Moths in clothing - Combating moths in practice

Clothes moth traps and moth bags is recommended for the prevention and control of clothes moths:

When moths are found in clothing, it's usually one of the following two moth species:

These moths are also called clothes moth. However, in some cases, clothing can also be attacked by seed moth and in very rare cases of sticky moth. The presence of clothes moths is usually revealed by the following signs:

  • Punched clothing or clothes with small holes in them
  • Adult moths running around (clothes moths prefer running to flying)
  • Larvae, webs or excrement on clothing or other textiles
  • Pupae - with or without larvae inside - that sit between the walls and ceiling

When you think you've seen caterpillar eggs, it's usually the excrement of the larvae.

When you discover moths in clothes, it's often clothes moths

Clothes moth

Fur moths attack fur clothing in particular, but also other textiles

Fur moth


Combating moths in clothes

1. inspection: Go through all the textiles in your home and pay special attention to hanging or discarded textiles - especially if they are also unclean. Moth larvae feed mainly on organic textiles such as wool, silk, fur, leather, etc. but can also attack mixed textiles. Pay particular attention to the folds, pockets, collars, etc. of clothing, as this is where the moths lay their eggs.

2. CleaningAll affected textiles should either be discarded or dry cleaned. Dry cleaning can be done by machine washing, dry cleaning at a dry cleaner or freezing at -18°C. If you wash in the washing machine, the temperature should be at least 50°C to kill all moth eggs and larvae in the clothes.

3. cleaningEmpty all clothes cupboards and drawers and clean them thoroughly with a vacuum cleaner. Pay special attention to cleaning edges, cracks, crevices, holes, etc.

4. StorageTo prevent moths from laying their eggs in your clothes in the future, store all clothes in airtight bags (especially clothes you don't wear often). This also applies to infrequently used textiles in closets and drawers such as guest towels, bedding, blankets, etc. 

6. Moth bags: If you have already had problems with moths, there is a high probability that they will return. Hanging moth bags in closets and placing them in drawers reduces the risk of moths returning. Moth bags are also the only chemical-free moth repellent for clothes moths. Read more about moth bags here.

We recommend the clothes moth trap and moth bags above as they are both effective and environmentally friendly - please note that one variant of the moth bags is for closets, while the other is for drawers



Moths in wool clothing and other organic materials

As mentioned above, clothes moths mainly attack organic textiles - i.e. textiles made from materials derived from animals. Woolen clothing is among the most vulnerable textiles, but fur, silk, feathers, down, skins, leather, etc. can also be attacked.

Mixed or combined textiles - such as a down jacket with a thin outer layer of synthetic fabric - can easily be attacked by moth larvae, which gnaw through the synthetic fabric to get to the down. Similarly, a half wool/half cotton sweater can be pierced by the larvae.

What all textiles have in common is that they are particularly vulnerable if they are slightly unclean and stored in undisturbed, dark places - such as cupboards, drawers, chests, basements, attics and the like.


Moths in clothes and food

Moths that are considered pests are often divided into two categories:

  • Clothes moth
  • Food moth

In other words, there are also some moth species whose larvae can thrive in food. These larvae feed primarily on dry foods such as grains, flour, rice, cereals and the like.

However, some species are almost omnivorous and can also feed on dry plant materials, animal materials, wood fungi, etc:

  • Frog moth which can feed on organic textiles (like clothes moths and fur moths), but also plant and animal materials.
  • Sticky moth which can feed on the same materials as seed moths, but also more specialized materials such as wood fungi, thatch thatch, moldy wine corks, rotten wood, etc.

In a typical Danish home, however, it will most often be dry foods in the kitchen cupboards such as cereals, bran, flour, grain products, rice, cereals, beans, spices, dried fruits, etc. that are attacked by moths.