Have you ever gone into your closet and pulled out one of your favorite cashmere sweaters only to find it riddled in small holes you swore weren’t there before? Well, you’ve probably heard of closet moths, but if you’re anything like us, are confused about how they even find their way into your closet and want to know how to get rid of them– ensuring a longer lifespan for your favorite clothes. Well, wish granted because we’ve compiled the answers to all your burning questions.
What are clothes moths? Why are they eating my clothes?
Clothes moths are a type of pest that thrives on natural fibers. This, of course, means all your wools, cashmere, silks, and furs. This is because these materials contain a fibrous protein, keratin, that these bugs can digest. Because of this, they typically avoid synthetic and cotton fabrics.
In addition, these moths aren’t limited to just your clothes but also your carpets, curtains, upholstery, and anything made of those natural materials.
Moths are drawn to three things: natural materials, sweat & odors, and dark spaces. Moths’ prime breeding grounds are dark, warm environments– which means you’re more likely to see these holes during the summer and in dark, tight, packed closets.
A common misconception is that it's the adult moths that cause those telltale holes in your clothes, but it’s actually their larvae, which the moths initially lay on your clothes, and then as they hatch, those larvae eat your clothes.
How do they even get in my closet?
Moths can end up in your closet from other foreign materials and clothes. Meaning if you bring a cardboard box into your closet, buy second-hand clothes, or go somewhere that already has moths. Because of this, you should keep your clothes as clean as possible and ensure you’re always washing/dry cleaning new and worn items. This will also make your closet seem less appetizing to moths since they really love sweat, stains, food, and other dirt that ends up on your clothing throughout the day.
Our top tips to keep your clothes safe from moths:
Keep your closet organized.Tight, dark spaces are especially compelling to moths, so it’s best to keep your closet organized and not tightly packed. Check out our Tips and Tricks for Storing Your Clothes.
Keep things clean. Had a particularly stressful day and sweat in your favorite top? It’s best to clean that right away and not place it back in your closet. By cleaning your clothes often (even the ones that require dry cleaning), you make your space less hospitable for moths.
- Invest in natural moth repellents. Cedar woods and lavender pouches are both natural moth repellents. But if you think you may already have a moth infestation, it would be better to look into mothballs or even pheromone moth traps. Although these don’t smell that great, it’s good to pair them with a scented ribbon that you can place throughout your closet for a pleasant smell.
- Finally, if you think your clothes may already have moth larvae on them. The good news is that insects typically don’t like very hot or cold temperatures. So if you put your clothes on high heat in the dryer for 30 minutes or try freezing them, this will kill the first three stages of the moth.