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How to get rid of moths and clothes moths

Are cloth moths attacking your clothes? Read on for a simple guide that will show you how to get rid of clothes moths and stop them coming back!


A  basket with clothes inside

Is there anything worse than seeing holes and frays in your favourite woollen clothes or natural carpets? Cloth moths and carpet moths are often to blame! This article will explain how to get rid of moths and prevent them coming back in the future.

Like most pests, cloth moths likes dark and damp conditions. Try to keep your closet clean, dry and airy to deter them.

Getting rid of clothes moths: knowing the signs

Getting rid of moths requires a two-pronged approach; the immediate moth problem must be dealt with, but a preventative strategy to deter moths from returning should also be adopted.

First, you need to know the signs. Clothes moths are nocturnal insects, so you may not have seen them around the house. However, there are a few tell-tale signs that will show if you have a cloth moth infestation. Small holes are the usual clue – particularly in clothing made of silk, wool or fur. Other signs include if your clothing is dusty or discoloured or has a musty scent.

Getting rid of moths: the techniques

If you have found evidence of clothes moth, you need to start thinking how you can get rid of it. Here are a few techniques to try:

  • Make a trap. A homemade trap can be fashioned from common items found around the house – dab a piece of flypaper with fish oil and hang it from a coat hanger or use traps designed to catch mice.

  • Wash your clothes. Clothes moths lay eggs in clothing, so removing the adult moths won’t necessarily get rid of the moth problem. Wash your clothes using any good detergent like on the hottest temperature recommended on the label and store them securely. You can use plastic sealed bags to add an extra layer of protection for delicate items made of wool, silk, or fur.

  • Clean your closet. Use a damp cloth to wipe out the closet to remove any eggs that might be hiding in ridges or frames. Use water with detergent such as or a vinegar and water solution for getting rid of moths and making sure any remaining eggs are removed. Once the closet has dried, use a vacuum to get rid of any stubborn eggs that might still be hiding – make sure you vacuum any nearby patches of carpet too!

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Preventing future moth infestations

Now that you know how to get rid of moths, it’s time to begin the second prong of your attack – stopping cloth moths coming back!

  • Brush any clothes made of wool, fur or feathers using a hard-bristled brush immediately after wearing. Most moth eggs are laid in the fabric while it is being worn outside – if you can brush out the eggs before they hatch, an infestation will never materialise!

  • Any food stains can be a valuable food source for moths, so make sure your clothes are clean before you put them back in the closet.

  • Ventilate your closet as moths like warm, humid spaces – if you keep your closet cool and dry, moths are less likely to set up shop.

  • Store woollen clothing that is only worn occasionally in airtight plastic. Take clothes out of the closet and leave to air every few months, especially after they have been in storage for a while.

  • Moths are repelled by cedar, so try to find hangers or ball-shaped chunks of cedar that can be hung inside the closet.

  • While it’s possible to buy moth balls, they can often leave a strong scent on your clothes. Try a natural alternative such as a sachet with cloves, lavender, dried rosemary or thyme, and hang it in your closet.

If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to get rid of clothes moth without too much difficulty. In extreme cases, it might be necessary to call in an exterminator – in this case, make sure you use a trusted pest control expert. Happy clothes moth hunting!

  • Wash your clothes and clean out your closet completely if you notice any sign of cloth moths.

  • Research clothes moth traps that would help you get rid of unwanted pests or call an exterminator for help in severe cases.

  • Invest into cedar hangers or perfumes for your wardrobe which naturally repel cloth moths.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published