Money Wellness
Image of a pile of wool jumpers. Protect your clothes and save money this moth season
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calendar icon22 Apr 2024

Protect your clothes and save money this moth season

Are you ready for moth season?

April marks the start of moth season. Find out how to protect your wardrobe so you don’t need to spend money replacing holey clothes

There’s nothing worse than pulling out your favourite jumper only to find it full of tiny little holes and resembling a block of Swiss cheese.

Typically, the holes are created by moths who love to make a meal out of natural fabrics.

Moth season starts sometime between April and May, with a second wave in August and September. So before it becomes a problem and costs you an arm and a leg, we’ve pulled together a handy guide to protecting your wardrobe from a moth infestation.  

What are moths?

Moths and butterflies are insects known as Lepidopetra, meaning ‘scaly-winged’. The patterns and colours of their wings are formed by thousands of tiny scales, which overlap like tiles on a roof.

Moths are regarded as pests because their larvae eat fabric. They especially like materials made from natural fibers like wool, silk, or cotton. Because they have expensive tastes, they’re much less likely to munch down on man-made fibers.

How do you stop moths from eating your clothes?

Start by identifying if you have moths

There are lots of different bugs that like to feed on clothing such as carpet beetles, hide beetles, and larder beetles. As beetles have a longer life cycle it’s easier to get rid of them before they cause damage.

Only two different types of moth damage your clothes. One is the casemaking clothes moth and the other is the webbing clothes month. They’re both only about 1cm long and are yellow or greyish in colour.

If you have either of these breeds you need to kill their larvae as this is what causes the damage. By the time they’re flying they are harmless.

Start with a deep clean:

Moths are attracted to dark, warm, humid spaces. They also like worn, dirty, or unwashed clothes that might still contain body oils or leftover food.

They’re also partial to dust because it’s made up of human hair and dead skin cells.

Given that months like dark undisturbed places, you should start your deep clean by pulling everything out of your wardrobe and draws. Wipe them out with a regular cleaning solution and vacuum into corners to remove dust.

Get rid of any clothes you no longer want so your wardrobe and draws aren’t stuffed full as moths like dense spaces. Discard anything that’s particularly infested and passed saving.

You should then thoroughly wash any of the clothes you decide to keep ideally at high temperatures. You could also consider laying them out in the sun or putting them in the freezer – both of which will kill off larvae.

It’s wise to vacuum and disinfect under your wardrobes and draws as infestations can start in wool carpets and then move into cupboards. And the same goes for any under-bed storage you have.

Once you’ve done this, you should empty the vacuum cleaner outside to avoid any moth eggs or larvae remaining in your home.

Prevention is better than cure

You should regularly clean and clear out your wardrobe to stop larvae from returning. It’s wise to store clothes made of wool, fur, or feathers in vacuum-packed plastic storage bags, and place suits, dresses, or other hanging clothes in sealed garment bags.

Moths hate light and movement, so moving clothing around frequently and airing rooms and cupboards can really help with stopping moths from laying eggs in the first place.

Moth repellent products

You could try a natural moth repellent such as cedar wood rings, which you can pick up from Amazon for £9.99, or cedar wood hangers for your clothes. Cedar contains naturally repelling oil which months don’t like the smell of.

There are lots of different moth balls available that could also help, but they contain pesticides, which aren’t great for your health and should be kept out of reach of children and pets.

Alternatively, you could spray carpets with lavender, which is a natural repellent that won’t harm your furniture or clothes.

When to turn to fumigation

If all else fails, you might be forced to get the professionals in, which could set you back between £150 and £200.

Avatar of Caroline Chell

Caroline Chell

Caroline has worked in financial communications for more than 10 years, writing content on subjects such as pensions, mortgages, loans and credit cards, as well as stockbroking and investment advice.

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