Moths joyously feasted on your favourite cashmere jumper, leaving it hole-riddled. Totally devastated, you burst into tears before deciding to stop the carnage.
According to specialists, a number of simple, inexpensive and eco-friendly strategies that don’t involve highly toxic mothballs or exterminators can thwart moths and their fabric-munching larvae.
The most effective strategy is to act immediately and thoroughly at the first sign of trouble and follow a 3-step process: identify the culprit, clean everything and prevent future infestations.
Identification: do you actually have clothes moths? According to scientists, other bugs such as carpet beetles and hide beetles feed on clothing. Both can easily be sucked up by a vacuum. Anything longer than 1 cm is likely not eating your clothes. Only two moth species will feast on them: the case-making clothes moth and the webbing clothes moth. Killing them won’t solve the problem, you need to destroy the babies. These inveterate clothes gobblers are particularly attracted to dirty unwashed items with lingering body oils or food residue.
Action: After you’ve confirmed the culprits’ identity, wash the garments you can at the highest temperature they can bear. Put those you can’t wash in a tumble dryer if they stand high temperatures (50 °C) or deep-freeze them in a freezer bag at – 30 °C and have the others dry-cleaned. Iron them because these villains can’t stand steam.
Thoroughly vacuum your cupboards and drawers, then remove the vacuum bag and discard it outside immediately. Deep clean all cupboards and drawers with water and white vinegar. Steam your carpets, curtains and furniture.
Prevention: Monitor and clean the storage area regularly. Compression storage bags and plastic storing bins are a good way to protect clothes.
Moths hate light and movement, so keeping your wardrobe doors open and moving hanging garments around frequently will discourage them from squatting your apparel.
And last but not least, be lavish on moths repellents to stop them from laying their eggs and their maleficent larvae from devouring your woollies, furs and other sartorial goodies. Prepare the special weavers’ secret weapon of mass dissuasion by mixing 200 g rosemary with 200 g mint, 100 g thyme, 2 tablespoons cloves, 2 tablespoons peppercorn and divide the lot into little sachets. There are effective as long as the smell is strong. Clove-studded lemons are a good deterrent too. Ditto for salt: a few cups in your closets and drawers will also send them on their way.