Mothballs are balls of chemical pesticides, mostly made up of naphthalene, which are used mostly for safe storage of off-season clothes. They give out a characteristic pungent smell. Since naphthalene in highly flammable, nowadays, para-dichlorobenzene is used instead. Before enlisting the various mothball uses, we believe that it is our responsibility to warn you of the potential hazards of using them.
Word of Caution
Naphthalene or para-dichlorobenzene are active ingredients of mothballs. Both are anticipated to be carcinogenic to humans, according to the Department of Health and Humans Services (DHHS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Being toxic, exposure to these substances can lead to symptoms like nausea, headache, diarrhea, presence of blood in the urine, jaundice, and dizziness. Naphthalene damages the red blood cells, while para-dichlorobenzene can lead to kidney and liver damage in pets.
Sniffing or chewing of mothballs, is extremely dangerous. This tells us that their use is best avoided. There are many other options for such deodorizers; and yet, the use of mothballs is still rampant.
Being an inexpensive method of pest control, moth balls have been used by generations for various household purposes. If you know how and when to use them around the house, then you can put them to good use.
- During the summers when you do not need the warm woolens, or during the winters when you do not need the light cotton clothes, you have to store them away till you can use them later. Wash these clothes properly, and put them away in the cupboard with some mothballs to keep fabric-eating insects away.
- Are rodents coming and spoiling your well-kept lawn? Are the rabbits chewing away on your favorite rose plant? Mothballs can be placed in the garden soil or near flowerbeds to keep the pesky animals away. You can also crush and scatter them in the pots, so as to avoid an infestation of insects. Do not forget to replace these frequently, as they are affected by moisture from the soil and rain.
- Bats in the attic? Mothballs keep the bats from entering. Their pungent smell will drive away the snakes and other reptiles too.
- Rats and mice feel suffocated by the smell of naphthalene. It reduces the oxygen-carrying capacity of their RBCs. Hence, mothballs will not only prevent their pesky presence in the house, but also inadvertently avoid the chances of them breeding inside your house.
- You can also protect your stored silverware from rusting. While putting it away in a bag, just add a mothball or two. That will be enough to keep them shining.
- While storing away some things in a box, you can place some mothballs to protect them from silverfish.
- While vacuuming, add some naphthalene balls in the vacuum bag. This kills fleas or insects that are sucked in.
- The smell given out by a dead animal, is enough to make anyone feel sick. Being good deodorizers, the smell of mothballs will balance the rotten smell coming from outside.
There are certain precautionary measures that you need to keep in mind while using mothballs.
- Keep these away from children and pets. It is better to store the mothballs in a netted bag or a small box, in such cases.
- Before using clothes that were mothballed, make sure that you wash them properly.
- True, they help get rid of bad smells. However, that's no reason why you should use them as air fresheners. Inhaling their toxic fumes will only harm your health.
Long exposure to their smell is risky. Do not keep them lying around the house. Keep them away from children's reach. They look like white candies, and this exact quality makes them dangerous, as the kids are attracted to put them into their mouth.