While moths aren’t a dangerous creepy-crawly to find in a home, they can be destructive, so it’s worth preventing or tackling a moth problem with moth repellents. Depending on the type of moths, these little insects can leave holes in clothes or infest a pantry. While they usually don’t cause harm to humans, replacing moth-ruined items can be frustrating and costly. The top moth-repellent products safely and effectively repel or get rid of moths in the home. Read on for the best moth repellents for keeping closets and pantries moth-free.
- BEST OVERALL: Homode Cedar Blocks for Clothes Storage
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Reefer-Galler SLA Cedar Scented Spray
- BEST FOR CLOSETS: MothPrevention Powerful Clothes & Carpet Moth Traps
- BEST FOR PANTRIES: Dr. Killigan’s Premium Pantry Moth Traps
- BEST NATURAL: Armour Shell Lavender Sachet and Cedar Bags
- BEST SPRAY: Wondercide Cedarwood Indoor Pest Control Spray
- BEST MOTHBALLS: Enoz Old Fashioned Moth Balls
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Moth Repellents
Moth repellents come in a variety of forms, from chemical sprays to all-natural sachets. Different repellents also work in different ways, such as by killing new moths before they can settle in or by deterring moths with their fragrance. When choosing the best moth killer or repellent product for your home, consider the moth type, application method, whether it’s a natural or chemical solution, and the product’s scent.
Moth Species and Developmental Stage
There are thousands of moth species but only a handful that wreak havoc in homes. There’s no real need to identify the exact species of moths indoors; their location can tell you what you need to know. Since clothes moths and pantry moths are two different types, it’s important to make sure your chosen product is suitable for your situation. For example, some of the best clothes moth traps will work for getting rid of closet moths but won’t be effective for pantry moths and vice versa.
While moths flitting out of the closet is one of the most obvious signs of an issue, these adults aren’t the main cause of damage. It’s not adult moths or their eggs that cause holes in clothes or nibble on pantry staples but rather their larvae that do most of the munching. However, many moth repellents still target adult moths. They can work by repelling moths from settling into the closet or pantry in the first place or by killing the moths and breaking the breeding cycle that creates these destructive larvae.
Moth repellents and killers come in several different forms, the most popular of which include sprays, sticky traps, wooden blocks, and sachets. The best moth repellents are easy to use. Many options like cedar blocks, sachets, and sticky traps just need to be placed in the area with the moth problem. Spray products should be applied according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Some repellents will need occasional maintenance. For example, cedar blocks will lose their scent over time, so the blocks may need to be sanded or dabbed with cedar oil to maintain potency. Sticky traps will need to be tossed out as they catch more moths, but some of the best moth traps are refillable, extending their lifespan. A spray may need to be reapplied after cleaning.
Natural vs. Chemical
Unlike some hardier pests, moths can easily be dealt with using natural products. Moths are repelled by some scents (such as lavender and cloves) as well as the pheromones in cedar, so these plants are common in natural products. Some natural repellents are as simple and truly all-natural as cedar blocks or dried plant sachets. Naturally derived sprays are also available.
Keep in mind that some natural repellent products (particularly those that repel by scent) may dissuade but not actually kill moths. For active infestations, it’s best to use moth-killing products alongside natural repellents.
Chemical products can help repel and/or kill moths—read the label to learn exactly what the product does. Chemical-based products can include sprays, powders, and traditional moth balls. Choosing between a natural or chemical moth repellent comes down to personal preference; some users prefer to avoid potentially harmful chemicals, especially in the closet or pantry. Others may prefer the ease and effectiveness of chemical products.
Moths dislike some scents, including lavender, bay leaves, cloves, thyme, and rosemary, so these plants can be found in some natural moth-repellent products. Some all-natural products, including cedar blocks and lavender sachets, can leave a scent on clothes and other items, so it helps to choose a fragrance you like (or can at least tolerate).
Some chemical moth repellents like moth balls and some sprays are also notorious for their scent. These products can leave an unpleasant chemical odor, which dissuades some users. When choosing a chemical repellent, it can help to read the product reviews to determine if it has a strong smell.
Our Top Picks
Moths are an annoying home pest, but getting rid of them doesn’t need to be a huge hassle. Banish moths with the following best moth repellents.
With 40 pieces of moth-repelling cedar, the Homode Cedar Blocks for Clothes Storage offers excellent value to protect closets, cupboards, drawers, and clothes storage bins. This product provides a completely all-natural moth-repellent solution while also making closets smell wonderful.
This set includes six hangers, eight hanger rings, 24 cedar balls, and two cedar sachets for use in a variety of clothes storage spots. Each piece in this set is made using fragrant 100 percent natural red cedar.
While this product won’t kill moths, it is an effective repellent. The cedar oils and fragrance helps prevent moths from settling in clothes. Besides being all-natural, each piece is also long lasting and reusable: When the cedar starts losing its scent, revitalize it by sanding the cedar or shaking the sachet. Homode includes a small piece of sandpaper for easy refreshing. Adding a few drops of cedar oil (not included) can also boost the fragrance.
