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Storage: Moth Balls or Cedar Oil.. and lingering smell.

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

We were gone for the winter and I can see little bugs on my wool clothes. I sprayed cedar oil before leaving but I think it had to be done continuously. I have washed almost everything in the house. And, now, I am about to put lots of clothes in storage... mainly the kids clothes that they have yet to grow into. How do I store this. Vacuum packing is not an option (although sounds nice).


So, I am putting things in Rubbermaid boxes.

Should I use moth balls or cedar oil? I am leaning toward moth balls (since my cedar oil didn't prove to work)... BUT will the smell linger on the clothes? I absolutely hate the smell of moth balls. Can the smell be washed off?

post #2 of 7

First, ideal to clean the clothes again if you've noticed anything before packing to store them again.  Are the insects you've found carpet beetles (little brownish-red larvae or skins, and tiny black beetles)?  Not moths? Carpet beetles are a lot more common. 


Having had carpet beetles, I've found the best solutions are to pack some things in plastic (just tightly closed plastic bags) and then in boxes.  This will limit what anything gets into a bit as they don't seem to move around much.  I use cedar balls & blocks I've sprayed in there, as well as lavender sachets.  IF I've caught a bunch of bugs, I also use diatomaceous earth in or around whatever I happen to be storing materials/clothes in.  I've found this is one of a few natural (or even not-natural) options for carpet beetles (If I recall correctly, I think moth balls don't affect them like they do moths - and yes, the odor does linger for several washings having gotten used moth ball stored items in the past, but will eventually go away).  


It'll work great if you did it on the bottom of your rubbermaid container, then bagged clothes and were even able to put some between your layered bags of clothing, and put some around the location you're storing the whole box as well.  I often have found diatomaceous earth at places like Ace hardware, or large garden centers.


I've also taken to laundering my woolens with a good woolwash that has tea tree oil and lavender oil, which is supposed to help deter wool-loving pests.  So lots of options out there. 

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Great ideas!

I have diatomaceous earth. It is not the food-grade kind. Does it have to bee food grade? And, do you put it in a bag or something? My diatomaceous earth says not to touch w/ hands...


And I have lavender oil and tea tree oil already... I shall use that too.


Now, about these bugs... what are those tiny black beetles? We have lots of those. But, the ones I saw in my wool clothes were reddish brown small worm-shaped bugs/larvae. Are those the ones that turn to moths... (excuse my ignorance on bugs). :D

post #4 of 7

Your bugs sound like what I find (which I've found out to be carpet beetles).  The tiny black bugs are young adults - they actually do not eat your wool and are not a major problem, save for any eggs they might lay (I honestly kill any I find, to cut down on their number in my home)  Their larvae are the reddish-brown ones you see, and that's what will eat your wool.  Sometimes they're colored slightly differently.  Moth larvae - the ones that will eat wool - are usually larger, in my understanding.


I sometimes work with fibers/fleece/wool etc. so I've had cause to research my wool-eating problems multiple times over the years (having large stashes of stuff in not in immediate use).  orngtongue.gif  



I don't use food grade diatomaceous earth when dealing with stored fiber stuff (or household pests in other areas of the home I might use it to treat for pests).  I personally put it in a cup or some jar I can sprinkle it out of and just put it all over the area - inside a box, or along the bottom of a cabinet/drawer or around the perimeter of a room that is having pest problems and try to dust it around any openings or places something might be able to get in.  I leave it there while things are stored.  If I've had cause to treat somewhere else, like in the kitchen, I try to leave it be for a week or two before sweeping half/most of it up.  Just being there as a barrier or something for pests to ingest is what helps it work.  It's like walking across or ingesting broken glass for their systems.    


I don't really avoid touching it (though, I suppose I don't really end up touching it in the way I use it in the first place) and haven't found it to bother me - but some people can be more sensitive to it and that's why you get the warnings not to touch it.  I think its usually not bothersome to people.

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

So, I sprinkle the diatomaceous earth to the bottom of my storage boxes?

Thanks for the "shaker" idea... I've got some places along window sills I can add that too... where I see the most bugs.


Thanks for sharing your wisdom. :) I'll look more carefully now at my clothes... they really do sneak in there between other clothes.

post #6 of 7
How about running everything through a hot dryer cycle before storing? That would kill any existing bugs. Then wrap tightly in plastic bags and seal. I did this a few years ago during a flea infestation.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
I like the idea, but we do not have a dryer. We would have to go in-town to the laundromat. But, I really, really like that idea.
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