over here. Are you familiar with it? It has a sagey smell and has a history of being used for smudge sticks. I wondered if I could use that with a mix of some of the other herbs you list. Thanks!

    • Dawn CombsDawn Combs says

      Thanks Kay!
      I say, give it a try. A lot of the sages carry similar phytochemicals, if not in the same concentrations. With a combination of other plants known to repel moths, I don’t think you can go wrong. =)

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