Wardrobe Magic: Transforming Moth Woes with Natural Solutions

Stop moth infestations without harsh chemicals using natural cedar, lavender sachets, eucalyptus, essential oils and other easy DIY remedies.

February 8, 2024
min read
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Moths can wreak havoc in wardrobes, damaging precious garments and fabrics that hold sentimental or financial value. Fortunately, there are natural solutions to deter moths from walls, cupboards, and closets to protect clothing from further harm. Taking a natural approach minimizes human, pet, and environmental risks as well.

The Problem of Moth Infestations

Moth infestations are not uncommon in homes and wardrobes, as both larvae and adult moths feed on natural fabrics like wool, silk, cotton, linen, and fur. Infestations start when a female moth is attracted to scent and lays eggs on the material. When larvae hatch, they immediately start consuming the fibers and begin producing new moths that will continue the damage cycle. Holes, nibbled areas, webbed material, frass, and cocoons are all calling cards of a moth infestation. If left unchecked, moths can render natural fabrics like sweaters, coats and blankets unwearable. With vigilance and natural remedies, it is possible to turn back these unwanted guests and restore order in the closet.

Why Moths Are Attracted to Your Wardrobe

Moths tend to congregate in wardrobes, chests, closets and clothes drawers because of the continuous supply of delicious food sources like fur, wool, and silk. A female moth uses chemoreceptors on her antennae to detect volatile scents from fabrics such as hair, fur, feathers, wool fat called lanolin, and even perspiration or perfume. She is then able to fly in the direction of that attractive scent using vision in the form of a light sensor that orients her towards darker, undisturbed places that are perfect for laying up to 200 eggs. Once attracted to the area, moths remain there as long as sustenance for their offspring is available. Despite their tiny size, moths can do extensive damage to fabrics that are left undisturbed for lengths of time. Taking precautionary measures in advance can prevent moths from taking up residency with your sweaters and blankets to begin with.

Natural Ways to Deter Moths

Moth prevention is far easier than eradication down the road. Before storing clothing or fabrics for any length of time, consider some of these natural, non-toxic precautions:

Cedar and Essential Oils

Cedar wood, cedar chips, blocks or balls infused with cedar oil naturally repel moths thanks to a compound called cedrol contained within this aromatic wood. Refresh cedar periodically as the scent fades. Small cloth sachets filled with lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus or thyme essential oils also deter moths from laying eggs around stored items in chests, drawers and wardrobes.

Herbal Sachets and Drying Agents

Dried herbs like mint, rosemary, wormwood and southernwood repel moths naturally when sewn into small cloth bags. Place several sachets in each drawer or shelf. As an added layer of defense, put natural desiccants like unscented clay cat litter, charcoal briquettes or silica gel packets in lidded plastic bins first before adding wool items. Moths avoid extremely dry areas since desiccation threatens egg and larvae development.

Proper Storage and Cleaning

Storing off-season woolens and linens inside lidded bins or chests avoids continuous infestations. Before sealing everything away, make sure all items have been cleaned so food sources aren’t stored with fabrics. Wash or dry clean all clothing, blankets and fabrics according to manufacturer instructions first. Vacuum storage cases add another layer of protection. Leave closets and dressers open to light and air circulation between seasonal wardrobe rotations whenever possible to deter moths from taking up long term residency in dark spaces.

herbal sachet moth deterrent

Moth-Repellent Plants and Herbs

Certain plants naturally contain compounds that deter or even kill clothes moths and larvae while lending a pleasant aroma to closets and wardrobes. Consider keeping some of these decorative plants on open shelves or in storage spaces:


English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) contains coumarins in its flowers, leaves and stems that moths find repellent. The pleasant, clean scent is a natural moth deterrent. Bouquets of dried lavender or small plants potted on closet shelves help repel moths.


Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) is another Mediterranean woody herb that repels moths. This culinary herb contains volatile compounds like borneol, camphor, 1,8-cineole and camphene that moths avoid. Potted rosemary is pretty on shelves and emits a fresh scent.


Spearmint and peppermint plants contain menthol, menthone and limonene fragrance molecules that deter moths. The strong scent overwhelms moth senses and drives them away. Mint is easily grown indoors or out in pots near infested areas. Crush leaves occasionally for stronger aroma.


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) grows as a woody perennial herb with antioxidants like thymol that keep moths at bay. Grow thyme in indoor herb gardens or in pots set around closets and dressers. Thyme’s clean herbal fragrance disseminates through storage spaces.

Natural Pesticides for Severe Infestations

For heavy infestations with visible destruction, larvae and large moth populations, non-toxic natural pesticide options can knock back destructive stages in their life cycle. Always follow product instructions carefully:

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth consists of silica dust made from fossilized algae. The sharp microscopic edges damage soft moth bodies on contact, killing them within 48 hours while being safe for humans and pets. DE lasts for 6 months if kept dry.


Borax or sodium tetraborate decahydrate interferes with a moth larvae’s digestive system, eventually killing them within a week. Make a solution with 1 cup Borax per gallon of water and spray thoroughly on infested belongings and surrounding areas. Allow to dry completely before using. Vacuum up any excess for safety.

Essential Oil Sprays

Essential oils diluted into water act as natural fumigants against moth populations. Oils derived from lavender, mint, citrus peel and thyme contain compounds that kill adults, larvae and eggs on contact. Spray a 1% solution directly on belongings, keeping fabrics damp for a few hours before drying.

Preventing Future Moth Issues

Once an infestation has occurred, steps must be taken to prevent recurrence down the road. Be vigilant with these integrated pest management techniques:

Identification and Vigilance

Learn to identify signs of moth larvae and adults to catch infestations early before populations explode. Know which species are attacking by the materials damaged. Tussock moths feed on natural fibers while webbing clothes moths focus on wool and fur. Carpet moths eat blended, natural fiber or silk carpet backings. Check regularly for frass, webs and larvae. Remove and clean items immediately that show signs of infestation.

Integrated Pest Management

Once a moth problem has occurred, commit to prevention between seasons. Continuously monitor for moths in storage areas. Combine natural moth deterrents like cedar, herbs, essential oils and desiccants as part of standard storage procedures while keeping spaces clean and aired out. Use natural pesticide sprays judiciously if populations spike. Follow cleaning instructions for clothing and fabrics before rotating seasonal wardrobes. Stay vigilant!

Conclusion and Final Tips

In conclusion, a moth infestation can happen anytime susceptible fabrics are left undisturbed, but there are many natural ways to combat invaders without using toxic chemicals in the home. Cedar, drying agents, plants, herbs and essential oils placed strategically in drawers, closets and wardrobes prevent moths from settling in. Identifying larvae and adults quickly stem populations before they explode. And non-toxic pesticides made with diatomaceous earth, borax or essential oils manage heavy infestations once detected. With some diligence on these fronts, it is possible to keep precious woolens protected from moth damage for generations to come using safe, natural solutions.

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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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