How to Kill Moths in Wool

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Moths often infest wool garments stored in dark closets for long periods.
Moths often infest wool garments stored in dark closets for long periods. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Wool and other animal-based fabric materials are susceptible to the larvae of moths. Soiled and improperly stored wool objects are particularly likely to become infested with moths and their larvae. Moth larvae feed on wool and generally damage unnoticeable areas of garments, such as under shirt cuffs and collars. Aside from actual damage, these shiny, white larvae spin protective webbing as they feed, forming silky cocoons in wool. Promptly kill moths and their larvae in wool to protect garments from damage.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric brush
  • Polyethylene bag
  • Freezer
  • Airtight container
  • Moth control product containing naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene
  • Paper

Take the wool item outdoors to expose the moth larvae to sunlight. Brush the wool with a fabric brush to detach moth eggs, larvae and cocoons. The brushing action destroys moth eggs and exposes the larvae to sunlight, which causes larvae to fall off wool.

Place the wool garment in a polyethylene bag and squeeze out excess air. Tightly seal the bag and freeze the encased wool at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the wool item in the freezer for at least 72 hours to thoroughly kill the remaining moth larvae.

Examine the wool for lingering moth larvae. If cocoons or small, white caterpillars remain in the wool, take the garment to a dry cleaners to have the wool professionally dry cleaned. Dry cleaning is the only complete option for cleaning moth-infested wool garments and killing all stages of moths.

Store the clean, moth-free wool item in an airtight container with a moth control product containing naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene to prevent future moth infestation. Place the moth control product between several layers of paper to ensure the product doesn’t damage the wool item.

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