Easy Dried Lavender Moth Repellent For Clothes & Closets

Moths hate the smell of lavender, making it a great natural repellent to use in place of chemicals. This simple DIY dried lavender moth repellent will help you keep moths at bay around your clothes & closet.

Dried lavender & a DIY moth repellent pouch. Photo: Sarah Baker, minimalgardener.com.

If like me, you’ve found (or want to avoid) some premature holes in your favourite jumper, a natural moth repellent can really help.

Finding small holes in wool, silk, cashmere or leather clothes is never any fun (it can also be costly). So making a natural moth repellent from dried herbs & a fabric spice bag is an inexpensive way to help stave off moths around your clothes.

Why are moths attracted to animal derived fabrics, such as wool or leather?  It’s basically down to a protein called keratin, which moth larvae feed upon & convert into nutrients. 

Whilst natural plant based fibres, such as cotton, can also succumb to small mysterious holes, these are generally caused by friction or damage whilst in the washing machine. Cotton doesn’t contain keratin, so if you’re finding holes in your cotton tops, it could be down to sweat stains (which does contain keratin).

As for synthetic fibres, such as nylon or polyester, moths won’t bother going near these, as they don’t contain any keratin protein at all.

Why Use A Natural Moth Repellent?

Whilst moth balls may seem like an obvious choice for moth problems in your wardrobe, they’re not natural & contain chemical pesticides. Moth balls also contain naphthalene, which is toxic if inhaled.

So if you want to keep things natural & eco friendly, a natural moth repellent is a safer, more sustainable option.

There are a number of ways you can make a natural moth repellent. White vinegar will get rid of moths & kill off any eggs or larvae. But most of us don’t want our clothes smelling of vinegar! So vinegar is often a better option for the kitchen or pantry, used in a spray form or wiped over surfaces.

For clothes, one of the most effective natural moth repellents you can use are dried herbs. Moths can’t stand the fragrant smell of herbs such as lavender, rosemary or thyme. So these work really well for deterring moths in drawers and closets, whilst also adding a lovely scent to your wardrobe.

Here’s how to make a simple, effective natural moth repellent using common herbs & a cotton spice bag or square of cotton fabric, such as muslin.

Dried Lavender Moth Repellent: What You’ll Need

  • handful of dried lavender
  • handful of dried rosemary
  • handful of dried thyme or other herb (optional)
  • reusable cotton spice bag or square piece of cotton fabric, muslin or cheesecloth
  • some twine/string or piece of ribbon (if not using a spice bag with a drawstring).

Lavender tends to be a particularly good herb to use in natural moth repellents, as it has a sweet & fragrant aroma that’s naturally calming (for us, if not the moths).

As well as rosemary, you could add thyme, bay leaves, cloves or mint to your natural moth repellent. It really depends on which scents you like, or are happy to have around your clothes.

If you want to dry your own herbs, here’s a guide. Otherwise, packs of dried herbs are easy to buy online.

How To Make Dried Lavender Moth Repellent

STEP 1 – Gently strip the flowers from your dried lavender & place in a bowl. Repeat with the rosemary needles, thyme leaves or additional herbs of choice etc. Mix the herbs together. Or if using bags of ready made dried herbs, simply pour a little of each into a bowl & combine with your hands or a wooden spoon.

STEP 2 – If you’re using a cotton spice bag, simply pour in the herbs, secure with the drawstring and you’re done.

If you’re using a square of cheesecloth or muslin or re-purposing an old piece of cotton fabric, place the herbs in the centre of the square (see photo below). You obviously want enough herbs to produce a scent, but don’t overfill, as you need to gather the fabric together in the next step to make a pouch.

Dried rosemary and lavender herbs in a piece of muslin to make a dried lavender moth repellent. Photo: Sarah Baker, minimalgardener.com.

STEP 3: Gather the four corners together to make a small pouch around the herbs. Ensure there are no gaps where herbs could drop out. Secure your pouch tightly with a piece of string, twine, ribbon or strong cotton. If you plan to hang your moth repellent pouch from a wardrobe/closet pole, remember to make one end of the string long enough to tie to something (see photo below).

A DIY dried lavender moth repellent pouch and some dried lavender on a wooden table. Photo: Sarah Baker, minimalgardener.com.

Note: If you’re having trouble gathering the corners together, you may have overfilled the herbs. Remove a few herbs at a time until you can comfortably gather all four corners together, so there is enough loose material to tie a piece of string/ribbon around to secure it.

STEP 4 – You can now hang your dried lavender moth repellent sachet in your wardrobe or cupboard. Or place in a drawer.

The scent from your dried lavender moth repellent should last anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the quality of the herbs, blends selected and where it’s placed. If the scent starts to fade a bit, give your herb sachet a squeeze now and again to help release the scent.

Herbs generally last longer in cool, dark places such as wardrobes, as they’re away from direct sunlight.

How To Get Rid Of Clothes Moths That Are Already There

If you suspect you already have a clothes moth problem in your wardrobe or closet, it’s important to clean your clothes & wardrobe space to prevent further damage.

Here are 5 things you can do to help get rid of clothes moths & larvae:

  1. Remove all the clothes from your wardrobe or closet. Wash or dry/steam clean (according to label) all clothes affected by the moths.
  2. Before replacing your clothes, vacuum & deep clean the entire wardrobe. This should remove any remaining moths or larvae.
  3. Air your wardrobe regularly to prevent warm, stale or musty areas building up (moths love dark & dusty, undisturbed corners).
  4. Try not to cram your wardrobe too full of clothes. Instead leave a little breathing space between clothes items, to aid air movement & ventilation.
  5. Remember not to store clothes with sweat stains in wardrobes. Like animal derived fibres, sweat contains keratin, which moths are attracted to.

You could also consider using cedar wood hangars, as cedar is another non toxic, natural moth deterrent. Although keep in mind, cedar will only help to repel moths for as long as the cedar oil scent lasts.


Clothes moths can be a real pest, leading to premature holes in natural fibres such as wool, silk or leather.

Making your own natural moth repellent for clothes stored in wardrobes, cupboards & drawers is a simple, inexpensive & natural way to deter moths from destroying your favourite jumpers, silk blouses or leather items.

Dried herbs, such as lavender, rosemary & thyme, are some of the most effective natural deterrents. Moths really don’t like these natural fragrances.

For us, though, these natural aromas can add a calming scent to clothes & storage areas, whilst helping to keep clothes moths at bay.

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