How To Store Clothes To Prevent Moths

Learn practical tips and proven techniques to safeguard your garments, from proper cleaning and storage solutions to the strategic use of natural deterrents like cedar.

February 8, 2024
min read
Subscribe to our blog and get a FREE Red Cedar Sachet.
a piece of cedar wood on top of cedar chippings
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Shipping rates apply. £1.95 UK, £4.95 Other
In this article:

Clothing moths and their larvae love feasting on natural protein-rich fabrics like wool, silk, cashmere, and fur. Keep these coveted textiles protected through diligent preventative measures when storing seasonal wardrobes so expensive damage doesn’t sabotage cherished pieces after months unchecked.

Tips on Moth Prevention

Stopping moths before they even start saves major headaches down the road. Focus protective efforts on disrupting key stages of their life and feeding cycles for the most effective prevention.

Block Entry – Install weatherstripping along baseboards, window and doorframes to seal exterior entry points so adult moths can’t fly inside and access undisturbed laying grounds in less trafficked areas of your home.

Control Food Sources – Adult moths don’t actually eat fabric themselves, but babies hatching from eggs laid directly onto fibers do digest them as their sole food source. Removing natural fiber clothing removes the irresistible protein banquet tempting future nurseries.

Conceal Scent Signatures – Mask the chemical scent cues moths follow to locate delicious wool and silk by surrounding stored clothing with aromatic cedar accessories emitting its own pungent mask fragrance.

Freeze Out Infestations – Killing eggs or larvae stopping an existing infestation requires extreme temperature shifts menacing their physiology. Exposure to freezing temps for several days ensures full eradication from fabric and storage spaces.

Always Clean Before Storage

Clothing fresh off the body holds oils, perspiration and skin cell debris irresistible to moths seeking sources of protein on which to lay eggs directly. So soils clinging to textile fibers encourage future nursery feeding grounds.

Machine Or Hand Wash Fabrics – Launder wool, cashmere and blends using a gentle specialty detergent to lift soils before storage without agitation damage. Or hand wash delicates submerged in cool water with a capful of gentle cleanser approved for delicates use.

Custom Dry Cleaning – Some specialty performance fabrics like tailored wool suits require professional cleaning to prevent shrinkage or texture damage. Request non-perfumed solvents to limit residue that could aggravate skin sensitivity next wear.

Consider Pressing – Heat setting woven wool fabrics with an iron on medium heat kills any eggs or larvae that washing alone might have missed in hidden seams and crevices. Just avoid scorching delicate knits and silks unable to withstand high temperatures.

Let Air Dry – Always allow freshly cleaned items 1-2 days to fully air dry before folding into storage containers. Any retained humidity from incomplete drying fosters mold issues exponentially worse than moths alone down the road.

shirt eaten by moths

Why Do Moths Destroy Clothes?

Clothing moths fill a specific ecological niche targeting protein-rich animal hair clothing fibers as ideal laying grounds for egg clutches. Once hatched, the larvae serving as worm-like babies feast exclusively upon whatever fabric source they emerge inside, spinning sticky cocoons that evolve into more egg-laying adult moths.

Understanding this life cycle helps identify key intervention points for preventing exponential population explosions developing undiscovered over one dormant season into damaged clothing collections.

Moths Lay Eggs On Fabrics – Adult females detect chemical scent signatures identifying wool, silk and other irresistible high protein content fibers to lay eggs along hidden seams and folds. Common hideouts inside sleeves, hems, collars and crevices escape detection.

Babies Emerge To Feed On Surrounding Fabric – Eggs don’t pose a threat alone but once hatched a week or two later, caterpillar-like larvae babies voraciously devour whatever host fiber surrounds them, leaving behind trails of holes, shedding, frass droppings and sticky silk trails.

They Spin Cocoons To Transform Into More Egg-Laying Moths – After several weeks gorging on vulnerable fabrics, mature larvae enter a pupal stage by spinning a silken cocoon to weather metamorphosis inside or along the edges of whatever textile they fed within up to that point. Emerging as adult moths from cocoons allows the devastating life cycle to begin anew.

Intervening at each transition phase from egg potential, to actively chewing larvae, then successfully transforming pupae cocoons denies moths the ability to multiply into an outbreak destroying entire collections while left unchecked over just one abandoned season.

How To Mothproof Clothes In The Wardrobe

Treating clothes stored inside wardrobe closets requires a two pronged approach addressing prevention both within the closet interior preventing inbound adults while also focusing protective efforts on making stored contents themselves less appealing.

