A step-by-step guide on how to prevent moth holes from the guy who’s been in the clothes business for 36 years
A fear of moths is called Mottephobia but there is no name for the fear of moths eating your clothes. Most likely because it is not moths, but rather their larvae that eats through clothing leaving tell-tale holes impossible to fix.
Moth larvae will first attack natural fibres, wool being the number one target. However, once you have an infestation they will eat anything – including synthetic fibres and sometimes silk. Moths breed fast so as soon as you notice a tell-tale hole in a jersey or top, it’s time to do a full clean.
George Parpottas, of Exclusive Dry Cleaners has been in the Dry Cleaning business since 1981. That’s 31 years of handling clothes. I chatted to George about all things moth holes and learnt that prevention is better than cure. Once your clothing have been eaten, there’s little you can do to repair them back to their original state.
What you can do is prevent future moth holes. Mr Parpottas shared his method of cleaning a cupboard to prevent moth holes. His method may take time and effort, but it involves no fancy cleaners and sprays and he promises it actually works. As long as you follow the steps, in order, leaving nothing out.
How to Properly Clean Your Cupboards to Prevent Moth holes
You can do this cleaning when you suspect an infestation or at the end of seasons, when you’re putting away your seasonal clothing.
1. Remove all the clothes from your cupboard – everything goes out.
2. Wash the entire cupboard, including the shelves and walls. A simple solution of water mixed with Vim or Handy Andy will work. Let it dry out.
3. Fumigate the cupboards using an insect repellent like Doom or Raid.
4. Close your wardrobe and leave it overnight
5. The next day repeat the washing – wash the entire cupboard with Vim or Handy Andy and let dry.
Before putting back any clothing, wash everything that needs to be washed. It’s important to wash anything you’ve worn – the moth larvae are attracted to dirt, stains and any odors. This includes the jersey you only wore once that may not look dirty – it can have sweat marks in it which will attract the larvae. In addition, when washing make sure to look at the instructions on the clothing – hand washing, machine washing and dry clean labels are there for a reason, so follow them.
6. Once your clothes are cleaned repack them
7. Place cedar wood in your cupboard to prevent further damage. George recommends cedar over moth balls as it is natural, non-toxic and leaves a pleasant smell in your wardrobe.
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Main image: Z Lewin