Here’s How To Get Rid Of Evil Clothes Moths

How one Frugalbits warrior waged a holey war against an empire of evil casemaking clothes moths.

Io moth


THE FIX | There are many beautiful species of moth in the world (like the Io moth pictured here), but the villainous casemaking clothes moth is not one of them (CLICK HERE if you want to have a look).

As someone who has battled clothes moths, and hopefully won my holey war, let me predict this: if you leave your windows open a lot in the summer and have lovely 100 percent natural fibre garments (regular wool or cashmere; silk; fine cotton—whatever) evil brown casemaking clothes moths will find them, they will lay eggs, and their damn little label-savvy larvae will feast on your Hugo Boss, Mackage and Missoni.

Here’s how I retaliated when moths went to war with me.

How To Win A Holey War

Of course I pulled everything out of my closet—Also, I vacuumed the insides, particularly the corners, and I threw away the vacuum bag. I then washed the walls with ammonia-free Murphy Oil Soap and, when they were dry, sprayed watered-down bleach into every corner and crevice (BLEACH KILLS EVERYTHING).

Next, I read the labels inside my garments—Anything that was 100 percent natural fibre and not riddled with moth holes (adios lovely bargain-priced Costco cashmeres) went into its own pile and was either dry cleaned, or washed and then iced.

Then I iced—Moth larvae cannot survive freezing. Before freezing my clothes, I put them in travel size Space Bags and rolled out all the air. After 24 hours in the deep, I stored smaller pieces in large Ziploc bags and larger items in zippered garment bags; each receptacle got its own cedar plank.

…and added cedar—The heavy scent of cedar wood (along with sprigs of lavender and rosemary) will deter moths from laying eggs, so it makes sense to use cedar as a preemptive strike. I purchased a bag of cedar planks (20 pieces, four lineal feet) for $10.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Four months from now when these pieces lose their scent (and effectiveness—cedar odour masks the smell of the natural fibres moths are attracted to), instead of replacing the package, I’ll buy 1×2-inch finished cedar boards at 99 cents a lineal foot at Dick’s Lumber. They’re way cheaper and equally effective. —Ruth Rainey