How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths – Ultimate DIY Guide

Published Categorized as Moths

The Common Webbing Clothes Moth, which is the most common and prolific kind of moth, is what harms textiles in the house and lays its eggs in clothing.

Larvae of the clothing moth are responsible for the destruction of household fabrics and apparel, particularly those composed of natural fibers derived from animals. The main textiles that are at risk include wool, cashmere, silk, soft leather, and fur.

In this article, we’ve addressed the questions that people have concerning clothes moth larvae. After reading this, you will know more about how to get rid of clothes moths larvae.

Clothes Moth Larvae: All You Need to Know

Once they hatch from the egg, clothing moth larvae require energy to grow and pupate before becoming adult moths. Adult clothes moths, which you may see fluttering around your home looking for your old cashmere, are sterile and have only one purpose in life: to procreate.

Animal-based textiles like wool, cashmere, and silk contain keratin, a protein that clothing moth larvae devour to get their sustenance. Human skin and hair include keratin, which is also present in great quantities in most household dust and is equally alluring to clothes moths.

A wardrobe filled with clothing made of animal-based natural fibers which is also dark, dusty, and unattended would make the ideal environment for a clothes moth infestation. Attics and extra bedrooms are frequently ideal places for clothing moth breeding too.

Moisture is essential to clothing moth larvae, even in extremely little amounts. Drinks spilled on clothing, human odor, perspiration on recently used clothes that are put back in closets, and other factors all attract the female clothes moth when choosing where to lay her eggs so that the larvae will hatch later.

Interested in more information on Why Do Moths Eat Clothes? Visit our guide!

How Long Do Clothes Moth Larvae Live?

Depending on the circumstances they face after hatching from their eggs, clothing moth larvae have varying life spans before pupating and developing into adult moths. A relative warmth of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit and humidity levels between 75 and 80% are ideal for them to breed according to this report. Under these circumstances, they can complete the transition from egg to adult moth in a little under a month.

Growth slows down in cooler and/or less humid environments, but moth larvae can remain in this stage, which is the most destructive, for up to two years if left undisturbed and placed near the correct food source – such as your favorite soft knitwear or most priceless rugs and carpets.

So, depending on environmental factors, the answer to the question “how long do clothing moth larvae live?” is anything between one and 24 months. Normal seasonal variations include fewer adult clothing moths flying during the chilly winter months and a slower rate of larval growth.

How Big Are Clothes Moth Larvae?

The larvae of the clothes moth are tiny and can be hard to see, especially if they have just emerged from the minuscule eggs, are tangled in clothing with a loose weave, have migrated to the interior surfaces of clothing, or have eaten their way deeply into the fabric.

Clothes moth larvae are between ¼ and ½ inches long when fully grown and before pupating. They have a cream-colored body and a darker-brown head, as can be seen in the image. In this image, you may get a sense of relative scale by comparing the growing larva’s size to the knitwear’s weave.

Be extremely watchful and careful when searching for clothing moth larvae in clothing; there may be a range of sizes based on their age since hatching and the temperature and humidity of their surroundings.

How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths

  • Washing clothes
  • Steaming clothes
  • Freezing clothes
  • Vacuuming clothes
  • Fumigation
  • Sunlight
  • Ironing clothes

There are numerous methods to help you get rid of clothes moths, some more effective than others, of course. Let’s take a look at these methods listed above in more detail!

Does Washing Clothes Kill Clothes Moth Larvae?

It is possible to destroy clothes moth larvae by washing your clothes, but this is probably not the best option for the kinds of clothing that are likely to be used as a feeding source. To kill moth larvae and eggs, the wash cycle must be set to the warmest temperature; this setting is more frequently used for white cotton fabrics.

However, cotton lacks the crucial protein keratin. Clothes made of silk and wool cannot be washed at those temperatures without being damaged.

