How to get rid of moths

Follow our easy guide on how to get rid of moths. Our tips should keep these pesky creatures out of your wardrobe and away from your clothes for good

Are you fed up of discovering holes in your clothes? Tired of unpacking your winter knits to find them eaten by moths? Then it’s time to take the plunge with our guide to how to get rid of moths for good.

We all know that sinking feeling after pulling your favourite cashmere cardigan out of the wardrobe, only to find its been the victim of a moth feeding frenzy. And prevention is really the only way to be sure that your garments will survive as invisible mending isn’t always an option.

Those pesky moths are drawn to dark and damp 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.

More pest-related tips: How to get rid of ants

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.

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. Moths breed continuously all year round, but are at their most prevalent between June and October.

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 caterpillars, which are doing all the damage.

And now those tips…

1. If you have a moth infestation, deep-clean your wardrobe and your clothes

How to get rid of moths

Image credit: Trevor Richards

The telltale signs that you have a moth infestation are signs of larvae, which look like small grains of white rice, 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.

2. Spread clothes out in the wardrobe

This makes it harder for larvae to migrate between items of clothing

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.

Wash possibly-infested clothes on a high heat, get them dry-cleaned, or put them in the freezer for a few days to kill any eggs.

Read more: How to get rid of fleas

4. Hang cedar wood, lavender and eucalyptus

How to get rid of moths

Image credit: Polly Eltes

Use natural products to provide extra protection for clothes and minimize harm to moths. While they love the smell of sweat, moths hate the smell of cedar wood, lavender and eucalyptus (strange creatures). Hang cedar wood blocks from your clothes hangers, or sachets of lavender with a few drops of essential oil dabbed on to make sure your fluttery visitors stay well away.

Buy Now: Orphea Moth Repellent Strips for Drawers and Wardrobes, £5.50 for 12,

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.

5. Take extra care with expensive clothes

Store valuable skirts, shirts, dresses, suits and coats in garment bags, and dry clean them often to keep the problem at bay.

6. 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.

7. Eliminate carpet moths


Image credit: Matt Antrobus

Moths lay their eggs in areas where the larvae can hatch and feed undisturbed; in the case of carpet, 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.

Buy Now: Pro-Active C Moth control spray, £11.70 for 1 litre, Pest Control Direct 

If the infestation is serious and you’d like a professional assessment, Rentokil, 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.

Read more: How to clean your carpet and floors

We hope this helps to get rid of your moth infestation and prevent moths from returning in the future. Do you have any other top tips for getting rid of moths from your home?

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