Cashmere, sheepskin, wool, silk – it’s that time of year when we fill our wardrobes with luxuriously cosy knits and party season fabrics. However, it’s also the time of year when the cold sets in and we turn to our central heating for warmth, unwittingly creating the perfect breeding environment for clothes moths.
They may only be around a centimetre long, but these little moths can do a surprising amount of damage in a relatively short space of time. With a particular preference for finer fabrics and dark, undisturbed spaces in warm homes, they most commonly hide out in our wardrobes, laying around 40 eggs in a three week period!
Once these eggs hatch, the feasting begins – but what if you took steps towards protecting your wardrobe from clothes moths? Here are some tips and tricks for making your wardrobe a moth-free zone.
Shake it out
Even if you haven’t actually spotted the tell-tale signs of a future moth invasion (eggs that look like grains of rice, or larvae cases which resemble inch long, silver-coloured threads), it’s a good idea to shake out your clothes at least once or twice a month in daylight hours. This will be enough for the dark-loving young to dislodge themselves and tumble from your clothes.
Running a powerful vacuum over your clothes is another great way to shift moth eggs and larvae. Just remember to empty the vacuum bag straight away, otherwise, they will feast on all of the dust, hair and other particles before maturing and flying straight back out.
Clean like your clothes depend on it
A general house clean isn’t enough to deter moths; you really need to get into those dark, undisturbed places and blitz every nook and cranny. That includes the deepest, darkest corners of your wardrobe.
Have a winter clear out
Spring, summer, autumn, winter – it’s never too late to declutter. If you have so many clothes in your wardrobe that they’re pressed tightly together (an ideal breeding ground), have a sort out and find some bits to give to a charity shop. You could also try the one in, one out rule: when you buy a new item of clothing, get rid of an old one.
Image credit: Donald Hobern / Flickr.com
Throw your windows open wide
We know that it’s freezing at this time of year, but if you can’t do without your central heating, it’s likely that clothes moths can’t do without your wardrobe. To stop your home getting too stuffy, open your windows regularly to allow air to circulate and discourage moths from settling in for the winter.
Luxuriate in lavender
While moth balls aren’t recommended nowadays due to their unpleasant smell and toxic properties, there are plenty of alternatives that will help to keep moths at bay. One of them is lavender – a smell that moths hate. Either place a couple of drops of lavender oil into the softener compartment of your washing machine, to embed the scent into the fabric of your clothes, or hang lavender bags in your wardrobe.
Another alternative to moth balls are cedar balls. These smell much more pleasant and, being made from natural products, are non-toxic.
Where possible, wash your clothes at a high temperature to dislodge and kill as many moth eggs and larvae as possible. You should also try to refrain from putting dirty garments back into your wardrobe – clothes moths thrive on things like sweat, food particles and oil from makeup and hair products.
It’s also good practice to wash second hand fabrics before placing them in your wardrobe – vintage clothes are famous for harbouring little hitchhikers.
Seal up your valuables
If you’re hopelessly devoted to cashmere or like to treat yourself to designer threads every once in a while, sealable plastic storage bags are your best friend. They’re a sure way of shutting out moths, providing an impenetrable barrier between the pesky critters and your most precious pieces.
By giving these bits of anti-moth advice a dedicated try, we’re sure that you’ll see your clothes survive until summer without even a knick in their threads. You may even already use some clothes moth deterrents of your own – let us know below!