Cedar Mothballs Everything You Need To Know

Find out why cedar mothballs are a superior choice to traditional chemical and toxic mothballs.

February 8, 2024
min read
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Traditional mothballs may repel moths, but the pesticides and chemicals used can be toxic and hazardous if handled directly. However, there is a fragrant, pesticide-free alternative from nature: cedar mothballs.

Read on to learn why small cedar blocks are making big changes when it comes to safe and effective moth prevention.

The Problem with Traditional Mothballs

Those old-fashioned mothball orbs found in closets and drawers for decades certainly deter moths and larvae due to the strong odor, but traditional varieties use a formulated pesticide like naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene as the active ingredient. Overexposure to these chemicals has been linked to hemolytic anemia, kidney problems, and potential carcinogenic effects in humans. The fumes can be strong respiratory irritants for people and pets as well. Plus, the chemical balls require cautious handling to avoid skin absorption of toxins. And if pets or children accidentally ingest traditional mothballs, poisoning can occur. For something simply placed amongst clothing, traditional mothballs carry significant health risks that make people think twice about their closet companion. There had to be a better, non-toxic way to keep moths at bay.

Introducing Cedar Mothballs

Cedar has a longstanding reputation as an effective natural moth deterrent. Like chemical balls, cedar blocks release vapors into the air that keep moths and larvae away from fabrics without posing health issues for pets or people.

What Are Cedar Mothballs?

Cedar mothballs are crafted from recycled cedar wood shavings, chips, and sawdust left over from the lumber industry replicating traditional mothballs. The cedar itself contains an aromatic oil called cedrol that repels flying moths and deters eggs on fabrics. No other pesticides or chemicals are added in cedar varieties, simply pure cedar oil released as vapors through natural decay of the wood over several months. The cedar pieces slowly erode to sawdust without toxic dust or residues.

Cedar Oil as a Natural Repellent

Cedarwood oil provides the power of cedar mothballs. As an aromatic essential oil, cedrol overwhelms moth senses when detecting areas to lay eggs since survival of larvae would be threatened. Moths avoid cedar oil’s strong yet pleasant woody scent. In fact, cedar oil-based sprays work for moth prevention too but lack the slow-release effectiveness of whole cedar blocks placed long-term amongst fabrics and fibers prone to attack from larvae hatching.

Safe for Pets and the Planet

Cedar mothballs contain no added pesticides, chemicals, or toxins making them far safer for use around pets and children compared to traditional mothball varieties which can be hazardous if handled directly or ingested out of curiosity. And when placed amongst beloved belongings like heirloom blankets or vintage coats, cedar mothballs fend off fabric pests effectively over months while posing zero material threats themselves as they slowly and cleanly convert to a layer of fine sawdust. At cleanout time, the mild cedar powder can simply be vacuumed up. No plastic balls left behind to discard like old chemical kinds. For sustainable and continuous closet protection, cedar mothballs checked periodically and replenished maybe once or twice a year are the safe, smart way to go.

cedar wood mothballs rings and blocks

Using Cedar Mothballs Effectively

A bag of cedar blocks tossed haphazardly on the closet floor won’t offer the best moth protection over time. Follow these tips when placing cedar mothballs:

Where to Place in Closets and Drawers

Tuck cedar pieces in corners, on high shelves around edges, underneath clothing stacked in drawers, inside luggage parked for months, beneath furniture covers, and anywhere undisturbed textiles sit. Moths seek out quiet, dark spaces with fiber buffets. Target those areas aggressively.

Refreshing Over Time

Cedar potency fades slower than chemical mothball varieties but check cedar blocks every 6 months or so. Freshen up thin sawdust, redistribute pieces to concentrated hotspots, or add new ones to maintain efficacy. Apply cedar oil sprays periodically too for added odor reinforcement.

Combining with Other Natural Repellents

Layer moth defenses using cedar pieces as the cornerstone coupled with other deterrents like eucalyptus, mint, rosemary or lavender oils. Herbal sachets placed inside drawers and wardrobe sachets hung nearby enhance the aromatic guard against moths finding a home amongst precious fabrics and fibers.

The Benefits of Cedar Mothballs

Cedar mothballs offer clear advantages over traditional chemical varieties in terms of safety, effectiveness, and convenience:

Non-Toxic and Biodegradable

The words “poison” or “warning” don’t appear anywhere on natural cedar mothball packaging. Made entirely from wood, cedar balls slowly abrade to a non-toxic sawdust over time without harming kids, pets or the planet along the way. Discard through composting when worn out.

Pleasant Natural Fragrance

The warm, woodsy aroma of cedar is considered pleasant by most people who appreciate natural scents around linens and clothing. Customize by adding a few drops of other favorite essential oils like lavender. Even at concentration inside closed storage chests, cedar smells far better than the nostril-piercing stench of paradichlorobenzene-based traditional mothballs.

Economical Pest Protection

A bag of long-lasting cedar balls costs a bit more initially than a box of traditional mothballs but ends up being cheaper in the long run. There’s no need to discard barely worn cedar pieces each season the way chemical balls require. Simply freshen, redistribute and supplement cedar balls as potency lessens. Plus reducing the chance of expensive fabric damage by moths makes cedar balls a value purchase.

cedar chipping sachet mothballs

Cedar for Whole-Home Protection

The moth-fighting power of cedar can be harnessed beyond just clothing closets to protect textiles and fabrics throughout living spaces:

Attics and Basements

Stash cedar blocks in corners and rafters of attics or basements that house clothing trunks, antique fabrics, holiday decorations or seldom-worn items prone to moth larvae damage after prolonged untouched periods. Cedar spheres deter moths year-round from establishing nests in darker storage spots of the home.

Storing Fabrics and Upholstery

Protect stacked bolts of fabrics in craft rooms, under furniture slipcovers, and inside upholstered chair cavities where moths go undetected for months laying eggs and breeding. A strategic tuck of a cedar ball deters their urge to colonize.

Wardrobes and Storage Trunks

Cedar balls keep period clothing safe from moths in garment bags. Toss a handful inside everyone’s packed away winter coats too. Sprinkle cedar pieces in family heirloom and vintage storage chests for an aromatic barrier against new moth generations developing inside unopened treasures.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

Moth prevention is far easier than dealing with full blown infestations down the road which can damage beloved textiles and fabrics. Skip the hazardous chemicals and fumes of traditional mothballs. Eco-friendly cedar balls placed strategically provide lasting, pesticide-free protection that deters moths where they seek dark, quiet spaces to colonize over time. Plus the subtle cedar fragrance is a welcomed scent boost over the eye-watering stench of mothballs past.

Harness the power of natural cedar against unwanted seasonal guests in wardrobes and around the home for closet space we can breathe easy in once more.

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About Wood Blocks

Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge to curate a wardrobe that not only reflects your personal style but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. From exploring the wonders of natural mothballs and sustainable garment storage to diving deep into DIY solutions and green living, we're here to guide you on a journey towards a more eco-conscious, stylish, and intentional lifestyle.

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