Cleaning is the best option to eliminate an infestation or prevent one and your vacuum often is your best weapon. Periodic brushing and sunning of stored fabrics is also helpful in prevention and control. |
There are a number of common household insecticide sprays available for fabric pest control. All should be equally effective if used properly. This means applying the sprays to cracks and crevices in closets and chests where the pests may be hiding. Sprays should only be used if an infestation exists. Sprays will not be effective as a preventative measure and should never be applied directly to fabrics.
If insect damage is suspected check all susceptible items carefully. Look in back corners of the closet, hat boxes, remnants of wool fabric or carpeting. Clothes moths and carpet beetles often breed in hair-based accumulations that might be found behind baseboards, under door jambs, inside heating vents, etc. Other potential sites can be dried flower arrangements, or decorative items with "seeds" in them. Baseboards, behind door casings,under heat radiators, and inside furnace or air conditioning registers should be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner. Clean and vacuum carefully.
Both laundering in hot water and drycleaning will kill all stages of fabric pests and will also remove perspiration odors that are attractive to pets. Woolens and other susceptible fabrics should be drycleaned or laundered before being stored for long periods. NOTE: Most animal-based fibers cannot tolerate hot water without shrinking or other damage. Read and follow the care label before attempting to wash these fabrics.
The vapors from moth balls, crystals or flakes containing paradichlorobensene (PDB) or naphthalene, are lethal to fabric pests, but only when maintained at sufficient concentrations. To ensure this, enclose the manufacturer's recommended dosage in containers that are practically airtight. Trunks, garment bags, boxes and chests, when tightly sealed, will be effective. Do not use PDB in plastic containers.
Contrary to popular belief, cedar chests and closets are seldom effective in preventing fabric pest infestations because the seal does not keep in enough concentration of the volatile oil of cedar.
Do not place any insecticide directly on fabric. Either place mothballs, flakes, or crystals on a layer of paper on top of items in a box or chest or layer the clothing and place paper and moth control product between the layers. If using a garment bag, suspend the moth control product in an old sock or nylon stocking at the top of the bag or use a moth cake. Clothing should be loosely separated.
The length of exposure needed to kill clothes moths or carpet beetles will vary with the temperature, the size of the larvae, and the form, concentration and which variety of insecticide is used. Several days is usually sufficient to kill most infestations, but older larvae and most stages of carpet beetles may require two to three weeks.
Clothing may be thoroughly brushed at regular interval (once or twice a month) to control moths. Brushing should be done outside. All areas should be brushed including pocket flaps and under collars.
Cold Storage: Although cold storage temperatures (at 40 degrees F) may prevent larvae from feeding it does not kill them. Furs should be cleaned prior to cold storage by a professional cleaner using the furrier method.
Mothproofing is a chemical treatment given to fabrics that protects them from insects without leaving any odor. A label stating "mothproof" or "moth resistant" means that the item has been treated during manufacturing. This process is considered permanent.
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