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7 Simple Tips to Protect Wools and Silks from Clothes Moths

By: Kari Warberg Block

When temperatures begin to cool down, we’re all putting away our cute cotton tops and replacing them with the cozy wool sweaters we stashed away last spring. Unfortunately, some of you may discover what we dread finding each fall — that while you were out enjoying the summer sun, an uninvited guest was hanging out in your darkened closet.

Do Moths Eat Wool and Silk?

looking at sweaters for moth larvae or damage

Yes, moth larvae do feed on these fabrics. Moths don’t really mean to destroy your cold-weather wardrobe and they’re not by nature an angry group of insects. It’s just that they prefer to feed in dark, undisturbed spaces, and those wool clothes and silks you’ve stored away contain the protein keratin, which means these types of clothing provide the perfect menu. 

Adult moths are not the ones feeding on the natural fibers in these fabrics, however, it’s their larvae. Adults lay eggs that hatch into larvae, and if this happens in your closet, they will begin feeding on fabrics including wool and silk.

How to Keep Moths Away From Clothes

Would you like to protect your wool and silk clothing and the hard-earned cash you spent on these pieces? Follow these tips and moths will be looking for a new place to hang out.

  1. Use the Freezer
    Protect your garments by putting them on ice before storing them away for winter. Place your favorite wool sweater in a plastic vacuum bag, take the air out and store it in the freezer for a week. The cold temperatures will eliminate the problem when a high-heat wash isn’t an option.
  2. Organize and Clean Clothing Drawers
    When was the last time you gave those dresser drawers a good cleaning? Moths like dust and dirt just as much as they like wool — so don’t send them an open invitation to make themselves at home. Spray the insides of your dresser or wardrobe with a vinegar-based cleaner. Then meticulously hand wash them with a warm soap solution. Be sure to remove the drawers before you begin cleaning. The gap between the wall of the wardrobe and the shelves is their favorite place to hide.
  3. Dry Clean Sweaters Before Storing
    Moth larvae love what you leave behind, so don’t let them take a bite out of your clothing budget. They like to feed on the dry skin that may have flaked off the last time you wore your favorite sweater or the hair that has collected on garments. Be sure to either wash your sweaters and silks or take them to the dry cleaners before you store them. You may like a freshly cleaned sweater, but these pests prefer the ones you’ve worn a few times.
  4. Use Proper Storage
    Some people try using pheromone traps to keep these pests out. But the bad news is — only the male moths are attracted to them. The female moths just go on about their business — laying eggs in worn clothing. 

    If you don’t have time to get to the cleaners, moth-proof your sweaters before storing them away by sealing them in plastic bags, garment bags, or plastic airtight containers. They will work wonders in not only deterring moths from damaging your wool and silks but other pests won’t be let in as well. 

    Another storage option to consider is a cedar chest. Cedarwood allows your textiles to breathe, the aroma works as a natural pest repellent and your closet will smell lovely!

  5. Natural DIY Solution
    These pests may like your pretty sweaters, but they’re not crazy about certain pretty scents.

    To naturally prevent moth infestations, try this DIY solution. Place cloves, lavender or dried orange peels in a sachet bag and place it in your closet or dresser drawers. The scent will send them looking for a more welcoming home.

  6. Use a Plant-Based Moth Deterrent 
    Place a pouch of Stay Away® Moths in the closet or storage area next to your favorite items or hang a pouch pod inside your closet with your clothing hangers. While you’ll love the fresh smell of this botanical deterrent, moths will be repelled by it — and your pretty sweaters and silks will be safe for yet another season.
  7. Keep Them Away From Your Couch
    It’s not just your cozy sweaters they’re after, Clothes Moths like your comfy couch, too. They’re just as likely to snuggle up in your sofa, armchair or carpet. If you see signs of an infestation, use a hair dryer on the highest heat setting and slowly move it over the fabric. The hot air will quickly take care of unseen eggs. Also, consider vacuuming your couch more frequently. A vacuum cleaner can help suck up any moth eggs and prevent an infestation from getting out of control.

    All it takes is one of these sneaky pests and you could have a full-blown moth infestation. They like to lay their eggs in dark, secluded spots, so your closet is the perfect hideaway. 

Keep All Unwanted Pests Away

Moths aren’t the only pests that can do expensive damage. As the cold weather sets in, mice and insects will be making their best effort to find a warm place to spend the winter months.

Our botanical pest solutions work on more than just moths, so find the Stay Away® products that will best help your pest control needs. They’re guaranteed effective and not only help with your current pest problems but help you prevent them from coming back in the future.

Buy Stay Away Moth Deterrent