Mothballs are made from paradichlorobenzene  and can cause all kinds of health problems including damage to liver and kidneys. They’re especially hazardous to children if swallowed–and they don’t smell all that good either.
Here are a few items you can use to help protect items naturally:
- Dried lavender
- Cinnamon sticks
- Dried lemon peel
- Dried orange peel
- Cedar (chips, balls, planks or essential oil–cedar lined closets, drawers or trunks)
You can make sachets to stash in drawers, trunks or hang in closets out of pretty cotton fabrics, plain cheesecloth, muslin, linen or clean nylons (knee highs or cut pantyhose). You could also spread dried orange and lemon peels in between clothing and linens while you’re packing them away.
- 50/50 rosemary and mint
- 1 part dried lavender, 1 part rosemary, 1/2 part dried lemon peel, 1 TBS cloves
- 1 part whole cloves, 1 part whole peppercorns, 2 – 4 cinnamon sticks broken in pieces
- 1 part dried lavender, 1 part dried lemon peel, 1 broken cinnamon stick
- 1 part cedar shavings, 1 part thyme
- 1 part peppermint, 1 part spearmint, 1 part rosemary, 1/2 part thyme
- Equal parts ground cloves, black pepper, orris root and cinnamon
You can mix and match your own recipes, or just use 100% one ingredient if you like.
*First published February 8, 2008 and moved to this page for better organization
These can be used for repelling moths and other household pests.
Cheesecloth, Muslin drawstring bags or fabric envelopes (free pattern download below)
- Fill small drawstring bags to hold between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of the herb mixture.
- Place bags in your pantry, closets, drawers, chests, under beds, hang in kitchen windows. You could also place the herbs in open, decorative bowls and place them in rooms.
- Roughly scrunch the bags periodically to help release their smells.
- Refill bags once they are no longer effective or hold no aroma.
The herb mixture helps to naturally deter and repel bugs and pests from the places you have stored the bags.
The picture above is from a free pattern for making pretty fabric envelopes to hold your lavender and herbs in, perfect for this purpose! You can find the pattern here  (pdf), source: The Giving Flower .
- Replace sachets with fresh ones annually. The stronger the fragrance, the better it repels moths.
- To help protect your clothes and linens, make sure items are laundered and clean before storing away. It also helps to seal items in plastic if possible.
- If you know moths have discovered your storage area, kill larvae by dry cleaning, freezing cloth items for a few days or wash then tumble in the dryer on high heat (if possible). Clean the storage area thoroughly before using again.