To be able to beat clothes moths, you need to know clothes moths.
The most important thing to know is that the adult clothes moths which clumsily bounce off walls and crawl along skirting boards aren’t the ones eating your clothes, it’s their larvae that do the damage.
If you’re seeing adult clothes moths, an infestation has probably already become established somewhere in your home. Clothes moths love dark, undisturbed places, only emerging into the light to find new places to nest.
This means that you can’t rely on moth traps, repellents or killers that you can buy online, as they only affect adult moths. The only way to prevent a clothes moths infestation is through the following good habits.
Nothing’s worse than pulling your winter clothes out of the wardrobe only to find them riddled with holes.
Unused clothes and bedding sitting in dark wardrobes and drawers for months provides the perfect environment for clothes moths to breed and feast, and they’re especially fond of expensive wool and cashmere.
The best way to protect your out of season clothes and bedding is so seal them in vacuum bags, which are also an excellent space-saving tool.
Just make sure you wash the clothes at 60 degrees first, otherwise all you will have done is contain the infestation. If you can’t wash your clothes, either dry clean them or vacuum bag them, then put them in the freezer for a couple of weeks before storing.
Clothes moth eggs and larvae are almost invisible to the naked eye and are easily spread from infested clothes or furniture.
If you go on holiday or stay at someone else’s house, you should immediately dry clean your clothes or wash them at 60 degrees to kill any eggs or larvae, which can’t survive above 55 degrees.
To be extra careful, you should also store your clothes in sealed bags before packing them to avoid your luggage becoming infested as well.
Clothes moths won’t lay their eggs in areas that are regularly disturbed, and the easiest way to disturb a potential clothes moth nest is to hoover it.
But a quick go over the floors won’t help; you need to get behind furniture, along skirting boards and deep into the crevices in stairs – all favourite spots for clothes moths to lay their eggs.
If there’s any part of your house that you forget to clean for weeks or even months, there’s a high risk that you’ve created a dusty clothes moth paradise.
As a last resort, or if you fancy a renovation anyway, you can significantly reduce your risk of clothes moth infestation by getting rid of carpets altogether.
A surprisingly common source of clothes moth infestation that we’ve discovered in our surveys is rolls of carpet cut-offs, craft fabrics or soft toys which have been left in attics or basements.
Any forgotten fabrics that you’re started away for months or even years can quietly harbour a swarming colony of clothes moths, which is only discovered when the population grows so big that it spills into the rest of the house.
Unfortunately, there is no effective DIY treatment to exterminate a clothes moth infestation. Their eggs and larvae are simply too small to detect, and it only takes a few to escape your insecticide sprays for the population to rapidly reestablish itself.