How to get rid of moths from wardrobes, carpets and the kitchen pantry

Our tips should keep these pesky pests out of your home for good

Summer heat is always welcome, but the emergence of moths is a serious downside.  We've all been there, the victim of a moth feeding frenzy. Invisible mending will only get you so far, it's time to tackle your moth problem head on. Follow our easy guide on how to get rid of moths.

Like with most things prevention is key when it comes to keeping your home free of moths. Simple care and cleaning hacks can help eliminate the problem.

Those pesky moths are drawn to dark and cool spaces, so it’s important to keep your wardrobe clean and well-ventilated. Similarly, you’ll want to start washing your clothes more often, particularly your knitwear, as moths love the smell of human sweat. Ensure your pantry is

We're got some great tips to get rid of moths and keep your favourite outfits free of tell-tale holes. But first, let's answer a few common moth-related questions.

How to get rid of moths in wardrobes

room having white wardrobe with printed doors

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Jon Day)

Regular hoovering and cleaning is the best method of prevention, but variety is key. Quite often you only notice clothes moths when it’s too late, so using a mixture of preventative methods is the best way to keep your home moth-free.

1. Deep-clean your wardrobe and your clothes

The telltale signs that you have a moth infestation are signs of larvae, which look like small grains of white rice. Look for webbing and cocoons in the corners of your wardrobe and cupboards. Give your wardrobe a good vacuum, followed by a wipe down with a damp cloth spritzed with an anti-bacterial spray. Vinegar diluted with water will also work a treat for keeping your wardrobe clean and (hopefully) moth free.

2. Spread clothes out in the wardrobe

This makes it harder for larvae to migrate between items of clothing, it will also help keep your wardrobe well ventilated. Moths love nothing more than warm, humid spaces.

3. Keep your clothes clean

Moths are attracted to the smell of human sweat, and the larvae will live off this and any food stains. Wash clothes regularly, especially knitwear, to avoid infestations, and don't leave dirty clothes in piles for longer than a few days.

If you suspect you have a possible-infestation, wash your clothes on a high heat, get them dry-cleaned, or put them in the freezer for a few days to kill any eggs or larvae.

4. Use anti-moth paper

Lining your drawers with anti-moth paper should also help in the fight to keep moths at bay, and an added bonus, some are scented which will help to keep your array of clothes smelling sweet.

room with white wall wooden frame and black ribbon

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

5. Use natural moth repellants like cedar wood, lavender and eucalyptus

Use natural products to provide extra protection for clothes and minimise harm from moths. While they love the smell of sweat, moths hate the smell of cedar wood, lavender and eucalyptus (strange creatures). You can buy plenty of lavender scented moth repellent sachets or cassettes from Amazon or Lakeland, but if you can try a few more natural remedies. Cedar wood blocks or sachets of lavender look gorgeous hung from coat hangers, but will also make sure your fluttery visitors stay well away.

If a cedar block loses its scent, sand it down and add a few more drops of cedar oil to it to keep it performing effectively.

By using lavender-scented detergent and linen water, you'll deter moths from making a home in your linen cupboard. This has the added advantage of keeping your sheets smelling fresh.

6. Take extra care with expensive and vintage clothes

Store valuable skirts, shirts, dresses, suits and coats in garment bags, and dry clean them often to keep the problem at bay. Vintage clothes are often the source of moth infestations, so be sure to wash or dry clean them, before slotting them in beside your collection of wool jumpers.

7. Store your winter clothes correctly

 Wash your winter clothes before packing them away for the summer, and store them in vacuum-packed bags. If you have cashmere jumpers or scarves, wrap them in tissue and store them in a lidded box with a sachet of silica to absorb any dampness.

Whatever you do, avoid cardboard boxes, as moths can chew their way through these without any problems.

How to get rid of moths from carpets

living room with silver sofa set white wall and carpet flooring

(Image credit: Matt Antrobus)

You have been diligent in protecting your wardrobe from moths, but unfortunately thats not the only place they can infest. The winged creatures often lay their eggs in carpets, preferably in areas where the larvae can hatch and feed undisturbed; such as on keratin in the wool.

