When it comes to dealing with clothes moths and other similar pests, there are a lot of products on today’s market that can help you out. Moth balls are accompanied by things such as moth killer sprays, moth foggers, moth dust, and general moth killer kits are all designed to handle different severities of clothes moth contaminations.
With such a great variety of moth killing products, moth balls are less popular than they used to be. However, this says nothing about their effectiveness, especially when we consider how much they have improved over the years. Moth balls remain one of the best preventive measures against clothes moths, carpet beetles, other similar pests, and sometimes even rodents. They can also deal with existing contamination if the particular moth balls you’ve bought are strong enough.
With all this in mind, whether or not moth balls are the best moth repellent nowadays is debatable, but they are certainly a great preventive option in any homeowner’s arsenal.
As any similar product, moth balls have a lot of myths and unjustified fears that surround them, which we’ll also try to dispel in this article. We will go over all of the specifics of moth balls, we’ll examine what are moth balls made of, how long do mothballs last, how to get rid of clothes moths naturally, and many more questions. We’ve also given our Top 3 list of the best moth balls currently on the market, as well as a list of the 5 runner-ups you can also consider.
With all this info at your disposal, hopefully, you’ll be able to find the perfect moth balls for your home and situation.
1. IMS Original Moth Balls
We are starting our best moth balls list with these IMS Original moth balls. These mothballs are really well fit to answer the question of “What are moth balls used for?” with “Pretty much everything!” With those 4 packs of 4 ounces each, you will get a sure-fire way of repelling all moths, carpet beetles, and other similar insects from your home. The IMS moth balls effectively deal with both grown moths, as well as with their larvae and eggs. There are a lot of uses for mothballs in the house and the IMS moth balls can work anywhere. In your closet, in drawers, in trunks, in storage areas, in the basement, and anywhere else, as long as it’s a nice air-tight space.
What’s more, these IMS moth balls are great mothballs for pest control as well. They are also strong and effective enough to even repel rodents. When placed in an adequate storage area and in a well thought out quantity, the IMS moth balls can repel mice, rats, and even squirrel off of boats. Some people face difficulties when attempting to repel rodents with moth balls such as these IMS balls, but the issue is usually with the number of moth balls used or with how air-tight the storage area is.
So, when it comes to wondering what do mothballs repel, there are many good answers. If you use the IMS moth balls in an air-tight space, this quantity will be enough for 52 cubic feet, which is pretty impressive.
When opened, the IMS moth balls have a rather strong and pleasant smell, but they don’t leave a lasting odor once the area gets air-dried.
- Very strong and effective moth balls that easily get rid of moths, carpet beetles, other insects and pests, and even rodents.
- The IMS moth balls are really effective over large areas and one pack can cover up to 52 cubic feet.
- The IMS moth balls have an impressively long life, especially if they are placed in an air-tight space.
- These IMS moth balls do have a rather strong odor and the particles need to be effectively aired out to get rid of the odour.
2. Enoz Para Moth Balls
If you are looking for Enoz old fashioned moth balls you’d be right to expect them to make our list. These Enoz moth balls have everything going for them. They are eco-friendly and are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA registration number: 1475-39). Moreover, they are also a highly effective pest control tool. They easily get your drawers, closet spaces, chests, trunks, and other storage spaces rid of all kinds of pests. Things such as moths, their larvae and eggs, carpet beetles, other insects, or even rodents, will quickly leave you alone thanks to these Enoz moth balls.
Of course, they wouldn’t have made the cut into our best moth balls list if they didn’t offer great value as well. A lot of tools can be effective against pests, but few do it efficiently too. These Enoz para moth balls come at a great price for the quality and longevity that they offer.
As you’d expect from a top-rated product, these moth balls are also free from any lasting odors. They evaporate sufficiently and spread through 100% of the enclosed area without leaving any odor behind them. All you need to do is air-dry the articles for ~30 minutes and they will be odor-free.
Each pack comes with 80 moth balls inside, so with 3 packs, this means 240 mothballs for clothes and storage spaces that will be at your disposal. If you are tired of using cheap and ineffective moth balls, and other moth repellents that are just wastes of money, the Enoz para moth balls are a great alternative.
- With their strong and effective formula, these moth balls work against all kinds of insects and pests, and can even repel rodents.
- Eco-friendly and approved by the EPA, the Enoz para moth balls are both an effective and a safe bet.
- Their otherwise strong odor is easy to get rid of with a simple half an hour air-drying.
- The inner packaging isn’t very sturdy and it can sometimes be open, thus letting the moth balls out.
- They are quite pricey compared to other moth ball brands.
