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11 May 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

How to make moth balls with essential oils

This easy and sustainable trick protects your clothes all year long.

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Grey walk in wardrobe filled with shoes and clothes

Moths can be a menace to fabric.

Anyone who’s ever lifted their favourite jumper out of the wardrobe only to find that it’s been nibbled by pests knows the havoc that moths, silverfish and other critters can wreak on our wardrobes.

It’s important to protect our possessions, but chemical moth balls aren’t always the answer – they aren’t great for the environment, and they don’t work for people who are sensitive to chemical scents. Luckily, there’s a great sustainable alternative.

Cedarwood is a type of wood that is not only naturally deterrent to moths but easily soaks up essential oils, meaning that once it is scented it keeps its scent for a long time.

It’s easy enough to buy cedarwood balls online, and these alone can offer some level of protection against unwanted guests, but they aren’t always enough.

Customising your cedarwood balls with essential oils can make sure that moths are banished from your drawers and wardrobes for good.

It’s also great for the environment, as you can top up the scent of the same cedarwood balls indefinitely and never have to throw them away.

Close up of shirts and jumpers hanging on a rail

How to make moth balls with essential oils


Make sure to purchase unperfumed cedarwood balls, as any additional scents will interfere with the scent of the essential oils.

You will also need

  • A large shallow bowl

What essential oils are good for repelling moths?

Cedarwood and lavender are both known for their moth-repellent abilities, whilst cinnamon and clove have strong antimicrobial properties that can deter unwanted bacteria and fungi.

Why neem oil?

Neem oil has quite a polarising nutty smell that some people find unpleasant. If you are one of them, then you are welcome to substitute in another carrier oil instead.

The reason that we recommend neem oil for this blend, however, is that it has strong insecticidal properties that can act as an extra deterrent to pests.


  1. Add your carrier oils and essential oils into the bowl. Mix well.
  2. Roll the cedarwood balls around in the oil until they are coated or nearly coated.
  3. Leave them overnight to soak up the oil.
CAUTION: Do not place the moth balls near clothing until they are dry and all the oil has been soaked up or else you risk leaving oily marks on your clothes.

How to use:

  1. Place in drawers, cupboards, wardrobes, storage boxes, and anywhere else that you want to protect from moths.
  2. After several months you may notice that the smell of your mothballs begins to fade. When this happens, repeat the above method to refresh their scent.
  3. Enjoy damage-free clothing all year round!

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