top of page
Rug in Istanbul Museum

Wool Moths and Prevention  

Wool moth rug_edited.jpg

Wool Carpet  Moth  Avoidance  

The best carpet moth prevention is to avoid conditions that favor wool moths.

 ​The rug to the left was wrapped for storage to protect the rug from moths.

Unfortunately, the rug had already harbored moth eggs; after wrapping the moth larvae, they hatched and devoured the rug, leaving the rug owner with a nasty surprise.

Timely Vacuuming and cleaning, particularly before storage, is important. 

Prevention Stratgies

Moth Prevention  
  • Keep wool rugs clean with regular vacuuming, look for any signs of insects or damage, and clean wool rugs every two to four years or when rugs look dirty.  Many household soils (protein, cooking oils) improve the environment for moth Larvae to thrive by increasing wool's moisture retention and protein food source. Higher moisture retention is essential for clothing moth larvae to have enough moisture to live while they consume textiles. 

  •  Clothes moth larvae have no protection from sunlight/UV radiation. Instinctively, moths always seek out dark, undisturbed areas to lay their eggs under a sofa, end table, or bed. Vacuum and check the dark areas for moth activity monthly.

Blocking Access to Textiles

  • Block adult month entrance to your home from outside. Adult moths can enter the home via an unscreened door or window, so minimize open/unscreened doors and windows that allow easy access to clothes moths.

  • Treat wool rugs for wool carpet moths. Newly acquired textiles are a common infestation source, a trojan rug. Wool carpet moth eggs are microscopic, so a new-to-you carpet can harbor unhatched wool moth eggs that hatch with voracious moth Larevaein eating their way through textiles in your home. Cleaning and treating new wool rugs for months before introducing them to your home greatly reduces infestations.

  • Vacuum floor coverings regularly with extra attention to dark areas under sofas and beds. Vacuuming alone will not kill all clothes, moth Larvae, or eggs but will reduce the possibility of infestation. Vacuum and inspect the back side of the wool wall. Moths lay their eggs on wall hangings, too; you won't find moth eggs on the wall itself. 

  • Freezing is often cited for killing clothes moths but home freezers do not reach the 0.F- / -17.C needed for reliable, effective freezing.  repeated cycles of freezing and thawing work best. Heat works well, too. A clothes iron on the steam setting works well for thin kilim rugs. Make sure to do both sides and go slowly.

 

  • Heat can be a better option; a clothing steamer works well for killing clothes moths, particularly smaller thin textiles, and steam on both sides is effective at killing clothing moths and their eggs.

  • "I'm only storing it for a little while."That's all the time an adult wool month needs to lay its eggs on your rug; there is no such thing as safe for just a little time. Your home garage is the perfect place for clothing moths to hitch a rug on your rug and moth Larvae to snack on your rug.

  • When storing rugs, they should be washed or, at a minimum, vacuumed first and wrapped in breathable material, heavy paper, or Tyvek to block access to your wool rugs. Improperly stored rugs, particularly in storage facilities or, as we call them, moth superhighways, is a common route of moth infestation. 

  •  Natural repellents such as tobacco leaves, cedar oil, other essential oils, lavender sachets, or storage in a cedar chest may have ancillary benefits and deter moths, but none are a sure-fire guarantee; these may seem like the easiest or best way to deter months. They should be used in combination with proven methods. 

 

 

Clothing Moth Detection

  • Visual inspection of rugs can detect clothing moths, active moth Larvae infestation, and damage. 

  • Pheromone moth traps do not kill ALL moths, only the males; they only let you know you have a wool moth infestation; they do not stop infestation; traps are a detection tool. 

 I found wool moths on my wool oriental carpet; what should I do now?

Act quickly!   

 

Confine

As soon as clothes moths are detected, the infested textile or rug should be removed from the home or confined (this is the only time we suggest wrapping in plastic) in an airtight container to stop the infestation from spreading to other textiles and treated as soon as possible; the rug should be taken to a cleaner for professional treatment. 

Closing doors to a room with an infested rug or moving a moth-infested rug to the garage is inadequate for confining the infestation. Moths are small; they can fly and crawl under closed doors. Important note: By the time the infestation is detected, wool moths have spread to other rugs and textiles and laid eggs.

Treatment

Treatment of the infested rugs to kill moth larvae is straightforward.  A trip to the dry cleaners for small items. Dry cleaning is effective at killing clothes moth larvae and kill moth eggs. Let your dry cleaner know you have a moth issue.

Larger textiles, like rugs, should be removed from the home, treated with pesticides to kill the moth Larvae and eggs, and then thoroughly washed. You may choose to have rugs treated with moth-proof spray, but there are some downsides to these.

Typically, when an infestation is detected, moths have had access to your home and often lay eggs elsewhere on other protein fibers, rugs, wool clothing, and upholstery. 

 

We cannot emphasize that removing and treating the infested rug or textile are often NOT enough. it's often a whole house issue in need of professional service.

We strongly recommend contacting a professional pest control company to perform on-location pest control/ mitigation. 

 What Doesn't Stop or Control Clothing Moths

 

Let's start with the big one: cedar shavings & and blocks don't work; we have pulled active infestations out of cedar boxes and cedar-lined closets. Additionally, Lavender, tobacco leaves, and oil extracts don't work, we wish they did. 

While these may have a mild benefit, we have pulled countless moth-infested textiles out of cedar chests, cedar-lined closets, and various satchels of tobacco, lavender, and other herbal treatments. These may have ancillary benefits, they do not work.

Bug bombs and holiday foggers kill the adult moth and larvae, but they do not kill eggs. Fumigation is a multi-step strategy timed with the hatching cycle of clothes moths. In this case its best to call a licensed pest control company 

Mothballs (naphthalene) work in tightly enclosed spaces.

The mothball odor can be difficult to remove and often requires washing. 

Again, we strongly recommend a commercial pest control service when an infestation is detected in your home.  

  

bottom of page