3. Supply Guru Original Moth Balls
Coming from Supply Guru, these are their Original Moth Balls. The pack weighs 15 ounces (or 425 grams) and consists of roughly 120 old fashioned moth balls. The main ingredient in the Supply Guru moth balls is para-dichlorobenzene and it makes up 99.75% of the whole product. As with other good paradichlorobenzene mothballs, you can expect high effectiveness, strong prevention, long-lasting effect and no clinging odor from this product. Supply Guru’s para moth balls kill moths, their eggs and larvae, as well as carpet beetles. They also have an effect on mildew in living rooms and bathrooms, although they are not specialized to combat mildew on their own.
The Supply Guru’s original moth balls also have a pleasant initial odor but it quickly vanishes and doesn’t stay on your clothes or in cling in your closet.
You can put Supply Guru’s moth balls directly with the clothes and no protection or separation is required. These moth balls are ideal for drawers, closet areas, chests, trunks, and other storage areas to protect your clothes and other textile products.
One ounce of moth balls (approximately 8 balls) is enough for 3 cubic feet of storage space. So, the entire pack is enough for 45 cubic feet.
- Supply Guru’s moth balls kill all stages of the clothes moth development and effectively prevent their future spreading.
- The initial pleasant odor evaporates quickly and leaves no scent behind it.
- Has a nice side effect against mildew.
- These moth balls are smaller than the average moth ball and tend to evaporate faster. This can catch you off guard if you’re used to a different brand of moth balls. However, they are still well-priced for their size and longevity so this “con” is reflected in the price.
OTHER PRODUCTS TO CONSIDER
Of course, those 3 aren’t the only moth balls on the market that are worth buying. In our research, we stumbled upon a lot of other moth ball products that seemed promising and effective at their job. Here are the 5 that made it all the way up to the top but just didn’t make the cut:
The Enoz Old Fashioned moth balls are an effective product. Each box contains 14 ounces of old fashioned moth balls. However, keep in mind that these moth balls do contain Naphthalene, therefore they have an extremely potent scent and can cause breathing difficulties if not used in a well-ventilated area.
Another Enoz product is the Enoz Lavender Scented Moth Ball Packets. These moth ball packets come with a pleasant lavender smell. They are effective at what they do, but they are quite small and are intended only for small, flat storage areas like drawers and chests.
The MothGuard’s old-fashioned moth balls live up to their name. They are effective and can treat up to 36 cubic feet of an air tight storage area. However, they smell like old fashioned moth balls as well, so keep that in mind.
Paragon Para Moth Balls contain para-dichlorobenzene and can treat up to 37.5 cubic feet of space pretty effectively. They come in single-use jumbo pack moth ball bags, so you have less control over how you apply them. They are also not odorless, even though they have a pleasant deodorant smell.
Finally, Homebright Lavender Scented Moth Balls are effective at killing clothes moths and their eggs and larvae. However, they are only intended for small and enclosed flat areas such as drawers and chests.
GENERAL INFO ON MOTH BALLS
A quick breakdown of moth balls
Moth balls are a very simple product – they are usually comprised of a ~99% active ingredient, and ~1% additives. The active ingredients in moth balls are typically either naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene. Naphthalene is the older and more typically used in previous years ingredient. It has a strong and recognizable smell, but it’s harmless to people (the smell, that is). Para-dichlorobenzene has risen to popularity in recent years, as it is more or less odorless, which is why people don’t just smell of naphthalene balls all the time anymore. However, there are some that raise concerns about the health safety of para-dichlorobenzene, but we’ll take a more detailed look at that question below.
Whether they are naphthalene balls or para-dichlorobenzene (para-DCB), moth balls are solid balls, usually enveloped in a thin cloth, that slowly evaporate in the air until they are gone. It’s that evaporation that kills any clothes moths and their larvae, as well as any carpet beetles. That’s also what keeps other pests at bay and makes the moth balls such an effective prevention tool.
How long do mothballs last?
The longevity of a moth ball depends on several factors, including its quality. Lower quality moth balls, whether naptha mothballs or Para-DCB ones, can evaporate really quickly. For our Top 3 list, we really tried to focus on high-quality moth balls only. This may sound weird as we just explained that the mothball chemical ingredients are typically just a single chemical. Still, depending on the quality of the ingredient itself, on the other 1% supporting ingredients, as well as on how the product has been stored, significant variations in the final quality tend to occur.
Another factor that can affect the longevity of your moth balls is how exactly you use them. Moth balls are best used in enclosed areas which retain the chemical vapor and stop the ball from evaporating too quickly. Alternatively, if you place the moth ball somewhere with a lot of ventilation, it can disappear in a week. There are some tricks that can increase the life of a moth ball, like placing it in a plastic bag and poking a few holes into the bag. This creates an extra barrier for the chemical vapor to pass through and thus slows its formation. However, this will effectively lower the strength and the power of the moth ball, so if you need it for more than just prevention, it might be a bad idea.
