What are they?
Moths are a group of flying insects related to the butterfly and moth larvae that have a big appetite for garments.
What do they eat?
Moth larvae have a specific diet and typically nosh on clothes made from animal fibers such as silk, wool, cashmere, angora or fur, and materials that contain keratin. Keratin is composed of fibrous structural proteins and can also be found in our skin and hair.
How to keep moths away?
Regularly wash everything in your wardrobe and clean coats and jackets at the beginning and end of each season to keep perfumes, body oils, and food stains from becoming a yummy food source. Save on your dry cleaning bill by cleaning woolens at home with Wool & Cashmere Shampoo.
Reorganize and clean once or twice a year to keep everything fresh and monitor for damage. Take all of your garments out of the wardrobe or drawers, then wash them as you vacuum your storage space. Wipe surfaces down with a clean cotton cloth saturated in plain white vinegar Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil to infuse your space with clean scent.
A note on mothballs:
Moth balls can leave behind unpleasant odors. Also avoid placing cedar wood blocks and chips directly in contact with clothing, as they can transfer oil to your favorite fabrics and create stubborn stains. Instead, place cedar blocks strategically in your storage space, and add lavender pouches to drawers, shelves, and hanging racks. While we love the scents of lavender and cedar, moths and critters don’t!
Pack it up:
Never store clothes in plastic or cardboard. Bugs and critters love to eat cardboard, and plastic storage can encourage humidity, which can warp and stain clothing (hello, mystery mold spots!). Instead, pack garments and linens in breathable cotton or canvas fabric pouches with a zipper closure. Cotton and canvas fabric allow for breathability while still protecting fabrics. Be sure to store items clean for optimal protection. Avoid storing in humid and damp areas like the attic or basement which are optimal environments for moth breeding.
How to identify moth holes in clothes:
Holes in clothes from silverfish and moths can be frustrating and hard to repair. Check fabrics—especially natural fibers like silk, wool, cashmere, and fur—for small, irregular clothing holes with unraveling edges. Silverfish holes in clothes are often accompanied by yellowish stains. In fur, it's common to observe excessive shedding as a result of bug damage. Wool rugs may also have holes in less-trafficked patches. Staying vigilant, cleaning regularly, storing clothing properly, and knowing the signs of a moth or silverfish infestation are the first steps to eliminating pests from your home. Bugs that eat clothes are often hard to spot until the damage is already done, so taking preventative measures to protect garments is key.
Already got moths? Quarantine the scene.
If you’ve identified moth holes in your clothes, wash your garments and then use disposable airtight bags to store them in the freezer for 72 hours while you clean all exposed areas, like closets and drawers. After washing garments, be sure to deep clean your washing machine. Avoid the dry cleaner or laundromat if possible, as you may risk spreading the infestation to those areas.
Post-damage, call for repairs.
Consult your local tailor or dry cleaner to repair pesky holes in your favorite pieces, and don't leave damaged clothing in your closet. You won't wear it and neglected items could easily become a breeding ground for critters! Replace buttons, mend small holes in your clothes from silverfish, and alter clothing that is too big or small while you’re at it. Tip: Keep the extra yarns that come with your knits in one safe spot in case you need future repairs.