Dryer sheets can repel clothes moths under certain conditions. Clothes moths eat wool, fur, silk, felt, feathers and cotton yarn. Floral-scented dryer sheets often contain chemicals such as lavandin oil that repel or kill clothes moths. Commercially made moth repellents using lavandin oil is another alternative, notes Colorado State University entomologist W. Cranshaw.
Although "moth balls" get their name from their ability to repel moths, their main ingredients of naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene are poisonous to people and pets if they are accidentally eaten. The scent of moth balls can trigger migraine attacks in some people prone to migraines, notes "Migraines: Manifestations, Pathogenesis and Management." Dryer sheets are a better-smelling alternative to moth balls, but still should not be eaten.
Methods of Use
Dryer sheets can be stored with blankets, clothes, balls of yarn or other materials clothes moths like to eat. Wash items before storing. This ensures that any tiny moth eggs hidden in the items are killed. Place dryer sheets in cheesecloth or fine mesh to avoid direct contact with fabrics. Place packets in drawers, bags or airtight containers along with the freshly cleaned items.
Dryer sheets are not 100 percent reliable. No reliable clinical studies have been done using the essential oils used in scented fabric softener dryer sheets to prevent clothes moths or other insects, notes the Washington Toxics Coalition. New Mexico State University Consumer Education Specialist Susan Wright notes that some essential oils or herbs are "thought to" repel clothes moths, including lavender, cedar, eucalyptus, pennyroyal and tansy.
Other Moth Control Tips
Good housekeeping practices like regular vacuuming and dusting kill moth eggs and larvae. Clothes moths prefer dark areas, so placing clothes in sunny spots can help prevent infestations. Brush woolen clothes outdoors to remove any eggs. Consider getting rid of clothes or blankets rarely or never used, as these undisturbed, rarely washed items in storage will attract clothes moths.
- Colorado State University Extension: Clothes Moths: Identification and Control in the Home; W. Cranshaw; May 12, 2010
- “Migraines: Manifestations, Pathogenesis and Management”; Robert A. Davidoff; 2002
- Wahington Toxics Coalition: Clothing Moths—Prevention and Control; Jennie Goldberg
- New Mexico State University: Preventing Damage from Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles; Susan Wright; March 2001
- Pet Education: Moth Ball Poisoning in Cats and Dogs
- Cornell University Insect Diagnostic Laboratory: Clothes Moths
Rena Sherwood is a writer and Peter Gabriel fan who has lived in America and England. She has studied animals most of her life through direct observation and maintaining a personal library about pets. She has earned an associate degree in liberal arts from Delaware County Community College and a bachelor's degree in English from Millersville University.