top of page
Rug in Istanbul Museum

Wool Moth Prevention Strategies 

How Do I Stop Wool Carpet Moths From Eating My Rug?

 The best moth prevention is to avoid conditions that promote wool moth insect infestation.


  • 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 moths by increasing wool's moisture retention levels and protein food source. Higher mosture retention is essential for moth lave to have enough mosture to live while they consume textiles. 

  •  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.  Since moths avoid sunlight, routine vacuuming under areas under furniture is important to reduce the risk of moth infestation.

Blocking Access to textiles

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


  • Newly acquired can textiles are a common infestation source, a Trojan rug of sorts. Moth eggs are microscopic, so a new to you carpet can harbor unhatched wool moth eggs that subsequently hatch in your home and spread to other textiles. Vacuum and inspect new textiles and consider a thorough washing; it may be a small insurance policy Vs. Infecting your home with wool months.

  • Freezing is often cited for killing wool moths but home freezers do not reach the 0.F- / -17.C needed for reliable, effective freezing if freezing, repeated cycles of freezing and thawing work best. 


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

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

  • "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. 

  • Never store rugs in Plastic wool needs to breathe, and plastic can cause a rug to mildew use heavy craft paper, old bed sheet, or Tyvek house wrap. 


  • Visual inspection of rugs can detect moth 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 infestations. Moth traps are a helpful detection tool. 

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



As soon as detected the infested textile or rug should be removed from the home or confined (wrapped in plastic) 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. By the time the infestation is detected, wool moths may have spread to other rugs and textiles.


Treatment of the infested rug by killing and removing moths and their eggs is straightforward. Your home and textiles must be treated with pesticides to kill the moths and eggs and then thoroughly washed.

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, or upholstery. 


We cannot emphasize that removing and treating the infested rug or textile are often NOT enough. Treating wool rugs for moths is often a whole-house issue.

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

What doesn't stop or control moth infestations 


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.

Bug bombs/Holliday foggers while these kill the adult moth and larvae, they do not kill moth eggs. Eggs are microscopic and impossible to detect, can't be vacuumed off, and can stay dormant long enough for pesticides to lose effectiveness and hatch when conditions are optimal. Bug bombs must be applied repeatedly to be effective  

Mothballs (naphthalene) work in tightly enclosed spaces, not open spaces wrapping a rug is effective and without the mothball smell. 

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