The optimum is dry cleaning, which will destroy moth eggs and larvae but comes with a price. You might wish to inform your dry cleaner that your clothing may contain moth eggs and larvae.

Will Steaming Clothes Kill Clothes Moth Larvae?

It depends on the thoroughness of the treatment, the length of exposure to the steam, and the depth of the steam reaching into the fibers of the garment without endangering your priceless clothing, whether steaming will effectively kill clothes moth larvae.

So, the answer is it truly depends. Steaming clothes as part of a larger treatment program can be somewhat helpful, but it is not a guarantee that moth larvae will be killed.

Will Freezing Kill Clothes Moth Larvae?

If done correctly, freezing will destroy clothing moth larvae, and eggs. It is the most affordable way to deal with a clothes moth infestation initially, but keep in mind that even after they have been destroyed, the larvae and eggs will still be present in the clothing, so you might want to clean those specific items again to get rid of them.

The following steps are advised for freezing your clothes to kill moth larvae and eggs:

  1. Determine and separate the contaminated clothing items
  2. Place in an airtight bag that is tightly closed, but don’t overfill it with clothing so that everything freezes evenly
  3. Deep freeze for at least 72 hours, preferably for a week
  4. Outside your home, defrost the clothing and remove it from the plastic bag(s)
  5. Vigorously shake the garments
  6. Clean your clothing in accordance with the instructions on each care label. Natural fabrics should be dry cleaned or washed by hand, while some may be able to go through your washing machine’s delicate cycle

Can You Vacuum Clothes Moth Larvae?

Yes! If you have a clothing moth larvae infestation, the vacuum cleaner is your buddy. You will need to vacuum and clean/dust thoroughly after removing your clothing from the closet to follow our advice on how to deal with clothes moths.

Moth eggs and larvae may be present, having fallen off of clothing, infested any natural carpets on the floors of built-in closets, or, in the case of case-bearing moths, had attached themselves to the structure of the closet while pupating.

That calls for using the necessary vacuum attachments to reach every nook and cranny in your closet in addition to the flat surfaces and floor. Then wash down and disinfect those same surfaces, and ideally spray them with a residual pesticide.

The pesticide in a moth insecticide kit works well because it dries clear on surfaces, has no odor, kills any eggs and larvae that are still present for several weeks after application, and is safe for you to use.

The last thing you need to do after vacuuming is to move eggs and/or larvae to another section of the house, so kindly dump your vacuum outdoors, into a bag, tie it securely, and throw it in the garbage.

Does Fumigation Kill Clothes Moth Larvae?

To control a clothing moth infestation, fumigation employing “moth foggers” is essential. However, it will probably just deal with adult clothes moths in the fumigated room.

Clothes moth eggs and larvae are typically located in clothing, which limits the effectiveness of fumigation because tightly packed clothing makes it harder for the fogger to reach the eggs and larvae.

Along with applying expert treatments like fumigation, it will be necessary to follow all of the prescribed methods for clothes moth management. To learn about using moth foggers properly, check out our blog.

Does Sunlight Kill Moth Larvae?

You will find more effective ways to kill moth larvae above, especially freezing and dry cleaning. Exposing clothes moth larvae to the sun won’t kill them on their own.

To have any effect, it would need to be extremely hot and dry, along with a prolonged amount of time, and that is likely to risk your priceless clothing’s colors fading.

Your time is valuable as well, and it would likely be better spent organizing your closets and using other pest control strategies to get rid of the infestation than exposing your clothing to the sun in an effort to get rid of clothing moth larvae.

Does Ironing Kill Moth Larvae?

Although it can be hit or miss, ironing can kill moth larvae. The most delicate knits demand lower ironing temperatures, and clothes moth larvae can be found deep within thicker, “chunkier” knits.

For ironing to be effective, your clothing must be thoroughly covered. Ironing is less likely to guarantee your success in eradicating clothes moth larvae than dry cleaning and prolonged freezing.

