With wardrobe space often at a premium in homes across the UK, many of us will have no choice but to store our clothes as the seasons come and go. As the New Year dawns, the familiar frost of January and February will hit and fashionistas (plus anyone with a bit of common sense) will begin to pull their thickest, cosiest and most trusted coats and jackets out of storage. But what if, when the chill finally gets too much and you resign to your winter clothes, you find them littered with holes and half-eaten by moths? In this blog post, Your Store Exeter show you how to get rid of moths effectively.
The insects thrive on wardrobes full of wool, cashmere, fur and other fabrics made from animal hair and are a huge bane to many people. The heat of summer causes them to breed rapidly, leaving larvae to spend months happily concealed in the corners of wardrobes, eating away at whatever natural fibres they can find.
So how can you prevent the little mites getting to your clothes in the first place and get rid of moths for good? And how do you prevent them should they get through your defences?
Cleanliness is the first and best line of defence. As well as ensuring that your life is more hygienic and pleasant, a clean wardrobe with clean clothes will help to keep moths at bay. Dirty clothes are often what attract moths in the first so ensure your clothes have been through the wash before you store them in your cupboards. Moth eggs, larvae and adult moths can all be killed by a hot-water wash cycle or by dry cleaning, and any insects clinging to the walls of your wardrobe can be vacuumed or scrubbed away.
The moth life cycle is around three weeks (but the larvae can survive for up to 2 years!), so try to shake your clothes out once or twice a month to disturb them. While this may seem like a lot of effort and a bit disgusting, shaking your clothes out in the daylight will dislodge the larvae and prolong the life of your wares. It’s worth shaking out your rugs and cushions too. Moths aren’t picky about which fabrics they will munch on so get them out in the sunlight and give them a good brush down.
This may seem like the obvious and most simple solution, but further research has shown that mothballs can be bad for your health. They were popular with the Victorians, and are known for their unpleasant aroma, but do contain the moth-repelling chemical naphthalene and other toxic vapours which slowly kill the insects. But unless the area is very tightly sealed, some people find that the fumes are too weak to kill bigger adult moths. The smell is also very hard to remove and the balls are poisonous, but if you have run out of resources for how to get rif of moths, then mothballs may work for you.
Once you’ve cleaned your clothes, one of the easiest ways to moth-proof your clothes is to seal them in plastic storage bags. These can be vacuum-packed and put away quite tidily (if you wash and fold your clothes properly!). When it comes to cashmere or silk, which are likely to be more expensive items, it’s worth wrapping them in acid-free tissue before putting them in breathable bags so not to ruin the material. If you own anything that’s hard to wash, you can try freezing them for at least 12 hours to kills the eggs and larvae, before popping it into storage.
Cedar balls are an increasingly popular alternative to artificially made moth balls. While adult moths can become immune to the smells and the cedar balls’ aroma fades after a couple of months, the small eggs and larvae will die off quickly and there’s no chance of poisoning your clothes!
If all else fails, call pest control to get rid of moths. They will fumigate your house and make sure there are no insects left, but at a price. Costs will depend on the size of your house and the number of rooms that you want to be treated, but most charge around £100 per room for a full treatment. The downside is that you’ll have to move out of your house for a few days, and most firms don’t guarantee against re-infection if you’ve been clean for a month.
Of course, you don’t need to store your clothes in spare wardrobes or the loft at all. If space is hard to come by in your home, here at Your Store Exeter we can look after all of your seasonal outfits! All of our personal storage containers are securely sealed and extremely clean (and moth-free!). Get in touch today to discuss our low-cost storage solutions.