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How To Deal with Clothes Moths

Clothes Moths Secrets Finally Exposed

How to Deal with Clothes Moths

The scenario is a familiar one — at the first sign of cold weather you pull your favorite woolen sweater out of the closet only to discover that it’s been eaten by clothes moths. Or perhaps you’ve even seen the tiny, golden-brown creatures fluttering around your home, but you haven’t seen any damage yet. Unfortunately, it’s probably just a matter of time. Those adults that you see will be mating and, before you know it, the females will be laying their eggs on your best clothes. Just what are these moths? Why are they so attracted to your clothing and furnishings? And, most importantly, how can you prevent clothes moths from wreaking havoc with your wardrobe?

{category_img id=9655 type=small align=right link=yes}The life cycle of the common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) includes a larval stage during which it exists as a caterpillar and an adult stage in which it leaves its cocoon as a moth. The adults which you see flying about do not feed on your clothes and furnishings. Having acquired all of their nutrients during their larval stage, the adult moths live solely to mate and produce eggs. The females prefer to lay these eggs on animal-derived fabrics such as wool, silk and fur, which have been stored in warm, dark, undisturbed areas. Once these tiny, white eggs hatch, the caterpillars emerge and begin eating. It is not the fabric itself that nurtures them, but rather the human traces — dead skin, hairs, sweat and other stains — left behind on the clothing. When the caterpillars have fattened themselves up enough, they will spin cocoons into which they will then withdraw. Several weeks later they will emerge as adult moths and the cycle will repeat itself.

How do you stop the cycle? Moths prefer humid conditions. Humidity of around 75% is ideal for them, so a good first step is to lower the humidity in your home by reducing the temperature or through the use of dehumidifiers. Seal your home as tightly as possible against the outdoors to prevent them entering. Moths particularly like to hide in cracks and crannies, so seal any you find in the flooring or walls. Next, vacuum your home often and as thoroughly as possible. Be sure to get under beds and furniture and into the joins where carpets meet the walls. Empty your vacuum bag immediately afterwards, otherwise any moths you’ve sucked up will simply crawl back out and recolonize your home.

Next, focus on your closets and wardrobes. Vacuum here too, including the walls and ceiling. Clothes moths like dark, undisturbed spaces, so make sure to regularly disturb your closets. Let light and air into them. If you have woolen items which you’d like to keep to hand, make sure to take them out every now and again and give them a shake. Moth eggs are quite fragile and will not survive rough treatment. As for the clothes themselves, keep them as clean as possible. Remember, the moths are looking for clothing with stains which will nurture the larvae. Clean clothing will discourage them from laying their eggs.

{category_img id=50802 type=small align=right link=yes}Other means of discouraging moths include the use of strong oils such as lavender and eucalyptus. You can buy ready-made sachets that include these oils, or you can make your own. The scent of cedar also discourages moths. You may choose to use {product_link sku=EGJA-8172 title=”cedar blocks”} or chips, or line your closets with {product_link sku=LDAA-7985 title=”cedar planks”}, but remember to sand them every few months in order to keep the scent fresh and strong. Many people avoid old-fashioned mothballs and moth flakes. In addition to their unpleasant smell, the toxins which they may contain — naphthalene and paradichlorobenzene — are toxic to humans as well as moths.

{category_img id=50804 type=small align=right link=yes}A sprinkling of {product_link sku=BACA-3203 title=”diatomaceous earth”} to discourage clothes moths or the use of to capture them are more sensible solutions. If you find eggs or other evidence of a moth infestation on your clothing, you have a range of options. Dry cleaning will kill the eggs, as will extremes of heat or cold. Ironing is also effective at killing the eggs, as is freezing the affected items of clothing. If you find that you have an infestation and you want to keep your unaffected clothing safe, you can put newly cleaned items in airtight containers such as plastic packing bags or boxes. For extra protection, seal the containers with packing tape or even freeze them.

A moth infestation can be brought under control. The most important thing is to create a habitat which is inhospitable to these very destructive creatures. Keeping your home dry, your wool clothing clean, your closets aired and your carpets vacuumed will go a long way towards ridding you of these clothes moths once and for all.

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