Alternative to Using Mothballs

Colored Naphthalene Balls
Mothballs can be an effective method of keeping moths out of your stored woolen clothing. However, they are also made from the highly toxic chemical naphthalene and are linked to several health issues, especially in children. This is a page about alternatives to using mothballs.

7 Solutions

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April 14, 2015

When most of our belongings went into storage for 12 months, I used peppercorns and cloves (wrapped together in muslin) in all clothing containers, and bay leaves in all my book boxes. Never had a problem and everything smelt nice when I unpacked.

A few bay leaves in the back of each shelf in the book cases keeps any pest away.A selection of different spices, both powdered and whole.

Can't abide the smell of mothballs and would never use them. They smell evil.

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August 2, 2004

Try this instead of mothballs.



Mix the cloves, pepper corns and cinnamon bark together in a bowl. Then using double-layer cheesecloth, sew little pillows or make little bags to hold about 2 tablespoons of the mixture. Make little bags to hang in your closet and a little pillows to put in your drawers. You can also just sprinkle this mixture in areas that you want to prevent moths, but be careful. If comes into contact with clothing, it can stain.

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November 5, 2004

I pack many of my woolens in a cedar-lined hope chest. The rest of my stored clothing goes into the attic in plastic trash barrels with tight lids.


I place 1 or 2 bars or scented soap, unwrapped, in each barrel and have never had a problem with moths or other insects. By joesgirl

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Susan Sanders-Kinzel
November 27, 2006

We get so many requests about how to get rid of pests and invariably people say to use mothballs or were given this advice from exterminators.

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May 9, 2005

A better idea than using mothballs is to take your leftover soap slivers and put them in a vented plastic bag. You place the bag with seasonal clothes before packing them away.

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January 30, 2005

Cloves work as well as mothballs on your stored garments. The smell is nice and fresh. Put them in cloth bags and put them in the pockets of garments and into bags holding garments while they are in storage.

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June 6, 2016

This is a page about, "Do mothballs work as a snake repellent?". Homeowners often try to use a variety of products to deter snakes from coming into their yard or garden.

Orange bowl filled with mothballs

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