As you begin to bring your winter clothes out as fall quickly approaches, please take a moment to look each garment over for moth holes. Consider how you store your clothes; proper storage is important. Do not leave your clothes in dry cleaning plastic.
These creepy little crawlies can chew their way through your clothing, wool carpets, or even the felt in your piano. When you first discover signs of infestation, take immediate steps to prevent further damage.
Instructions for Dealing with Moth Infestation or Protecting Against Damage
Step One: Locate the Source
Locate the source of the infestation. Use a flashlight to inspect clothing and carpets for telltale signs of moth infestation such as holes in clothing or other woolen items, moth larvae, or silk webs spun by the larvae. (If you find dried skins from larvae or sand Mlike droppings, they’re likely from carpet beetles rather than moths. Clothes moths typically like dark, secluded places and may be found under furniture, in carpets or in boxes of stored clothing.)
Step Two: Clean the Area
Thoroughly clean the infested area with soapy water.
Step Three: Vacuum the Area
Vacuum the infested area, and continue to vacuum it regularly, disposing of the vacuum bags promptly, since they may contain the moths’ eggs or larvae.
Step Four: Dry Clean or Launder All Infected (or Potentially-Infected) Items
Dry-clean all the items you suspect may have become infested with moths, or launder them in hot water. Even if you don’t see any moths, there may be larvae embedded in the clothing that need to be removed.
Step Five: Store Clothes Properly
If the items are going into long-term storage, place them in a sealed, airtight container along with cedar chips or mothballs. If you’re using mothballs, wrap them in paper so your clothes don’t become discolored from contact with the chemicals.
(Note that cedar chips are not 100 percent effective and must be sanded every year or refreshed with cedar oil in order to increase the odor they give off. Mothballs are more effective but can impart an unpleasant odor to your clothing.)
Step Six: Clean Items Prior to Storage
Moth larvae typically feed on wool or other fibers derived from an animal (feathers, fur, felt), but they can also be attracted to sweat, hair or oils embedded in other fabrics, so clean all items well before putting them in storage.
Step Seven: Protect Non-Stored Clothes
If the items are not going into long-term storage and it’s not practical to put them in an airtight container, distribute some cedar chips or mothballs among them. Then, at least once a year, brush the items and expose them to sunlight to discourage further infestations.
Reminder: Wool sweaters will shrink in the dry cleaning process. Unfortunately, retailers and manufacturers do not provide the consumer with this information. The dry cleaner follows the garments instructions on the label. Most dry cleaners are not set up to layout and block/size the wet garment.
Use moth balls in airtight containers only. Place moth balls with textiles containing natural fibers inside garment bags, storage containers or trunks and seal them closed. If you detect moth ball odor outside the container, it is not airtight.