How Long do Mothballs Last Outside?

Mothballs are chemical substances also known as naphthalene. We are familiar with this stuff in the real world. The majority of us use it to repel or kill insects that can damage our clothing, paper products like paper pouches, and essential documents.

But do you actually know how long mothballs last outside or inside? the negative effects and the safety features of mothballs?

When using the mothballs, you must be aware of the specifics. So let’s go right into the topic and learn it thoroughly.

How Long do Mothballs Last Outside

The Lifespan of Mothballs

The lifespan of a moth ball depends on its quality, temperature, and humidity of the environment. If we use high-quality mothballs, they can remain sealed in the bag for up to two years before needing to be opened. Basically, it is printed on the packet of the mothballs how long it will last when it is sealed.

But the lifetime of mothballs affects where it works. It will survive for three to six months if it is used inside the room and exposed to air. Also, it won’t last very long if it is used outside of the room. It can evaporate when it is attached to the soil and dissolve in water. Thus, it will vanish or disappear in 2-4 weeks.

The Impact of Weather

In addition to killing dangerous insects, mothballs have an effect on the weather. Mothballs shouldn’t really be used outside the home. Because the chemical in mothballs can affect both humans and wildlife and can pollute water and soil by dissolving.

In essence, the fumes from mothballs are what kill hazardous insects and contribute to air pollution. The free air and the fumes combine. Moreover, neither humans nor wildlife should be exposed to these fumes. As a result, when the fumes combine with the air, they might enter the body by breathing and pose a health threat.

So, the fumes of the mothballs mix with the air. In this case, if rain occurs, toxic chemicals will mix with the rain. When the rain mixes with the groundwater, it can make water pollution. And this polluted water can be mixed with our regular drinking water. This is how it creates our health hazards through the rain.

Mothballs are excellent in reducing the humidity in our surroundings. It lowers the humidity level in our house and keeps it from getting damp. What habitat do moths have? Moths produce in moist, humid environments with high levels of moisture. So, by regulating the moisture level and lowering the humidity in the atmosphere, mothballs are able to stop the growth of moths and mildew.

⚠️ The Danger of Using Mothballs Outside

Before knowing the dangerous effects of using mothballs outside, we have to know the way it works or why we use them.

In fact, mothballs are made from paradichlorobenzene or naphthalene in high concentrations. Both of the elements are volatile chemicals that are solid at room temperature and slowly emit fumes.

These fumes enter the insect’s bodies, where the fumes kill the moths, their egg, and moth larvae that eat natural fibers and divert their attraction away from your fabrics, clothing, or important files or documents.

These mothballs essentially turn into gas and slowly infuse the air around them within a very short period of time.

A mothball can protect a fabric for at least three to six months.

We must now be aware of the negative effects of using mothballs. There are a lot of dangers to using mothballs, we will discuss them briefly in our next steps.

Dangerous Chemicals in Mothball

Dangerous Chemicals in Mothball

The mothballs are entirely composed of chemicals. The active ingredient is chemical naphthalene, 1-methylnaphthalene, and 2-methylnaphthalene, sometimes known as paradichlorobenzene, which is the primary ingredient in most mothball preparations.

These substances are all poisonous and hazardous to both people and animals as well as the environment. Mothballs are initially solid, but they quickly give off strong smells and disappear.

Health Risk for Adult

In general, adults take a limited amount of the toxic elements of mothballs. These mothballs won’t have any noticeable side effects during the initial stage.

However, a significant amount of the ingredients in mothballs can harm the body’s red blood cells. Your skin problems might be caused by too much naphthalene.

Health Risk for Child

The biggest victims in this situation are youngsters or unborn children. What it is, they have no idea. They treat mothballs as candy and eat them when they find any mothballs around them.

A mothball’s potential health risk may be due to its poisonous ingredients. This chemical will cause coughing, eye and nose irritation, and headaches.

Even kidney or liver damage will result from high levels of naphthalene. Moreover, it causes cancer.

Harmful to Breathe In

As the mothball gas interacts with the environment, it enters the body through the breath. In addition to breathing, it can enter the body through drinking water or being in contact with mothballs.

When these toxic chemicals enter the human body, it creates some problems such as headaches, vomiting, eye and nose irritation, and coughing. It also creates the problem of anxiety, diarrhea, and many more severe problems.

Endanger the Lives of Wild Animals

Most of us use mothballs to divert animals such as rats, snakes, squirrels, bats, and other wildlife animals. But mothballs are completely ineffective to divert these animals.

Yet there is a lot of insect repellant in the mothballs. These are poisonous substances. And the majority of the mothballs’ harmful components infect dogs. Dogs take it as pet food and smell the odor of mothballs and sometimes eat the mothballs because they are curious animals.

Cats are more sensitive to the harmful effects of mothballs. As a result, they can absorb toxic elements most of the time.

