Easy fixes for closets and 7 tips to avert moths

June 30, 2015

Even the most organized closet will require a little maintenance every now and then. Follow the below tips and tricks for common closet issues and learn how to keep pesky moths at bay.

Easy fixes for closets and 7 tips to avert moths

My sliding closet doors shake

Clean and lubricate the tracks

  • Debris in the tracks can obstruct the rollers on the underside of your closet doors. Use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to pick up any dirt or larger objects in the tracks, then spray a little WD-40 onto the tracks and rollers, and spread it evenly with a dry cloth.
  • Reattach any loose sections of track — these can often be clicked back into place or secured by tightening the retaining screws.
  • Straighten any bent or dented sections of track with a pair of pliers wrapped in insulating tape, to prevent scratching.

My drawers keep getting stuck

Don't overstuff your drawers

Old wooden chests of drawers can get sticky, especially if you tend to — as many do — overstuff them with clothes.

  • Start by bundling up unwanted clothes to give to your local second-hand store.
  • Make your drawers move more smoothly by rubbing candle wax or soap onto the runners in the frame and on the underside of the drawers.
  • If this doesn't help, remove the drawers and lightly sand the runners with fine-grade sandpaper.

The rail in my closet is sagging

Replace the rail

An overburdened closet rail will begin to sag over time, causing your clothes to bunch up in the middle. This will crease your clothes and make retrieving a particular garment from the crush a real struggle. The best remedy is to replace the rail, but the following fix provides an inexpensive solution.

  • Most closet rails are no more than hollow metal tubes. Take the rail out of the closet by undoing its retaining screws at both ends.
  • Buy a length of wooden dowel — the thickest that will fit within the rail — and cut it to the length of the rail. Insert the dowel into the rail and reinstall the strengthened assembly.

7 ways to keep moths at bay

The central heating that keeps our homes warm year round also makes them into perfect breeding grounds for clothes moths. Female moths — small, silvery brown insects — lay their eggs, which resemble rice grains, in dark, warm places and the larvae that emerge feed on natural fibres in your clothing and carpets.

  1. Switch off your heating as early in the year as possible and keep windows open whenever you can to allow air to circulate.
  2. Keep any second-hand clothes purchases in sealed plastic bags until you've had a chance to wash or dry clean them thoroughly.
  3. Shake out your clothing in the daylight once a month to dislodge larvae, which have a life cycle of three weeks. Beat rugs and soft furnishings in the daylight, too — brushing destroys eggs, and larvae will release their hold in daylight.
  4. Vacuum clothes and fabrics to remove eggs from the fibres; be sure to dispose of your vacuum bag afterwards. Vacuum carpets, under beds, and behind radiators regularly.
  5. Moths love dirty fabrics, so always wash your clothes thoroughly (ideally at a temperature of 40°C/100°F or more, which destroys the larvae) or take them to the dry cleaner before storing them; once clean, keep your prized items in sealed plastic storage bags.
  6. Try chemical repellant products. Mothballs will work, but only if used in a space where the fumes can build up to high concentrations — most will also transfer their strong smell to your clothes. Try more natural solutions, such as cedar. You can purchase blocks or shavings of this wood, or hangers made from cedar, from most department stores or online.
  7. If all else fails, call in professional pest controllers.
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