How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths

Clothes moths, while tiny, can wreak havoc on your wardrobe and home textiles. Their larvae feed on natural fibers, causing irreparable damage to clothing, rugs, and fabrics. Understanding the different types of clothes moths, the problems they cause, and how to deal with an infestation is crucial to protecting your belongings.

There are a couple of different types of clothes moths that are commonly seen in California, and identifying them is the first step in addressing an infestation. We’ll discuss what types of clothes moths you might encounter in your home, how they might be identified, what their habits are, how they can cause damage, as well as what you can do about them and how you can prevent them from infesting your home.

cloth moth vs food moth

There are quite a few different types of moths out there.

It's important to differentiate between clothes moths and food moths. While both can be nuisances, clothes moths focus on natural fibers, while food moths infest stored food products. While it’s never great to have moths hanging around your home, food-infesting moths are far more likely to be found around your kitchen in places like cupboards and pantries. They pose a far greater risk of contaminating food than they do damaging your clothing. This distinction helps tailor the approach to control and prevention.

Types of Clothes Moths

There are two common types of clothes moths that residents in California are likely to see: Webbing Clothes Moths and Casemaking Clothes Moths. They each present their own unique problems, habits, and biology. By understanding the different varieties of moths you might encounter, you can be better prepared to deal with them accordingly should an infestation arise.

1. Webbing Clothes Moths

1. Casemaking Clothes Moths

Webbing Clothes Moths

Webbing clothes moths are not only the more common of the two but can cause significant damage well before they’re discovered. The larvae spin silk webbing as they feed, creating a protective environment. While it’s a common thought that moths are attracted to light—and many moths are—webbing clothes moths don’t have any particular attraction to lights. As such, they’re often difficult to find, making their presence in dark areas with clothing to feed on. They’re also not very likely to stray too far from their feeding ground, so unfortunately, residents often aren’t even aware of their presence until they’ve already caused some damage.

Casemaking Clothes Moth

While a distinct species, Casemaking Clothes Moths have a very similar appearance to Webbing Clothes Moths. They are less common, however, than webbing clothes moths. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their cases—unsurprising, given their name. As larvae, they create cases, often out of materials they’ve been eating, and carry them around with them. Like Webbing Clothes Moths, Casemaking Clothes Moths feed on clothing and bedding and are particularly fond of wool and silk. They can also be difficult to detect as they tend to hang around areas where they’ve been feeding. Unfortunately for residents, it can be difficult to find those areas, especially if they’re on creased or hidden parts of clothing and bedding. They can also show up in closets and other dark areas where fabrics that haven’t been cleaned and inspected regularly are stored. Like Webbing Clothes Moths, this makes them a particular risk for long-term storage of clothing, bedding, and other fabric items.


Clothes Moths Cause

Clothes moths cause substantial damage to natural fibers, including wool, silk, and fur. Infested items often exhibit irregular holes and an overall worn appearance. These pests compromise the integrity and longevity of your clothing and fabrics. Since they often feed in dark and undisturbed locations, they’re particularly dangerous to clothing, bedding, and other fabric items that are put away for a long time for storage. They can reproduce quickly, and—if undetected—they can create large-scale infestations in short order. Since they can be difficult to detect, this can be particularly tough for residents. Large-scale infestations can be much more challenging to deal with, making them a significant burden.

Spotting the Signs of A Clothes Moth Infestation

Clothes Moths

Small Holes in Clothing: Irregular holes in natural fiber clothing items are a clear sign of clothes moth larvae feeding.

Silk Webbing: Webbing in corners of closets or along baseboards indicates the presence of webbing clothes moth larvae.

Small Tubes or Cases: The casemaking clothes moth leaves behind small tubes or cases near infested materials.

How To

Preventing a Clothes Moth Infestation

Infestations can often be avoided altogether with a little bit of simple management. Much of preventing clothes moth infestations deals with storage and cleaning:

  • Storage Practices: Store clothing in airtight containers or garment bags to prevent moths from accessing them. By adopting airtight storage practices, you not only safeguard your clothes against moths but also contribute to maintaining their freshness and quality over time. This method is particularly useful for those who store clothing for extended periods, providing peace of mind and preserving your wardrobe investment.
  • Moth Balls: Moth balls can be used to repel future infestations, though, over time, they can lose their effectiveness, particularly if they’re used in an area with sufficient ventilation. They also may emit a smell that people find unpleasant, and they must be kept away from pets and children. If you use mothballs, be sure to read all the instructions and pay particular attention to any warnings on the labels. Some clothes may not tolerate mothballs well, and label warnings will be able to tell you if you need to take any extra precautions when using them.
  • Regular Clothes Cleaning: Keep clothing items laundered or dry-cleaned to help deter the presence of clothes moths. Cleaner fabrics are less attractive to clothes moths. Since they’re particularly attracted to wool, dry-cleaning is often your best bet.

