Getting Rid of Moths With Natural Alternatives

Discover effective natural methods to prevent and eliminate moth infestations without using harsh chemicals.

February 8, 2024
min read
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Moths can be a nuisance, eating away at clothes, carpets, and other fabrics in your home. While chemical mothballs and insecticides are commonly used to control moth infestations, there are also many effective, natural methods to prevent and get rid of these pesky insects. Natural alternatives can help deter and kill moths without exposing you or your family to harsh chemicals.

Tips To Prevent Moths

Preventing moths from ever gaining a foothold in your home is the best way to protect your belongings from damage. Here are some tips to moth-proof your house:

  • Regularly inspect stored clothes, fabrics, carpets, and other vulnerable items for early signs of moth eggs or larvae. Catching an infestation early makes eradication easier.
  • Vacuum clothing storage areas frequently to pick up any eggs or larvae that may be present. Pay special attention to corners and crevices.
  • Store woolens and other natural fabrics in airtight plastic or zippered bags. This deprives moth larvae of the air they need to survive.
  • Wash or dry-clean fabrics before storage to remove any eggs or larvae that may be lurking in the fibers.
  • Hang garments in sunlight occasionally. The UV rays from sunlight can kill moth eggs and larvae.
  • Keep storage areas clean and replace old cardboard boxes, which can harbor moth eggs.

How Moths Impact Our Health

In addition to damaging fabrics and textiles, moth larvae and their dust can also impact human health. Some key ways moths can affect health include:

  • Allergic reactions - The microscopic hairs of moth larvae and their cocoons can cause allergic reactions in people. Reactions range from eye, nose, and throat irritation to severe asthmatic symptoms from inhaling the particles.
  • Skin irritation - Coming into contact with moth larvae hairs, cocoons, or droppings may result in a raised, itchy skin rash. The sharp hairs can feel like splinters in skin.
  • Breathing problems - In addition to allergies, moth matter can irritate lungs if breathed in, even causing breathing difficulty in those with respiratory conditions.
  • Eating contaminated foods - Pantry moths can contaminate stored food with cocoons, webbing, droppings, and hairs that cause allergic, throat, or stomach irritation if eaten. Even just a few moths can render food useless within weeks.

So while the damage moths do to belongings is bad enough, they also directly impact human health. Keeping your home moth-free is important for both safety and wellbeing.

natural fiber clothes

Inspect Natural Fiber Clothes

Natural fibers like wool, cashmere, silk, fur, felt, or shearling provide nourishment for moth larvae, making clothes made from these materials vulnerable. Regular inspection is key to keeping them moth-free.

Check clothes in storage at least once per season for early signs like:

  • Tiny white or cream eggs clinging to fabric, usually in hidden seams and folds
  • Small crawling larvae on the fabric surface
  • Silken cocoons spun onto the fabric
  • Trails of tiny holes or altered surface texture indicating feeding larvae
  • Frass (larvae poop) peppering the fabric or shelves
  • Clothes, fabrics, or boxes matted with sticky webbing

Catching an infestation early allows you to selectively treat only the affected textiles. Extensive damage often means fumigating an entire collection.

Vacuum The Wardrobe

Vacuuming closet and dresser spaces prevents a moth issue from even starting. Focus suction on corners, shelves, carved details or cracks that could harbor eggs and debris.

Use the brush head attachment to penetrate seams, folds, and fabrics themselves. Follow up with compressed air to dislodge anything stuck deep inside the vacuum.

Remember to check other hideouts like under beds, furniture gaps, and rarely-accessed storage spots in the home. Even a few overlooked moth eggs can lead to major fabric damage.

Dry Your Clothes on Medium or High Heat

For fabrics able to withstand it, medium to high heat drying kills moth eggs or larvae hiding in the fibers or seams. Check garment tags first and select an appropriate heat level.

If air drying delicate items, turn fabrics inside out so sunlight can penetrate the interior sections. The sun’s UV rays have a sterilization effect on potential moth nests.

You can also dry clean woolens before storage. The chemicals dissolve the protein fibers moths eat so they starve. Ask for moth-proofing to be added for continued protection.

Use Dried Lavender Sachets

The strong scent of lavender repels moth larvae seeking to feed and form cocoons. Place sachets of dried lavender buds among stored wool and cashmere to mask their animal scents.

You can buy ready-made lavender sachets or easily make your own. Place dried buds inside small cloth pouches and seal or inside paper envelopes with the top folded over several times. Make extra sachets to tuck throughout wardrobes and room edges too. Freshen faded ones outside in sunlight. The UV rays regenerate the oils.

