How to get rid of moths (the ones that eat your clothes and your carpets)

When we think of moths we generally think of the ones that we see at night when a light is on, but it’s actually the species of moths that we don’t typically see that are the problem when it comes to keeping your clothes and carpets safe. But don’t worry! We’ve got everything you need, from top tips to tried-and-tested moth-ridding products, to help you protect your home from the devastating damage caused by fabric-feeding moths.

A hidden problem

It’s not actually the moths that eat your clothes, it’s the larvae, making them very hard to spot until it’s too late and you see the tell-tale holes in your favourite sweater and soft furnishings. Each female moth can lay up to 200 eggs at a time, and each larvae takes between 2 to 9 months to mature into a moth… that’s a lot of time for them to munch on your belongings!

Dark, warm places like wardrobes and airing cupboards provide the perfect breeding ground for these unwelcome visitors, and with winters becoming warmer and our homes being consistently warm throughout the year, clothes moths are thriving and becoming a year-round problem in many households.

Moth on clothing

Know your enemy

It’s important to know the type of moth to look out for, as the ones you see flying around your home and bashing into light bulbs are perfectly harmless (even if you find their erratic, fluttery flight paths and tendency to head straight towards you a bit unnerving!). Here are the two main culprits…

Common/webbing clothes moths

Only about 6-10mm long, common clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella) are much smaller than the big, fluttery moths you see flying around your home. And the larvae (the ones that cause all of the damage) are tiny – just 1mm long when they hatch – so they’re even harder to spot, though they do leave a cobweb-like trail in their wake. Lovely.

Case-bearing clothes moths

Similar to the common clothes moth, the case-bearing clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) is very small. The main difference is that the larvae creates a case using the fibres from the clothes it munches on, effectively camouflaging itself and therefore making it harder to spot – until you see the tell-tale holes…

How do clothes moths get into your home?

Clothes moths can’t fly very far – in fact, some of them don’t fly at all, preferring to scuttle about –  so it’s highly unlikely that they will fly in through open windows. Couple that with their expensive tastes – they favour natural fibres like wool, cashmere and silk rather than synthetic textiles – and it makes sense that antique rugs, jumpers from the charity shop and second-hand furnishings are the most likely culprits for new moth infestations. Spray any second-hand garments or soft furnishings with Moth Stop Fabric or Carpet Sprays to kill off any eggs or larvae, and you’ll stand a better chance of preventing clothes moths moving into your home.

How to detect clothes moths

A moth trap will warn you of the presence of clothes moths, so you can take action before finding lots of holes. Adapting the principle used in traditional flypaper, our Moth Stop Moth Traps release pheromones to attract adult moths and then trap them on their sticky pads – if you find tiny moths stuck to the pad, you’ll know you’ve got clothes moths and can take the necessary action. Stand or hang the moth trap in any moth ‘danger area’ – Moth Trap. The pad remains effective for up to 8 weeks and an indicator shows when it’s time to replace it.

How to protect your home

Wardrobes and drawers

  • Our range of Moth Stop Hangers and Sachets are perfect for adding to your wardrobe and your drawers. Scientifically proven to provide safe, long-lasting protection against moths and – more importantly – their eggs and larvae, they’re scented with natural oils of lavender (a natural moth deterrent) to leave your garments with a lovely fragrance as well as free of holes.
  • It’s also recommended that you shake your clothes every day. Clothes moths don’t like disturbances, so shaking the clothes in your wardrobe will help prevent them from settling in and laying eggs.
  • Hoovering the inside of your wardrobe (bases and sides) also helps to eliminate any larvae or eggs.

Carpets and soft furnishings

  • When vacuuming your carpet, use the crevice tool to get right up to the edges, as this often-missed area is a favourite hideout for moths and their hungry young.
  • Hoover underneath your furniture too, as a moth invasion could easily build up undetected in these hidden spaces.
  • Spray cushions, curtains, throws and carpets with our Moth Stop Carpet Moth Killer & Freshener Spray. Effective on carpets and fabrics for up to 3 months, it kills moths and their eggs and larvae, leaves behind a pleasant lavender fragrance, and also works on carpet beetles, silverfish and dastardly dust mites.

Seasonal storage

  • Stash away seasonal items safe in the knowledge that they’ll be protected in Store & Protect Clothes Bags – a safe way to store winter woollies or delicate silks.
  • Spray garments with our Moth Stop Fabric Moth Killer & Freshener Spray before putting them away in the wardrobe or in storage bags.
  • We don’t suggest using our moth sprays on silk so, if you’re worrying about a moth infestation, pop delicate garments into a bag before putting them in your freezer for 3-4 days to kill off any larvae and eggs, and then store them in a protective clothes bag.