How to: ... banish clothes moths
11th Feb 15, 3:22 pm
Moths are hard to eradicate and infestations can keep recurring, so once you’ve got them, expect this to be an ongoing exercise. Here are ten top tips to help put you back in control.
- Thin down your wardrobe
Moth larvae feed mainly on Keratin found in woollen and other natural materials which is why they love undisturbed layers of clothes to nest in, perfect for the larvae to chew through when they hatch. So if you store rails of clothes you’re not wearing, you’re giving them the ideal place to nest.
- Cull and charity drop as many clothes as you can
- Bag up and seal the clothes you wear infrequently and store somewhere else
Think coats, blankets, woollens, furs and silks.
- Keep the rest clean
The clothes you are wearing should be turned over in the laundry regularly – moths love sweat and grime so avoid putting away dirty clothes. Wherever possible wash at a high temperature until you are sure the moths have gone. 60c will kill moths, eggs and their larvae. A hot wash followed by a hot tumble dry is ideal if fabrics allow.
- Freeze delicates
For delicate silks and wools which can’t be washed at high temperatures, place them in a bag in the freezer for a minimum of 72 hours at a maximum frost setting – this will also kill off moths.
- Buy second hand with caution
Second hand clothes and soft furnishings could bring a new infestation into your house. Examine items carefully before you buy, vacuum furniture right away and wash clothes at 60c if suitable.
- Send out to dry clean
If you’ve no time for a complete wardrobe launder, many dry cleaners will collect and deliver to make this easy for you – but make sure you let them know that you’d like your clothes treated for moths as they will need to separate them from their other orders and give them a special cleaning treatment. Expensive but effective.
- Lower the heating
Moths love warmth and humidity. If you have clothes stored in a spare room, turn off the radiators to keep the temperature low, and keep the room well ventilated. As soon as spring temperatures allow, lower the heating in the rest of the house. Hang moisture absorbers inside wardrobes and replace them every so often. Some also have a scent such as lavender that helps repel moths.
If you uncover a moth community, take out and brush down all the clothes and thoroughly vacuum the area. Then immediately empty the vacuum cleaner bag or cylinder, containing the contents, as the moth eggs can hatch and fly out later.
- Spring Clean and spray
This is where consistency counts and brushing and shaking rugs to dislodge eggs and larvae, and giving them a good vacuum every so often will really help. The same for the wardrobe area and carpets in rooms where clothes are stored, or where there isn’t regular foot traffic. This combined with a light spraying of Insectrol or Pro-Active-C inside the empty wardrobe, and allowing it to dry before re-introducing the clothes is very effective if carried out regularly.
To treat carpets and rugs with the same spray, lift the edges and spray the reverse side at least 2 feet in from the outer edge, before treating the top surface. Test a small area for colour fastness before spraying more.
- Pheromone traps
These are a clever way to attract and trap the adult male moths and reduce egg laying – but eggs may already have been laid on clothes before you install the traps so may not eradicate the moths on their own. However because the moths are visible when trapped it’s possible to see how bad the problem is and more accurately locate where the moths are nesting. If the pheromone strips are replaced regularly (every 3 months or so) the traps are a good ongoing method of monitoring the problem.
- Call in the professionals
You don’t have to use chemical warfare – there is now a professional heat treatment available for an infested room, wardrobe or item of furniture, which won’t damage fabrics. You’ll need to vacate while it is being done, and it can be expensive – though Consider it Done clients benefit from specially negotiated rates with our contractors (and VIP treatment of course).
As you would expect, Consider it Done is on hand to organise any of the above on a one off or ongoing basis for our clients.