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Clothes-eating Moths

How to keep your clothes moth-free

Clothes-moths have been on the rampage for a number of years now for a number of reasons:

  • Unseasonable early summer temperatures in April and May favour clothes moths by providing them with the opportunity to produce an extra generation in one season

  • Moths love clothes made with natural materials like cotton, wool, silk, hair, and any product that contains keratin, the preferred food for moth larvae.

  • More than half of us wash our clothes at 30 degrees now than we were five years ago. Unfortunately, we need a temperature of 55 degrees to kill the larvae of clothes-eating moths. However, a temperature of 55 degrees would ruin our natural fabrics and would require a lot more energy to produce

How do I know if I have Clothes-moths

They are small, only 5-8mm long and they scuttle around. They only fly when it’s warm and they shun light. They move from house to house and they live in dark places. I you see a fluttering of wings when you open your wardrobe or pull out an item of clothing from a dark shelf.

You will also notice the damage they do – clusters of holes, or thinning patches appear in coats, jumpers, trousers or dresses.

The damage is not done by the moth. It is done when it’s larvae feed on natural fibres. They are also attracted to surface debris on clothes like food, hair, or even skin particles. The key is to avoid attracting moths so they don’t lay their eggs on your clothes.

How do I get rid of the moths I already have?

  1. Have a good Clear Out – sort your cluttered wardrobes and avoid having a disorganised pile of clothes where clothes moths could thrive

  2. Keep all clothes and your wardrobe space clean. Vacuum and clean all areas inside your wardrobe and drawers to kill off any residual moth larvae. Wash all garments affected by clothes moths. Replace dry cleaning with Steam Cleaning because this gets rid of the moth larvae without the nasty toxins.

  3. All-natural anti-moth treatment of moths, larvae and eggs – Place your garments in an air-tight moth-proof bag and tightly seal after pressing any air from the bag. Freeze the garments for at least 48 hours, and up to two weeks for full effect

How do I prevent clothes moths?

Store your clothing made of natural fibres in airtight multiple-use bags.

Create your own Natural Moth-deterrent Bags – Clothes moths hate lavender, patchouli and eucalyptus. Fill a little draw string bag with fabric swatches carrying drops of these essential oils and you can deter the moths and keep your wardrobe and clothes fresh in between uses.

Cedarwood Moth Proofing kits can be purchased from reputable stores online.

How do I repair my clothes?

If you do find a hole in your jumper why not mend it and restore it rather than throw it out or replace it. If you don’t know how, let Penicuik Carbon Challenge show you how as part of our sewing classes later this year.

Until then, please follow this link to Zero Waste Life who have kindly provided a helpful guide to ‘How to darn a hole’

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