Environmental Problem

Basically, a mothball has a great impact on our environmental conditions.

When the mothball is placed in the open air, it emits fume to kill and distract the insects. But this fume is toxic enough and mixes with the atmosphere. Thus, it pollutes the air.

At the same time, when it is placed in the water or attached to the soil, it dissolves very quickly and mixes with the water and the water below the surface. Thus, it pollutes the water even our drinking water also.

But this mothball makes something good. It reduces the humidity level in the environment.

Will Mothballs Work Outside?

There is miscommunication everywhere around us. For the purpose of preventing squirrels, bats, snakes, insects, or other wildlife, some people apply mothballs outside the house. But, applying mothballs to block out these disturbances is not the best option to take.

In short, mothballs are completely useless outside the home and can be dissolved by mixing soil and water.

 The main reason why a mothball loses its effectiveness is that the active chemicals dissolve and get affected by the water and soil.

Safety Concerns of Using Mothballs

The mothball’s chemical is dangerous for both people and animals. These mothballs produce gases, which kill insects by entering their bodies and diverting their attraction away from your fabrics, clothing, and essential documents or files.

Yet, they may have negative impacts on both people and animals. Mothball’s breath can irritate the skin and eyes. Moreover, it is the cause of diarrhea and vomiting. Moreover, it causes neurological issues such as confusion, anxiety, and other issues.

So, what are the precautions we need to maintain before using this mothball? Well, you have to

  • Wear hand gloves whenever you touch the mothballs.
  • Make sure that the mothballs are away from children and pets.
  • Make sure the mothballs are away from the food sources.
  • In airtight containers, place the mothballs along with the fabrics and other essential materials. The hazardous insect will be killed by the mothballs gases that will stay within the container. You will be protected from the dangerous chemical in the mothballs thanks to these sealed storage containers.

These are the safety measures. But what if you have already been exposed to harmful substances?

But, if you have skin or eyes that have been contaminated by the chemicals in mothballs, wash them with water for at least 15 minutes. If your irritation persists after washing, you should seek medical help.

If you take the smell of mothballs through breathing, go out and get some fresh air. Get medical assistance right away if necessary.

If you eat the mothballs, go to the medical center as soon as possible and take medical help from doctors. If you require additional information on this subject, you can conduct a more thorough search on Google or watch the video at the following link:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can Mothball Get Wet?

Mothball is a solid substance that readily evaporates, as is common knowledge. Mothballs, however, can also become wet. In general, when mothballs are produced in factories, it enters the environment. And if you placed it on the soil or in the water, it will dissolve very quickly, faster than air.

The water dissolves the mothballs completely within two weeks. Even when it comes into contact with soil, it dissolves and mixes with the water below the surface.

Q: What Happens When You Put Mothballs in Water?

So, as we know, mothballs can get wet and dissolves in the water within a very short time. When you place the mothball in the water, paradichlorobenzene, and naphthalene will sink.

Basically, mothball has two sides. One is the polar side and another is the non-polar side. The polar side of the mothball will dissolve with the polar solvent like water. And the non-polar side will remain insoluble as a residue because the non-polar side won’t dissolve with polar substances like water.

The benzene, toluene, and carbon disulfide will dissolve with the water as they all are polar substances. And the non-polar substances will remain insoluble in the water.

Q: How Long Do Moth Balls Smell?

When a mothball is placed in the open air, it will take around one month to make itself evaporate completely. But what about its smell? The smell of the mothballs will remain on your clothes or your important files. The smell will not dissipate with the mothballs. It will remain on your clothes and files for more than 12 months. But this smell is not good for children. So, there are a lot of ways available to remove the smell from your clothes. Try to remove the smell from your clothes as soon as possible.

Q: How to Remove the Smell of Mothballs from Furniture?

To remove the mothball smell from the furniture, you need to remove all the mothballs from your furniture. Then, you need to take equal parts of water and vinegar and make a solution. And spray the prepared solution on the furniture. Wait a few moments to make the furniture dry.

If your furniture has drawers, shelves, cabinets, or any closed spaces, then take a bowl of coffee grounds or baking soda inside the drawers or cabinets. These baking soda or coffee grounds will absorb the mothball odors. Additionally, if you want to remove the mothball scent from your room, you can simply use air fresheners.

Wrap Up

Hence it is quite difficult to avoid these toxic mothballs. Because of your lack of a substitute method to repel or kill the insects. So, you must strictly follow the safety precautions while using mothballs.

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Manuel Elmad

Manuel Elmad has always been interested in technical things. When he was just a kid, he worked in a mechanical shop and learned all about the inner workings of electronics and machines. This sparked his thirst for knowledge and led him to pursue a career in this field. For the past 8 years, He has been working as a technician and loves to learn new things and also helps others to learn. In his spare time, Elmand likes to strike on the keyboard for spreading his knowledge and go hiking with his friends.

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