Are your knits being decimated by dreaded moths? Here’s how to combat an unwelcome infestation.

It can sometimes feel like a never-ending game of cat and mouse when it comes to tackling clothes moths in your home. You think you have one wardrobe under control and then they pop up in the carpet or the under-stairs cupboard. What’s more, the methods to tackle them are wide and varied, with everyone you ask offering their own old wives’ tale solution with often mixed success. Their attraction to expensive natural fibres such as wools and cashmeres makes the invasion all the more painful, when you reach for a much-loved garment only to find it’s been secretly munched (it is actually the larvae that do the gobbling, not the moths themselves). So, what actually works to irradiate the little furry pests and save your woollens from being turned into Airtex? We’ve scoured the internet for top expert tips, as well as the products that come highly recommended for repelling moths once and for all from your home:

First some tips on prevention (always better than cure). A common breeding ground for moths is when clothes are in storage, particularly in warmer months when perhaps your winter woollens are tucked away (May is generally the start of moth season). Before stashing clothes for a long period of time, ensure they are newly washed (as hot as possible – moths are drawn to perspiration, dead skin cells and food residue) and preferably line-dried. This will ensure any moth larvae have been either washed out or killed in the heat of the sun. Once ready to store, do so in airtight garment bags or storage containers in a dry location, since moths love the warm and damp. If you know you have a moth problem, an extra step we suggest would be to put all precious woollens in a ziplock bag in the freezer for up to 48 hours before packing them away for the summer. This will ensure if there are any moth larvae still present on your garments, they will be killed.

Keeping floors, carpets and household surfaces free of dust and dirt will also deter moths from setting up home. Particular ‘favourite locations’ include the edges of carpets where they meet the skirting board and any dusty corners where they can go undisturbed, under furniture for instance.

Moths hate the odour of lavender, bay, cloves, rosemary and thyme, so a combination of all or some of these dried herbs in a muslin bag, hung in a wardrobe may be enough to keep them at bay. Ensure your wardrobe is not tightly packed and the scent can infiltrate the space. Similarly, cedar oil is an effective repellent as moths (and other insects) are repelled by the pheromones the wood gives off. There are many cedar products that you can purchase (see below) – or a spritz of diluted cedar essential oil onto a clean, cotton cloth left in the bottom of your wardrobe (never directly onto clothing) is a simple solution. If you find evidence of eggs or larvae, a simple white vinegar and water solution to scrub down the inside of your wardrobe is a natural, chemical-free option for treating hard-wood areas. Obviously, all garments will need to be treated as above to ensure any remaining moths, or larvae, have been removed.

The Products



The Laundress, Wool and Cashmere Spray, £7.95


New-York based ‘The Laundress’ has a ready-to-spritz cedar spray to treat drawers and wardrobes before adding your winter woollens. There is also a cedar, orange and rose wool and cashmere shampoo that is gentle enough to hand wash your own delicates and save on the dry cleaning bill (and the chemicals).

Moth Stop Carpet Moth Trap, £6.99


If your problem is in your flooring rather than your wardrobe, this nifty trap sits on your skirting board and lures in the little winged critters, effectively trapping them and alerting you to an infestation. Perhaps not the most attractive of devices, but ruthlessly efficient nonetheless.

Russell Cedar Wood Moth Proofing Assortment, 28 pieces, £6.50


A versatile assortment of cedar wood rings (to go around the neck of coat hangers), balls, blocks and hanging squares will ensure all your storage is suitably repellent to moths. Keep a bottle of cedar essential oil to hand and dab a few drops directly onto the wood after two to three months to boost their repelling power.

Smart Trap, £12.99 for two


If you’re looking for a chemical-free, child- and pet-friendly treatment for moths that’s made in the UK and 100 per cent recyclable, the Smart Trap is a clever pheromone lure that attracts male moths in its sticky vices, thus breaking the breeding cycle of your unwanted housemates. Completely odourless and harmless, they’re a great option for kids’ bedrooms or for open-plan living with inquisitive four-legged family members.

Vacuum Storage Bags, from £5.75


As the site name suggests, mothprevention.com has a whole arsenal of sprays, repellents and kits to rid your home of carpet, clothes and food moths. It also has an extensive range of air-tight, vacuum storage bags that not only keep your woollens safe from invaders, but save on space too.

By Lydia Mansi
August 2020

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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.

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