When it comes to finding space for all of your clothes, DIY closet organizers and closet hacks can only help so much before you’re forced to store your out-of-season clothes in the attic or basement. If you’ve tried the Emily Gilmore method of throwing away items that don’t bring you joy and you still have more clothes than closet space, you’ll inevitably have to use some awful-smelling pest deterrent to keep your clothing protected—or will you?

Know Your Options

It turns out there are some pretty simple alternatives to mothballs that can help keep your clothes fresh in appearance and smell, so you don’t have to face the dilemma of either maintaining your clothes at the cost of an odor or hoping the moths and mites don’t find their way into your storage bins.

variety of dried herbs with mortar and pestleNatural deterrents, like dried rosemary, lavender, spearmint, thyme, cloves, and cinnamon, can keep pests away from clothing. Any combination of these herbs will help deter moths from helping themselves to a clothes buffet. 

Lavender is particularly offensive to moths’ senses, so you might also want to consider placing a few drops of lavender essential oil on a cotton ball and storing it in the bins or bags with your clothes. 

Be careful when working with essential oils—a little goes a long way and lasts for a long time, so two to four drops per cotton ball should do the trick.

It is important to note that herbal remedies only deter pests from trying to eat through clothes. They do not kill any eggs or larvae that moths or other bugs may have already left in clothes, carpets, blankets, or other cotton or woolen materials.

Make Your Own Recipe

potpourri in glass bowlAny of the herbs listed above will help keep bugs out of your favorite coat or blanket, but a mixture may prove even more potent. Combining them in any proportions or amounts you’d like will do the trick, but if you’re the kind of person that needs a recipe to follow, you can find several through a search engine. 

The best part is that you don’t have to spend a month creating the perfect combination—just put roughly equal amounts of each ingredient into a small bag or two for each container where you’re storing clothes, and it’s done.

Depending on how much time you want to spend creating your concoction, you can buy herbs at the store, order them from the web, or even grow your own herbs. Red cedar shavings are the only component of a natural pest deterrent mixture that you can’t really grow, but they are easily attainable. 

To keep your clothing extra fresh, grow your own herbs and then grind them with a mortar and pestle before adding them to the pest deterrent mixture.

Freshen Up the Whole House

chef decorating plate with herbsYou don’t have to limit the placement of your herbal repellents to the attic or basement—put them in your closets and drawers for in-season clothing, too. If you have enough left over, you can also make your own potpourri by leaving a mixture of herbs in an uncovered bowl. 

Of course, you can always cook with the leftover herbs—you don’t have to be a five-star chef to cook with them; just season your food to taste.

This natural trick isn’t just for one season; it can be used all year long. Just be sure to add fresh herbs every couple of months. As long as the mixture is relatively fresh, moths should get the hint that they aren’t wanted, especially if you make your clothes harder to access by storing them in bags inside of boxes.