Do Mothballs Get Rid of Possums? (Is It the Smell They Hate?)

Possums may look cute and cuddly, but they are just as annoying as other invaders. They are scavengers that can help clean up dead animal carcasses. Having possums around may be beneficial because they feed on dangerous pests such as snakes and nuisance insects such as roaches and rats.

In most cases, possums will invade your home if it provides their ideal environment, food, and water. These nuisance animals are nocturnal, meaning that they like dark, undisturbed places like attics, basements, garages, and storage sheds.

They are always looking for food, so if you leave pet food (especially cat food) and water outdoors, possums will be happy to invade and enjoy the free dinner. In fact, possums are more likely than raccoons to raid garbage cans and overturn them in search of food.

If ignored, possums can wreak havoc on your property. They can transmit infectious diseases and damage your property in their quest for nesting material. Fortunately for homeowners, there are many ways to get rid of possums from your property. So, do mothballs get rid of possums? Find out below.

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Do Mothballs Get Rid of Possums?

Mothballs do serve as an effective deterrent for possums. Possums find the strong, acrid odor released by mothballs, which are small balls laced with chemical pesticides and deodorants, particularly unpleasant. This acrid smell is disagreeable to possums, causing them to vacate the area. Consequently, mothballs are often employed as a DIY repellent method to address possum infestations.

How to Use Mothballs to Get Rid of Possums?

If the possum is hiding in an enclosed place such as the attic, basement, or garage, you can place a few mothballs strategically within the area. This makes the place undesirable to possums as they cannot bear the pungent smell, forcing them to relocate.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use mothballs to get rid of possums anywhere on your property.

  • Thoroughly inspect your home to identify potential possum hiding spots
  • Possums are nocturnal; hence, you should wait till nighttime when they are most active
  • Strategically place your mothballs in possum entry points and hiding spots
  • After successfully repelling the possums, be sure to seal their entry points to prevent future infestations
  • Monitor your home, and if you notice new damages, chances are you have a different critter invading. You may want to contact pest control experts to inspect your property.

Any Risks of Using Mothballs to Get Rid of Possums?

You must be cautious when using mothballs to get rid of possums. Mothballs consist of highly toxic compounds that release a poisonous gas to repel pests. If inhaled by humans or pets, the poisonous gases can cause reversible side effects such as nausea, eye, and nose irritation, headaches, and dizziness.

However, prolonged exposure to naphthalene (a chemical in mothballs) can lead to more adverse side effects, such as hemolytic anemia, which damages red blood cells. Some studies have also found that exposure to these gases can cause DNA damage in children.


Other Natural Possum Repellents

Here are several other ways to keep possums away from your home effectively and safely:


Ammonia is a common ingredient in many household cleaners. Concentrated ammonia releases a toxic and highly irritating gas that can help get rid of possums. Ammonia fumes cause a burning sensation in the eyes, nose, and throat. However, be warned that prolonged exposure to ammonia can lead to suffocation and severe respiratory tract irritation, which may result in irreversible conditions such as blindness and death.

While ammonia effectively repels possum, you’re advised not to use it. But if you must use it, ensure no pets or children are outside. Otherwise, the safest thing to do is to consider a different wildlife control method, like engaging professional animal removal services.


Molasses is a dark and sweet viscous byproduct made during the extraction of sugar from sugarcane. Molasses spray can drive possums out of your garden or flower bed. Dissolve one cup of molasses in one litter of water and pour the solution into a spray bottle. You can add a few drops of liquid dish soap to make the solution stick better on plant leaves.

Spray the solution on the leaves of plants or flowers where possums frequent. The spray stops possums from munching on the leaves, effectively forcing them away. You should check the sprayed leaves regularly and reapply the treatment as needed, for instance, after a downpour.

Herbs and Spices

Specific spices can also help repel possums from your home. Mix a decent amount of garlic with water and spray the solution around your garden to keep possums away. Alternatively, spray hot pepper mixed with a small amount of water and dish soap on plants and flowers, especially those that possums love. Hot sauce or hot mustard mixed with a small amount of water can also repel possums.

Final Thoughts

Mothballs can help you get rid of possums. However, they may not have a huge impact on their own. Hence, you should consider combining mothballs with other possum control methods for the best results. For instance, you can install a fence around your property, ensuring it is at least 4 feet high to prevent possums from invading. You can also make your yard less appealing by trimming vegetation, pruning trees, and eliminating debris. Ensure that garbage cans have tight-fitting lids and pet food is secured indoors at night.

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