How to Get Rid of Moths Naturally

illustration of natural scents that repel moths

Illustration: Ashley Nicole DeLeon. © The Spruce, 2019 

Learn how to get rid of moths naturally, without the use of smelly mothballs and other store-bought products. The following are several time-proven home remedies to try.

  • 01 of 05

    Lavender

    Dried Lavender

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    Fill sachets with dried lavender, or dip cotton balls in lavender essential oil. Then, place them in your closets, drawers, and boxes of off-season clothes. Lavender smells great to us, but it's highly repellent to moths and other insects.

  • 02 of 05

    Mint

    Mint plants

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    Mint leaves are another effective moth repellent. Place a handful of dried peppermint in a sachet, or place loose leaves among your clothes. Peppermint oil works well, too. Just apply a few drops to a cotton ball, and tuck it in the corner of your closet. Add more peppermint oil when the smell starts to wear off. Mint is also good for keeping mice away.

  • 03 of 05

    Cedar

    Cedar Boards

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    Cedarwood has long been recognized as a moth repellent, and for good reason – it works. If you're lucky enough to have a cedar-lined closet or chest, be sure to make use of it. Otherwise, pick up some cedar chips or blocks from the store, and place them wherever they're needed. You can even buy cedar drawer liners or cedar rings that fit over hangers.

    Note: Cedar loses its scent (the repellent aspect) over time. To bring the scent back, sand the cedar lightly, or purchase a bottle of cedar oil, and apply it to the wood.

  • 04 of 05

    Cloves, Thyme and Rosemary

    Whole and Ground Cloves

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    Fill a sachet bag with cloves, thyme, rosemary, or a combination of these herbs to keep moths at bay for months. While moths don't like the smell of these herbs, humans sure do. Replace the contents of your sachets every six months, or whenever they begin to lose their fragrance. To save money, buy your herbs from the bulk bins at the grocery store. Most natural food stores have them.

    Be sure to keep all herbs and oils out of the reach of children and pets. Natural doesn't necessarily mean harmless.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Clothing Storage Tips

    Woman organizing children's clothing
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    While mint, cedar, lavender and all the other herbs mentioned can go a long way towards preventing a moth infestation​ or ridding your home of an existing one, how and where you store your clothing is just as important. Here are some tips to make sure you're storing your clothes properly.

    • Wash all clothes, and dry them in the sun before packing them away at the end of the season. This will help to kill any larvae that may be present in the clothing. Cotton garments can also be ironed as a further deterrent.
    • Store clothing in sealed containers—chests, plastic storage containers, suitcases, etc.—where moths can't get to them. Zip wool coats and suits inside of garment bags. Have wool socks? Be sure to move them out of your sock drawer during the warmer months.
    • Store your clothes in a dry area of your home as moths prefer moist environments. Storing clothes in the attic or under your bed is definitely preferable to storing clothes in the basement or garage.
    • Vacuum your carpets and baseboards regularly as moths are attracted to dirt. If you're dealing with a current infestation, change your vacuum bag or filter regularly to ensure you're getting the larvae out of your home. If you find moths on clothing, place the affected garment in the freezer for 24 hours to kill any active larvae.

A moth infestation can ruin your clothes and cause much frustration. Luckily, there are many natural options to help keep moths at bay. If you're persistent, your moth problem should ease up over time.