Moths in your closets don’t care how much you love your clothes. These little creatures can enter your wardrobe and desecrate your duds to destroy your gorgeous collection of sweaters or shirts.
Before you know it, Tineola bisselliella or clothes moths can invade your wardrobe to cause irreversible damage. The effects are distressing, and their eradication can be exhausting. Like pantry moths, these moths can hide in your closet during their various stages of development and constantly lay eggs. But it’s the growing larvae that are most damaging to garments.
How Can Clothes Moths Damage Your Favorite Clothes
A moth infestation can do more damage than you can imagine. Even celebrities like Drew Barrymore and Alex Vaughn (product manager of Wirecutter) have shared their harrowing experiences with closet moths.
The larvae consume natural fibers, typically present in cotton t-shirts, sweaters, or silk dresses. They thrive in humid and dark areas. But they are also attracted to unwashed clothing, mainly if food bits are stuck to the fibers.
How to Identify a Moth Infestation in your Closet
Just seeing a moth in your home doesn’t indicate an infestation. Researchers reveal that most moths that homeowners spot in their homes feed on plants. Anything over 1 cm is not likely to feed on your clothes.
Check your clothing to identify whether you have a clothes moth infestation in your closet. Examine any worn or unwashed items, paying careful attention to the seams, which collect more skin cells and dirt. Watch for cocoons, larvae, adult moths, and white eggs. If you spot any of these, you may need to get rid of these creatures asap!
Best Tips and Tricks to Get Rid of Closet Moths
First things first. Bag and discard all clothes that you can’t repair. Then, throw the bag in your trash can.
Put clothes that aren’t completely eaten in another bag and freeze them for at least 24 hours. That will kill all active larvae. Remove the bags after a day from your freezer and keep them closed until you are ready to wash them thoroughly.
Wash all objects in hot water and dry them for at least thirty minutes in a high-temperature setting. Bag and send all other items for dry cleaning.
The good news is that you can eliminate these unwanted guests and treat affected fabrics (if they are not damaged). Let’s find out how.
Once you empty your closet, use a 1:1 solution of water and white vinegar to clean the baseboards, walls, and shelves. Give it enough time to dry completely.
Use surface-appropriate cleaners for cleaning the floor and carpets under your closet. Be careful to choose safe cleaning solutions and keep your closet well-ventilated in the days following the treatment.
How to Keep Closet Moths Out for Good
- Add a light source to your wardrobe space.
- Launder or dry clean clothes regularly.
- Keep the closet doors open to prevent moisture and promote airflow.
- Wash any seasonal items before storing them away.
- Wash any secondhand clothing with hot water, immediately after purchasing it and before keeping it in your cupboard.
- Place adhesive moth traps on the top of your closet and the back of the shelves.
- Use compression bags or plastic storage bins for animal-based fabrics like fur and wool.
- Hang all expensive clothing after placing them inside sealable garment bags.
- Vacuum regularly to keep your closet dust-free
Should You Call the Professionals?
Even with the best cleanup and prevention plan, a clothes-moth infestation may be too difficult to handle alone. If this is the case, don't hesitate to seek expert assistance. After all, the cost of an exterminator and cleaning services is much less than the expense of losing your clothes to pests.