How To Make Mothballs

Mothballs are highly effective. They protect woolen clothes, blankets, bedding, and other woolen items from moths. However, since they contain toxic chemicals, mothballs are not very safe. In fact, it is recommended to not use them outdoors, as they can contaminate water and soil and harm animals and plants. Furthermore, they have a lingering smell that makes the clothes and other woolen items have a distinct and oftentimes unpleasant smell. That’s because the chemicals used in mothballs turn to gas when they are exposed to air. The gas keeps the moths away from the woolen items. Thankfully, you can make your own mothballs at home. They are just as effective as the commercial ones but the good news is they are made with natural and pleasant smelling ingredients. No more pungent smell lingering in your wardrobe!

What Do You Need To Make Natural Mothballs

The smell-good alternative to the super toxic mothball is easy to make. First, you need small sachet bags to fill with natural ingredients. You can also make your own if you like to sew.

Secondly – the ingredients. To keep the moths away, you need natural ingredients that have moth-repelling properties. We like to use red cedar shavings and a mix of sweet-smelling herbs.

Red cedar is a natural bug repellant with a lovely natural scent so it’s perfect for this project. Alternatively, you can use dried ginseng or even ginseng tea.

To make the mothballs more effective, you also want to use herbs and spices that are known for their moth-repellant properties, such as lavender, rosemary, thyme, spearmint, cinnamon, tansy, ginger, cloves, and citronella.

Lastly, you can add a drop of lavender or spearmint essential oil to make your sachets more scented.

How To Make Natural Mothballs


  • Sachet bags


  • Red cedar to fill 7 spice bags;
  • 4 tablespoons of lavender;
  • 4 tablespoons of spearmint;
  • 4 tablespoons of thyme;
  • 4 tablespoons of rosemary;
  • 4 tablespoons of cloves;
  • 7 cinnamon sticks.


Put the cedar shavings in the sachet bags.

Blend the herbs together and divide them in 7 parts.

Add the herb mix to the sachet bags.

Tap the sachet bags on the table so the herbs can settle around the red cedar shavings.

Add a stick of cinnamon to each sachet bag.

To finish, tie each sachet bag and squeeze the outside to crush the herbs and cedar shavings and release their essential oils.

How To Use The Natural Mothballs

After making the DIY mothballs, place one sachet in all of your clothing drawers. You can leave them there only during summer months or year-round to be sure your woolen clothes are always protected. Change the sachets every season for year-round protection against moths.

How Long Do The Natural Mothballs Last?

Generally speaking the natural mothballs last for up to a season. To maximize their effectiveness, make sure you occasionally squeeze the sachet bags to release more essential oils from the herbs and red cedar shavings.

Where To Get Herbs For The DIY Mothballs

You should be able to find all the herbs needed for these natural mothballs at your local grocery store, in the herbs and spices section but there are many online shops from where you can purchase herbs in bulk if you want to avoid a trip to the grocery store. You can also grow your own herbs and then dry them to use for this DIY project or to use in other natural recipes.

As for cedar wood shavings, you can buy them on Amazon or Etsy. There are plenty of sellers who sell organic and aromatic cedar shavings that are perfect for DIY mothballs, other sachets, and potpourri.