Mothballs and Alternatives
There are some safer alternatives you can use instead of mothballs when you want to protect your family as well as your wool! I've gathered up the information below from various places both on and off the net. The term mothballs is used here, but it refers to balls, flakes, crystals, white tar, tar camphor and whatever else it may be known as.
Important: I am not a chemist or scientist of any kind, and can take no responsibility if you use mothballs or try out one of these alternatives and it doesn't work out for you. Please be sure to verify the safety and possible side effects of anything you intend to try.
chemcial and vapours are very toxic
chemcial and vapours are very toxic, slightly less than Napthalene
*Storage Warning: Take care if using plastic bags or other plastic containers with these mothballs. Use only polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) containers. Otherwise you may find yourself with a mass of melted plastic and wool.
Important Safety Precautions
- Keep mothballs securely wrapped and sealed - doublebagged is best.
- Keep out of reach of children, animals and other curious folks.
- Use disposable gloves when handling - never use your bare hands.
- To use, keep in a tightly closed container, along with your goods, for at least a week. Air out well for a few days before using, preferably outside.
Alternatives to Mothballs
Any or all of the materials listed below, wrapped in 100% cotton cheesecloth or similar material, placed amongst your yarn or garments, may just do the trick. Be sure the material does not directly touch your garments to prevent any staining, etc. If using an airtight container, ensure items are perfectly dry. If you live in a humid environment, you may want to use cloth rather than plastic.
- Bay leaves
- Cedar blocks (sand regularly to refresh)
- Cedar shavings (pet rodent bedding)
- Cinnamon sticks
- Mint (variety was not given)
- Pennyroyal - Warning: Toxic to animals, especially cats
- Peppermint stick of gum
In Addition, or Alternatively
- Clean items thoroughly before storing. Moths are attracted to the scent of humans - that means food to them!
- Dry cleaning
- Laundering in the hottest water possible
- Steam cleaning
- Running items through a hot dryer
- Boric acid (not sure how this is to be used)
- Dichlorvos (DDVP) pest strip
- Storage in cedar chest. Chest must be sanded and / or have cedar oil reapplied regularly (every 1 -2 years).
- Microwave the affected item on high for 30 seconds. Do not leave unattended!
- Placing clothing in the sun, brushing and shaking, and exposing items to the weather. Wearing items regularly helps, too. Moths dislike light, activity and extremes in temperature.
- Freeze fabric in polyethylene bags, after squeezing all air out, for at least three days. Bring back up to room temperature for a day or so, then refreeze.
- Mothproofing applied at a dry cleaners can be effective on a temporary basis.
- Pyrethrins (derived from chrysanthemums) can be effective against insects and larvae, but should not be used directly on clothing. It interferes with the insects' nervous system.
- Diatomaceous Earth (ground up fossilized microscopic shells) kills hard shelled creatures. It shreds their outer layers.
- Ultrasonic moth repellent - runs on batteries.
- Lavendin oil packets
- Regularly washing garment with a eucalyptus based wool wash, either store bought or home made. (Thanks to Ann L for the suggestion!)
If you have had success with a method not mentioned here, or any other moth busting suggestions to share, please send them to me and I'll add them to this page. Thanks!
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