“My Home Sweet Home”

Tweenie’s Greenies: Monday Edition

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I would really like to know who likes the smell of mothballs.  Who thought it would be a great idea to put these stinky balls made of poison around and in things that we put on our skin?  I CANNOT STAND the smell of mothballs.  It is one of the most foul smells that I have ever smelled.  However, I know that there are many people out there that swear by them.  I can always find those people when the fall weather arrives and the warm, comfy sweaters come out.  I will be walking around minding my own business when Wham!!  I am hit by the stink of those balls of poison that a certain sweater was stored in over the summer.  It is an eau de toilette that I would rather not inhale.

The good news is that there are good green alternatives to these stinky balls of poison.  And if you understood their chemical structure, you too may want to use another means to keep moths from your clothes.

Why mothballs just stink in general:                                                                                          Mothballs are made of either something called naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene.  They are intended to change from their solid form into a vapor that permeates the air to keep away pests.  Both of these chemicals have been listed as possible human carcinogens. In addition to the possible cancer risk, short term exposure to naphthalene, through inhalation and skin contact (such as when you wear clothes that have been bathed in their fumes for months), may cause liver damage, hemolytic anemia (destruction of red blood cells), and neurological damage, especially in infants. It has also been associated with cataracts. In some cases, infants born to mothers exposed to naphthalene during pregnancy have been found to have hemolytic anemia, indicating that the substance may damage fetuses in the womb.

Individuals exposed to paradichlorobenzene, the other common ingredient in mothballs, may experience skin, throat, and eye irritation. Long-term exposure to paradichlorobenzene can damage the central nervous system, as well as the liver and the skin. White deodorizer/moth repellent blocks labeled as “cedar,” “pine,” “lavender,” or other natural scents may still contain or consist primarily of paradichlorobenzene, which appears on some labels as 1,4-dichlorobenzene or p-dichlorobenzene. (Information gathered from the The Green Guide)

Green Solutions:

Moths love dark spaces.  They also love those yummy little specks of sweat, skin and food that might be left on your clothes.  To avoid these attractive little morsels being left on your sweaters and clothing, be sure to thoroughly clean any clothing before storing.  Then store in an airtight container to keep any moths from being able to nest in your clothes.  However, be sure that the clothes are absolutely dry befor storing as well.  Damp clothing stored for a long period of time would also be problematic.

If you don’t have a good airtight container to store your clothes in, try to air out and expose the clothes to sunshine periodically to keep those moths from building little homes in your fine wardrobe. 

Another way to repell moths is to use little sachets made of the following natural materials:  cedar, lavendar, rosemary, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, mint, or ginseng.  I wouldn’t recommend using them all at once.  You just might smell like an herbal potion gone bad when you haul out those winter clothes.  Pick one or two that make a good combination instead.

So if you think that I am a pest, maybe you should roll around in moth balls for a while.  I will have to to side with the moths on this one, I find these chemicals to be truly repelling.