As is the case with most pest problems, it's easier to prevent clothing moth problems than to treat them. There is much that you can do to prevent clothing moths from becoming established in your home and to protect your clothing and other textile products from moth damage. For example:
The most important preventative action is to practice good sanitation. Clothing should be cleaned promptly after being worn and before being stored.
Promptly dry-clean, wash, or shampoo carpeting, upholstered furniture, tapestries, and other textile items, as appropriate to the fabric, if they become soiled; and on a regular basis even if they are not.
Use commercial cold storage to safeguard furs and other valuable items during seasons when they are not being worn. Alternatively, consider using airtight clothes storage bags or storage containers to store out-of-season clothing.
Old-fashioned moth balls can also help prevent infestation of stored clothing, but these products have a very distinct odor (okay, let's be frank about it: they stink) that will permeate the clothes until they are washed. Always read and follow the label instructions when using any pesticide.
Natural moth repellents like Moth Away Herbal Cachets are a more natural, botanical alternative to conventional moth repellents, with a kinder, gentler aroma. They can help protect clothing from moth attacks for as long as 3 - 4 months.
Many dry cleaners (and some PCO's) offer "moth-proofing" services, which usually consist of a preventative application of an insecticide directly to the textile item.
Store human and pet foods securely in insect-proof containers that can be tightly closed, and promptly clean up any spillage.
Once clothing moths become established, they can be very difficult to control. Due to the difficulty in treatment and the potential for further damage to clothing and other textile products, you may want to consider calling a professional pest control operator.
If you want to try it yourself, however, following the following guidelines will increase your chances of success:
Examine all clothing, carpeting, tapestries, and other textile items carefully for any sign of moth infestation. Wash, dry-clean, or vacuum and shampoo the items that you know or suspect to be infested.
Place all uninfested out-of-season clothing items in cold storage or in airtight storage containers until they are needed (or at least until the moth problem has cleared up).
Closely examine the interiors of closets where clothing is stored for any signs of larvae or pupae, and physically remove them. (A putty knife works well for this.) Treat the insides of the cabinets, especially the corners, cracks, and crevices, with an aerosol insecticide labeled for interior residential use against moths.
Hang one or two clothing moth traps several feet outside of each closet (for example, in bedrooms or hallways, but not in the closets themselves). Make sure the traps are labeled for clothing moths, not just "kitchen moths" or "pantry moths." Check the traps frequently for moths and keep track of their numbers. If you don't see a reduction in the number of moths being caught beginning within two weeks, then consider calling a professional.
When returning clothing to the closets, use moth balls, moth flakes, or Moth Away Herbal Cachets to help repel moths. Always read, understand, and follow the label instructions when using any pesticide (even herbal ones).
Related Page: Clothing Moth Biology
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