How to stop moths eating clothes

A good jumper. It's an investment. But it becomes something deeper – we get attached to our favourite jumpers. We reach for them time and time again. They remind of us special moments, and a feeling of home.

Taking care of your knits is important. And preventing moth holes is the number one concern we come across. The thing is, almost all of us will have moths at some point or another. It's just the nature of where we live.

There are around 2,500 species of moth, most of which have no interest whatsoever in your clothes. However, the Tineola bisselliella (or the common clothes moth) loves nothing more than feasting on a pure wool jumper in a dark, quiet corner of your wardrobe. For moths are connoisseurs. They have little interest in a fast fashion polyester-blend but a knack for zoning in on your most treasured 100% natural garments.

Unfortunately, a lot of the advice around moths focuses on washing clothes at high temperatures to kill the eggs. Clearly, that isn’t possible with wool. There’s little point in having moth-free clothes if they’ve shrunk by several sizes.

So, what can you do to tackle moths and protect your favourite jumpers? Thankfully, plenty…

1. Wash before storing

Woollen clothes rarely need washing. It’s one of the reasons we started a Wash Less, Air More Club. However, if you’re planning to pack your jumpers away for any length of time, we do recommend giving them a gentle wash first.

The Lab Co. WOOL WASH is carefully formulated to gently clean wool and leave your knit feeling fresh.

Once your jumper is dry (remember, don't dry it , fold it, place it in your Navygrey cotton bag and seal. This will stop moths getting to your clothes but allow the jumper to breathe.2. Use natural deterrents

Lavender and cedar help to repel moths, so we recommend that you make the most of lavender bags or cedar balls. The smell does fade in time, so you will need to top the scent up with a few drops of essential oil every few months.

3. Close the doors

A simple tip but no less effective. Keep your wardrobe doors and drawers closed to stop moths from reaching your clothes.

4. Act quickly

If you spot a moth, a cocoon or any signs of damage, act quickly. Empty your wardrobe and drawers. Remove any cocoons you find. Wash the inside of the wardrobe and drawers with a white vinegar and water solution. Wipe everything down with a damp cloth and dry surfaces well before you put your clothes back.5. Make the most of sunshine

Moths hate natural sunlight. If you suspect your wardrobe has an unwanted guest, hang your clothes outside in the sun. Give each garment a good shake so that moths can’t hide away in any folds.

6. Freeze your clothes

While moths will fly away in the sunlight, you’ll need to use either heat or cold to kill eggs and larvae. For wool, it’s best to use cold. English Heritage recommends placing clothes in sealable plastic bags and keeping them in the freezer for at least two weeks at around -18°C.

Thankfully, most moth holes are small and can be darned, so your jumper will live to see another day.