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What You Should Know About Mothballs! How Many Mothballs To Use In A Room?

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Evan White
Evan Whitehttps://dellacooks.com
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Clothes moth larvae are about ½ inch long and shiny white. Clothes moths can cause damage to clothing and other belongings in some homes. In the Pacific Northwest, there are two common species of clothes moths: the webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) and the casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella). The larvae, or immature form, of the moths are to blame for the destruction of personal belongings.

Clothes moth larvae crave the finer things in life, feasting solely on natural animal fibers like wool, feathers, and felt. Don’t let your guard down if your clothes are synthetic; these tiny critters will chew right through them to get to any animal-based grime or stains. They can also harm mixed-fiber clothing. While they can’t survive on raw silk, they’ll still nibble on the fabric’s finish.

Clothes moths rarely damage clothing that you wear regularly, such as two or three times a week, because they only target garments that have been left undisturbed for extended periods.

You can control clothes moths through various methods including sanitary, structural, and chemical strategies, a comprehensive approach known as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Mothballs are a common chemical method of control. If you choose to use mothballs, take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your pets.

What Are MothBalls?

Mothballs, a pesticide, are used to control moths, silverfish, and other fiber pests in wool and other natural fiber clothing and materials.

Mothballs can be harmful to animals or humans who ingest or inhale high concentrations of their vapors. Usage should be in accordance with the directions provided on the label, and disposal is regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

For those who prefer not to use mothballs or other chemical treatments, alternative methods for controlling clothes moths are provided below.

What Chemicals Are in Mothballs?

Manufacturers often make mothballs from naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene, both of which are toxic to humans. These chemicals act as fumigants and will vaporize at lower temperatures like room temperature. Improper use of mothballs in the home has linked naphthalene to negative health effects. Exposure to naphthalene causes headaches, nausea, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Paradichlorobenzene also poses a potential hazard, although it’s usually less hazardous than naphthalene.

You can also find these two active ingredients in other household products. This publication centers on the legal use of clothing moth control products.

Most people know about mothballs, but you can also find these chemicals in forms like cakes, crystals, tablets, bars, and flakes for controlling clothes moths. All these products share one common rule: you must follow the label instructions.

Follow the label instructions to limit your exposure to these chemicals and effectively control the pest, as the law requires. Never mix active ingredients like naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene when using mothballs.

Are Mothballs Poisonous?

Mothballs contain chemicals toxic to humans and pets. If you inhale the fumes or smell mothballs, you expose yourself to these chemicals. Children and pets might confuse mothballs with food or candy and eat them, leading to serious health risks.

Some mothball chemicals can cause reversible health effects such as headaches, nausea, eye and nose irritation, and coughing. Naphthalene exposure can result in more serious side effects, such as hemolytic anemia. Naphthalene may also be carcinogenic. Long-term exposure to mothballs can also harm the liver and kidneys.

What Is the Best Way to Use Mothballs?

As regulated pesticides, you must follow the label directions exactly when using mothballs. Their intended use is to kill moths and other fiber insects to protect your clothes. Put the mothballs and the items you want to protect in tightly sealed containers. This traps the vapors inside, effectively killing the moths while preventing the chemicals from leaking into the air and spreading throughout your home. Before you use items that you’ve treated with mothballs, clean them thoroughly. Do not use mothballs on diapers.

Common Misunderstandings

Never use mothballs in schools, daycare centers, or other public buildings.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Section of Environmental Epidemiology and
Toxicology (SEET)

Use mothballs in an airtight container like a garment bag or a tightly sealed container, never in an open closet or a plastic garbage bag. When their vapors enter a home, the odor can linger for an extended period, potentially forcing people to evacuate and causing both stress and financial hardship. You can detect mothball odor in the air at concentrations as low as a few parts per billion.

Keep mothballs out of reach of small children and pets. Eating just one naphthalene-containing mothball can damage a young child’s red blood cells. Like all pesticide products, store mothballs in a locked cabinet, inaccessible to children.

People commonly misunderstand mothballs as a way to repel rodents, squirrels, bats, snakes, and other wildlife outdoors. This is not only ineffective but can also contaminate soil and water. Using mothballs for these purposes may be illegal.

Since mothballs are registered pesticides, using them in ways not listed on the label is illegal. Manufacturers specify that these products are effective only for moth control or, in some cases, carpet beetle control.

Putting mothballs in an attic to ward off squirrels is a common but incorrect practice that can result in a foul odor permeating the house and adverse health effects for family members.

To repel common pests, opt for specific, legal, and effective products or alternative strategies.

Other Ways to Control Pests

For the most effective pest control, use Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

If pests plague your home or office, tackle the issue with IPM. This approach is a safe and comprehensive way to monitor, identify, prevent, and control pests. Follow these steps in IPM:

  • First, identify the pest so you can aim your preventive and control measures effectively.
  • Next, track the numbers, damage, and locations of the pests.
  • Then, take preventive action. Remove food sources, make habitats undesirable by, for example, cutting down tall grass, and put up physical barriers.
  • To control pests, opt for selective measures such as trapping and removal or apply pest-specific pesticides in a minimal and appropriate manner.

