If you start to notice tiny holes in clothing or webs near your food (or worse—in it), you probably have a moth problem. There are two types of household moths: clothing moths, which eat clothing with natural fibers, and pantry moths, which eat grains and other dry goods in your pantry.
Both creatures are frustrating to deal with and can cost you time and money. If you're ready to say goodbye to your moth problem (or prevent it in the first place), here are 9 ways to get rid of moths in your home.
Keep It Sealed
Prevention is the best first step you can take against moths. And a great way to prevent moths is to seal off any potential sources of food for them. This means keeping the food in your pantry in airtight containers—especially any grains, rice, or pet food.
Moths also like to munch on animal-based fabrics like wool, silk, or cashmere. Because of this, you should seal these clothes up in the off-season—use a vacuum bag or air-tight under-the-bed storage. Don't forget to throw some cedar blocks or lavender sachets in there too.
Cedar is well-known for its moth-repellent capabilities. Cedar emits pheromones that repel moths and other insects, and it's a helpful thing to have around to keep any moths away. You can use cedar in many forms—cedar oil can be diluted with water in a spray bottle and sprayed on clothes or other fabrics, or use cedar blocks in dresser drawers or closet corners.
If the smell of cedar is too strong for you, or if a cedar moth repellent isn't working in your home, try an herb sachet. To make one, fill a small fabric bag with a few strong-smelling dried or powdered herbs, like rosemary, thyme and cloves. Hang the bag in a pantry or bedroom closet and its strong odor will keep moths away. You'll need to replace this bag every several weeks to few months, as the smell will fade over time.
If you'd prefer not to have your bedroom closet smell like a pizza parlor, try a more pungent (but more floral) scent: lavender. You can fill a small sachet with dried lavender, like you would with the herb mix above, and hang it in moth-prone areas. Or, you can dip cotton balls or q-tips in lavender oil and place them in drawers and under-the-bed storage bins.
Regular vacuuming is another important thing you can do to prevent moths in your home. Pay special attention to carpeted areas near where clothing is stored, like under the bed or in closet corners. Additionally, don't forget to empty and clean the vacuum filter and canister once you've finished—you don't want any moths hiding out in your vacuum.
Another tried-and-true moth repellent? Moth balls. Moth balls are made up of a chemical pesticide that slowly emit a gas that kills moths and their larvae. Moth balls are often used in drawers, under-the-bed clothing storage, or any other area that's sensitive to moth damage. Moth balls can last up to a year, and can be found in the cleaning section of nearly every major grocery store.
Another way to get rid of moths without much DIYing on your end is by using a moth trap. Moth traps emit pheromones that attract moths to its sticky tape. However, once they land on the trap, they become stuck.
If you go this route, make sure you purchase the correct trap, as different moths are attracted to different pheromones. Purchase a food moth trap for moths in your pantry, and a clothing moth trap for moths in your closet.
Use Extreme Temperatures
If you find moths in your closet, the first thing you need to do is treat the salvageable clothing. Depending on the care instructions of your piece of clothing, either wash and dry it at the highest temperature possible, or place it in a plastic bag in the freezer for at least 72 hours. The extreme temperatures kill moths and their larvae. Unfortunately, if you find moths in your food or dry goods, there's only one option: throw it out.
Wash It Down
After you've tossed or washed any moth-ridden goods, it's time to clean the surfaces those items were on. Using a combination of soap or vinegar and warm water, spray the shelves in the pantry or closet that the moths were on. Cleaning these surfaces ensures that no moth larvae are sticking around once the clean-up is done.