How to get rid of clothes moths

An infestation of any pest in your home is an unpleasant and unsettling experience. It’s usually the best policy if you’re looking for a safe, effective and discreet way to remove the infestation, to use a professional and accredited pest control company.

However if you’re considering the DIY approach for an infestation of clothes moths we hope these tips will help.

Don’t compromise your safety and the safety of your family and pets when choosing the DIY approach.

Don’t hesitate to contact us if at any time you require expert help.

What do clothes moth look like?

  • They’re tiny. 5mm – 7mm in length, brownish in colour with a golden or silver sheen. The eggs are whitish and the larvae are opaque white with brown heads.
  • They rarely fly into lights, preferring complete darkness such as a closet or storage chest. The females move by running or hopping. If you see one flying it’s probably a male.
  • The larvae take around 6 weeks to develop. During this time they feed on fabric destroying each item in the process.

How do I know I have Clothes Moth?

You will probably recognise the most common ‘symptoms’

  • Holes in a favourite jumper. This is in fact caused by the larvae, rather than the moths. They feed on clothes leaving small holes in their wake.
    Silvery-looking silken webs across the surface of cloth based furniture and soft furnishings. This is what forms the larvae case and because of this, clothes moths are also known as webbing moths.
  • The larvae will feed on any material containing the animal protein Keratin; hence they prefer expensive wool, silk, cashmere, feathers or fur rather than cheaper man-made fabrics. They will also eat cotton and other natural fibres, but will only go for coarser fibres if heavily stained with perspiration or food. They prefer cashmere to Shetland wool! You may only be aware of clothes moth damage when you pull out a favourite item of clothing you have not worn in a while.
  • Patches in your carpets and rugs. You often don’t notice these until you move a piece of furniture only to be confronted with bare patches of carpet which on closer inspection are dotted around the edges of the room.

What to do to get rid of clothes moths

You must be meticulous in your search for clothes moths and their larvae. You usually find the larvae crawling. To look at they have a round head with a creamy white body. The moths themselves have straw coloured wings and are more likely to be moving on the floor or walls as opposed to flying. There are other types of moths but they need specialist identification.

If you can see just 6 clothes moths and some larvae this indicates a potentially serious infestation for which professional treatment using pheromone lures to stop the eggs being hatched is the only option. Unless professionally treated, the damage will get worse.

At the very least, seek professional guidance if you’re concerned. The damage caused by this moth can be extensive and very expensive.

Clothes moths live (and lay their eggs) in wardrobes, chests of drawers, carpets, rugs, tapestries, soft furnishings, cotton bedding and clothes.

Getting rid of them using a DIY approach is not an easy task. You must be prepared to repeat the processes we recommend at least twice if you’re to be certain the clothes moths and their eggs have gone – right down to the last egg.

Cleaning clothes moth infested areas; what must be done

Clothes moths are easy enough to see at close range. Their eggs are tiny and nearly impossible to see. To successfully treat an infestation you have to start by thoroughly cleaning the areas that are infested. This will be bigger than the areas you know are. This entails:

  • Inspecting and cleaning (washing at home and dry cleaning) bed linen, clothing and soft furnishings including curtains, cushion covers and throws. Because an item is showing no sign of damage does not mean it’s free from larvae. Do not collect dry cleaned items until after the treatment has taken place or, if this is not possible store them in an unaffected room in your property. Likewise with any items you wash at home. Do not introduce them back into the room until treatment has been successful. Store your clothing in another room.
  • Vacuuming carpets and rugs to the edge and likewise with underlay and anti rug slip covers. You may want to consider having these items professionally cleaned with all furniture moved so that areas underneath can be inspected. Store any rugs away from the infested room until the infestation has been successfully eradicated. Please remember cleaning helps but will not remove the moths entirely. You must treat the infestation as well as cleaning.
  • Vacuuming both sides of your mattress several times in one session. This includes going deep into the buttons and seams on your mattress and doing likewise with your divan, headboard, under bed drawers and any joins in the bed frame. If you like nice cotton bedding the chances are that you will have larvae or clothes moths on your mattress too.
  • Wiping down all skirting boards and inside all cupboards, drawers and wardrobes.
  • Using vacuum attachments to clean all the woodwork, freestanding and built in furniture, around sockets, light switches, light fittings, windows and cracks.
  • Ensuring all ornaments/books /files and folders etc that are usually kept in the affected areas are inspected for signs of clothes moths and are damp wiped or cleaned as is appropriate and placed in bags/boxes or stored in another room.

The process of cleaning the room should be repeated least twice over two days before you begin the DIY treatment. Please do this for every room where you suspect there may be a secondary infestation of clothes moths.

Helpful tip…

Make sure that immediately after vacuuming you empty the full canister into an outside bin. Wipe down your vacuum, checking all areas for clothes moths especially the rotor brushes, nozzles and tools. You don’t want to introduce larvae to another room via your vacuum cleaner.

What DIY treatments can you use to kill clothes moths?

  • You are generally restricted to chemical only sprays over the counter. Pest control companies such as Dyno-Pest use a range of non-chemical treatments and specialist insecticides to kill hatching larvae. These are not available in the DIY sector.
  • When applying the insecticide follow the instructions to the letter and ensure the room is well ventilated and that you wear appropriate safety clothing for your face, hands and body. Use at least a N95 or FFP2 mask at all times or the mask recommended on your product label if higher level than these.
  • Do not let anyone, but especially children and pets, elderly or frail family members into the treated room until all the treatments have been applied and the residual odour has vanished.
  • Because clothes moths and their larvae are becoming increasingly resistant to over the counter chemical treatments you may need to repeat the clean- and -spray process 3 or 4 times at intervals recommended in the instructions. Inspecting in between should tell you if this is necessary. Be aware it is a painstaking process if you are to succeed at purging your home of clothes moths and their larvae. You may want to weigh up the cost of doing this with the likelihood of the treatment working.

If you prefer to use our services we are here to help of course. Quotations are free and “no obligation” just contact us.

To get rid of clothes moths
Call 020 7582 9241