Clothes moths will lay eggs on wool clothing, fur coats and feathered apparel. Eggs are glued to threads or hairs on the clothing and are not easily dislodged. When the eggs hatch, the problems begin. The larva — not the moths themselves — are the cause of holes and destruction to wool fabrics, furs and feathered apparel. The larva will begin feeding on whatever it is on immediately after hatching. Larva can live on clothing for as little as five weeks or as long as five years, depending on conditions. Keeping wool clothing clean is the best way to prevent moth larva on your clothes, however if you find you have them, there are some things you can do to rid your clothing of the larva.
Things You'll Need
- Air-tight plastic bags
- Clothes brush
- Long-acting insecticide
- Pheromone sticky traps
- Plastic containers with tight-fitting lids
- Cedar chests
- Mothballs or crystals
Freeze clothing infested with clothes moth larva. Place clothing in an air-tight plastic bag and place it in the freezer. Store in temperatures of 0 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 72 hours to kill larva.
Expose clothing to sunlight and heat. Larva will also die when exposed to temperatures of 110 degrees to 120 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 minutes. Brushing clothing outside and exposing it to sunlight can also get rid of larva.
Empty the closet of all clothing and dry clean all woolens, silk, suede and cashmere garments.
Vacuum the closet thoroughly. Vacuuming removes food sources such as pet fur or hair, which may keep the moth larva well fed.
Spray the closet with a long-lasting insecticide. Place pheromone sticky traps in the closet to prevent further infestations.
Store infested woolens in dry, arid conditions. Low humidity will kill moth larva infestations.
Clean wool clothing after wearing. Perspiration and soil contain the necessary nutrients for clothes moth larva to feed.
Store wool, furs and feathered apparel in plastic storage containers with tight-fitting lids. Limiting access is the best way to keep moths from laying eggs on apparel. Store woolens and furs in cedar chests. Oils in cedar wood will kill clothes moth larva. Use mothballs or crystals when storing woolens. Crystals are made of Paradichlorobenzene, and mothballs contain Naphthalene, which both produce gases that are toxic to insects.
Tips & Warnings
- Oil in cedar wood becomes less effective over time, and after three years the chest won’t kill clothes moth larva.
- Use care when using moth crystals in plastic storage containers. Plastics such as polystyrene and Styrofoam may melt after prolonged exposure to Paradichlorobenzene vapors. The vapors may also damage plastic buttons or ornaments on clothing.
- Photo Credit Stephen Schauer/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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