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What Are Clothes Moths?

Has your expensive cashmere shawl been mysteriously shredded? If so, your closet could have an infestation of clothes moths.Clothes or cloth moths are tiny, light brown moths that can wreak havoc in your closet. The moth’s body is just ¼” long and a wingspan of ½”. The larvae especially love to eat your wool sweaters, but they’ll eat just about any natural fibre, especially animal fibres such as silk, leather, and fur.

However, it’s not the adult moths you need to worry about, but the larvae. The adult moths only live for around two or three weeks, and during that time, do not eat at all. It’s the nearly microscopic larvae that are destroying your clothes.

Cloth moth damage

Cloth Moth Damage

Cloth Moth Larvae

Cloth Moth Larvae

Cloth Moth

Cloth Moth

The female moths will lay egg clusters in your clothing and they are especially attracted to warm, dark, humid places. They also like dirty clothes, especially clothes that have body oil and food stains. That could make your laundry hamper a hot spot.

The eggs will hatch in around a week, and the larvae will immediately begin to eat your wool sweaters. From that point, they will remain as larvae for at least one month, before the pupal stage is reached. Then they will spin a cocoon, and in 10 to 50 days, they will emerge as an adult moth.

The first sign you might notice are holes in your clothes. You may also spot an adult moth fluttering about. However, the eggs and larvae are very tiny, and you’re unlikely to see them. Unfortunately, by the time you notice the signs, it may be too late.

How To Get Rid Of Cloth Moths?

When it comes to clothes moths, prevention is key. Don’t put dirty clothes back in your closet, and don’t let laundry linger for long in the hamper. Also, store your natural fibre clothing in sealed plastic bags.

If you’ve already discovered a moth infestation, you’ll have to throw away the clothes that are already ruined. The rest of your clothes will need a thorough washing in hot water, or a trip to the dry cleaners; dry cleaning is a very good way to kill the eggs and larvae. If you can’t wash certain items in hot water, you can hang them out in the sun or put them in the freezer for a few days.

You’ll also need to thoroughly scrub down the areas where you discovered the damaged clothing. You may also want to call in a professional exterminator to make sure any hidden larvae are dead.


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