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How to prevent moths from eating your clothes

How to prevent moths from eating your clothes
Posted at 6:30 AM, May 03, 2023

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It’s kind of amazing how much damage small moths can do. If you’ve ever put on a wool sweater and noticed it’s been peppered with tiny holes, you know how frustrating and annoying it can be. Moths can set up shop in attics or closets and chow down on  fabric. They especially like it when clothes are in dark places where they’re unlikely to be disturbed. Whether it’s cotton, wool, cashmere, silk or fur, these little nuisances don’t care if you’ve spent $5 or $500 on an item.

Thankfully, there are a few solid products on the market that can repel these critters without needing to bust out harmful chemicals.

two sweaters with moth holes

Clean Your Clothes

One of the best things you can do is to thoroughly wash your items before tucking them away for the season. Here’s why: moths like to munch on fabrics coated with food stains and human sweat. Gross, we know. So wash or dry clean clothes before you box (or bag) them up.

Freeze Moths In Their Tracks

Moths can’t survive in cold climates. Try placing your favorite garments in a zip-top bag and popping it in the freezer for several days. This will kill any eggs or caterpillars. Then shake them out and store them back in the closet as usual.

There are also a few products you can try to keep moths from damaging your clothes.

Earthkind Moth Repellant ($25)

Earthkind Moth Stay Away

Use smell to repel. Moths like to live in quiet, undisturbed areas where their eggs will go undetected, yet certain smells send them flying the other way. Place non-toxic, plant-based satchels — like this Earthkind cedarwood and geranium one that comes in a 4-pack from Walmart — in areas where moths might try to set up shop. Each pouch works up to 125 square feet and is good for up to 30 days. Cedarwood essential oil is another go-to natural item that you can distribute in drawers and throughout your closet to naturally deter moths.

These satchels come highly rated with more than 1,400 reviews and an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Using smell is a great route to keep an infestation from occurring. However if moths have already moved in, try the next step.

Spacesaver Vacuum Storage Bags ($41)

SpaceSaver Storage Bags

Clean clothes will stay safe from pests when stored inside plastic bags. For items that need long-term storage, say those that you won’t be touching for nearly another year, try stowing them in heavy-duty plastic bags. These Jumbo Spacesaver Vacuum bags come in a 6-pack for $40.99 and provide a special double-seal that will not only save space, but keep out water, odors and pests.

While you’re storing your winter sweaters, vacuum the base of the closet, including the floor, baseboards and corners too to suck up any eggs or larvae.

BugMD Moths Boss Traps ($25)

BugMD Clothes Moth Boss Trap

Set out traps. If you’re sure you’ve got an infestation on your hands, or even if you just want to nip one that might happen in the bud quickly, sticky glue bug traps make the job pretty effortless. Take this six-pack from BugMD Store on Amazon for example. For $24.95, you get six easy-to-set-up traps that you can set or hang anywhere, and that work for up to three months. They don’t contain any pesticides — only pheromones — and are odorless.

One reviewer enjoyed how well the traps worked without smelling like moth balls, and another person liked how it caught three moths in the first five minutes of use.

Yes, moths are annoying, but with a little planning and the right products, you can get everything under control. We hope these steps will start you off on the right foot.

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