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How To

Stop Bugging and Get Rid of Critters, Naturally

Sep 7, 2011

They may be small, but bugs and moths can do big harm to your favorite fall and winter fashions during the off season. With proper storage and treatment, you can make sure your best pieces last for years to come. And if the damage is done, don't despair, there's still hope with the right repairs!

Creature Feature: Silverfish

What are they?

Silverfish are tiny light grey and blue wingless insects that can grow to ½ inches long.  Found anywhere humidity levels are high, they thrive in cool, dark, damp locations like attics, closets, baseboards, and bathroom fixtures. And they love to nestle into your warm bulky textiles as much as you do.


What do they eat?

Silverfish feast on a diet of starch, sugar and protein making linen, cotton, viscose, rayon and silk prime targets.


What's the damage?

Silverfish eat the surface of textiles, leaving garments with a shaved appearance. Other signs of damage include irregular holes and small yellow stains.


How can I stop them?

When it comes to preventing silverfish damage, proper storage is key. First, always wash your garments before putting them away for the season. These insects are attracted to perspiration, perfume, and body oils and not washing your clothing is like inviting them to a delicious dinner! Then, make sure the storage area is dry. And finally, wrap your selected storage boxes in nylon netting to prevent them from getting in. There is no protein in nylon, which makes it indigestible to silverfish. Avoid cardboard, paper, and plastic storage.


Remember, what smells sweet to you is toxic to them.

Cedar and lavender emit a smell that is noxious to silverfish. Try adding The Laundress Lavender Pouch to your garment storage to drive them away.


And if you've got them, freeze them out.

Silverfish can't withstand freezing temperatures. If you think you have a silverfish infestation, isolate the affected garments immediately then freeze them for 72 hours in plastic storage bags or containers.


Creature Feature: Moths

What are they?

Moths are a group of flying insects related to the butterfly and moth larvae that have a big appetite.


What do they eat?

Moth larvae have a specific diet and typically pick 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 can I stop them?

Make it a wash:
Wash everything at the beginning and end of a season to keep perfumes, body oils, and food stains from becoming a yummy food source.

Clean house:
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 and vacuum.

Go Natural:
Avoid moth balls which are toxic (and deadly) and leave permanent odors and chose a natural a anti-moth product instead. Don't use cedar wood blocks or chips as direct contact with textiles can transfer oil to your favorite fabrics creating stubborn stains. Instead, use The Laundress Lavender Pouch or The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray, both of which are natural moth and bug repellents.

Pack it up:
Never store clothes in plastic or cardboard. Instead, pack clothes in a breathable cotton or linen fabric pouch with a zipper closure like The Laundress All-Purpose Storage Bag. Avoid humid and damp areas like the attic or basement which are optimal environments for moth breeding.

Already got moths? Quarantine the scene.
Wash your garments and then use disposable airtight bags to store them in the freezer while you clean all exposed areas, like closets and drawers. Then clean your washing machine. Do not go to the dry cleaner or laundromat as you will spread the infestation to those areas.

And when the damage is done, call for repairs.
Consult your local tailor or dry-cleaner to fix 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 holes and alter clothing that is too big or small. Keep the yarns that come with your knits in one safe spot for the future.

The Laundress Product of Perfection
The Laundress Wool & Cashmere Spray is a nontoxic, allergen-free fabric spray that naturally repels bugs and moths without the noxious odors of toxic mothballs or danger of oil stains left by cedar blocks and chips.

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Wool & Cashmere Spray 4 fl oz

Freshen & Deodorize

All-Purpose Storage Bag

Get it Monogrammed

Lavender Pouch

Bug & Odor Protection

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