Ask LH: How Can I Stop Moths From Eating My Clothes?

I recently pulled my favourite wool T-shirt from the cupboard and found it was full of holes. Something clearly had a good meal out of it! How can I prevent moths and silverfish from eating my clothes, and how can I get rid of them? Thanks, Holy Shirt

Moth picture from Shutterstock

Dear HS,

We recently had a moth infestation in our house, but ours were of the pantry dwelling variety. After weeks of swatting the buggers away, I cleared out the cupboards and went on a kill-crazy rampage with a can of fly-spray in each hand. I was like the Terminator of the Lepidoptera world. Sometimes, a scorched earth policy really is best.

If you're looking for a less psychotic and time-consuming approach, it definitely helps to store your clothes in a clean, stain-free space. Clothes moths prefer to lay their eggs in dark and musty places and can also be attracted by food spills and other natural scents. Spray your linen closet with disinfectant, add some bags of lavender (moths hate the smell) and regularly air unused clothes out in the sun.

It might also be worth giving your drawers, cupboards and surrounding carpets a good vacuum. This will help to remove the moth eggs and larvae before they have the opportunity to wreak havoc. You should also get into the habit of washing your stored clothing now and then to rid them of unhatched eggs and musty smells.

If you have any items of clothing that are especially important to you, keep them in zip-lock plastic bags or air-tight containers. Also, get some moth balls.

Cheers Lifehacker

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    Keeping your house clean helps. But the most foolproof method that I have tried (have not had silverfish or anything else in the house for years now) is to use bags of Lavender or Cedar wood. The particular kind of smell that these items give off is exceptionally foul for the insects and they steer very clear of areas containing these smells.

    Actually, placing soup in between your fabric works very well. It's a much healthier technique as well.

      But is it humane to drown them?

    As Marty states, I use bars of soap. Find the nice aromatic soap, and plonk a bar in each cupboard.

    You can also use a mozzie zapper because the moths are attracted to the lights in them. There is also a pheromone based product from EnviroSafe that seems to catch a lot of moths called Pantry Moth Trap. There are other pheromone products that didn't work for us, despite accidentally buying them a few times over the years.
    Moth balls supposedly work well but there is uncertainty about health problems.
    Cedar balls supposedly do not work (unless they're in high concentration)
    Lavendar supposedly works well (eg. bags of lavendar topped up with scented liquid)

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