If you resort to using pesticides, always stick to the label instructions for safe and correct usage.

Alternative Controls for Clothes Moths

Many people avoid using mothballs to control clothes moths due to the risk of vapor inhalation or accidental ingestion, especially by children and pets, even when following directions.

While cedar chips or balls smell great, they do nothing to keep clothes moths away.

Keeping moths out is the best way to protect your at-risk (animal-fiber) clothing from clothes moths. To protect these garments from clothes moths, clean them all according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The clean clothing should then be stored in airtight containers.

You must do more to combat existing clothes moth infestations. Using a HEPA vacuum cleaner, clean out drawers and closets. Vacuum all furniture and other areas where food sources such as lint, pet hair, and human hair can accumulate. Untouched lint and hair for an extended period of time are ideal breeding grounds for clothes moths. After vacuuming, throw away the vacuum bag as soon as possible.

Once you’ve removed and cleaned infested items, you can treat cracks and crevices with boric acid dust. Always adhere to the label directions when using boric acid dusts.

To kill larvae, put stored clothing not in airtight containers in the dryer or out in the sun once or twice a month. After that, shake out or brush the clothes before returning them to the drawer or hanger to help remove any remaining eggs and larvae.

Finally, do not use rodenticide baits to kill mice or rats indoors. Their carcasses can serve as a breeding ground for clothes moths!


Can I Put Mothballs in My Room? Can You Sleep in A Room with Mothballs?

Yes, potentially, is the answer to this question.

Where Should Mothballs Be Placed in A Room?

The National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC) states that the chemicals in mothballs are toxic to both humans and animals. If humans are exposed, these chemicals release toxic fumes into the air inside homes.

To do so correctly, place mothballs inside tightly closed containers with the clothing or materials. The vapors will remain within the container and eliminate the insects. The closed containers keep the chemicals from entering the air and spreading throughout the house.

How Many Mothballs to Use in A Room?

When it comes to determining how many mothballs to use in a room. Well, it depends. The majority of people keep an open pack of them in their closets. Some people, however, keep them in the drawers right next to their clothes. I would put one or two mothballs in the closet, one on the floor and one higher up. The next step will be to place one on the dresser (or where ever you keep your clothes in drawers).

To answer the question, one or two mothballs are sufficient for use in a single room.

However, I believe it is best not to use them because they are somewhat toxic. If you want to keep moths away from your room or house, use lavender, mint, or other repellents.

How to Use Mothballs in Closet?

For mothballs to work effectively, you must place them in an airtight container or garment bag. Never place mothballs in a plastic rubbish bag or an open closet. Once vapors enter a residence, their odor might linger for an extended period of time.

What Will Happen to The Mothballs When Placed in A Closet for 2 Weeks?

As mothballs decompose into gas and mingle with the surrounding air, they vanish gradually. Many factors influence how long it takes a mothball to evaporate, including the number of mothballs present, the quantity of airflow surrounding the mothballs, and the temperature.

In the air, moisture and sunlight cause it to decompose, typically within one day.

Do Mothballs Keep Mice Out of Garage?

The notion that mothballs repel mice and rats is a widespread fallacy. While mothballs contain a small amount of naphthalene and can act as a deterrent in large quantities, they don’t effectively repel mice and other rodents.

Is It Safe to Put Mothballs in Your Garden?

Clothes moths, their eggs, and larvae that eat natural fibers in indoor storage areas such as closets, attics, and basements are all killed by mothball fumes. Mothballs should never be used outside. The active ingredients have the potential to pollute water and soil, as well as harm wildlife and contribute to air pollution.

What Happens When You Put Mothballs in Water?

Bacteria degrade naphthalene in water, or it evaporates into the atmosphere. Most naphthalene will disappear from rivers or lakes within two weeks.

How Much Exposure to Mothballs Is Dangerous?

In the United States, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has established a permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 10 ppm for naphthalene. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined that naphthalene is immediately dangerous to life or health (IDLH) at 250 ppm.

How Long Does It Take for Mothballs to Kill Moths?

Mothballs start working as soon as you place them in the area you want to protect, and they work best in an enclosed area where the fumes trap the moths. They can keep moths and larvae away from your clothing for up to three months.

Do Mothballs Repel Animals? What Kind of Animals Do Mothballs Keep Away?

Many people recommend using mothballs as deterrents for wildlife, both indoors and outdoors, and some even scatter them in gardens and lawns to keep away pets and other animals. However, mothballs don’t effectively repel outdoor wildlife like rats, mice, squirrels, bats, and snakes, and using them this way can even be illegal in some cases.

Is It Harmful to Breathe in Mothballs?

Mothballs are toxic to humans and pets because they contain harmful chemicals. If you inhale the fumes or smell mothballs, you’re exposing yourself to these chemicals. Children and pets may mistake mothballs for food or candy, leading to serious health risks if consumed.

Last Updated on 10 months by Evan White

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