Where to buy mothballs?
Moth balls can be bought from almost anywhere. Online, from home supplies stores, from general goods stores. Moth balls have been a standard item in Western households for more than a century, so they are pretty easy to find. In fact, if you consider some of the natural ways to repent clothes moths (such as chestnuts), it could be said that some variations of moth balls have been used for millennia.
Are there any health dangers to moth balls?
This is a more complicated question than it seems and can easily be answered either way. Generally, both naphthalene moth balls and Para-DCB moth balls are considered harmless if used correctly. And by that we mean, when you follow the product’s instructions and set up the moth balls in such a way that you minimize the amount of inhalation you or your family will do. Making sure that no human or pet will inhale too much of the moth ball’s vapor at once is another key reason why moth balls should be placed in air-tight areas only. Inhaling too much moth ball vapor even from a naphthalene moth ball, can cause dizziness, eye pain, and head pain.
Para-DCB is feared even more than naphthalene by a lot of people. There isn’t any conclusive evidence that Para-DCB can be dangerous to humans when inhaled in even moderate quantities. However, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that para-DCB can be anticipated to potentially be a carcinogen. Permanent exposures to very high levels of Para-DCB, especially when coupled with other occupational exposures, may even cause liver and kidney damage or even birth defects. None of this is conclusive, but the state of California, for example, has already declared this compound as a human carcinogen. Most other countries and states still view Para-DCB as harmless when used properly, but it’s worth a thought, especially if you have children at home.
Additionally, moth balls can also be dangerous if they are simply found and physically interacted with by a child or a pet. In ingested, a moth ball pf either naphthalene or Para-DCB can have disastrous health consequences. That’s why it is always advisable to be safe when placing moth balls and put them out of your kids’ and pets’ reach.
Other alternative options to use instead of moth balls
Whether you don’t want to use moth balls because of their smell or because of possible health concerns, there are alternatives that you can employ. For starters, there are some other chemical products that serve a similar purpose:
Clothes moth killer sprays are not as much of a preventive measure as they are a treatment against existing moths. They are intended for use on the inner walls of your closet, drawers or other enclosed spaces and they kill moths and their eggs or larvae. Depending on the spray, they may also have a strong preventive function and ensure that there won’t be any future moth infestations in the near future. Even such sprays are more of a treatment method than a prevention compared to moth balls, however.
Clothes moth foggers are similar to killer sprays, but much more “heavy duty”. They are the hand grenades of the anti-moth war. They come in canisters with a “total release” cap. The idea is that you will pop the cap, throw the canister into the room or area you need gassed, and close it. After several hours of work, the canister should have exterminated pretty much any living thing in that room. This is obviously a very powerful tool with quite a limited range of applications. This makes it less of an alternative to moth balls and more of a final measure if you haven’t been using moth balls and your closet space has been contaminated.
A middle-of-the-road option between clothes moth killer sprays and moth balls, clothes moth dust function as both prevention and treatment. They usually come in a canister or a tube and are meant to be spread with a brush in all hard to reach spots in your house. Behind baseboards, under carpets, under low furniture, and so on, clothes moth dust go where clothes moth balls and clothes moth killer sprays can’t reach.
Clothes moth killer kits are essentially kits that consist of all of the above. Because different clothes moth killer tools have different uses and applications, such kits include multiple tools to help you deal with any situation.
All this brings up the question of how to get rid of clothes moths naturally. All methods we’ve talked about so far include the use of heavy chemicals that some homeowners don’t really want in their homes. Of course, there are more natural options.
There are clothes moth killer sprays and moth balls that don’t include any naphthalene, Para-DCB, or any other similar chemicals. Such items are sold anywhere on the market and are usually intended for prevention only. They can work if used properly on an un-infested or lightly-infested area but can struggle to deal with a full-blown contamination.
Chestnuts, oak nuts, and some weeds are known to have scents that repel clothes moths. Such natural prevention methods have been used in the past before chemical moth repellents were invented. Again, they can work as a preventive measure, but they can’t really deal with a developed infestation or protect you from a strong “invasion” of clothes moths.
Instead of using any clothes moth repelling methods you can also just not leave your clothes exposed to an infestation. Clothes moths don’t just attack any clothes they find – they need to find enclosed spaces that are devoid of any light and air flow, that you don’t reach into and move clothes around. So, your every-day closet that you use 7 days of the week is pretty much safe from clothes moths. What you need to worry about are the clothes that are out of season and that stay untouched for months. Instead of using chemical preventive measures like moth balls, you can instead just seal all such clothes and textiles into air-tight sealed plastic bags. You can also make sure to frequently vacuum and air these enclosed areas. Letting such clothes hang instead of sitting horizontally also reduced the risk of a moth infestation. Lastly, dry cleaning is one of the best ways to deal with clothes moth eggs and larvae. If you’ve discovered a clothes moth infestation, after dealing with the adult moths themselves, it’s best to get your clothes to a dry cleaner regardless of whether you have clothes moth killer tools or not.
