Help me get rid of anything this moth may have left behind!
August 21, 2020 12:21 PM   Subscribe

I just discovered a huge moth flapping around my bathroom, which is right next to my closet. I know adult moths can’t eat clothing, but they can lay eggs that will hatch into larvae which are eaters of clothes. I am rid of the big moth, but how do I make sure that it didn’t leave any baby moths behind?

I’m really freaked out because I am terrified of moths and I would be really upset if moths infested my closet and ate all my clothes. Are there any signs I should look for? Is there any preemptive action I can take?
posted by keep it under cover to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Just to reassure you, almost all moths DO NOT eat clothing. And the few that do are small as adults. It is overwhelmingly likely that there is no problem here.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:25 PM on August 21, 2020 [6 favorites]

Best answer: If the moth you saw really was huge, it's very unlikely to be a kind whose caterpillars eat clothes. Search for "clothes moth" and see if what comes up looks anything like the moth you saw. Probably not. I wouldn't worry.
posted by Redstart at 12:30 PM on August 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It's only a specific type of moth that eats clothing, and they are only about 1/4 in long--about the size of a housefly barely what most people even think about when they think about moths. So what you saw is surely some other kind of moth that got in by mistake and is not going to lay eggs that produce clothes moths (and is not going to lay eggs except on whatever type of plant is the preferred host plant for its larvae).
posted by drlith at 12:31 PM on August 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Clothes moths are small, half the length of
your smallest finger nail. They're kind of camel brown with a gold shimmer.
They destroy only fabric from animals (wool, silk, felt, fur).
posted by Omnomnom at 1:38 PM on August 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yup, there’s no way that a ‘huge’ moth is a clothes moth. Most moth caterpillars eat plants, just like butterflies. For example, in the UK there are over 2000 species of moths, and only a handful of them often eat fabrics.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 2:04 PM on August 21, 2020

Best answer: In case you are still worried about (or actually wind up with) clothes moths or cabinet moths (shudder), I have had the most success thwarting them with pheromone traps I got at the hardware store in the lawn and garden section.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 2:12 PM on August 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Clothes moths are tiny. Teeny teeny tiny, for moths. If you described it as huge, no way its a clothes moth. BUT if you are still paranoid and want to do something - expose the clothes to sunlight and brush them down, that will remove any eggs or larvae. They're not durable or good at clinging on, at all.
posted by stillnocturnal at 2:25 PM on August 21, 2020

Best answer: Mothballs or cedar balls. That's why they exist
posted by Enid Lareg at 3:07 PM on August 21, 2020

Response by poster: Thank you all so much, I’ve calmed down considerably after reading these answers. It was a good 1.5-1.75 inches long and a reddish orange color, so it seems highly unlikely that it wanted anything to do with my clothes. I will be investing in some cedar balls or closet hangers so ease my mind about any potential future moth infestation.
posted by keep it under cover at 11:49 PM on August 21, 2020 [2 favorites]

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