Moths are insects with the unfortunate habit of eating natural fibers such as cotton, wool and silk. Nothing is worse than taking out a winter sweater or designer silk scarf and finding it full of little holes. Moth larvae from eggs laid on clothing are responsible for the damage rather than grown moths, so eggs from one moth can easily destroy an item of clothing. Keeping moths out of your clothes is the best way to deal with them.
When you store your clothes, put them in a place where moths can't get at them. Cedar chests are a time-honored approach to moth prevention because they close tightly and the oils in the wood repel moths. However, the oils fade with time, and it might be possible for a moth to find its way into an old chest. For long-term storage, use plastic bins with lids that snap down or vacuum-sealed storage bags to be sure that moths can't get in. Thorough, regular housekeeping is another way to keep moths from taking up residence in your house. Air out closets, drawers and storage rooms once or twice a year and check for moths, larvae and eggs. Take out clothes you don't wear very often to check for moths and give them a good airing out.
Prepare Clothes for Storage
Make sure the clothes are clean prior to storage, since moths are attracted to food and sweat stains more than the fibers themselves. If you've had some moth damage already, take other clothing that has been stored in the same place for dry-cleaning to kill eggs and larvae. Give all your clothes a good shake and brush them with your hand before putting them away to dislodge any eggs.
Natural Moth Repellents
The most effective way to keep moths out of your clothes is to use naphthalene mothballs. Mothballs smell nasty, the odor lingers in clothing fibers, and they are harmful to curious kids and pets. Instead of mothballs, try some natural moth repellents that also make your clothes smell nice. Many stores sell pieces of cedar for clothing storage which you can place in drawers or hang in closets. Cedar should be replaced every few years. Herbs are another natural remedy for moth prevention. Lavender, sage, cloves, thyme and rosemary are all effective for preventing moths. You can make sachets with dried herbs to place in drawers, storage containers and closets. Be sure to replace the sachets every couple of months, as the scent fades away. Another approach is to mix essential oils of these herbs with water and lightly mist clothing and linens once a week or so.