What to Use in Place of Mothballs

Mothballs are an old standby moth killer that has been used for years, but its drawbacks are difficult to ignore. Besides having an unpleasant odor, mothballs are highly flammable and have been linked to long-term health problems due to the toxicity of its chemical ingredients, according to the National Pesticide Information Center. Here are some better-smelling and healthier alternatives that will keep moths away and give you peace of mind.

Herbal Sachets

Place bay or eucalyptus leaves in a cloth bag or sachet and toss in areas you store clothes. You can also use cloves, cinnamon sticks, lavender, peppercorns, peppermint sticks, vetiver, wormwood and rosemary. Keep these bag and sachet repellents away from direct contact with your clothes and out of reach of pets. If you use cloves or cinnamon, change the spices out often. Over time they excrete an oil that will damage your clothing.

Cedar Balls and Blocks

The strong scent of cedar masks smells that attract moths, such as wool. Cedar balls and blocks are chemical-free alternatives that you can purchase at hardware, retail and home-improvement stores. Lightly rub cedar blocks occasionally with sandpaper to rejuvenate their scent.

Switching to Alternative Substances

Before you start using a mothball alternative, throw out any mothballs currently in use and wipe your closets, cupboards and drawers with a clean dry towel to remove any mothball fragments. Wash or dry clean any clothes packed around mothballs. Make sure all clothing storage areas are completely dry and free of moisture.

Nick Davis

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.