How to get rid of clothes moths and protect your wardrobe
Sophie Thorogood, from the technical team at Green Protect, shares her top tips for preventing moth-eaten clothes in your wardrobe
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Clothes moths can cause a great deal of damage to clothes, and formal or vintage pieces which may lay unworn for long periods of time are particularly at risk.
If your wardrobe seems to be a home for these pesky creatures, don't panic - there are plenty of ways to stop moths eating your clothes. We spoke to Sophie Thorogood, from the technical team at Green Protect, to get expert advice on getting rid of clothes moths and preventing any return visits.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about clothes moths, plus our favourite natural moth repellants to keep them at bay for good...
How can I tell if there are moths in my house?
If you have a moth infestation, you will find:
- Irregular holes in your clothing
- Webbing in cupboard corners
- A musty smell
- Larvae on clothes
Moths typically enter your house by coming in through open windows, but sometimes, the larvae will be brought into the home through shopping or clothes.
To make sure this doesn't happen, wash or clean anything you buy second hand before you put it in your wardrobe.
What are clothes moths drawn to?
Moths like dark spaces, so will typically end up in places like wardrobes, clothes drawers and attics. They like to feed on natural fibres like silk and fur, so if you have lots of items made from these materials, it's worth adding extra moth repellants (see below for ideas) to your wardrobe or drawers, just to be safe.
Moths are also drawn to salt, which means they are often attracted to clothes stained with sweat or food, so it's useful to make sure your clothes are as clean as possible before you hang them back in your wardrobe.
How to get rid of clothes moths
It's unfortunate when moths make their way into your wardrobe, but luckily, there are some ways you can stop them from eating your clothes.
Here's a handy step-by-step to help you stop moths eating your clothes for good:
- First, wash infested clothes at a temperature of at least 50ºC. If you’re unable to wash your clothing at this temperature, freeze the infested item. This will kill the moths.
- Next, clean out your wardrobe with a vacuum and a cleaning solution made from vinegar and water. Watch out for the larvae’s webs on the material - you'll need to get rid of these so the moths don't return.
- Next, add a moth repellant to your wardrobe - cedarwood and lavender are the best.
- Make sure you keep moths at bay by staying on top of the cleaning in your wardrobe - you should vacuum and clean it frequently to keep the space as clean as possible.
What are the best deterrents for clothes moths?
Cedarwood is a highly effective natural insect repellent. You can buy it in the form of cedarwood balls, oil or spray, making it super easy to use - plus, it'll give your wardrobe and drawers a wonderful woody, spicy scent. You could also keep an eye out for pesticide-free cedarwood moth rings - these are discreetly-designed rings suitable to use on coat hangers, in drawers and shoes. These types of deterrents can keep moths at bay for up to six months, so make sure you buy new ones on a regular basis.
Although lavender oil smells great to humans, it's highly repellent to moths. Simply add a few drops of lavender essential oil to cotton rounds, and place them in your wardrobe to keep moths at bay. Alternatively, you could make your own lavender bags by filling fabric bags with dried lavender, or making your own spray - your clothes will smell great, plus, they'll be hole free!
White vinegar isn't just a great natural cleaning product - the strong smell will keep moths away, and get rid of moth eggs and larvae. Make your own cleaning solution by combining equal parts water and white vinegar, and use it to clean any infected areas with a cloth. Make sure you don't miss corners.