Cedarwood mothballs smell way better than your traditional white mothballs, made from a chemical in coal tar. Cedarwood has been used for centuries to prevent moth holes in fine clothing and rugs. Lavender is also an effective deterrent. It may help keep away the larvae of the common cloth moth, Tineola bisselliella, who especially loves to eat wool.
Try this easy recipe for Cedarwood Mothballs, using lavender and cedarwood essential oil. It can help keep the moths from eating your sweaters.
Cedarwood Mothballs – Ingredients
20 cotton balls or chips of cedarwood
25 drops of cedarwood essential oil
10 drops of lavender essential oil
Cedarwood Mothballs – Instructions
In a bowl, drizzle the oils on the cotton balls or cedarwood chips.
Wear gloves when handling the oil infused cotton balls or cedarwood chips.
As the cedarwood aroma fades, replenish the aroma with new cedarwood mothballs.
Alternative Recipe for a Cedarwood Chest
1 tsp of Murphy’s Oil Soap
about 25 drops of cedarwood essential
10 drops of lavender essential oil
1/8 cup of water
For an old cedarwood chest, This works great. Wear gloves. Then, in a cup, mix in 1 tsp of murphy’s oil soap with the oils, plus about 1/8 cup of water. Soak the mix onto a paint brush or rag. Apply onto the cedarwood chest to refresh the cedarwood smell. Allow to dry before putting things back into the chest.
Pictured: Cloth Moth
Some Research on the Insecticidal and Repelling Actions of the Cedarwood Aroma
Against the moth larvae Spodoptera littoralis, the following oils showed insecticidal activity: catnip, white cedar, clary sage, thyme, marjoram, patchouli, pennyroyal, lemon mint, Melissa, and lavender (1).
Silica gel, in combination with J. oxycedrus, enhanced pesticidal activity against S. oryzae beetles (2).
Cedarwood oil was effective against several species of ants and cedrol was effective toward ticks (3).
Cedarwood Virgina oil and its cedrol constituent showed red ant repelling activity (4).
A cedarwood oil product was excellent in deterring termites and fungi that affect wood (5).
Lavender and black pepper powder is used to prevent carpet moths from eating valuable rugs (6).
Pavela, R. (2005). Insecticidal activity of some essential oils against larvae of Spodoptera littoralis. Fitoterapia, 76(7), 691-696.
Athanassiou, C., Kavallieratos, N., Evergetis, E., Katsoula, A., & Haroutounian, S. (2013). Insecticidal efficacy of silica gel with Juniperus oxycedrus ssp. oxycedrus (Pinales: Cupressaceae) essential oil against Sitophilus oryzae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and Tribolium confusum (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Journal of economic entomology, 106(4), 1902-1910.
Eller, F., Vander Meer, R., Behle, R., Flor-Weiler, L., & Palmquist, D. (2014). Bioactivity of cedarwood oil and cedrol against arthropod pests. Environmental entomology, 43(3), 762-766.
Eller, F., Fezza, T., Jang, E., & Palmquist, D.(2015). Field test for repellency of cedarwood oil and cedrol to little fire ants.
Eller, F., Hay, W., Kirker, G., Mankowski, M., & Sellling, G. (2018). Hexadecyl ammonium chloride amylose inclusion complex to emulsify cedarwood oil and treat wood against termites and wood-decay fungi. International Biodeterioration & Biodegradation, 129, 95-101.
Al, A. I. L. Q. I. (2015). The killing، Attractive and Repellent Impact of Some Plant Powders on carpet moth (Tineola bisselliella) in Holy Kerbala (Al-Hussaini Holy Shrine). KARBALĀʾ HERITAGE Quarterly Authorized Journal Specialized in Karbalāʾ Heritage, 2(4), 201-221.
They waited for the elevator. “Most people love butterflies and hate moth,” he said. “But moths are more interesting – more engaging.” “They’re destructive.” “Some are, a lot are, but they live in all kinds of ways. Just like we do.” Silence for one floor. “There’s a moth, more than one in fact, that lives only on tears,” he offered. “That’s all they eat or drink.” “What kind of tears? Whose tears?” “The tears of large land mammals, about our size. The old definition of moth was: anything that gradually, silently eats, consumes, or wages any other thing.”
― Thomas Harris, The Silence of the Lambs
By: Kathy Sadowski, MS in Aromatherapy, RA (ARC), Professional NAHA and AIA Member, LMT
Post Updated: 12/31/18
The listings of research represent a compilation of scientific articles found on the species, with a very brief overview description of each article/study. Research found is catalogued by therapeutic action. This categorized compilation of research articles does not necessarily imply that there are adequate results to demonstrate safe and/or effective human use. These statements are not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any diseases. The information at this page has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Consult a Doctor before using herbs and essential oils if you have medical conditions, are taking medications, or have questions.