The Curse of the Clothes Moth

I’m an indifferent housewife and Malcolm is worse.  What’s the point of dusting until you can actually see a result from doing so?  Malcolm would probably say ‘What’s the point of dusting?  All it does is re-arrange the dust.’  Hoovering happens when it has to.

So last week it was a terrible shock when I decided to have a really good spring-clean, hoiked the edge of a rug out from under the radiator where it’s normally firmly wedged, and found this…..

…….. the corner of our Persian rug chewed to a fragment.  By clothes moths.  Of whom I could see not a single sign.

Well, we cleared up the mess and left it at that.  Until today.  Malcolm had a little sort out of the jumpers in a drawer, and found this….

….. and this ……

Well.  Spring cleaning it is then.  With a vengeance.  We’ve ransacked the shops for nasty chemicals, packaged for the most part in plastic (so much for our eco-credentials), and set to with the vacuum cleaner, dusters, scrubbing brushes, mops.  It’s either that or face the world with every item of clothing interestingly decorated with a filigree of little holes.

Will it make us less indifferent housekeepers?  Probably not.  It’ll take more than that to change the habits of a lifetime.  But then, it turns out that both Harrogate and Ripon are suffering from a serious Invasion of the Clothes Moth.  Even Houseproud Housewives are not exempt.

40 thoughts on “The Curse of the Clothes Moth”

  1. I can’t help with the rug, we solved our old carpet problem with a new one which claims to have been treated and so far so good. I’m allergic to wool so don’t wear it and don’t have the moth although tea shirts have a habit of developing small holes. Perhaps the answer for jumpers is to change to cotton and wear layers – not as flippant as it sounds.

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  2. Cedar wood balls!!!
    They don’t like them and they’re eco friendly. Chuck a few in each drawer and pockets of jackets etc. Another thing that works is conkers, unfortunately this is not the season. Both solutions do not give you the smell you once got from grandmas cupboard. We also use bags for clothes you connect the vacuum to (that’s what it’s for.. ), suck out the air and you are left with a rigid lump of clothing which is safe from the little buggers. Kev and Liz, currently in Laroque.

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    1. Brilliant. All excellent advice. And come the Autumn, I shall be elbowing all the small children out of the way to get to the front of the conker queue. Have a great time in Laroque!

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  3. Oh it’s a horror isn’t it. It is just about doable to manage the clothes situation but rugs and carpets feels almost impossible. They love it under heavy furniture and round the back of sofas up against the skirting boards. My elderly father and I got a nasty surprise when the removers packed up his heavy television/furniture setup to find large patch of wool carpet completely eaten away. I read they prefer lowlight conditions, but to my horror found them attacking my crewel curtains in full sunlight. Also, I read the NT houses have had nightmare situations with some of their prized soft furnishings. I can’t think that they could spray with those nasty chemicals. Could be with global warming, (possible factor contributing to the increased prevalence of clothes moths), we are all going to be smelling like moth balls again!

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    1. Well, I must say that modern products don’t smell as nasty as great-grand-mama’s boudoir. But I note all these solutions that other readers have provided with interest. And the singled-out room is a sun-trap….. I hope we’re on the way up now….

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  4. Aaaargh! I hate these moths! I went through a chest of heavy wool blankets a couple years ago and every single one of them had been chewed! And one had a huge hole! I, too, am a very indifferent house cleaner and so is Don–we just have so many other, more attractive, ways to spend our days. But the moths are a heavy price to pay . . .

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    1. And, as I mentioned in my blog, the houseproud are suffering too. So let’s keep right on filling our day with interesting things, and being as slatternly as before!

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  5. Oh dear. And what a coincidence – we rolled up our living room wool carpet this week (after one of the dogs was sick on it) to find moth larvae tunneling away and eating huge tracks in it. Probably the end of the carpet with this double assault.
    After a fairly major problem with clothes moths some years back I bagged up our woolly jumpers and put them in the freezer for a few weeks as that is supposed to kill larvae, eggs and pupae (seems it did). And I did get to be reasonably good at darning my damaged handknits. We also put lights in one of the clothing cupboards to put the moths off, but I don’t think that did much. So yes, we now we have been emptying and vacuuming cupboards – not sure about using chemicals though – I think they need to be quite specific? We store some woollens and old linens in a camphor-wood chest and that seems to be quite good, and I put blocks of camphor wood amongst my jerseys, and they seem to be intact thus far. You have my sympathies.

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    1. We have resorted to some chemicals in this instance. As a one-off. After that, we’ll focus on all those methods which helpful readers have put before us. Sadly, our freezer is too small to accomodate an influx of woolly jumpers. Good luck with your own Trial-by-Clothes-Moth.

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      1. Thanks Margaret, and good luck to you too. We don’t have a largish freezer anymore either. Last time I did resort to using a chemical (can’t remember what it was) but it was surprisingly hard to find, and we painted it inside the clothing cupboards.
        It is sad when something gets ruined by those little chompers. Somebody told me that in the absence of clothing-and-carpets-using humans, they would eat the hair/fur and hides of dead animals, so they were part of the sanitary team of the wild!

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  6. We had clothes moth eat part of a carpet years ago and I think I used chemicals after a spring clean. I then bought cedar balls which appeared to work as the moth never came back. I am sorry you have miserable moth; I am dealing with ants at present.

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  7. Wool, cotton, cashmere, merino … these moths seem to prefer the more expensive items in my wardrobe. I use essential oils – cedarwood and lavender. I had the cedarwood balls and thought they were enough, but now I dunk them in oils every few months (when I remember) as I think the smell fades.

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  8. I know all about them!!!! Since living in France I haven’t been spared one month of not loosing the one or other garment to them buggers. I have come to hate them with a quite stupid vengance. BECAUSE they win, every single bloody time. Don’t think you’ll EVER get rid of them. I spend a fortune 2x per year to replace every strip of anti-moth-paper and it just doesn’t do the trick. Them beasts eat and feast on everything but nylon, of which I have none, or maybe they’ll eat even those!!!! I’m no longer buying cashmere because that’s their first stop, then moving over to the finest wool, cotton knits and on and on. We CANNOT get them to disappear. Right now my sis is holidaying in Germany from where she gets me industrial sized numbers of anti-clothes-moths papers…..

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    1. Well, my clothes drawers all smell wonderfully of a cocktail of essentail oils. I know these will kill nothing, but it seems to be making the little blighters hold their noses and run away. Let’s see….

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      1. tried that too – was told they didn’t like lavender – seems I was wrong. They probably grew up in Provence 😉

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