A moth is like an invisible enemy. Without your knowing it is present, it can lay eggs that become larvae that chew holes in your clothes, carpets, and other material. You typically are not aware of the presence of these nasty little larvae until you discover the damage they've done. But then, if you fail to take action, they will continue their damage. To prevent this from happening, take these five steps in controlling moth damage.
Step 1 - Find Moth Infestations
Become familiar with the appearance of moth larvae. Learn to differentiate between these larvae and evidence that suggests their presence. Dried larvae skins or droppings that have the appearance of sand grains are more likely from beetles, rather than from moth larvae. Look holes in your clothes or carpets, or for silk webs, the moth larvae typically spin. Moths typically lay their eggs in places that are dark and secluded, such as closets, areas of carpet that are in darker places, and in boxes where clothes might be stored.
Step 2 - Clean Infested Areas
In areas where you find signs of infestation, clean these areas with soapy water where possible. If the infestation is in your carpet vacuum the carpet at least monthly. Dispose of vacuum bags that may contain moth eggs or larvae from having vacuumed infested areas.
Step 3 - Dry Clean Clothing You Have Found to be in Infested Areas
Laundering these clothes in hot water, where it is possible to do without damaging the clothes, will usually kill the moth eggs or larvae.
Step 4 - Seal Clothes in Airtight Bags
Before storing clothes and other items that may be vulnerable to moth infestation, be sure they are free of moth eggs or larvae. Dry clean or launder them, then place them in an airtight bag or container, along with cedar chips or mothballs. Mothballs are made from chemicals that can discolor clothing, so separate your clothes from mothballs they may be packed with. Paper is one good way to create this separation. If you use cedar chips be aware that these chips lose the odor that comes from the chips, and they must be refreshed each year. One way to refresh them is to use cedar oil and mix it into the chips. After a while, usually 12 to 18 months, your cedar chips will lose their effect if they are not refreshed.
Step 5 - Spread Cedar Chips
If you find it impractical to store clothing in airtight bags, you can protect them from moth infestation if you spread cedar chips in areas where you plan to store your clothes. Clothes or material you should be more careful to protect against moth infestation are those made from animal fibers such as wool, feathers, fur, and felt. But moths are also likely to attack fabrics that are not animal made but may contain sweat, hair, or body oils. One way to avoid the risk of knowing which clothes to protect from moth infestation is to be sure all store clothing is laundered in hot water or dry cleaned before it is stored.