Clothes under attack? The Gaff Goddess has step-by-step advice for tackling moths

Household Hack: How to get on top of a moth infestation

Adult moths flying around are not the ones making holes in your clothes - it’s their larvae. Photograph: iStock

Adult moths flying around are not the ones making holes in your clothes - it’s their larvae. Photograph: iStock

 

Moth season runs from May to October and is getting longer thanks to global warming. This means you know by now if you have some in your home. Yikes! It feels daunting but here are some simple steps to help get things under control this season and reduce the chances of seeing them next time round.

First of all, let’s clear one thing up: the adult moths flying around are not the ones making holes in your clothes. It’s their larvae. The actual risk with adult moths is that they’ll drop their larvae onto your unsuspecting Prada in a bid to ensure they’ll grow. This can be quite spine-tingling info, but it is vital to understand the process in order to rid your home of moths. If you can remove larvae and interrupt the breeding cycle, you’ll stand more of a chance than swatting moths on sight.

Thoroughly vacuum

Step one is removing any potential larvae and of course, moths. Contrary to popular belief, moths absolutely love dark, undisturbed areas. They will usually go for wool, silk and other natural fibres so this means the best place to start is your wardrobe and drawers.

Pull everything out and give it a good shake up. Inspect creases, pockets and so on. This should disturb any adult moths. As larvae are almost impossible to see and super delicate, a wash as hot as the garment can take (anything delicate can alternatively be placed in a Ziplock bag in the freezer) and a good iron after will usually be enough to remove them.

Step two is to tackle the storage itself and thoroughly vacuum. Pay special attention to corners and crevices where moths love to live. If you feel moths are living beyond the wardrobe, now is a great time to vacuum these areas. Don’t forget to empty the vacuum right away and dispose of the contents to avoid a reappearance. Afterwards, a 50/50 vinegar/water spray is ideal for a wipe down of all surfaces.

Step three is about preventing the next breeding cycle. Pheromone moth traps are the easiest addition (avoid toxic mothballs and sprays). These will attract males and leave the females unfertilised, which helps prevent an infestation next season. When it comes to repelling moths go for lavender and cedar – both do a great job at keeping moths at bay naturally. Just make sure they are topped up as needed.

Step four is all about preventing future larvae drops. Moths love natural fibres because they usually contain a protein called keratin. However, fibres that have been close to the body can also have this from oils and sweat. So, always make sure that you wash clothes before storage. Any clothing that is worn often will be too disturbed for moths to settle so your less worn items are most at risk. Place out-of-season clothing in sealed storage to protect it over long periods.

Once you have done the heavy prep you’ll need to vacuum and air your wardrobe often to help keep it moth free.

Laura de Barra, aka the Gaff Goddess, is a property manager, author and She–IY enthusiast from Cork, now based in London

Some simple steps will help get moths under control this season and reduce the chances of seeing them next time round.
Some simple steps will help get moths under control this season and reduce the chances of seeing them next time round.
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