  • Natural Repellents: Cedar blocks or lavender sachets can also act as natural moth repellents. Both cedar and lavender are non-toxic and safe for use around humans and pets, making them an ideal choice for those seeking an eco-friendly approach to moth prevention. Regularly refreshing or replacing these natural repellents ensures their continued effectiveness in protecting your belongings from clothes moths.
  • Cleaning Problem Areas: Regularly clean and vacuum closets, carpets, and other areas where moths might hide. By doing some regular cleaning and keeping these areas free of debris and potentially moth eggs and larvae, you can take significant steps toward mitigating moth problems before they arise. This includes under furniture, near heaters, and in closets used for long-term storage. Cleaning them regularly, vacuuming carpets, and disposing of the bags properly afterward can go a long way toward preventing infestations. Like many small critters, moths need somewhere warm to go during winter months, so pay particular attention to warm parts of your home during the winter.

what to do

Treating a Clothes Moth Infestation

If you’ve already found clothes moths in your home and you’re worried about them causing further damage, there are some factors to consider when moving forward. Depending on the size of the infestation, your ability to mitigate or eliminate it through conventional means, and the areas or items infested, there are different approaches you can take.

clothes moth

  • Insecticides: Targeted insecticides can be used, but following safety guidelines is crucial, especially if applying them to clothing. Since they can damage clothes, contain toxic ingredients, and have certain safety precautions, it’s always important to follow any instructions and warnings carefully.
  • Thorough Cleaning: The first and most simple thing you can do is a thorough cleaning. Remove and clean all affected clothing and fabrics in warm water. Launder or dry clean items according to care instructions. Be sure to vacuum thoroughly, remove the bag, and dispose of it properly after vacuuming to ensure that any larvae or eggs present are not left behind to start a new cycle of infestation.
  • Freezing: Items that can't be washed can be sealed in plastic bags and placed in the freezer to kill larvae.
  • Call the Pros: If an infestation has gotten out of hand, calling professional pest control experts is your best bet. They’ll be able to give you helpful advice from years of experience, identify exactly which types of pests you’re dealing with, help you treat infestations, and help you plan ways to prevent future infestations.

How Earthwise Pest Management Can Help With a Clothes Moth Infestation

At Earthwise, we’re here to help with your clothes moth problems, big or small. We have the experience to deal with each problem appropriately and the expertise to do so through minimally invasive techniques using as few harmful chemicals as possible. Any time you’re worried about a potential moth infestation or if you just want preventative maintenance to ensure that your clothes, bedding, and other fabric materials stay safe, here’s how we can help:

inspection icon

→ Inspections

We offer inspections to help you determine what types of pests, including clothes moths, you might be potentially dealing with, as well as to help you determine ways in which your home can be less conducive to infestation and help you formulate the best course of action to begin treating existing infestations.

treatment icon

→ Treatments

Once we’ve completed a thorough inspection, we can work with you to develop a treatment plan that’s effective and works for you. We can begin treating existing infestations and help you take steps to avoid future infestations.

monitor icon

→ Monitoring

We help you monitor and prevent future infestations, ensuring long-term protection.

sweater with hole

The Importance of Regular Inspections and Preventive Maintenance for Clothes Moths

Scheduled inspections and preventive measures are key to avoiding recurrent clothes moth problems.

Earthwise Pest Management offers year-round quarterly preventive maintenance that can help you keep your home safe from clothes moths and other pests through each new season. Pests have seasonal cycles, which means that not only will you typically see different pests during different seasons, but certain pests will become more or less active during different seasons. Quarterly preventative maintenance ensures that your home is ready and safe for the pests that are active during each new season.

Regular preventative maintenance will also prevent treatment measures from waning over time, leaving your home susceptible to infestation. Since moths can become active during warmer months and most homes are artificially heated during the winter, it’s important to make sure that your home isn’t conducive to infestation all year long.

With regular inspections, we can help you make sure that you’ll be ready to handle any problems that arise and that your home is a safe environment for the full year.

Contact Us for Clothes Moth Control in Sacramento, CA, and Nearby Areas

If you suspect a clothes moth infestation or want proactive prevention, contact Earthwise Pest Management. Our eco-friendly approaches to moth control safeguard your belongings while ensuring a pest-free home. Call us today or reach out online for a comprehensive solution. Protect your wardrobe and textiles with Earthwise Pest Management's expert care.

If you have any concerns about clothes moths in your home, don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach us by phone at (916) 668-8888 or reach out online 24/7 at