What Are Clothes Moths?

If your expensive cashmere shawl has been mysteriously shredded you could have an infestation of clothes moths. Clothes moths are small, light brown moths that can wreak havoc in your wardrobe. Their body is just 7 mm long and a wingspan of 12 mm. The larvae especially love to feed on woolen jumpers, but they’ll cause damage to just about any natural fibers, especially animal derived products such as silk, leather, and fur.

However, it’s not the adult  clothes moths you need to worry about, but the larvae. The adult moths only live for around two or three weeks, and during that time, do not eat at all. It’s the nearly undetectable clothes moths larvae that are destroying your clothing.

Cloth Moth Damage

Cloth Moth Larvae

Cloth Moth

The female cloth moths will lay egg clusters in your clothing and they are especially attracted to warm, dark, humid places. They also like unwashed clothes, especially clothes that have body oil and food stains. That could make your laundry basket a hot spot.

Typically cloths moths eggs hatch in around a week, and the larvae will immediately begin to on your wool clothing. From that point, they will remain as larvae for at least one month, before the pupal stage is reached. Then they will spin a cocoon, and in 10 to 50 days, they will emerge as an adult moth.

The first sign of clothes moths you might notice are holes in your clothing. You may also spot an adult moth fluttering about. However, the eggs and larvae are tiny, and you’re unlikely to see them. Unfortunately, by the time you notice the signs, it may be too late.

How To Get Rid Of Clothes Moths?

If you’ve already discovered a moth infestation, you’ll have to throw away the clothes that are already ruined. The rest of your clothes will need a thorough washing in hot water, or a trip to the dry cleaners; dry cleaning is a very good way to kill the eggs and larvae. If you can’t wash certain items in hot water, you can hang them out in the sun or put them in the freezer for a few days.

You’ll also need to thoroughly scrub down the areas where you discovered the damaged clothing. You may also want to call in a professional pest control service to make sure any hidden larvae are treated and dead.

When it comes to stopping clothes moths, prevention is key. Don’t put unwashed clothing items back in your wardrobe, and don’t let your washing remain for long in the laundry basket. Also, if you are going to store your natural fiber clothing, store them in vacuum sealed plastic bags.


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