- Type: Cedar blocks
- Intended use: Closets
- Includes: 6 hangers, 8 hanger rings, 24 cedar balls, 2 cedar sachets
- Fragrant 100 percent cedar
- Includes 40 pieces for a range of uses
- Not ideal for active infestations (repels but does not kill moths)
Get the Homode moth repellent on Amazon.
While the Reefer-Galler SLA Cedar Scented Spray is intended for use against moths, it’s also effective on a much wider range of insects. This cedar-scented spray is both a repellent and a moth killer, destroying not only adult clothes moths, their eggs, and larvae, but also ants, beetles, cockroaches, bed bugs, spiders, and more.
Along with its insecticide properties, this spray has a fresh cedar scent that helps repel moths. It’s water based and nonstaining, so it’s safe to use on most surfaces, including in closets, on furniture, and on carpets. Keep in mind that it should not be used directly on surfaces that come into frequent contact with skin, such as on clothes themselves.
- Type: Spray
- Intended use: Closets, carpets and rugs, and furniture
- Includes: 15-ounce can of spray
- Effective on a wide range of bugs
- Moth repellent and killer
- Harmful if inhaled or applied to skin
Get the Reefer-Galler moth repellent at Amazon, Ace Hardware, or Willert Home Products.
Besides being a nuisance, a clothes-moth problem can get costly, especially if the bugs get into prized wool or cashmere sweaters. In order to salvage as many clothing items as possible and prevent moths from coming back, users will want to look for a clothes-moth trap that is both effective and long lasting. With its refillable design, the MothPrevention Powerful Clothes & Carpet Moth Traps are the best moth repellent for clothes.
This pack includes three moth traps, each with a hanger and an adhesive board that has a moth attractant. The attractant draws in sexually active male moths, which are then trapped on the sticky pad, breaking the breeding cycle.
While these traps are pricier than some alternatives, their sticky board features an exclusive, effective, and odorless moth pheromone and is twice as large as many other moth traps. Each trap is effective for 3 months after opening, and if the moth problem persists, the sticky board inside is refillable.
- Type: Sticky trap
- Intended use: Closets
- Includes: 3 large, refillable sticky boards
- Large sticky-board size
Get the MothPrevention moth repellent on Amazon or Moth Prevention.
The sight of pantry moths in the cereal or rice is enough to make most stomachs turn. After disposing of contaminated foods and cleaning the pantry, users can employ Dr. Killigan’s Premium Pantry Moth Traps to take care of the problem for good.
In addition to dealing with an active infestation, they can also be used to catch stray pantry moths and prevent potential problems. These nontoxic traps draw in moths with an attractant, where they get attached to the sticky sheet and eventually die.
Setting up these traps is easy and they come together in just three steps. This set includes six moth-killing traps, each lasting for 3 months. The fold-up sides of the trap keep the sticky pad hidden (no one wants to see dead moths when they go to grab a snack), and the outside features an attractive design so they aren’t an eyesore in the pantry.
- Type: Sticky trap
- Intended use: Pantries
- Includes: 6 large foldable sticky traps
- Easy setup
- Very sticky glue
- Effective attractant
- Some users had trouble removing adhesive cover
Get the Dr. Killigan’s moth repellent on Amazon or at Dr. Killigan’s.
Filled with dried lavender or cedar chips, the Armour Shell Lavender Sachet and Cedar Bags are a completely natural method for repelling clothes moths. This set includes 20 prefilled sachets, 10 with fragrant lavender flowers and 10 with premium cedar chips. These nontoxic ingredients are effective and pleasant to use, leaving behind a fresh smell in the closet while dissuading moths.
It’s easy to hang these sachets on closet hangers, but they’re also recommended for drawers, cupboards, and on open shelving to protect clothing, accessories, and blankets in storage. These sachets won’t kill existing moths, but their strong smell will help prevent these pesky insects from settling in the closet.
- Type: Sachets
- Intended use: Closets
- Includes: 10 lavender sachets and 10 cedar sachets
- Pleasant scent
- Will lose fragrance over time
- Not ideal for an active infestation
Get the Armour Shell moth repellent on Amazon.
Naturally derived bug sprays can help tackle moths while also giving users peace of mind when used in closets and kitchens. Wondercide Cedarwood Indoor Pest Control Spray is a safe spray solution for moths and other bugs, including ants, cockroaches, spiders, flies, and more.
This spray’s main active ingredient is cedarwood oil, which leaves behind a pleasant scent for humans (but one that moths dislike). Pet- and kid-safe, its formula is nontoxic enough to apply daily during active infestations and can be used once a month as a preventative product. Since the spray is nonstaining, it can be used on many surfaces, including pantry shelving, closets, and on furniture and carpets.
- Type: Spray
- Intended use: Closets and pantries
- Includes: 32-ounce spray bottle
- Natural ingredients list
- Works as both a repellent and a preventative
- Effective on a wide range of bugs
- Scent can be overwhelming to some
Get the Wondercide moth repellent on Amazon or Wondercide.
