TEN TIPS FOR DEALING WITH MOTHS

It’s so upsetting when you pull out a garment and realise the moths have been at it but you haven’t seen a single moth! I am particularly neurotic about moths for obvious reasons but even before I made knitwear I’d always been a good mothbuster.

I’ve done all the googling and experimenting you ever need to do about getting rid of moths and preventing their return. 

Here are my top mothbusting tips:

1. Hoover. Moths like dust and dirt. I bought one of those hand held Dyson hoovers a few years ago and Olly says I love it more than anything or anyone else. He’s right, I should get a job in Dyson’s sales team, I’d do really well. They are easy to use and the transparent hoover 'bag' is so clever because being able to see all the filth like that makes you realise how much dust you accumulate every day and so it makes you kind of addicted to hoovering. I’m digressing - if you don’t want moths, you need to get into hoovering your carpets regularly, and get under and behind furniture and inside wardrobes and drawers. In London I only had wooden floors and rugs but they live in the dusty floor boards so you have to be vigilant even without carpets.

2. Wash your knitwear (hand or machine but use wool detergent, I use Woolite or SOAK), dry it and then pick the items you know you won’t wear again until winter - I pack away heavy wool coats and thick jumpers, leaving a few out for wet days and summer nights. Once dry, I put them in a vacuum bag, drop some lavender essential oil inside, suck all the air out with my trusty Dyson, and I then put them in the freezer. Do I sound mad yet?

3. Freeze the clothes. This should kill the eggs (see this good NY Times article for the specifics regarding temperature change). I leave mine in the freezer for a good few weeks but we have plenty of freezer space so I know this isn’t possible for everyone. If you don’t have much freezer space you could do it one garment at a time.

4. Apply lavender liberally- I drop lavender essential oil into and on to drawers and bags and rugs as a repellent. I’m not sure there’s a huge amount of evidence behind lavender but it’s less toxic than moth balls and will leave a nice smell if all else fails. I apply it liberally.

5. Buy some sticky moth traps. These sticky moth traps really do work and they help to establish how much of a moth problem you have and which room or cupboard they like best. I wedge them into the inside of picture frames or mirrors and on the inside of cupboard and wardrobe doors. 

6. Let the air and light in - moths don’t like it so open your cupboard doors and let the sunlight in. I often hang my knitwear up or over a chair in the summer rather than keeping it folded up in a dark cupboard or drawer. I also hang my wool blankets out on the line or in the garden when I can.

7. Sprinkle diotamatious earth. I have lived in someone else’s house who had a really bad moth issue but was in denial about it... when I got the chance I used to shake diatomaceous earth all over the carpets. It is supposed to kill moths and fleas. It’s worth a try if you have a carpet infestation. I have also sprinkled the stuff into vaccum bags too. Nothing worse than vac packing moths / moth eggs into the bag with the clothes! The internet raves about this stuff - apparently it's so safe it's edible. 

8. Peel cucumbers… I have never come across that one before but Rentokil suggest it on their website and they do know about these things. Could be worth a try! 

9. Quarantine hand-me-downs: be discerning about what you let into the house. Well meant hand-me-downs of wool clothing need a moth audit before you let it in! I would recommend washing and freezing it before you let it anywhere near your clothes.

10. Mend. If all this is too late and the moths have had a party in your wardrobe you could

  • send it off to a visible mender such as Make Nu 
  • learn to mend it yourself?
  • make cosy baby trousers out of the old jumper? (these are quite fun to make as you can sew it all by hand and don't need to rig up a sewing machine). 

I hope this was useful to someone out there. I am very conscious of not adding too much more useless 'content' to the internet as I'm sure we've all consumed quite enough. This is what I do to deal with moths, and it works. Let me know if you try the cucumber. 

Good luck and please feel free to share far and wide! 

Lily x