Avoid the harmful effects of moth balls and instead make your own natural moth repellent with this simple recipe for lavender vanilla sachets.
During a recent trip to my grandmother’s house, I happened upon a closet brimming with moth balls. The smell was so overwhelming that I asked her to remove them for the duration of my visit. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but it turns out my body was trying to tell me something.
Mothballs are highly toxic.
These small white balls commonly used to ward off insects, rats and snakes are concentrated with chemicals called naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene. Both are fumigant insecticides that transform directly from a solid into a toxic gas via a process called sublimation. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, “when you smell mothballs, you are inhaling the insecticide” (source).
Even worse, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that “acute…exposure of humans to naphthalene by inhalation, ingestion, and dermal contact is associated with hemolytic anemia, damage to the liver, and neurological damage” (source). And both chemicals are considered possibly carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and the World Health Organization.
Simply put, you should completely avoid mothballs, especially if you have small children or animals around.
Luckily, there are a myriad of natural options for deterring insects in your home. Cedar, mint, rosemary, thyme and cloves are a few popular alternatives. My favorite natural moth repellent, however, are these do-it-yourself lavender vanilla sachets. By itself, lavender smells fabulous, but it’s further enhanced by mix-ins like orange or peppermint. One of the most popular combinations is lavender and vanilla.
Both scents are commonly associated with relaxation and sleep, so these sachets can double as a natural moth repellant and a sleep aid. I suggest filling up several sachets at once, placing a few in your closets and clothes drawers, then tucking one under your pillow to help you relax while falling asleep.
After learning about the harmful effects of moth balls, I’m making a pile of these natural moth repellent sachets to hand out to my family and friends for holiday gifts this year. And the next time I’m at my grandma’s house you can be sure I’m chucking every last mothball!