Moths may be pretty enough when they’re fluttering around your outdoor lights or resting on a tree, but once they enter your home they can quickly turn into pests. Adult moths are not the biggest problem, though, although it’s certainly no fun to get a fly-by from these large insects in the comfort of your home or to find them when you replace the bulbs in your ceiling fixtures. In truth, the larger concern when you find moths in the house is their larvae, which will eat through all kinds of organic and synthetic materials found throughout your home. Commonly, a moth infestation will become evident when you start finding holes in wool sweaters, leather jackets, or items make of animal fur, but they might also attack your carpeting, furniture or even feather pillows, not to mention your food supply. In short, you should avoid this type of infestation if at all possible so that you don’t end up having to replace your whole wardrobe. And if you’re looking for DIY solutions, here are a few preventive measures the average homeowner can enact alone.
- Clean wool garments regularly. Since many species of moth are drawn to wool, a good way to prevent an infestation is to clean any woolen items in your closet on a regular basis, whether you’ve worn them recently or not. In order to kill eggs and larvae, you’ll need to wash them in water that is 120 degrees Fahrenheit, so you may want to check your water heater and make sure it’s set accordingly before you run a load of laundry. As for garments that will shrink when washed in hot water (like pure wool rather than blends), dry cleaning can accomplish the same end.
- Freeze garments. If you want to avoid using heat on your woolen garments, you can still stymie a moth infestation by subjecting eggs and larvae to freezing temperatures (below 18 degrees). Dry ice in a cooler will do the trick.
- Store garments in sealed packages. I you don’t want to have to wash your wool all summer long when you’re not using it, consider storage options that moths won’t be able to infiltrate, such as plastic bags that can be sealed with the air sucked out of them. As a bonus you’ll minimize the space they take up during storage, and you can replace them with summer clothes when winter rolls around.
- Mothballs. One of the best ways to get rid of moths and prevent more from taking up residence in your clothing is with mothballs containing a substance called naphthalene. It needs to be in a closed container (like a closet, dresser, or armoire) in order to be effective, since the fumes are what kill moths and larvae, although airtight containers work best. Just make sure not to let it touch any plastic surfaces (bins or buttons, for example) since it can cause them to melt.
- Insecticides. This may not be your first choice for pest prevention because it can also be toxic to humans, especially children and pets, but if you’re already suffering an infestation it may be your last option. Luckily, there are all kinds of preventive measures you can take before it gets to this point, whether you’re dealing with clothing moths or you need Indian meal moth products and control spray to keep these pests out of your home.