How To Get Rid Of Clothes Moths

We spoke to ELLE Magazine and shared with them our top tips on how to get rid of clothes moths and how you can properly care for your wardrobe to avoid your favourite knitwear being damaged.  

By clearing out and organising your wardrobe, keeping your garments clean, repairing the small moth holes before they get bigger, and by correctly storing your items with natural moth deterrents, you can easily avoid having your clothes being ravaged by moths. 

Keep reading to find out how we can help your closet be moth free...

How do I know if I have clothes moths?

Moths have been on the rampage in the UK, and especially in London, in the last few years. This is because a few years ago the EU banned certain strong and toxic chemicals which were used as moth exterminators and deterrents. They move from house to house and live in dark places where there are natural fibres available to eat. You’ll know you have them if you see a fluttering of wings when you open your wardrobe or pull out an item of clothing from a dark shelf. You’ll also notice the damage they do – if you find clusters of holes or thinning patches in coats, jumpers, trousers or dresses, it’s almost certainly moths, and you’ll need to take action to stop them in their tracks!

It might come as a surprise to learn that the moth itself does not cause the damage, but the larvae. The larvae feed on natural fibres such as cashmere, wool, and silk and the more expensive the better! They are also attracted to surface debris on clothes such as food, hair, or even skin particles. The key is to get rid of the larvae which are not visible to the naked eye, and stop them from laying eggs.

How do I get rid of the moths I already have and what should I avoid doing to get rid of moths?
1) CLEAR OUT

A disorganised and cluttered wardrobe is a key factor in attracting clothes moths; hence the pile of clothes lurking at the back of the wardrobe is a haven for moths to thrive.  

2) CLEAN 

In order to prevent any further or future damage to your clothing, it is important to keep all clothing and your wardrobe space clean. Vacuum and clean all areas inside your wardrobe and drawers to kill off any residual moth larvae. 

Next, wash all your garments in the area affected by clothes moths. You might find that wool, cashmere and silk items are labelled as dry clean only, and dry cleaning chemicals certainly do help eliminate clothes moths. But steam cleaning has the same effect as it gets rid of the moth larvae, but without the nasty toxins. You can also hand wash knitwear with our Cashmere and Wool wash which contains very effective natural moth deterrents, and stays in the fabric after drying.

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3) TREAT

We also recommend freezing as an all-natural anti-moth treatment to destroy clothes moths, larvae, and eggs. Place your garments in air-tight moth-proof bags and tightly seal, pressing out any air from the bag. Freeze garments for at least 48 hours, and up to 2 weeks for full effect.

4) REPAIR 

We recommend that you repair any holes in your clothing as soon as you notice the first sign of damage, to prevent the holes from increasing in size when worn (especially holes on sleeves). The traditional fix for moth-holes is a darning technique, which involves a delicate weave in a matching fabric to repair the hole. 

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5) STORE

Correct storage of your items can save you time and money invested in moth-related damage. It's important that you don't reintroduce any clothing back into your wardrobe space until it’s clean, and any damaged items have been repaired and treated. Then we suggest storing clothing made of natural fibres in clear plastic airtight bags – ideal if you can reuse your freezer bags for this. 

Get a subscription to Clothes Doctor’s Natural Moth Deterrent Fragrance Bags: these are super effective at deterring moths through a blend of lovely natural fragrances including lavender, patchouli and eucalyptus – all the things moths hate! For best results they need to be changed every 3-4 months, so the subscription will help you remember to replace them when they pop through your letterbox.

Consider an open-fronted wardrobe next time you update your bedroom décor, and in the meantime, keeping your most treasured items out of the wardrobe and in daylight by a window may actually be the safest place for them. Just try to avoid too much direct sunlight or colours may fade over time. 

What products can I use to combat moths?

We recommend using natural moth deterrents.

Our Natural Fragrance Bags, mentioned above, which are just gorgeous, it’s worth investing in a hand wash treatment for knitwear that contains natural moth deterrents, such as Clothes Doctor’s Eco Wash For Cashmere & Wool. It’s also a great alternative to dry cleaning so you can save on the dry cleaning bill too! Definitely get some clear airtight storage bags, and a steamer is a very useful tool for quickly treating any items that you suspect of being infested.

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As seen in ELLE