Pantry moths are a common problem in homes across the United Kingdom, so it makes sense that many people have questions about how to get rid of them. A popular suggestion is to use mothballs to ‘kill’ them, but is this a practical solution, and what are the risks involved?

Does this article explain everything you need to know, including the answer to this question: Will mothballs kill pantry moths? It discusses what pantry moths are, whether or not you can kill them with mothballs, and why some experts may advise against trying.

The main attraction of mothballs is that they smell a bit like chocolate and are also cheap to buy. Even so, many experts think that it is not a good idea for anyone to try using them to get rid of pantry moths.

This makes sense because moths do not feed on mothballs—they only go after food. For example, the following is from the website of the Natural Resources Group:

Mothballs have no effect on caterpillars or pupae in general. Mothballs are most effective at killing adult moths, but adult moths don’t damage pantries. 

In other words, you may still have a problem despite treating it this way. This is because mothballs do not kill the problem—the larvae eating your food. Remember that once mothballs have been utilized, they are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly or paid for by someone else.

Is it safe to use mothballs in a pantry?

This means that it is a bit of a waste of money. Many experts will therefore advise people to leave pantry moths alone – they are just a minor pest that causes no harm whatsoever.

As you would expect, if you let moths and their caterpillars go on their way, they will not cause too much damage. This is because they are nature’s compensation for any damage people may have caused. So it’s natural why people might want to eliminate such a disturbing idea.

Many experts say that mothballs have no effect, but this is only because they are not used in the way you would expect. There are ways to use them effectively, but it does not involve throwing mothballs about in the pantry.

To successfully eliminate moths, you must adopt a more forceful stance. You can add vinegar to the mix, which is very cheap and easy to acquire.

As mentioned above, moths eat food, so it makes sense to trap them with food/vinegar combinations. One of the most popular traps is mixing one part vinegar with two parts water.

This solution can also be put into spray bottles and used to target specific areas in the pantry, which may be a problem. Another popular method is to use cat or dog food as this is highly attractive to moths, who are known to be attracted by their smell.

If you treat them with mothballs, it may seem like you have done something practical, but once they have been used, they will not be effective anymore. So what is the point of treating it this way if it does not do any good?

Even while it could be tempting to get rid of moths to stop the bother they cause, it’s usually best to let them be. There are benefits and drawbacks to being forceful, so you should strive for maximum effectiveness. All you need to know about getting rid of them with mothballs and other methods is detailed in this article.

The next time you think it might be a good idea to kill pantry moths by putting mothballs in the cupboard, try the vinegar approach instead!

What are the benefits of mothballs?

Obliterate moths: This is the mothball’s most prominent benefit:

  • This ball’s scent repels moths. 
  • Naphthalene can kill moths
  • This component is made from chemicals that can kill moths. 
  • Mothballs can eliminate moths from your home.

Prevent any other insects quickly: This benefit explains what moth balls do:

  • These balls can eradicate cockroaches, bed bugs, mosquitoes, and other animals. 
  • Mothballs contain naphthalene, which can damage animals. 
  • This component may cause allergies. 
  • You should probably buy these balls if you want an insect-free home.

Prevent any damage to your clothes: Another reason to buy mothballs:

  • Moths damage clothing. 
  • They consume your clothes. 
  • Moth balls might help preserve your garments’ quality. 
  • These balls may help avoid moth damage. 
  • These mothballs can also freshen your clothes. Because of this, many homeowners buy these balls. They want to keep months off expensive garments.

Do mothballs work on flour moths?

Investigate the motivation behind keeping mothballs in the pantry and the fact that they are poisonous (to people). I doubt mothballs would have much effect on flour moths or flour flies, although traps can help reduce an issue dramatically.

Is it safe to use mothballs in a pantry?

Never use mothballs in or near your kitchen or any other location where food is stored or prepared. Mothballs must be stored in an airtight container to prevent the spread of moths. In addition, a buildup of gas eradicates insects that eat natural fibers. If not handled properly, such gases could harm humans and animals.

What should you know about mothballs?

When working with mothballs, wearing disposable gloves and washing your hands well afterward is best.

  • If you want to keep your home free of moths but not subject your family to being continually exposed to mothball odors, you shouldn’t put them anywhere near an open window or door. The garage, the trunk, the spare bedroom, and the outside trash can all count. In addition, there are US states where this kind of use of mothballs is prohibited by law.
  • The laws in these locations require that mothballs be stored in child-and pet-proof containers at a safe height.
  • Mothballs should not be used in areas where pets could potentially get into them. Mothballs suspended from eaves are still at risk of being eaten by dogs or young children if they are blown off during poor weather.
  • If you suspect mothball poisoning, get rid of the mothballs.
  • When mothballs absorb water, they release toxic chemicals that harm vegetation and pollute the ground. Due to their sensitivity to moisture, mothballs should never be stored in a damp location.


Mothballs have no effect on caterpillars and pupae in general. Mothballs are most effective at killing adult moths, but adult moths don’t damage pantries.

Some people claim that mothballs killed pantry moths by putting some in the bottom cupboard and hanging them in the hallway. It was an instant solution. They are cheap and available at most supermarkets, and they last. Even though the smell is horrendous, it kills many things that get into the home. I don’t like the idea of them in our pantry, but it may be safer than mothballs.