Clothes moths are a majority nuisance. They are nondiscriminatory, they do not care who you are, they will find a way into your closet and will silently and slowly wreak havoc on your wardrobe.
What makes all this worse is that clothes moths have a thing for fibers that originate from animals, so this means fur, wool, cashmere, feathers, and mohair. Basically, they have an expensive taste. So, all your vintage and high-end clothes are their primary target!
For some, the only way to deal with an infestation of clothes moths is to get an effective clothes moth killer kit, however, it should not get to this severity.
You can deal with moths in other ways, but the best way is the preventative way.
That is our focus today… Preventing them in the first place.
Don’t Panic – Know What You Are Dealing With First
Start off by making sure you identify if you actually have clothes moths or not. There are plenty of other bugs that may feed off of your clothing including hide beetles, carpet beetles, and harder beetles. However, these are notoriously easier to kill.
Beetles have a long life cycle, so it is easier to eliminate them before they do any real damage. Their eggs can also be vacuumed up.
However, moths are harder to get rid of than beetles. But note that simply seeing a moth does not mean you have an infestation. Most moths in your home actually feed off of plants and not clothes. If it is longer than a centimeter it is probably not a clothes’ moth.
You see there are two moths which will do damage to your wardrobe. The casemaking clothes moth and the webbing clothes moth. These are only a centimeter long and are often yellow or gray in color.
Once you have discovered that you are in fact dealing with a clothes’ moth infestation, you need to check for damage.
Killing the ones you can see will not resolve anything as it is actually their spawn that does damage.
Check to see if the holes in your clothes are caused by moths by looking for webs that look like dry mucus. Larvae leave this behind, and it is a sign of their presence.
Now, you need to start cleaning. You will want to discard any items which are infested. If it is damaged too much it is best to get rid of it as it will help get rid of the moths even more.
You need to extensively clean the clothes which you will be keeping. It is best to dry-clean them as it is the best way to kill moth larvae. If you do not want to do this, you can always wash them on a hot cycle at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Do read the labels of your clothes and make sure they are compatible for this though.
While your clothes are being dealt with, clean the closet. Vacuum it extensively, and consider wiping surfaces down, or even polishing.
Moths and their larvae adore dark cervices and corners so really go hardcore in these spots. Then discard the vacuum bag outside as it will likely be full of larvae and eggs even if you cannot see them.
Consider dry cleaning, for rugs as well, you could also use a carpet steamer too.
If you aren’t washing certain items, air, heat or freeze them. Sunlight and brushing can kill eggs, but the larvae are more resilient. Heat treating items to temperatures above 120 can help, and freezing can work too if the change from warm to icy is an extreme.
Take Preventative Measures
Finally, once you are rid of the infestation, it is time to be certain on the preventative front.
You need to monitor and clean regularly. While it may seem like the most basic advice, it is absolutely key in preventing them from coming back and bringing about more destruction.
For your delicate clothes, consider storing them in plastic containers or compression bags. Put valuable clothes in garment bags without holes and seal them tightly.
Always avoid fabric containers, as clothes moths can wiggle their way into these.
Storage helps, but if you keep your clothing moving around and open a lot it can stop them from wanting to set up camp among your clothes as they are not fans of movement or light.
You can also try mothballs, but consider other scents as well, lavender or citrus is always a wise choice.