Tips for Clothes Storage

Deep freezing and dry cleaning are without a doubt the finest ways to kill clothing moth larvae, as we have explained in this article. For a major infestation, combine these methods with the instant effect and long-lasting residual protection of the treatments in a clothing moth killer kit.

  • Place just clean items in your closet
  • Hang recently worn clothes outside the closet for 24 to 48 hours before storing them

Getting Rid of Moths in the Bedroom

A major issue might arise from having moths in the bedroom. Being invaded by flying, nasty insects is one of the worst things you can experience. Additionally, nobody wants their pricey garments or opulent silk sheets eaten by moth larvae.

Do moths cause harm? Not to people, please. However, they will unquestionably deteriorate your pricey materials, including leather, wool, silk, and cashmere.

How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths in Bedrooms

What can you then do? The good news is that there are numerous methods for preventing moths in your bedroom. Treating an infestation once it has already started is not too difficult. The trick is to be meticulous and diligent.

Placing moth traps in areas where you suspect moths may be present is the first step. A potent mixture of female pheromones on their sticky strips will draw in the active male Clothes and Carpet Moths. You will be able to estimate the scope of your moth problem and contribute to ending the breeding cycle by catching the male moths.

The simplest option is to use a moth bomb or other fumigation technique. Set the moth bomb off in your bedroom, keep all doors and windows closed until it takes effect, and make sure there are no dogs present. You may easily follow the guidelines for these goods. Always exercise caution and make sure nobody enters the bedroom while it is being fumigated.

Keeping Moths Out of Your Bedroom

The key is to prevent. Make sure your windows are screened, only store clean clothing in your closets, periodically vacuum, and think about hanging moth-repellant sachets. If there are already clothes moths in your room, you must get rid of the infestation from the root. Avoid keeping food in your bedroom and use moth traps to deter pantry moths.

Moths prefer gloomy, isolated areas. The most likely place for an infestation is in your closet area if you see moths flying about. Additionally, the presence of dead moths, larval casings, and holes in clothing can indicate an infestation.

Master closets, boxes stowed under beds, garment chests, and other dark, undisturbed places where natural textiles are stored are a few typical bedroom settings where moths are prone to hide.

Clothes Moths vs. Pantry Moths

Although Indian meal moths and clothes moths are frequently confused, the two are actually very distinct, particularly in the materials they eat and the locations where they are found. Indian meal moths are pests that primarily prey on human food sources in pantry storage areas.

Indian meal moths have a length of around 3/8 inch. The clothing moth has a tuft of hair on its head, unlike the Indian meal moth, which has a smooth head and typically has a lighter color.

Both light and poor aerodynamics make clothes moths unattractive to humans. Indian meal moths are adept flyers and drawn to light. The flying of clothes moths is quite fluttery. The Indian food moth has a powerful, steady flight.

The Indian food moth is significantly harder to trap than a clothing moth at repose. Pests that live in and around food storage areas, such as Indian meal moths, will travel further from their food supply. For more information on the various types of moths, visit our House Moth Identification guide.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Do moths eat clothes?

Clothes moths, also known as Common Webbing Clothes Moths, are the type of moths that frequently invade bedrooms. Clothes are not eaten by adult moths, but their larvae are. The larvae of the webbing moth hatch from the eggs and consume natural materials. They can harm materials used in the home, including carpets, blankets, and clothing. Moth larvae find materials like wool, cashmere, leather, silk, and fur very delicious.

Can moths live in carpets?

Yes, especially if your carpets aren’t mothproof and feature natural fibers or glues. Vacuum all carpeted surfaces thoroughly after the moth elimination treatment is finished, including the space beneath your bed and inside your closet. Additionally, move your furniture so you can vacuum underneath and behind it. You can sweep and mop your wood or laminate flooring. After that, hang up moth traps to capture active males and prevent further breeding, mothballs if you choose a hazardous technique of getting rid of moth larvae and eggs, or herbal repellents like lavender if you prefer a natural alternative.

