Storing Winter Woolens (More About Pests)

Give up the moth balls.

I’ve just finished sorting Sweet William and Fergus’ winter clothing, separating the future hand-me-downs, the keepsakes, and the pieces to be shared with other little ones. I’ve never been able to stand the smell of moth balls, so I use cedar blocks to store the woolens.

After reading the latest news about naphthalene, the chemical in moth balls, I’m especially glad we avoid them.

Moth balls work by off-gassing, releasing naphthalene vapors that kill moths and their larvae. When you detect the moth ball scent, you’re breathing a toxic chemical. We’ve known for years that moth balls are poisonous if ingested, but a new study indicates that children exposed to high levels of naphthalene in indoor and outdoor air (it’s also found in cigarettes and exhaust) are at increased risk for chromosomal aberrations. Those aberrations are associated with increased cancer risk in adults. (Read about the study here.)

The smell of cedar repels moths without killing them. If your cedar blocks have lost their scent, try sanding them. Cedar shavings will work just as well. Gather them in a mesh bag and tuck them in your sweater drawer.

Avoid vacuum-packing your clothes with systems that use PVC bags.

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One Response to Storing Winter Woolens (More About Pests)

  1. Alex June 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm #

    I don’t know if it’s as effective as cedar, but I like to tuck lavender sachets into my wool sweaters. You can make these yourself with small cloth bags and bulk lavender buds, which are available at many natural foods stores. Especially cost-effective if you grow your own lavender. There are varieties of English lavender that are hardy up to Zone 4–ask a farmer at your local market for a recommendation.

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