When it comes to caring for your wardrobe, it’s imperative to store your clothes properly – in the long-term this will help keep the moths away. Clothes moths are most attracted to fabrics that are stained or have perspiration spots or urine residue. This is because these stains provide the larvae with the nutrients that they need, such as vitamin B and salt. Since clothes moths stay in dark places and hide if disturbed, they often are not noticed until after they have damaged the fabric that they infest. The most obvious signs of clothes moth presence are holes, webbing, or dried larval cases.
Ideal conditions for clothes moth growth, activity, and egg-laying are warmth and humidity, so they are less common in dry climates. The moths are most active above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but lower temperatures will not necessarily kill them, it just slows them down.
- Keep your clothes in a cool, climate controlled environment. Pests like clothes moths, carpet beetles, and silverfish thrive in warmer, more humid environments. These insects eat protein fibers like wool, cashmere, and silk.
- The ideal wardrobe environment has a stable temperature at about 68° Fahrenheit and a humidity level at about 50%. You can purchase a hygrometer to check and monitor your closet’s climate.
- Besides the actual insects, some telltale signs to look out for:
- small white dots about the size of grains of sand (potential eggs/webbing/frass)
- a series of small holes
- small trails of fabric that looks as if it’s been shaved
- small, elongated, fibrous bundles that can be white or include the dyed fibers of the garment (potential casing/frass)
- Wash or dry clean garments after wearing them and before they go back into your closet. Food and beverage spills on clothing can especially attract pests, as well as body oils and perspiration. This can even attract pests to garments that are not made of protein fibers and may result in indirect damage.
- Fabric damage, like holes, will also become more visible after cleaning
- Periodically inspect and refold your wool, cashmere, and silk items in your closet to ensure there are no signs of pests. At Garde Robe, we specialize in seasonal closet switches for clients every 6 months, so we are regularly inspecting items that come and go for our clients.
- Regularly vacuum the inside of your closet and shelves to prevent the buildup of potential protein fibers, which can then become clothes moths, silverfish, and carpet beetle food. This can also help to eliminate eggs and larvae before they can cause damage to your wardrobe. Use a crevice vacuum tool to reach all the tight spaces within the closet.
- If you have wool, cashmere, or silk items in your closet you no longer wear, consider donating or consigning these items. If these are keepsake or heirloom pieces, consider keeping them separate from your wardrobe items. This can help prevent a potential issue in the future. Garde Robe provides an ideal facility for storage of items that are not frequently worn.
- Consider placing non-pheromone glue traps in your closet and monitor these every 2 weeks or so for potential activity. Place these in dark closet corners and higher up on shelves.
Couture wardrobes have significant worth and increase in value if properly preserved. Please reach out to our garment-care experts at Garde Robe at [email protected] with any questions regarding how to properly care for your precious wardrobe.