Use Natural Moth Repellents

Moth larvae detect smells to locate favorite fabrics to infest. Using pungent natural oils disguises vulnerable clothes and repels moths seeking to land and lay eggs.

Cedar Wood Rings

Slide rings carved from aromatic red cedar onto clothes hangers alongside garments. The cedar releases a fresh, woodsy redolence as it warms to room temperature, masking irresistible wool and cashmere smells.

Cedar’s unique moth-repelling enzymes remain functional for years. Add extra rings inside storage chests and alternate between wool and cedar sections when stacking sweaters inside.

You can shop our cedar wood rings here.

Cedar Wood Blocks

Cedar repelling qualities also infuse the stability of hanger blocks. Slip soft sweaters over bottom cradle arms that provide shape retention as they freshen with aromatic cedar vapors.

Use standalone blocks throughout drawers or divide cashmere stacks in trunks. Rough surfaces release more robust aroma than sanded smooth blocks or planks when warmed by stored fabrics.

You can shop our cedar wood blocks here.

Cedar Wood Sachets

Cedar shavings bundled into tiny muslin bags create economical moth warding sachets with an intensity suited for long term storage. Slide them between winter accessory layers like hats, gloves, and shawls or hide inside each balled up sweater before bagging for summer. The lighter pouches won’t stretch delicate knits.

Sprinkle loose shavings directly into garment sections of chests and cabinets if you don’t mind vacuuming them out later. The dust helps deter moths but can also stain fabrics.

You can shop our cedar wood sachets here.

Dried Herb Sachets

A medley of pungent herbs stuffed into permeable sachets confuses moth senses hunting vulnerable fabrics. Lavender, rosemary, mint, cloves, and dried lemon or orange peels all cloak irresistible wool and cashmere.

Group sachet packets throughout storage bins, under stacked sweaters, or hang inside wardrobe interiors using removable adhesive hooks. Freshen faded aromas by placing pouches outside in sunlight for a few hours.

Consider Natural Moth Traps

Moth traps draw in and capture adult moths to disrupt breeding and prevent larvae infestations. Traps allow identification of any species threatening belongings for targeted prevention tactics.

Pantry Moth Traps

Pantry moths feast on all dry goods in your kitchen cupboards. Adults lay eggs on packaging that hatch into invasive larvae leaving behind messy webs and even fouler droppings.

Sticky traps draw in moths with sex pheromones or food scents. Hanging multiples together boosts effectiveness. Dispose of full traps in sealed bags. Clean the gooey surface with oil afterwards or replace strips.

Clothes Moth Traps

Clothes moth adults don’t eat fabrics but still cause costly damage. Babies emerge with voracious appetites for your priceless wool and cashmere once eggs laid along seams hatch.

Their traps contain the same pheromone lures mating males hone in on to find females. Again, use multiples clustered together and check traps weekly to gauge clothes moth pressure. Replace bait pads every 3 months if no moths appear.

storing clothing for long term

Make Sure You Store Clothes The Right Way

Following proper storage protocols minimizes opportunities for moths to infiltrate your clothing collections. Attention to a few key details helps guarantee fabrics stay protected.

Use Breathable Garment Bags

Fold vulnerable sweaters and accessories in acid-free tissue paper then pack neatly inside roomy zippered bags. This prevents excess compression that can deform knits.

Look for bags woven from natural cotton fibers that allow air exchange. Vinyl or other non-breathable plastics create a greenhouse effect encouraging mold growth.

Incorporate Cedar Sections

Insert cedar wood rings, blocks, or sachets between layers to emit protective aroma from direct contact. Cedar plank dividers in storage bins provide moth-repelling stability when stacking delicate cashmere too.

Control Moisture

Maintaining proper moisture levels helps guard stored textiles against mold as well as moths. Too much humidity invites mold growth while overly dry conditions make fabrics brittle and vulnerable to clothes moths seeking nourishment.

Include some cedar wood in storage containers, which helps regulate humidity. Silica gel packs also balance moisture - add these on top of stacked sweaters or next to the most delicate fabrics. Avoid keeping clothing storage in basements or attics where extreme temperature swings intensify challenging environments.

Monitor storage spaces with a hygrometer. Ideal humidity levels fall between 45% to 55%. Adjust as needed by adding moisture absorbers or lightly misting containers and clothing with distilled water. Having proper moisture control ensures long-lasting protection for stored textiles.

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About Wood Blocks

Our mission is to empower you with the knowledge to curate a wardrobe that not only reflects your personal style but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. From exploring the wonders of natural mothballs and sustainable garment storage to diving deep into DIY solutions and green living, we're here to guide you on a journey towards a more eco-conscious, stylish, and intentional lifestyle.

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