Different sorts of fabrics are used for manufacturing of various types of garments. Silk, wool, cotton, rayon, polyester, satin, velvet, linen, etc are some examples . The fabrics are of two types namely- natural fabrics and man-made fabrics. The natural fabrics are obtained from various sources of nature like wool from sheep, silk from silkworm, cotton from cotton plants, etc. These fabrics are prone to breeding of insects like moths, fungi etc. on them.

One of the common insect is the clothes moth. They are of brown color and flat in shape. They generally attach to the woolen clothes and prefer dark surroundings. Clothes can be damaged even by their larvae. There are many methods through which the damaged caused due to clothes moths can be controlled like freezing, usage of insecticide, dry cleaning of clothes, etc. Maintaining low level of humidity level in the atmosphere of the house facilitates in checking out their growth rate. Prevention is always better than cure therefore maintaining cleanliness in the house and in the closets is the best option. But if problems increase to an extent then insecticide use is the last option.

Protection inside storage units

When clothes are not stored and maintained properly, the chances of clothes moths damaging the garments increases. It should be made sure that the clothes when kept in the closet should be clean and dry without any trace of insects. Also the closet in which they are kept should be tightly and securely constructed. Many things like naphthalene balls, closet fresheners, flakes, moth balls, etc. could be kept in the closets or wardrobes to keep away the moths. These items should be kept out of reach of children as these products are poisonous in nature. They are made up of chemicals and strong in nature, therefore when these items if placed in close proximity with plastic hangers, bags or buttons could result into their melting. The vapors created by them kill the insects breeding on the garments .

Dry Cleaning and Laundering of clothes

Washing the clothes in hot water is the easiest and cheapest way of killing the clothes moths. The fabrics that are washable at home could be cleaned by this method. Whereas the woolen and pure silk clothes have to be dry cleaned. Dry cleaning and laundering prevents the growth of clothes moths as these insects prefer spoiled unhygienic clothes to clean ones.

Freeze and heat the clothes

One of the methods to kill clothes moths is by sterilizing the clothes with dry ice where the temperature is kept below 18F. And in heating the temperature is kept above 120F. Treatment of fabrics by such extreme temperatures destroys the insects.

Prevention and reduction

These clothes moths harvest mainly on woolen and old fabric scraps. Therefore these items should be cleaned regularly and woolen clothes should be exposed to sun once a month, as the heat of the sun kills insects because they cannot bear the heat and light of the sun. Cleaning of woolen clothes by vacuum cleaner or brushing them is also a good option.

Usage of insecticides

When all other moths control methods prove inefficient, then spraying of insecticides on clothes proves beneficial. These insecticides containing pyrethrin can be sprayed directly on clothes provided the fabrics dont stain easily and are not very delicate like silk, satin, velvet, etc. Before using them make sure to read the directions for usage and warning instructions.

Care for Special fabrics

There are certain fabric items which require specialized care and treatment to protect them from the clothes moths, like home furnishings, fur items and carpets. The best way to protect fur items is storing them with moth balls, flakes or crystals. Regularly try to air the furs. Do not spray insecticide on them.

The rugs and carpets of small sizes could be dry cleaned. In case of wall to wall carpets insecticides could be applied on their edges and on both sides. The amount of spray on upper surface should be less in comparatively in order to avoid stains. Sometimes animal feathers or hair are filled or added to various home furnishings. To keep them moths-free they could be treated by fumigation by dry ice or pest control in the storage units.

Fact tips

▪ The clothes which are more prone to clothes moths should be dry cleaned at regular intervals and stored in airtight containers.
▪ Usage of cedar wood also discourages the growth of moths, therefore if possible store woolen clothes in cedar chests or trunks.
▪ Immediately clean the food stains from the clothes as if you leave them it promotes the growth of moths. Do not spray perfumes on woolen items, but could be spayed on to other fabrics and skin. The strong smells of perfumes dont attract clothes moths.
▪ The house and closet could be cleaned with vacuum cleaner periodically.

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