Moths have excellent taste in clothes, only they like eating clothes rather than wearing them. Moths can cause hundreds and even thousands of pounds worth of damage to your clothes if you’re not careful, so you need to know how to deal with them.
There are lots of easy and affordable ways to prevent moths from eating your clothes, and you don’t need to go straight to an expensive pest control company.
Dealing with moths requires two steps. First, you want to get rid of any moths in your house by using moth traps and other methods. Second, you should take action to stop moths coming back by using repellents and better storage techniques.
How to know if you have a moth problem
If moths are damaging your clothes, there will be a few clues in your cupboards. Here are some signs to look out for:
- Small holes in jumpers, sweaters and other clothing. You should look in particular at silk, fur and wool clothing.
- Webbing on clothes or in the corners of drawers
- Clothes that look discoloured or have a musty smell
- Small moth eggs on clothes
What do clothes moths look like?
Common clothing moths (tineola bisselliella) are silvery brown in colour. See the image below for an idea of what they look like. It’s actually the larvae that eat clothes rather than the moths themselves, so even if you can’t see any moths their larvae could still be eating your clothes.
Getting rid of moths
Here are some quick tips for getting rid of moths.
Use moth traps
Pheromone moth traps work by attracting moths to them using pheromones, and then trapping them on a sticky surface (poor moths). Rentokil Clothes Moth Glue Traps are non-toxic and should catch moths quite quickly.
Wash your clothes to remove eggs
Top stop moths coming back, you need to wash out and kill any moth eggs on your clothes. Wash them at an appropriate temperature, and dry them on a high heat if the care label says you can do this. If the clothing can’t be dried on a high heat, you can try putting the clothing in the freezer for a couple of days to kill eggs.
You should also wash any second-hand clothes you buy from charity shops or Ebay before putting them in the wardrobe, as they are more likely to contain moth eggs.
Clean your wardrobe
While you’re washing your clothes, you can give your wardrobe or cupboard by vacuuming it and then cleaning it with soapy water. This will get rid of any eggs that might still be there.
Once you’ve dealt with the immediate problem of a moth infestation, it’s time to prevent them coming back. Here are some tips for preventing moths from eating your clothes in the future.
Use moth balls
Putting moth balls in your wardrobe is a very effective way to kill moths, though they can contain harmful chemicals such as aphthalene and paradichlorobenzene which aren’t very healthy for humans. They also produce unpleasant smells, making moth balls far from an ideal solution. A better option is to use cedar balls (see below).
Use cedar in your wardrobe
Cedar naturally repels moths, so it’s a good idea to use cedar hangers or other cedar items such as cedar balls in your wardrobe. The Unihom Mixed Cedar Moth Repellent Set shown below is a good solution for repelling moths.
Store clothes better
If you have woollen clothing that you won’t be wearing for a while, you can store it in airtight plastic bags to prevent moths from getting to it. It’s a good idea to do this in the spring so your woolly jumpers will be fresh and hole-free once the autumn comes.
SpaceMax Premium Jumbo Vacuum Storage Space Saver Bags will let you store clothes in a very space-efficient way while keeping them safe from moths.
Moths like humid places, so reducing the humidity level in your home can discourage them. The easiest and quickest way to do this is with an electronic dehumidifier, but if you want something cheaper that doesn’t require electricity, you could try the Unibond Aero 360 Moisture Absorber.
Don’t hang onto clothes you don’t wear
The fewer clothes you have, the easier it is to keep moths at bay. While it might be tough if you’re a natural hoarder, passing on or selling old clothes you don’t wear is a good idea, as it basically means the moths will have less food.
What causes moths in the house?
When you wear wool, feather and fur clothing outside, moths can lay eggs on your clothing, which will then hatch once you’re inside. It’s a good idea to brush these kinds of clothes after wearing them outside to remove moth eggs.
Moths are more likely to be attracted to your clothes if they have spills or bits of food in them, so you should wash clothes before putting them in your wardrobe.