Natural Ways To Protect Your Clothes from Moths

by maidstr - December 22, 2019

With fall heading swiftly towards its close and winter fast approaching, it’s very much time to pack up your summer clothes and dig out your thickest and woolliest sweaters, scarves and socks for the cold times to come.  

But as you unpack your cuddly winter gear from storage boxes and attics, you might already have had a nasty shock or two; unwelcome little holes in your silk and woolen knits, (dis)courtesy of moths! 

Contrary to popular myth, it’s not actually moths themselves that snack on your clothes, but their larval caterpillars – adult moths are so short-lived that they rarely actually possess mouths at all. After she mates, a female moth selects a location to deposit her clutch of fertilised eggs. If she does so in your storage closet, she will pick something made of animal fibres – silk, wool or fur – as these contain keratin, the same structural protein human skin and hair are made out of, and a larval moth’s favourite treat. The caterpillars will hatch and then happily munch away until it’s time for them to pupate, turn into moths themselves, and continue the cycle – and the dark depths of your storage cupboards and attics are their ideal habitat.  

So how can you protect your out-of-season clothing from becoming moth munchies without resorting to dousing your favourite clothes with harsh chemical insecticides, or filling all their pockets with fusty-smelling mothballs? Read on for some handy tips! 

Not All Fabrics are Vulnerable: You’ll be pleased know that moths are not remotely interested to either plant fibres – such as cotton, linen and hemp – or synthetics, so you have no need to worry about protecting your summer linens or floaty cotton skirts.

1.) Keep It Light  

The most common culprit, appositely known as the Webbing Clothes Moth, is extremely unusual amongst moths in that it hates light. While being aware of the damage sun fading can do to vivid colours, it is worth considering storing woollens and silks in an area that sees some light, such as under an attic skylight – just enough to discourage lady moths from choosing it as a laying site! 

2.) Herbal Protection  

It turns out Grandma’s old lavender sachets in storage closets weren’t only there to give stored clothing a pleasant scent – the scent of lavender is a surprisingly effective moth repellent. Go old-timey with sachets of dried lavender, or, for a more modern equivalent, cotton balls dipped in essential oil tucked amongst your stored clothes for an excellent way to discourage those munching menaces! Dried mint leaves or essential oil are equally effective, with the added bonus that this also discourages mice.  

3.) See That Cedar 

There’s also a reason for all those classic cedarwood closets – the scent the beautiful wood releases is repellent to moths. If you’re not lucky enough to own one, however, fear not – you can obtain the same effect with cedar chips or even a simple block of cedar wood placed in your drawers or cupboards. Note that the effect fades slowly over time, but it can be easily revitalised by lightly sanding the wood. 

 Do you have any other ideas for protecting your home from moths? If you do, let us know in the comments or contact us at support@maidstr.com. Or if you would prefer to focus on taking care of your clothes and have someone else take on your cleaning chores, don’t hesitate to book a clean!