When figuring out how to get rid of moths, you need to understand it’s not the adults that create the problems. How to get rid of moths in the house involves getting rid of moth larvae, as they are the cause of all the damage.
Larvae cause most of the moth damage as they chew through dry goods and fabrics, including pasta, bread, cotton, and wool. A moth infestation ruins food, clothes, and other household items, so take action now to get rid of the ones you have and prevent future infestations.
Mothballs might be the best way to kill moths, but they are full of chemicals, including paradichlorobenzene and naphthalene, and they stink. Never use mothballs around children, as they are hazardous when ingested.
- Best Natural Ways to Kill a Moth
- Using Herbs to Repel Moths
- Sticky Traps Eliminate a Moth Problem
- Create Bug Repellent Bags
- Storing Clothes and Other Household Items Properly
- Create a Cedar Closet Inside the Home
- Getting Rid of Moths in the House with Essential Oils
- Moth Repellent Sachets Keep These Fliers Away
- Kill Moth Larvae and Eggs
- Keeping the Clothing Moth at Bay
- What You Need to Know about Pantry Moths
Best Natural Ways to Kill a Moth
With how dangerous mothballs are, it makes sense that more people are looking for natural methods for how to kill moths as they don’t leave behind nasty odors and carry little to no risk.
For some infestations, such as that of the Casemaking moth, it’s necessary to call a professional exterminator as removing all of their food sources is nearly impossible.
The best things about these natural remedies are that they not only eliminate your moth problem, but they also repel gnats, roaches, earwigs, and other bugs no one wants in the house at the same time.
Naturally killing moth eggs and ridding your home of moth infestations requires hard work and a little know-how. No matter what natural method you use, it is vital that all of your clothing and other household items are freshly laundered or cleaned before storing.
Using Herbs to Repel Moths
To repel most moth species, use a combination of crushed, powdered, or dried herbs inside a cloth bag. All varieties of moths find the herbs odors distasteful, so they make their home elsewhere.
To keep moths away from areas they prefer, make up this simple recipe. Use a mortar and pestle to grind the dried herbs into fine pieces. If preferred, purchase powdered forms of the herbs mentioned above to save time grinding them.
Place all herbs inside a small cloth bag and tie it shut with a ribbon or rubber band. Place the sachet in a part of the house where moths seem to frequent and you will not have a problem with them anymore.
Sticky Traps Eliminate a Moth Problem
For an adult moth problem, use a sticky trap doused with moth pheromones. The pheromones work to attract moths inside your home to the trap. Once they land on the trap, they cannot move or break free.
With no way to escape, they die on the trap. Replace sticky traps when full or every 30 days. Look for pheromone traps that are shaped like a tent to prevent children or pets from becoming stuck to the flat, sticky traps.
The cardboard traps shaped like tents are safe to use as pest control in several locations around the house, including along the baseboards for carpet moths or hanging from closets or placed on shelves inside the pantry.
Homemade moth traps from flypaper and fish oil also work to attract and kill moths. Be careful not to place the flypaper too close to your clothes as it is super sticky and adheres to your clothes and leaves behind a mess.
Apply a small amount of fish oil directly to the flypaper and clip the flypaper to a hanger. Zapper style traps, which feature an infrared sensor, lure moths in and kill them when they come into contact with the bait.
Create Bug Repellent Bags
Our bug repellent bags not only work on moths, but they are also the best way to keep spiders away, along with a variety of other insects. The bug repellent bags use a variety of herbs that moths, spiders, and other insects find appalling.
To get rid of moths naturally, make one or more of these sachets. How much of each herb is required depends on how many bags you make. To fill a single bag, use ¼ cup of the herb mixture. Crush herbs inside a larger container with a mortar and pestle before placing inside bags or envelopes.
Use the bug repellent bags in drawers, closets, under beds, inside storage boxes, or any other places where moths are a problem.
Storing Clothes and Other Household Items Properly
To prevent future moth infestations or to gain control over a current one, your clothing and other household items require proper storage. When putting clothes or wool items into storage at the end of a season, begin by laundering them beforehand.
When possible, wash clothing or items in vinegar and allow drying in direct sunlight. Vinegar and sunlight are effective at killing moth eggs, larvae, and adult moths.
Store items in plastic containers moths are unable to penetrate; for more substantial items, use a cedar wood chest or a large suitcase with a sachet placed in the crevices. Use sealed plastic bags or containers for smaller items. Garments, such as wool coats and suits, require garment bags first.
Once tucked away into the garment bag, proceed with storing inside an airtight container. Never store your containers in moist environments, such as garages and basements, as they are breeding grounds for moths — store all clothing and household items in dry locations throughout the house.
The best storage areas for clothes include attics and under the bed. If you wear clothing made from wool, fur, silk, or feathers, brush with a soft-bristle brush or one approved for use on fragile clothing.
Brushing the clothing removes eggs and possibly larvae. Most infestations occur from eggs entering the home after an article of clothing was worn outside.
Create a Cedar Closet Inside the Home
Cedar in all forms is an effective moth repellent. To create a cedar closet inside your home, hang cedar rings from string throughout your wardrobe. Cedar blocks placed around the perimeter of the closet floor or along shelves also effectively deter moths and are the best way to get rid of silverfish.
