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Mothballs

Thanks to clothes moths and their fabric devouring larvae, your expensive Scottish wool sweater may one day resemble Swiss cheese. And while you may have nothing against either the Swiss or the Scots, chances are you would have a problem with moth-made holes dotting your favorite sweater.

Protecting your garments from moth larvae is relatively easy: a box of your average, store-bought mothballs should do the trick. Composed of the highly toxic chemicals, naphthalene or para-dichlorobenzene, the fumes given off by mothballs kill clothes moths and their larvae.

But simply filling the pockets of pants and suit jackets with mothballs is not enough. In order for the fumes to build up to the point where they work efficiently, they must be contained. Placing clothes and mothballs in a plastic hanging bag or chest allows the fumes to reach levels high enough to effectively kill any and all moth larvae feasting on your clothes.

Since these fumes can also be harmful for humans, it’s wise to open mothball containing clothes bags outdoors and to let the clothes air out for about a day before wearing them. If this sounds a bit dangerous, consider using cedar blocks or cedar wood chips as mothball alternatives. Although perhaps not quite as effective, the fumes given off by cedar blocks are less toxic than the chemicals in mothballs and, depending on your sense of smell, may have a less offensive odor.

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