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How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths and Their Larvae

The humble moth, the weird uncle of the Butterfly family. We have all encountered them, usually when you least expect it, flying straight at your face after opening a wardrobe or noisily flapping around a light casting disturbing shadows across the ceiling.

Although clothes moths don’t negatively affect your health in the way that many public health pests do, they can be a serious pest causing damage to carpets, furniture and clothing which is made of natural fabrics such as wool and silk. The damage is actually caused by the larvae (caterpillars) of the moth, resulting in holes appearing where the carpets or clothing have been eaten. The damage is irreversible, sometimes causing ruination of treasured possessions and expensive replacement costs. Clothes moths have caused the destruction of irreplaceable and priceless items such as an old teddy bear, a wedding dress, or a historic museum piece.

Consequently, if clothes moths keep on appearing in your house, you must take action. Check out the best methods:


Washing your clothes can kill clothes moth larvae, but it is unlikely to be a suitable solution for the types of garments that will be targeted as a food source.
The main alternative is dry cleaning which will kill moth larvae and eggs – but obviously at a cost, and you may want to let your dry cleaner know that your garments potentially contain moth eggs & larvae.


Freezing will kill clothes moth larvae and eggs if carried out correctly. It is the most cost effective method for initially dealing with a clothes moth infestation but remember that the larvae and eggs will remain in the clothing even if they have been killed and you may want to follow up with cleaning of those particular garments to remove them.

The recommended steps for freezing your clothes to kill moth larvae and eggs are:

– Identify and isolate the infested clothing items
– Place in a sealed, airtight bag, and do not over-stuff the bag with clothing to ensure all clothes properly freeze
– Deep freeze, ideally for a week, but at least 72 hours
– Thaw out and remove the garments from the plastic bag(s) outside your home
– Shake the garments vigorously
– Clean your garments according to their individual care labels – natural fibers will most likely require dry cleaning or hand washing, although some may be able to be washed on a delicate cycle in your washing machine


It’s time to put down the mothballs and get serious about clothing storage, for the sake of your wallet. Skip grandma’s favourite moth prevention remedy and opt for storage containers and vacuum-sealed bags instead.

Proper storage is crucial for preventing future infestations of pantry moths, too. When storing away perishable goods or dry foods, always use air-tight containers to keep your food fresh, and keep out the weevils.


While lavender smells great to us, webbing moths cannot seem to stand it. Simply pour a few drops of lavender essential oil onto cotton balls and place them in your wardrobe, closet, and boxes of off-season clothes.

Good to know:
Keeping a sticky pheromone trap in your closet can provide an early warning of future infestations. They only attract male moths, but if you spot one of those, there’s a good chance a female is nearby. Act quickly, and you can keep your clothing off the moth menu.

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