Mothballs are a tried-and-true solution for closet moths, used for decades to banish these destructive pests. Unlike many other moth killers, which only kill adult moths, these mothballs banish moths at every point in their life cycle. Enoz Old Fashioned Moth Balls have an effective formula that kills adult clothes moths as well as their eggs and larvae when used in airtight containers.
Mothballs are less popular nowadays due to safety concerns, so to prevent accidental skin exposure, these mothballs come in a protective wrap. This wrap is breathable for the repellent and killer to circulate in the closet but eliminates direct contact with skin for safer use. Since clothing items should be washed after using mothballs, Enoz recommends using these mothballs in long-term and seasonal storage.
- Type: Mothballs
- Intended use: Closets
- Includes: Four 8-ounce packets of wrapped mothballs
- Kills moths at all stages
- Protective wrap prevents skin contact
- Excellent for long-term protection
- Not ideal for short-term clothes storage
- Some find the smell unpleasant
Get Enoz moth repellent on Amazon or at The Home Depot.
The Homode moth repellent includes a variety of safe and easy-to-use 100 percent cedar items, including hangers, rings, balls, and sachets, making it the best moth repellent for most closets. Those looking to tackle an active moth infestation should reach for the Reefer-Galler moth repellent; it’s a budget-friendly bug spray that kills moths and several other household bugs on contact.
How We Chose the Best Moth Repellents
Finding moths in the closet or pantry can be an annoying and sometimes costly discovery. The best moth repellents can help protect cherished clothing and pantry staples from these destructive critters. When choosing the best moth repellent, we considered effectiveness, ease of use, scent, and affordability. We included both moth-repellent and moth-killer products since they go hand in hand, catching small problems before they become a big issue and banishing infestations.
Through extensive product research, we considered materials and formulations, only choosing products that contain ingredients with proven efficacy. We also paid attention to the application method, selecting products that were straightforward to use.
Since closets and pantries are used daily, we made sure to include plenty of natural choices without harsh scents. Lastly, replacing moth-affected items can already be expensive enough, so we kept value in mind when choosing our top products, looking for affordable or reusable products.
Tips for Moth Prevention and Elimination
There are two ways that moths can wreak havoc in a home: They can leave holes in clothes or munch on dry goods in pantries. Since the closet and the kitchen are two different environments, there are different ways to prevent and eliminate moths in each area.
As is the case with many other pests, keeping your home clean can make a difference. Cleaning closets and pantries decreases the amount of dust and grime, which can draw moths in, and gets rid of any possible larvae or adult moths that hitch a ride on clothes or in food. In both the closet and the pantry, using moth repellents can help make these areas less attractive to moths. Products with lavender, mint, or cedar repellents can help repel moths—they don’t enjoy the smell of these fragrant items.
To prevent pantry moths, store dry pantry staples in containers with airtight seals. Unfortunately, if moths do make their way into the pantry, it’s necessary to dispose of nonairtight containers and do a deep clean to get rid of pantry moths. Using airtight containers can prevent moths from getting into the food in the first place and reduce the amount that needs to be tossed if moths do find a way in.
Use moth-repellent products to prevent closet moths. For moth-prone homes, clothes can also be stored in airtight containers. If clothes show signs of moths (like small holes in the fabric), clean the closet, wash clothes in hot water, dry using high heat, and freeze unwashable items for at least 24 hours to kill off any larvae.
For stubborn moth infestations, consider contacting a pest control service; the professionals should be able to treat a problem that keeps coming back.
In short, to prevent or eliminate moths:
- Keep closets and pantries clean
- Regularly check closets and pantries for signs of moths
- Store items in airtight containers
- Use moth-repellent products to dissuade moths from settling in
- If moths keep coming back, consider hiring a pest control service
Moth repellents are an excellent preventative item to have at home and, paired with moth-killer products, they can help eliminate active moth infestations. To help you choose and use the right moth repellents for your home, we’ve compiled some frequently asked questions and their answers below.
Q. How long do moth repellents last?
It depends on the product, but many moth repellents should last for at least a few months. Check the manufacturer’s directions on when it’s time to replace or maintain the moth repellent.
Q. What is a natural moth repellent?
Natural moth repellents are derived from natural sources, like plants and herbs, and offer an alternative to chemical-based products. Some examples include cedar repellents, lavender sachets, and essential oil–based sprays.
Q. Which smells keep moths away?
Moths dislike the smell of many plants and herbs, including cedar, cloves, thyme, rosemary, lavender, and mint.
Q. Which clothes do moths hate?
Clothes moths hate light and movement, so opening up the closet and moving clothes around (as well as using repellents and moth-killer products for active infestations) can help disrupt clothes moths.
Q. How do I protect clothes from moths?
To start, make the closet or dresser unappealing to moths by keeping it clean, storing only clean clothes (moths are attracted to dust as well as oils and grime in dirty clothes). Add one of the best clothing moth traps and repellents to deter moths from the closet. Lastly, consider storing clothes in airtight storage bins, which moths can’t penetrate.
Q. What is the best moth repellent?
The best moth repellent for your situation will depend on the type of moths you are dealing with as well as where they are located. A great all-around repellent (but not killer) is the 40-piece Homode moth repellent.