Cedarwood loses effectiveness over a few months as its aroma, which the moths find revolting, begins to fade away. Luckily, there is no need to throw away or replace the cedar wood blocks or rings.
To refresh the aroma, sand the wood every couple of months or when you notice the smell is gone. To kill moth eggs, use cedar oil directly as the cedar wood itself won’t kill the eggs.
Cedar oil effectively kills larvae and adult moths as well. Use cedar oil soaked on cotton balls placed around the closet where moths hide. Apply a light layer of cedar oil to the cedar blocks and rings to improve their effectiveness.
Getting Rid of Moths in the House with Essential Oils
Several different essential oils are effective at getting rid of moths in the home. Cedar essential oil is a popular choice, but other oils used alone or in combination with others are effective at ridding your home of moths.
The best essential oils to choose from are: sandalwood, cedarwood, geranium, clove, peppermint, grapefruit, orange blossom, bergamot, eucalyptus, and lavender. Floral scented oils won’t last as long as balsamic or acidic scents.
Use a single oil or mix your favorite scents to measure out one tablespoon and pour it into the spray bottle. Pour in the distilled alcohol and then fill the rest of the bottle with rosewater.
Close the spray bottle and swirl to mix. Before spraying, shake the bottle well to distribute the ingredients evenly. Never spray directly on clothes or wool items, make sure you are spraying two to three feet away.
Rather than creating a spray, use essential oils directly on cotton balls placed around the shelves of the closet. Use essential oils when making sachets and use oils in place of herbs you are missing.
For example, peppermint oil works in place of crushed mint leaves. To treat an entire room, use your favorite essential oil scents in a diffuser and run for several hours throughout the day.
Moth Repellent Sachets Keep These Fliers Away
A sachet repels all kinds of moths, including the webbing clothes moth and other moths known for destroying clothes and wool items. Place sachets inside containers or drawers to keep moths out or hang them inside your closet next to your attractive wool clothing.
Crush up the southernwood and cinnamon sticks into small pieces using scissors or a mortar and pestle. Divide the mixture equally into three parts of cloth. Tie the cloth up with ribbon pieces and place inside drawers or closets to keep moths away.
Kill Moth Larvae and Eggs
For clothes containing moth eggs or larvae, always use the hottest water and dryer temperature setting possible. The combination of hot water and hot drying temperature kills the eggs and any larvae present in your clothing.
For clothes that require hand washing or are only able to use low settings and cold water, place items directly into the freezer for 24 hours and then launder as instructed. Dry cleaning wool items are worth the expense, as it is the most effective way to kill larvae and eggs.
Vinegar diluted with water is effective at killing eggs and larvae. For larger household items showing signs of moth activity, create a homemade gypsy moth spray with vinegar and water. Use a soft-bristled brush or a soft cloth to scrub the piece and then rinse with clean water.
Keeping the Clothing Moth at Bay
Most moths are attracted to light, but not clothes moths. These moths like to hide in dark areas that are generally undisturbed. As these moths tend to hide, determining if there is an infestation is a bit trickier. The most significant signs of moths in your closet are holes in the clothes, which are caused by the larvae, not the adults, as they lack mouths.
Damage to your clothing is a way to figure out where the adults laid eggs. Other signs to look for include cocoons or pupae and webbing in corners or on your clothes. What attracts them are odors left behind by sweat, and the oils left behind from body and hair.
It is important to launder your clothes before storing them to remove these odors properly. When storing clothes for a long time, use storage bags or suitcases for extra protection.
Vacuuming the floor of your closet regularly is necessary, as moths often lay eggs inside the carpet. Immediately dispose of the vacuum bags outside.
Use cedar hangers for garments made of wool, feathers, silk, cashmere, fur, or other natural fibers. Add cedar chips to pockets of these items for enhanced protection.
What You Need to Know about Pantry Moths
Pantry moths, such as the Indian meal moth, are different from clothes moths. Food sources for these include grain, rice, and nuts, along with other food items commonly found in your pantry. Signs of pantry moths include sticky secretions inside your food cupboards, chewed up boxes of food, musty smells, webbing in different corners, or actively seeing adult moths or the caterpillars.
If you spot the signs of pantry moths, begin by cleaning your pantry from top to bottom. Wipe down all shelves using a cleaning solution with vinegar. Throw away any open or damaged boxes of food. For food stored in containers, look for any signs of infestation and throw away if necessary or toss everything to play it safe.
Throw out anything open in your pantry from a plastic bag of chocolate chips to crackers. Pantry moths fit into the smallest spaces. Toss out in a plastic garbage bag. Seal the bag tightly and dispose of in your outside trash can.
Vacuum your pantry thoroughly, making sure you get all the cracks and crevices where eggs or caterpillars might hide. To prevent future infestations, freeze bulk items for three days before placing them in your pantry. Store all new items inside airtight containers to prevent moths from gaining access.
Once everything is clean, lay out crushed bay leaves or mint leaves along the shelves. The scent from both these leaves is revolting to pantry moths, so they are effective at keeping them away.
Keeping your kitchen well ventilated is also necessary to prevent a future infestation. Replace the dried herbs regularly to maintain their effectiveness.
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