Wool clothing might be comfortable and cozy in the winter, but once the flowers start blooming, you undoubtedly want to shed your winter woolens and wear cooler, lighter garb. Before going outside to enjoy spring weather, make sure that your wool garments are stored properly to protect them from insect damage. Clothes moths and carpet beetles prefer to lay their eggs on wool fibers. Once those eggs hatch, the larvae emerge and begin grazing on your clothing, leaving little holes behind. A few simple storage techniques can keep your wool clothing intact and undamaged.
Things You'll Need
Airtight plastic containers
Duct tape (optional)
Mothballs or moth crystals
Clean your wool clothing before storage. Insects prefer to feed on wool fibers soiled with perspiration, urine, body oils or food particles. Following the care instructions on the labels, dry-clean, hand- or machine-wash your clothing items before packing them up.
Place clean, completely dry wool clothing in airtight containers. Use plastic tubs with tight-fitting lids, plastic baggies with zippers or plastic sweater boxes. Seal any holes or cracks in containers with duct tape.
Place mothballs or moth crystals inside the storage containers. Colorado State University Extension suggests using moth crystals because they repel both clothes moths and carpet beetles, while mothballs repel only moths. The gas in moth crystals sinks, so place the crystals above your clothing. Scatter mothballs in layers throughout the clothing.
Keep your wool clothing cool. The website Missouri Families notes that temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit discourage insect infestation. Find a cold location within your home or store the container in an unheated garage or shed.
Check on your stored clothing periodically. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service suggests inspecting your stored woolens every four to eight weeks for signs of insect damage. Place your wool items in the sun and brush the clothes down thoroughly. Replace the mothballs or moth crystals before putting your clothes back into storage.
Air out your wool clothing for a few days after storage to eliminate any mothball or moth crystal odor. Any clothes labeled as "moth resistant" have been treated with protective chemicals during the manufacturing process. This protection remains effective through many washes.
Don't allow moth balls or moth crystals to touch any plastic, such as the sides of plastic containers, buttons or zippers. The chemicals can cause the plastic to melt and stick to your wool clothing.
- Missouri Families: How Do You Care for Wool Clothing?
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service; Clothes Moths and Carpet Beetles: Controlling Fabric Pests; Michael Waldvogel, et al.; February 2005
- The Nebline; Controlling Pests with Home Remedies; Barb Ogg; June 2006
- University of California Integrated Pest Management Program; Clothes Moths; December 2000