Disclaimer: Don’t wash possibly infected clothes with your other clothes. Machine washing isn’t guaranteed to deal with clothes moth larvae and can instead just spread them to your other clothes.
MOTH BALL BUYING GUIDE
Before buying moth balls for your home, the first question you need to ask yourself is what do you need the moth balls for? Do you need them for seasonal protection against clothes moths? Or maybe to help exterminate an existing clothes moth infestation? How big is the space you’re going to need them for, how well enclosed it is? Are there people living around the enclosed space or is it a separate storage area? Do you need the moth balls to help you against other insects, pests as well?
All these questions will help you adequately choose the ideal moth balls for your situation. The key features you need to focus on are their size, strength, longevity, and odor. In some cases, you will need weaker but more long-lasting moth balls, while in others you need a strong short-term help with an existing problem.
All these factors should be viewed with a priority over the moth balls’ price since even the more expensive moth balls aren’t usually that pricey. In fact, moth balls tend to be a product group where the price reflects the quality of the product pretty well, so it’s good to keep that in mind.
Another reflection of the clothes moth balls quality is usually their brand. There are multiple brands that are famous for their quality and are usually a safe and smart purchase. Here are our recommendations: Homebright, Paragon, Enoz, MothGuard, Supply Guru and IMS.
OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION ON MOTHBALLS
Interestingly enough, moth balls can be used for more than just moths and insects. Some moth balls are strong enough to even repel rodents and other mammal pests. In fact, a lot of moth balls are advertised as such. That’s one reason why even today a lot of moth balls are made with a strong and unpleasant odor – because they aren’t actually intended for clothes moths, despite their name. Instead, they are meant to be placed in garages, gardens and other storage areas where mice, snakes, squirrels and other unwanted animals might break in.
However, if you are going to use moth balls for such a situation, it’s important to take a lot of safety measures. Toxic moth balls that are just left lying around in your garden or garage can be played with or even eaten by your pet or child, which can lead to serious health concerns. Moth balls buried in the garden soil to prevent against insects are also not recommended as they can harm the soil and your plants.
All in all, using moth balls for such purposes is possible, but applying caution is strongly advised.
LIVING WITH & USING MOTH BALLS
Depending on their ingredients and quality, moth balls can be more or less toxic for humans and pets. If they are of a quality and EPA-approved brand they are safe for use in habituated homes, but even then they are best not touched with naked hands. Always wear protective rubber gloves with handling moth balls, and always air out or even wash your clothes if they’ve stayed with moth balls for months. For stronger and more heavy duty moth balls it’s even advisory to use a face mask when using them – it shouldn’t be necessary, but it doesn’t hurt to do it.
Aside from the safety measures you should take, there is also the matter of their application. It’s important to use your moth balls in accordance to their user guides and the space they are meant in. Using too few moth balls in too big of a space can make them ineffective while using too much moth balls in a small space can lead to too strong of an odour.
If you want to prolong the life of your moth balls (so they can last your throughout the entire winter or the entire summer), you can use a ziplock bag with a few tiny holes punctured in it. Putting moth balls in such a bag will help them last longer although it will also lower their effectiveness.
Moth balls are a really effective prevention method against clothes moths, carpet beetles, as well as other insects and even rodents. They are powerful, efficient, and are becoming more and more odorless. They are not the best tool for exterminating existing infestations, but they can assist you with that as well if used properly. Here are the Top 3 moth ball products that are currently on the market:
- The IMS Original moth balls are a really powerful tool for a lot of different spaces and situations. They can cover up to 52 cubic feet and can work in even bigger and less enclosed storage areas. They effectively deal with all kinds of pests and rodents, but their strong odor needs to be well aired out so it doesn’t bother you.
- The Enoz Para moth balls are an effective and EPA-approved product that can help you easily prevent clothes moth infestations in your home. They are effective against all other kinds of insects pests and even rodents, plus they don’t have that strong of an odor. There are reports about some occasional issues with the inner packaging, but those are rare and incidental. All in all, the Enoz Para moth balls might be pricey but are worth the money.
- Supply Guru’s Original moth balls are a very effective way of dealing with clothes moths and other insects in small and enclosed storage areas. Their pleasant initial odor evaporates quickly as they begin to do their job. They also have an additional effect against mildew which is also beneficial in enclosed spaces. They are smaller than your average moth balls, however, so keep that in mind.