Oktay Ortakcioglu/iStockThe central heating that keeps our homes warm year round also makes them into perfect breeding grounds for clothes moths. Female moths—small, silvery brown insects—lay their eggs, which resemble rice grains, in dark, warm places and the larvae that emerge feed on natural fibers in your clothing and carpets. So how can you keep your house moth-free?
1. Moths love dirty fabrics, so always wash your clothes thoroughly (ideally at a temperature of 100°F or more, which destroys the larvae) or take them to the dry cleaners before storing them; once clean, keep your prized items in sealed plastic storage bags.
2. Vacuum clothes and fabrics to remove eggs from the fibers: be sure to dispose of your vacuum bag afterward. Vacuum carpets, under beds, and behind radiators regularly.
3. Switch off your heating as early in the year as possible and keep windows open whenever you can to allow air to circulate.
4. Keep any secondhand clothes purchases in sealed plastic bags until you’ve had a chance to wash or dry clean them thoroughly.
5. Shake out your clothing in the daylight once a month to dislodge larvae, which have a life cycle of three weeks. Beat rugs and soft furnishings in the daylight, too—brushing destroys eggs, and larvae will release their hold in daylight.
6. Try chemical repellant products. Mothballs will work, but only if used in a space where the fumes can build up to high concentrations—most will also transfer their strong smell to your clothes. Try more natural solutions, such as cedar. You can purchase blocks or shavings of this wood, or hangers made from cedar, from most department stores or online.
7. If all else fails, call in the professional pest controllers.
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