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Just imagine this: it’s nearing the end of summer. The days are cooling down and the nights are getting even colder. You’re excited to finally rip open the boxes with your fall and winter clothes to reach for your favorite sweater that you’ve been yearning to cuddle up in all summer. You go to pull the sweater over your head, and the next thing you know: your pinky gets caught on a gaping rip that wasn’t there before. In shock, you look through the rest of your sweaters and find that many of them have scattered holes. The paranoia ensues. And when you see that first moth flying overhead, you know for sure - you have clothes moths. There’s no doubt about it.
Tell your sweaters you love them, folks. Because you may never wear them again.
So, What are Clothes Moths?
Clothes moths, or clothing moths, are useless insects that eat your clothing for sport. But really, their lives consist of eating your sweaty clothes, mating, laying eggs, and then dying. All within the confines of your wardrobe or your storage box.
When a clothes moth opens its eyes for the first time, it is in the caterpillar stage and requires immediate nourishment to survive and grow up. Because moths need nourishment from natural materials, like animal and plant materials, they will often adhere themselves to items like sweaty gym shorts or your favorite wool sweater and chomp away.
These guys gravitate towards wool, cashmere, silk, cotton, linen, fur, feathers, hair, and clothing items that have sweat or stains on them. So while you’re eating a nice steak or a garden salad, your moths are eating away at the sweatshirt you wore to the gym last week and left in your closet. Remember that.
Now, before you freak out, take a breath. Because there are several safe ways to get rid of clothes moths before they destroy all your favorite sweaters.
Natural Ways to Get Rid of Clothes Moths
First: Vacuum the area & wash all the clothes on a high temperature - Before using the preventative measures, make sure that you remove the living eggs and larvae. Because they are so tiny and don't fly, it’s hard to get rid of them by using only sprays and traps. Vacuum the closet or the box out and wash and dry all clothing on a high temperature to dispose of the eggs and larvae as best you can.
Cedar - Moths have an impeccable sense of smell, so using strong scents to disorient them and repel them away from your home can really work if used in high enough concentrations. The smell of potent cedar can be used in oil form, or in the form of cedar blocks and hangers which you can buy online. However, these can lose their potency after a few months. To make the smell potent again, simply sand the cedarwood down and the natural oils from inside will reach the surface again. Simple!
Pheromone Traps - Moths are guided to their mates by pheromones, so using pheromone smells to trick them into thinking a potential mate is nearby is the perfect way to catch them. Most traps contain glue where the moths will get caught and no longer be able to fly around or mate. This can be easily disposed of, and you will also get to see just how many moths were lurking around in your closet in the first place.
Vinegar - Vinegar can really be used for anything. And when it comes to cleaning out your closet or storage box to repel moths, it does the job. The strong acidic smell of vinegar will repel moths away from the area as well as cleanse the area of dirt, dust, and moth eggs and larvae.
Lavender - Similar to cedar oil, lavender oil’s strong scent can repel moths, while leaving behind a nice aroma that will remind you of your mother’s garden. The potent smell will disorient moths and prevent them from invading your closet. Just get a sachet and fill it with lavender flowers, or dab lavender on paper towels and throw them into your closet.