How to Get Rid of Moths in the House

When it comes to roommates, moths can be some of the worst creatures to live with. They chew gaping holes in your favorite sweaters, leave behind disgusting envelopes and insect droppings, and breed as wriggling larvae in your cereal, rugs, or other household items.

But avoid cedar and mothballs if you really want to get rid of these pesky pests. A multi-pronged approach of deep cleaning and sealing will protect your home from moths – without the lingering odor.

Identify if you have clothing moths or pantry moths.

Homeowners usually come into contact with one of two types of moths: pantry moths and clothing moths. Just as their categories indicate, these insects prey on different food sources in different parts of the house.

indian moth
An adult Indian flour moth is typically half an inch long with gray and bronze wings.

Getty Images

For pantry variety, most look for grains and dry items: grains, crackers, rice and other stored foods, according to Orkin entomologist Chelle Hartzer. You might notice disgusting straps or tiny caterpillars inside your snacks, a not-so-nice gift from pupae and larvae.

common moth
Common clothing ringworm, also called webbing ringworm, has a whitish gold color.

Getty Images

Clothing moths naturally like closets and wardrobes, with caterpillars relying on natural fibers such as linen, wool, silk or fur for food.

“While clothing moths feed primarily on natural fibers, they have been known to feed on synthetics to reach a food source, like a stain,” adds Carolyn Forte, director of the cleaning products lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute. . “That’s why it’s imperative to clean your clothes before putting them away. Even stains that you can’t see, like sweat or clear drinks, can oxidize over time in storage and attract insects.

Besides holes, these pests can also leave behind pupae skins, straps and insect droppings that look like large grains of sand, according to pest control brand Woodstream.

Start cleaning and discard infested materials.

The first step in stopping a moth infestation is to take out the trash bags. Throw out any potentially contaminated food and take it out of the house.

If you are dealing with moths, start making a pile of laundry. Wash what you can with hot water and detergent, then dry over medium to high heat to kill larvae unless the care label recommends otherwise, Forte says. Dry cleaning can also debug clothes.

In the kitchen and the closet, vacuum all: carpet, walls, baseboards … you name it. Then immediately discard the vacuum bag as it may contain eggs. Finally, scrub the shelves and walls thoroughly.

Call a professional if you cannot identify the source of the problem. A pest control operator can also help with widespread infestations or difficult-to-clean items like moth infested furniture or rugs.

Avoid mothballs and seal everything.

Reusable vacuum storage bags

Space saver

$ 39.99

Your grandmother’s favorite method is on now that many experts view the chemicals – naphthalene or paradichlorobenzene – as a health risk. California already considers pesticides to be known carcinogens, and the European Union has banned naphthalene. Children and small pets may also be tempted to eat mothballs because they can look like treats, according to the National Pesticide Information Center.

Play it safe and deter moths from clothing in other ways, advises Forte. Seal seasonal clothing in airtight bags or boxes; the vacuum variety is a good bet. Store them in the main part of the house, not in a hot, humid attic or basement. “Expensive items like cashmere can even be placed in a zippered plastic bag with cotton fleece to absorb moisture and stored in your freezer, if you have room,” she says.

While you can try the natural repellent cedar, don’t rely on it as a quick fix or a lasting remedy. Wood oils can prevent infestations by damaging the small larvae, but they will not clean up existing ones and the effect loses its potency after a few years.

    In the pantry, store food in airtight containers. This has the added effect of deterring moisture-loving molds and other pests like ants and cockroaches. It’s also a good idea to check foods from the grocery store before bringing them inside, as this is how infestations usually start.

    Vacuum and clean regularly.

    Prevent future pest problems with regular housekeeping. Wiping down surfaces and removing dust, fibers, and crumbs will go a long way. Watch for signs of moth activity not only in your clothes and food, but in other places as well. Pantry butterflies often go for birdseed, says Hartzer, so keep this away from the house and garage.

    According to Woodstream, clothing moths will also find homes in such antiques as woolen rugs, horsehair furniture, preserved animals, piano felt, and old dolls with real hair. Check these items before buying them at an estate sale, and inspect them regularly afterward. Another favorite? Pet fur, so check your dog’s supplies as well. Keeping a watchful eye could save you another major headache later.

    This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, on their website.

    This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported to this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content on

Related Posts