The damage occurs mostly around the edges of a room, especially if the carpet is shaded or covered by a rug. Open areas with lots of foot traffc and natural light are rarely attacked, so activity on your stair carpet will be along the skirting or stair strings.

To eliminate carpet moths, use a moth spray designed for use on carpets. You need only apply it along the edges, but ensure the treatment reaches the base of the tufts, where the larvae feed, by parting the rows with your hand – repeat after 30 days. If the infestation is serious and you’d like a professional assessment, Rentokil (opens in new tab), offers a free survey with advice on treatment.

Going forward, it's key to vacuum regularly, taking care to run under furniture that sits on carpet, or where clothes are stored – for example, under the bed. You could have your carpets professionally cleaned every three months for maximum protection. Consider the same principles for how to get rid of fleas.

How to get rid of pantry moths

So we all know about clothes and carpet culprits who ruin your favourite jumpers and wool carpets, but did you know there are other species that thrive on food and live in the kitchen? A must-know if you have an on-trend kitchen pantry idea full of dried goods and flours – the very thing these moths are drawn to! Here are out tops tips for keep moths out of your kitchen.

kitchen pantry with pink wooden shelves with food items and blue cupboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Rachael Smith)

1. Empty and clean the pantry

The telltale signs that you have a food moth infestation in your kitchen are signs of larvae. Start by empty the shelves to give them all a through clean with a damp cloth spritzed with an anti-bacterial spray. The natural cleaning hack using vinegar diluted with water will also work a treat for keeping your pantry clean without the need for harsh chemicals – ideal for a safe place to store food.

2. Ensure everything is air tight

Before you start to put food items back stop the appeal of a hiding place, such as an open bag of flour or opened cereal box, by making everything air tight. Store dried goods in sealed jars and invest in some food preserving clips to keep packets closed. The most common food moth is the Indianmeal moth that can infest bread, cereals, flour, spices, rice and other dried goods.

We answer the commonly asked moth questions...

Do moths eat clothes?

Not exactly. Adult moths do not have mouths, so those irritating holes are actually caused by moth eggs and caterpillar-like larvae chewing through your clothes. So while seeing moths flying around in your home is a problem, but the main issue is their larvae, which are doing all the damage.

Moths breed continuously all year round, but are at their most prevalent between June and October. A female moth can lay up to 200 eggs at a time. Each larve take between two to 9 months to mature into a moth. That's a lot of time for them to do some serious munching.

Which moths eat clothes?

 There are over 2,500 species of moths in the UK, but only six of these species eats clothing. These include the Common Clothes Moth and the Case Bearing Clothes Moth. These aren't the moths you see flitting around at night, but the ones you don't see.

A common moth is about 6 to 10 mm long, and the larvae are tiny at 1mm long when freshly hatched. They are extra hard to spot, but do leave a cobweb-like trail in their wake.

The Case Bearing Clothes Moths are very small like the common clothes moth. However, the larvae creates a case using the fibres from the clothes is munches on, camouflaging itself.

How do moths get into your home?

Clothes or kitchen moths aren't able to fly very far, so it is unlikely they will be flitting in through an open window. It is more likely that they have travelled in on antique rugs, jumpers from the charity shop and second-hand furnishings.

Before bringing any of your thrifting finds into the home give them a good clean and spray with something like Moth Stop Fabric or Carpet Sprays to kill of any eggs or larvae.

How to detect clothes moths

Keeping an eye out for tell-tale holes is the easiest way to work out if you are dealing with a moth infestation. However, you can also purchase moth traps that work by attracts adult moths, and trapping them on sticky pads.

Lakeland sell Moth Stop Moth Traps, that you can stick in your wardrobe like flypaper. If you find tiny moths stuck to the pad, you know you've got a clothes moth problem.

What is a pantry moth?

What is a pantry moth, and how do they differentiate from clothes moths? Quite simply the pantry moth, officially named the Indianmeal moth is a pyraloid moth of the family Pyralidae. Like the appeal of a dark cool wardrobe a pantry provides an appealing place for these pests to live.

We hope this helps to get rid of your moth infestation and prevent moths from returning in the future.