How do I moth-proof my closet?
April 11, 2012 9:02 AM   Subscribe

How do I moth-proof my closet?

I've read the posts on storing/killing moths, but I'm looking for suggestions on how to actively protect my clothes. I don't own enough to store in boxes for the season, so most everything hangs in my closet or in in a drawer. I'm more concerned about the closet since all my wool items are there. I have a few woolen items with moth holes in them already, but haven't seen any moths fluttering about.

People have recommended lavender sachets or cedar blocks when storing clothes, does it make sense to hang a bunch of them along the closet?
posted by mlo to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
You can get cedar clothes hangars.
posted by exogenous at 9:29 AM on April 11, 2012

Best answer: Sunshine and fresh air are actually your biggest friends. Every season, take everything out of the closet. Get some kind of rack where you can do this in the yard. If you have no yard, open all the windows in a room. Hang everything up and inspect. Leave it all hanging to air out for at least a few hours.

Anything that has a moth hole leaves. Anything that has a moth crawling on it leaves.

If cedar hangers are cost prohibitive, you can get sachets of cedar chips and attach them in your closet at strategic points.

Nothing ever goes into the closet with food or crumbs or sweat stains. The moths are just as likely looking for an easy greasy snack as they are for your actual wooly items.

And air. Keep the air circulating in the closet, even if that means once a week you put a fan in front of your open closet door.
posted by bilabial at 10:06 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yeah, cedar chips and lavender bags, replaced regularly. If they don't smell aromatic to you, they won't keep the moths away.

Keep in mind, too, that it is not the moths that nibble your woolens, it is the moth larvae. So even if you see no moths, that doesn't mean damage isn't possible.
posted by Specklet at 10:09 AM on April 11, 2012

Cedar doesn't work well. Poisons do, but who wants that? Get some garment bags and seal everything up in them. Dry cleaning items before they go into the bag is extra insurance as it will kill the bugs and eggs, at least the more old fashioned less environmentally friendly kind did. The holes can also come from carpet beetles. You won't see them flying but you might find a small beetle crawling on a woolen garment.
posted by caddis at 10:38 AM on April 11, 2012

Best answer: Since you have discovered some damage already, a thorough cleaning of all your clothes and the closet seem appropriate in order to get rid of the moths in all the different life stages. Used clothes tend to attract moths more than clean ones and there can be eggs or larvae in the cracks and edges of the closet. After everything is cleaned repellents like cedar, lavender etc. can be added.
Maybe there are some things you wear less frequently? Not enough for a whole box but maybe enough for an airtight vacuum bag like this one? I haven't used it myself though.
Here is a how to moth proof a closet on ehow and there is also some good info over at Martha's. Oh and eggs / larvae can survive in the vacuum cleaner bag.
posted by travelwithcats at 10:43 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by caddis at 10:52 AM on April 11, 2012

I want to echo that moths love "used" clothes (I hate to say outright sweaty or dirty) much more than clean ones. It's a delicate balance between dry-cleaning your woolens and silks so much they wear out, and letting them get sweat and dirt stains that attract moths. Airing everything out after wearing and spot-cleaning as necessary really helps. Shake your clothes before you put them away and give them a brush-down (not necessarily with a brush, a cloth will do; the idea is to get rid of crumbs and surface soil).

It's compulsive of me but I go through my sweaters and woolens once a month to check for holes and make sure there are no moths or larvae. It's important to jump on killing the moths at the FIRST sign of them. Since you have holes and damage, now is the time to thoroughly clean everything and air out your undamaged clothes before putting them back.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 11:28 AM on April 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

Once you get everything cleaned up and out and are moth-free, maybe grab some space bags (vacuum-sealable) to store winter woolens away during the warmer months. The little buggers can still apparently eat through plastic, but it'll take longer.
posted by pised at 3:04 PM on April 11, 2012

I find cedar quite effective. I buy cedar oil, spray some on a paper towel, and tuck i na pocket, and also spray an old towel and hang it in the closet. I shake/air out woolens regularly.
posted by theora55 at 9:01 PM on April 11, 2012

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