4 ways to ward off moths and protect your clothes

July 27, 2015

Moths are a troublesome pest, but you don't need to live with them. These methods will get rid of moths and keep your clothes safe.

4 ways to ward off moths and protect your clothes

1. Take the first steps

If you discover holes and white larvae in stored clothing, you're most likely facing a moth infestation.

  • Sort through the affected items and throw away anything you can't salvage. Take the rest to a dry cleaner, letting the staff know about the infestation.
  • Meanwhile, have your house exterminated for moths. Before returning cleaned clothing to the storage area, wipe off boxes, shoes, and other surfaces with a damp, clean cloth, and then throw the cloth away.

2. Use natural moth repellents

Cedar is nature's best-known moth repellent, but it's not the only one. Other natural moth repellents include lavender and dried orange peel. Don't allow these substances to come into contact with the fabrics that you store however, because their oils can damage textiles over time. Instead, place them in open containers on closet shelves or suspend them from the ceiling in decorative, light fabric bags.

3. Use mothballs and crystals

While cedar repels moths, mothballs and moth crystals will repel and kill them when used in an enclosed space.

  • Mothballs and crystals won't kill moth eggs that are already in your clothing when it's put into storage, so always clean clothing thoroughly before you put it away.
  • Mothballs and moth crystals are poisonous if eaten, so store them out of the reach of pets and children.
  • It's best to suspend mothballs above clothing; the chemicals in these products emit a vapour that filters downward (it's heavier than air), making this method safe as well as effective.
  • Place mothballs or crystals in a decorative bag or clean sock and hang them from the ceiling. To counteract mothball odour, add a pomander or an herbal potpourri to the storage area.

4. Store in cedar

Cedar has long been the most popular agent to keep moths away from stored clothing. There are several ways to bring cedar into your storage areas.

  • A cedar chest works well for folded clothes and linens and can double as a piece of furniture. If a cedar chest is out of your budget, you can buy clear plastic storage boxes with red cedar strips in the lids at home centres or discount stores.
  • A cedar-lined closet protects hanging clothes. You can convert a regular closet using cedar panels and planks.
  • Cedar hangers, drawer strips, balls, cubes, chips, and shavings also repel moths, although they're not quite as effective as a cedar chest or closet. Put cedar chips or shavings in a decorative bag (or a clean sock) and attach the bag to a hanger for closet moth protection.

Use these strategies to keep moths out of your clothing storage. That way your clothes and fabrics will look good for years to come.

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