What keeps moths out of wardrobes?

Moths are drawn to your clothing, not the wardrobe because it has a tasty food source that will keep their larvae content until it’s time to pupate. Your silks, woolens, and other materials made from animals are in jeopardy. The greatest strategy to keep moths out of closets is to create a climate that is as unpleasant as possible because they are constantly looking for food for their young. You can take the following actions to prevent moths from laying their eggs on the clothing in your closet: clothing should be kept in sealed containers or garment bags, before storing clothes make sure they are clean, use Clothes Moth Traps, which use potent female pheromones to attract adult male moths, and spray natural moth repellent inside the wardrobe.

How do I make my closet moth-free?

The back of your closet is a good place to find moths because they enjoy dark, quiet places. It takes a few procedures and precautions to keep your closet free of moths, like routinely airing out your clothing, dusting and vacuuming up trash, employing pheromone moth traps, and using natural repellents around the space. Place some sachets or potpourri in your closet or think about using a non-toxic spray on some clothing that won’t be destroyed by it to deter moths, which do not enjoy the scents of lavender, cloves, and cedar.

How to get rid of moths in the closet?

If you don’t know what to look for, getting rid of moths in a closet might be challenging. Finding out what species of moths are infesting your closet is the first step. When you are aware of the situation, you can buy the appropriate pheromone moth traps. Start by vacuuming everything and killing any moths, larvae, or eggs using white vinegar or a moth killer spray. Items that are utterly infested or severely damaged may need to be discarded. Clothing that has minor damage can still be used. These goods can be frozen for several days at 17 degrees F/-8 degrees C or taken to the dry cleaners.

Is there a way to get rid of clothes moths without mothballs?

Yes, there are numerous methods available to get rid of clothes moths in the closet or drawer without using mothballs, including moth foggers, moth killer sprays, and clothes moth traps, which capture mature males and assist disrupt the mating cycle. You can get all three of these items from the MothPrevention Killer Kit to combat a moth infestation. Remember that natural repellents like lavender and cedar won’t actually kill clothes moths; they will simply serve as a deterrent. Otherwise, you can finally get rid of all the moths in your house by doing regular cleaning, washing your belongings before storing them, utilizing airtight containers, and effectively cutting off their access to food.

What natural repellents work best for keeping moths out of wardrobes?

Don’t worry if you’re hesitant to use powerful chemicals, insecticides, or mothballs in your house. Moths may be kept out of your closet and cabinets with a variety of natural, non-toxic repellents and deterrents. Among these are aromas from cedar chips, cloves, and lavender. Another non-toxic option for preventing moths from damaging your priceless clothing is the use of pheromone moth traps.

Does cleaning and vacuuming keep moths out of the wardrobe?

Don’t worry if you’re hesitant to use powerful chemicals, insecticides, or mothballs in your house. Moths may be kept out of your closet and cabinets with a variety of natural, non-toxic repellents and deterrents. Among these are aromas from cedar chips, cloves, and lavender. Another non-toxic option for preventing moths from damaging your priceless clothing is the use of pheromone moth traps.

How do house moths get into the wardrobe or cupboard?

There are several ways that house moths can enter a house. Moth eggs can be waiting to hatch if you bought clothing from a consignment shop. Being proactive is the greatest method to keep moths outside of your home. For instance, if you purchased used clothing, air it for a few days in the sun or the cold before washing or dry cleaning it right away. Keep humidity levels low in areas where clothing is stored. Humidity and any moisture that seeps into garments are both attractive to moths.

Can clothes moth larvae eat through plastic?

Without a doubt! The mouthparts of clothing moth larvae cannot eat through plastic since it is neither digestible nor appealing to them. Since they are the easiest for the larvae to eat, the softest and unfortunately the frequently most expensive items of clothes in your closet are the ones most at risk.

By Travis Amos

My house is my castle, and there is no space for unwanted neighbors.

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