Insect Deterrent: Using Mothballs

Mothballs are marble-sized balls of chemical pesticide, mostly used to protect stored clothing from moth larvae and mold. Older mothballs were made of naphthalene, but the modern versions are mostly made of 1,4-dichlorobenzene. Both of these insect repellants have a strong odor that is associated with mothballs. Camphor can also be used in mothballs for its insect repellent properties.

Using Mothballs as an Insect Repellant

  • To get rid of pests on houseplants: Place the plant into a plastic bag, add 3 mothballs and seal tightly. Leave the bag for one week and then remove the plant and discard the mothballs. 
  • To keep moths out of light fixtures: Drop a mothball into the light shade to prevent moths from hovering around the lights.
  • Mothballs could also be used as a silverfish, mouse and snake repellent.

Mothballs Tips and Warnings

Mothballs should always be handled with care, as they are poisonous when ingested. Always keep them out of reach of small children and pets.

Mothballs are effective when placed in a sealed container with clothes, as toxic fumes will then build up and kill moths. Take care when removing clothes from containers. Discard the mothballs and allow clothes to ventilate before you wear them.