Naphthalene Balls: Uses, Effects and Precautions.

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Have you had trouble with insects meddling in your laundry lately?

Have you ever dealt with an infestation in the past?

Ever heard of Naphthalene Balls?

Insects can be very annoying especially when they creep into our clothes but having an insecticide that smells nice like Naphthalene balls may come in handy but are they safe? Read On.

Naphthalene balls are mothballs that contain the substance called naphthalene. They are small white balls of pesticides and insecticides.

Naphthalene is a substance produced from coal tar or crude oil. It has the ability to evaporate from a solid state to a gaseous state which is poisonous to some insects.

In this article, we look at the uses, effects and precautions in using Naphthalene Balls.

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It is used to repel insects from dwelling in your clothes/laundry while giving it a strong sickly sweet odour.

The balls are to be stored in an airtight bag or box containing clothing or else, the gaseous vapor will escape, rendering the balls less effective.


Exposure to naphthalene has been discovered to do more harm than good. In some countries, it has been banned and labeled to be illegal and dangerous to health and safety.

Some of the symptoms may appear when there is an exposure to large amounts of naphthalene balls either by swallowing, eating with hands after touching the balls without hand washing and breathing in the naphthalene vapors from clothes.

If it enters the body in large amounts, it can interfere with the way oxygen circulates around the body, especially the brain, kidneys and the heart.

The following are the effects of naphthalene balls:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cataracts
  • Abdominal pain
  • Babies exposed to these balls are likely to develop a condition called Jaundice. Jaundice occurs as a result of damage to their Red Blood Cells which may eventually lead to severe brain damage.
  • It also causes acute severe haemolytic anaemia in people who have a genetic blood condition called Glucose-6-phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency G6PD).
  • Kidney damage
  • Cancer
  • Seizures
  • Coma


It is advisable to use Naphthalene Balls with caution by doing the following;

  • Keep them away from the reach of children. This is because the balls look like candy and are easily to swallow.
  • Wash hands after touching them, thoroughly.
  • Do not use them for children’s clothes below the age of 3 years.
  • Avoid using them if you have G6PD.
  • Wash all clothing that has been stored in naphthalene balls before using or wearing them.
  • If you suspect a child may have swallowed it, do not force vomiting, take the child to the hospital immediately.



Now that you have seen that naphthalene balls are not to be used since the disadvantage outweighs its benefits, there are alternatives you may explore to rid insects off your wardrobes.

They include:

  • Dry clean your clothes.
  • Ironing your clothes before wearing
  • Wash clothes in hot water.
  • Use of Camphor: It is a lot safer and not labeled to be a carcinogenic substance. Although can be poisonous when ingested in large quantity.

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