Install Cedar Planks – Line the wardrobe floor and shelf tops with aromatic cedar boards with the rough texture side facing up to maximize air circulation releasing innate moth-confusing oils. Over time, cedar assimilates scents from items stored directly on it which helps masks wool and cashmere scents.

Use Cedar Accessories – Install removable cedar accessory hangers, divider blocks, cedar chipping sachets and storage chests instead of typical wire or plastic versions. This allows seasonal switch outs to maintain potency emitting masking enzymes from cedar slats in direct contact with clothing.

Include Herbal SachetsTiny breathable pouches filled with moth-repelling dried herbs like lavender, rosemary, lemon verbena and mint leaves make convenient short term fume barriers to hide among stacked sweaters and infrequently worn seasonal outerwear prone to less monitoring while in storage.

Take Inventory Annually – When transitioning seasonal wardrobes, take time to unfold and inspect every item, looking along seams and crevices for tiny eggs, and shake them firmly outside to dislodge larvae deeper inside fabric structures attempting to begin cocoon spinning while undisturbed indoors.

sorting drawer clothes

How To Mothproof Items In Your Dresser Drawers

Protecting delicate cashmere, luxe underwear essentials and other precious knits stored folded within dresser drawers requires tactics open wardrobes don’t allow, like sealing contents away completely. Some tips to safeguard precious knits include:

Incorporate Cedar – Add carved cedar blocks inside each lingerie and knitwear drawer to break up endless fabric piles into separate aroma-protective compartments versus stacks crushing each other over time. Solid cedar prevents collapse while emanating powerful moth-confusing enzymes.

Try Drawer Liners – Quilted cedar drawer liners elevate items from direct contact with wood surfaces which can sometimes transmit moisture over time while also providing an insect repelling base layer emitting protective oils up through the contents above long term.

Use Breathable Storage Bags – Light colors and delicates benefit from organizational stacking inside non-vinyl zippered bags allowing airflow to prevent humidity stagnation that decomposes fibers while secured from moths probing for access. Look for natural woven cotton or mesh constructions.

Inspect Before Storing – Prior to sealing away cashmere sweaters for summer or replacing hand wash silks after winter holidays, unfold and vigorously shake out each item outdoors to eject any potential hitchhiking larvae way down within insulating interior air pockets and crevices seeking undisturbed transformation hideouts.

How To Mothproof Items In Long Term Storage

Maximizing textile life over generations via archival preservation requires intensifying protective measures when packing away contents for extended dormancy measured in years not seasons. Heirloom materials deserve the added effort to maintain pristine integrity for future enjoyment vs gradual decline from lax short term methods failing over decades.

Use Acid-Free Archival Tissue – Prevent yellowing or embrittlement of delicate fabrics like aged lace or pure silks vulnerable to oxygen deprivation by first wrapping in specialized acid-free, lignin-free sealing tissue before boxing. The inert materials pose no off gassing or chemical transfer risks to treasures stored pressed together long term.

Incorporate Effectively Sized Cedar Pieces – Choose cedar sachets, blocks and chips sized suitable to balance across the stacks, layers, and embedding crevices within packed clothing items so concentrated plant oils can permeate everything without overdosing lighter items crushed beneath heavier cedar density incompatible to textile weights and volumes stored together. Improper cedar density relative to fabric volumes risks harm over guarding.

Store Containers Off The Floor – Prevent moisture wicking up into clear bins from concrete floors by elevating onto wood pallets first. Then cover tops with overlapping muslin sheets to allow airflow while keeping dust off. Storing mothable clothing inside exterior wall basements risks moisture damage without these safeguards.

Inspect Annually – Set calendar reminders to briefly check archived clothing collections each year without fully unpacking everything. Look for signs like swollen lids, darkened dust, sticky residues, or new tiny holes chewed through visible outer fabric layers. Isolate suspect boxes for closer inspection to catch infestation spread early. Prevention saves exponential reaction efforts after populations explode unchecked!

Follow proactive mothproofing protocol when packing away seasonal woolens and natural fiber fabrics to stop destructive infestations before they start. A little time investment at the outset always trumps undoing irreversible damage later at collection or heirloom scale.

Back to blog
Share this article

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.

Other articles you might like

Shop Natural Red Cedar Mothballs

Pick your bundle based on your home size. You can always add extra blocks, rings and sachets.