Get rid of clothes moths - here's how!

Get rid of clothes moths - here's how!

Clothes moths can be a year-long problem, but as we make our way into spring, you may have noticed an increase in the number of these pests around your home. That's because as the weather warms up, moth start to emerge from their winter cocoons.

This is a problem because moths love feeding on wool, silk and cashmere (they don't have exclusively expensive taste — they'll settle for cotton fabrics and carpets, too). No one wants to take out their favourite cashmere sweater or silk scarf to find it covered in holes so prevention is the solution.

To help you take action against these fuzzy foes, we've put together this guide to getting rid of clothes moths for good.

Know your enemy

Even if you haven’t discovered holes in your clothes (yet...), the presence of certain types of moth in your home is a warning to take action. Look out for the brown house moth (8mm long with bronze, black-flecked wings) and the common clothes moth (6-7mm long with paler, beige wings). If they lay their eggs in your home, the larvae that hatch from them will feast on your fibres.

These grubs have a particular taste for animal fibres, such as wool, silk, cashmere and angora, but they will also target cotton fabrics if there's nothing else available. They don't differentiate between clothes or soft furnishings so even if you discover moth damage in your wardrobe, don't assume your carpets are safe.

the best pest advice moths
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Hunt them down

Contrary to popular belief, moths aren't just drawn to light. In fact, they will seek out dark, undisturbed places to lay their eggs, such as the back of your wardrobe or seldom-opened drawers. Check in these spots for signs of creamy white larvae with a brown head. They're hard to miss as one female moth can deposit anywhere from 50 to 1,000 eggs at a time!

At the same time, check areas of carpet underneath rugs and underneath or behind seldom-moved furniture.

Take action

To get rid of moths you'll need to break their life cycle, and that means getting rid of any unhatched eggs, as well as larvae. Start by taking all the clothes out of your wardrobe, then vacuum the bottom of the wardrobe thoroughly, using the crevice tool on your vacuum cleaner to get right into the corners and along the edges.

Next, wash all your clothes at the highest recommended temperature and take any dry-clean-only items to the dry cleaner. You can also wrap things made from non-washable fabrics in plastic bags and then pop them in the freezer for 48 hours, as sub-zero temperatures kill moth larvae.

Vacuum carpets throughout the house thoroughly, paying particular attention to areas of carpet underneath furniture, then follow up by treating any areas where you've seen adult moths using a moth killer spray.

the best pest advice moths
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Gone for good

When it comes to moths, prevention is better than cure. Here are five things you can do to keep these winged pests away:

  1. Wash garments thoroughly before you put them away. Clothes moths are attracted to perspiration and food stains.

  2. Keep your wardrobe well ventilated. Air your wardrobe regularly to prevent warm, damp or musty conditions building up, which clothes moths love.

  3. Store away clothes carefully. Store freshly laundered wool clothes you won't be wearing until next winter in a vacuum storage bag. A cardboard box won't cut it, as moth larvae will chew through it.

  4. Use a natural moth repellent. Cedar wood rings in your wardrobe or drawers can help deter moths.

  5. Spritz carpets with lavender. Make a natural repellent by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to water in a spray bottle. Shake well then spray your carpet and clothes lightly.

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