Clothes moths - Identification and control

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

What are clothes moths?

Clothes moth is a generic term for all moths that attack clothing and textiles. This group differs from food millswhich primarily attacks food.

In Denmark, clothing mills are limited to the clothes moths and the fur trapswhich can rightly be called the "true clothes moths", and to a lesser extent seed millswhich can attack textiles, plant materials and some animal materials.

However, it is actually the moth larvae - and not the adult moths - that cause the damage to clothing and textiles. Clothes moth larvae generally feed on animal textiles, but clothes moth larvae can also feed on plastics or plant textiles. Seed moth caterpillars primarily feed on dry foods, but can also feed on textiles.

Clothes moth caterpillars feed on textiles from the time they hatch from their eggs until they pupate.

The clothes moth is one of the 'true clothes moths'

Clothes moth

The fur moth is one of the 'true clothes moths'

Fur moth

Seed moth is a food moth that can attack clothing and other textiles

Frog moth


Fighting clothes moths

If you've discovered moths in your home and don't know what species they are, you can find out in our article on moth species. The article also contains references to further information on controlling the individual moth species.


Clothes moths and fur moths

Clothes moths and fur moths are controlled in almost the same way, as they both feed on textiles. The control itself is basically about removing their eggs and larvae from the infested textiles. However, to be on the safe side, you should also clean any textiles that have been stored with the infested textiles.

The eggs and larvae can be killed by washing, dry cleaning, freezing or heating clothes. You can read more about how to combat clothes moth here and fur moth here.


Frog moth

Seed moth larvae usually feed on plant materials (unlike clothes moths and fur moths), but can also attack clothing and other textiles as well as some animal materials.

If seed moths have infested clothing, remove their eggs and larvae from clothing and check all dry foods for their presence. You can read more about seed moth control here.


Recommended products

If you are infested with clothes moths, we recommend the clothes moth trap and moth bags below:

We recommend these moth bags as they are effective and environmentally friendly - note 1) that despite its name, the clothes moth trap can be used against all clothes moths, and 2) that one variant of the moth bags is for closets, while the other is for drawers

Remember to dry clean or wash all infested textiles before using the moth bags. Also remember to clean cupboards and drawers by vacuuming thoroughly before using the bags.


Which textiles are affected?

Exactly which textiles the clothes moths feed on depends on the species of larvae, but in some cases, food scarcity or availability can also influence the damage; for example, larvae that only feed on animal textiles may gnaw through artificial fabrics to gain access to the animal textiles. Similarly, they may eat textile blends such as half wool/half cotton and the like.

  • Textiles and products of animal origin that are commonly attacked include: wool, silk, fur, hair, feathers, down, leather and more.
  • Plant-based textiles that are commonly attacked include: cotton, linen, sisal, hemp and others.

In practice, the following are often attacked by clothes moths:

  • Clothes in closets - especially clothes made from animal textiles, unclean clothes and clothes that are not worn often
  • Carpets, curtains, upholstery and other home textiles
  • Bedding, linen, towels, tablecloths, cloth napkins, etc.

In addition, clothes moths prefer dirty textiles such as laundry, discarded work clothes, etc. that contain body oils. This is because the moths don't drink water, but instead get their moisture from the dirt in the clothes. Although clothes moths prefer textiles of animal origin, they can infest impure synthetic or plant-based textiles purely because of the moisture in the impurities in the textiles.