3 Secrets to Avoiding Clothing Moths

Some say the secret to storing your fine sweaters is to put them in a cedar closet or use cedar wood aromatic oils or the dreaded mothballs, the Bible says to:

Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. -Mathew 6:20 

Is the Bible saying we should live in the moment and not stress out about holding onto treasures for ourselves? Maybe; but there are many clothing items that we put away for a season that we will be needing again. What then?

If we have been blessed with nice clothing like silks, cashmere or wool, then we should be good stewards of what we have, right? Last year I lost one of my most expensive cashmere sweaters to moths. Wardrobe Weeding may be my thing, and cedar closets may be my husband’s, but anyone can become immune to the cautions they frequently deal with. Lest you, too, think that moths will never happen to you, allow me to share the wisdom of ages:

1. Keep a clean, fresh closet.

Moths like to live and lay eggs in places where it’s dark and they’re undisturbed.  Frequently  vacuum the floors and drawers, wipe shelves down, move your clothes around, turn on lights, open windows.

Always clean any used clothing before bringing it into your closet. If one item  was in storage for long, there’s a good chance it may have moth eggs.

2. Keep your clothing clean.

When the eggs hatch, the larvae like to feed on organic fabrics. To avoid this wholey problem,  keep your clothing clean. A hot dryer (or freezer if you have a real problem) can fix this, but most of the fabrics that moths love need to be dry-cleaned, so be sure to have that done before you put your clothes in storage.

Always remove your dry-cleaned items from the plastic bags when you bring them home to allow the chemicals to leave the garment before it breaks down the fibers.

3. Check on your storage.

Adult moths live for about 75 to 80 days, and eggs hatch into larvae after 4-10 days, so you are wise to check for evidence of moths at least once after putting them away for the summer. It’s not uncommon for moth eggs to make their way into the storage undetected and  you may come back to ruined clothing months too late. Like I did.

Cedar wood, cinnamon, cloves, and lavender are all good options for keeping moths away without the harsh, dangerous fumes of mothballs.

All in all, yes, we should just get rid of the things that are going to sit in our closets undisturbed because we do not wear them. But when there are items which we will once again wear when the climate changes, we should take care in storing them so that nothing is wasted.

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