How to Get Rid of Moths
What You Need to Know
- Moths can cause damage to wool and silk clothing as well as carpets, upholstery and blankets.
- The moths themselves are not the problem, rather it is their larvae who eat the fabric when they hatch.
- Never put clothes away dirty. This will reduce the chances of moths being attracted to your clothes.
- If you’re placing your clothes in storage, put them in a plastic storage bag.
- Moths hate light and being disturbed. Shaking at your clothes once a month or them out in the sun should deter them.
- A hot wash will kill moths. If you cannot wash the item, place it in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. This will also do the job. Mothballs will only work as a deterrent in an air tight environment.
- You can Buy Moth Control Products online.
All About Moths
The webbing clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella, is small and unobtrusive, but it can cause extensive damage to your favourite wool and silk clothing, carpets, upholstery and blankets.
You may see the moths, which are about half and inch long and a silvery brown colour, fluttering around at dusk, but they are not the cause of the damage. Moths lay their eggs on clothing and when the larvae hatch, they feed on any available material, regardless of whether this is the finest silk or cashmere or simply an old pair of sweatpants.
You may see the moths, which are about half and inch long and a silvery brown colour, fluttering around at dusk, but they are not the cause of the damage. Moths lay their eggs on clothing and when the larvae hatch, they feed on available material.
There are a variety of ways to control clothes moths, the most effective being to prevent their arrival in the first place. Check second-hand soft furnishings and clothes for tell-tale silvery-looking threads about an inch long. These are the larvae cases that show that moths are present.
Moths are endemic to some areas and may well already be present in your home in carpets and in the dust under the floorboards. The answer here is preventing their spread.
Never put clothes away dirty. Sweat, hair oil and food stains attract moths and make it much more likely that your clothes will be attacked. If you're storing clothes for a season, clean them and put them away in plastic storage bags.
Getting Rid of Moths
Moths hate light and being disturbed. Their life cycle is about 21 days, so every month open your drawers and shake clothing. Alternatively, hang your rugs or clothing outdoors for a day in the sun. Larvae are strongly repelled by light, and will fall from clothing when they cannot find protection.
Dry cleaning or thoroughly washing items in hot water at temperatures above 120°F (48°C) for 20 to 30 minutes kills all stages of the insects. This is the most common and effective method for controlling moths in clothing, blankets, and other washable articles.
Freezing also kills moths. For items that cannot be hot washed, wrap in plastic and place in the freezer for a day.
Mothballs containing the chemicals naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene are only a partial solution. The balls produce vapours that, in sufficient concentration, will slowly kill insects. The vapours build up to the required concentration only in an airtight container. If the container is not airtight, the chemicals only weakly repel adults and any larvae already on clothes continue to feed. In addition, the balls give off a distinctive and unpleasant smell that can be very difficult to remove even after cleaning. They are poisonous and must be kept away from children and pets.
Many people think cedar chests or cedar balls that hang in closets help prevent moth damage. Cedar wood does contain an oil that can kill small larvae, but it does not affect larger larvae. After several years, in any case, the cedar loses this quality. Having the chest tightly constructed is more important in the long run than the type of wood used to make it.
To prevent and reduce moth infestations, regularly cleaning is essential. Thorough vacuuming under beds and along baseboards, in wardrobes and behind heaters will help. Empty the bag straight away, as it may harbour eggs, larvae, or adult moths.
- Check out our range of anti-moth products.
- Here are some home remedies for getting rid of moths.
- Find out more about caring for your home on our property page.