While moths pose no risk to human health, they’re certainly no to everyone’s taste. And if they settle into your home, they do pose a risk to all your natural fabrics. Whether it’s your favourite wool cardigan or that expensive silk tie you love so much, your clothes could be in real jeopardy unless you take the necessary steps to remove moths from your home.
Find out what you’re dealing with
Not all moths are the same, and not all of them have their eyes on your cashmere jumper. Pantry moths, for example, have a taste for cereals and rice. If you get moths, always keep your foods covered, or your might just find some tiny caterpillars in your breakfast cereal.
Clothes moths, on the other hand, have a taste for natural fibers such as wool, cotton and silk. If you find tiny, unexplained holes in your clothes, there’s a very good chance that you have a moth problem that needs dealing with.
If just one garment in your closet has been affected, there’s a good chance other items may need cleaning too. Moth larvae could be sitting on other garments, so everything in the area needs to be washed. Fortunately, a hot wash and some everyday detergent should be enough to kill the larvae.
Once you’ve cleaned all of your clothes, keep them well away from the affected area until it has been sanitised. Deep clean your wardrobes and closets, as well as the surrounding areas of flooring, skirting and wall. Don’t start looking for larvae, simply vacuum and scrub all of the surrounding surfaces.
Protect your clothes
Once you’re happy that the affected areas have been cleaned and sanitised, you can start reintroducing your clothes. However, you should think about some preventative measures before you do so. While people used to used moth balls, there is evidence that the chemicals used in them could be harmful to human health.
Hang clothes made with natural fibres inside a protective wrapper. If it’s a seasonal garment you won’t be wearing for some time, consider sealing it in an airtight bag. Some people also believe that that oils in cedar can stop larvae from hatching, but this is unreliable, and it doesn’t deal with existing infestations.
And don’t think that turning off lights will help to prevent moths from entering your home. Clothes moths are quite happy to spend months in the darkness, feasting on your natural fibres. They also love sweaty clothes, so never hang up clothes you’ve already worn a few times. Unfortunately, these types of moth love warm homes, so there’s not all that much you can do to stop them coming inside — short of keeping your windows closed at all times.
Clothes moths also love peace and quiet. If undisturbed, they will do little else other than eat and reproduce. Take your clothes out of storage regularly to check for moths, as this will help you identify problems quickly and keep the little critters on their toes.
It’s also a good idea to regularly declutter your drawers and wardrobes. Moths love dark, undisturbed areas, so take a minimalistic approach to clothes storage. Vacuum these areas thoroughly at least once a week. Just make sure you reach all the nooks and crannies of wardrobes and drawers with the necessary attachments.
It’s not just clothes you need to protect
Clothes moths don’t just love your cardigans and sweaters, they love anything made with natural fibres. This means your carpets, rugs and upholstery could be at risk too. Anything will real hair or natural fibres has the potential to attract moths, so you should be cleaning these items regularly.
If left to their own devices, moths can cause catastrophic damage to the most valuable items in your wardrobe. Preventative cleaning and decluttering is the best way to keep these destructive creatures at bay.