Spring is in the air, which means another pest epidemic has hit our city, and on the mouths of many is a phrase that hasn’t been heard in several decades; ” I HAVE MOTHS”.
In my last apartment, I noticed only one or two moths flying around but I didn’t think much of it at the time, as they seemed innocent enough. That was until I pulled out a boiled wool coat that I had slaved away at sewing the winter before. It had been chewed to death! I continued to go through the rest of my coats and sure enough all or most now had holes.
I spent a period of a few days following directions I found on the internet in order to prevent further damage to my clothes and fabrics. I am going to share them with you all today! Here are some of the directions I found to be extremely useful:
1) Bag everything up that you wish to keep in clear, plastic bags- store it in a cool, dry place or better yet in the sun.
2) Go to your local hardware store and purchase clothing moth tape which you will have to replace every 3 months. It contains pheromones that attract the male moths.
3) I also purchased dried lavender to make sachets for storing anything in trunks, drawers etc and hung the bushels in the closets as well.
4) For extra security I purchased some cedar planks to hang in the closet. If you have time and cash, I would try the cedar paper that comes in rolls and line your entire closet with this. To boot, I wiped down everything with diluted lavender oil.
5) Launder or dry clean EVERYTHING especially cat/dog beds and feather duvets and pillows. Please remember, hang to dry all articles that are made or stuffed with feathers as they made catch fire when placed in the dryer.
Don’t forget to sweep and vacuum and clean every nook and cranny before placing everything back. After all this tedious work you will soon realize you are only half way through the process. Since pesticides are no longer being used, we must revert back to the ways of our elders when it comes to caring and storing for our garments. Here are some preventative storage steps that will hopefully help you in preventing any returning moths or at least break down the cycle of the existing ones.
Wash your clothes. This should go without saying but if you’re anything like most people, you’re not going to wash or dry clean your wool sweater after one wear. If you have a moth problem I would recommend washing everything afterwards for at least a few months. If you sweat, or even get a tiny speck of dinner on your fancy tuxedo get it dry cleaned and store it away properly.
Store your clothes. If you are a Canadian, you likely have two wardrobes; one for winter and one for summer. Storage is key! Moths LOVE dark, crammed spaces. Be sure to tightly seal everything that is a threat to moths (eg: natural fibers). Moth balls are an easier purchase but they apparently burn through plastic, smell pretty icky and are toxic for animals and small children. If you have room for bins to store your items, you can use cedar chips, cedar balls or lavender instead. If you don’t have room for bins, I recommend just using a clear, plastic bag and sucking all of the air out of it with a vacuum followed by a tightly sealed knot. If you have fur coats, it’s well worth the investment to have them stored away for the season (yellowpages.ca has a list of storage houses). Keeping certain garments in the plastic after dry cleaning can often ruin the fibers. Some suggest airing the garment(s) out in the sun for the afternoon and then placing them in a new, clear plastic bag before storing them away for the season.
For large amounts of fabric that will likely go unused for an extended period of time, my only advice here is to dump it in the garbage. Yes, these rolls are a huge investment to many designers but it’s not worth keeping around in hopes that you will use it someday. If taking the rolls to a large load laundromat isn’t an option, then contact a washer in your local town/city and ask what the charge is per meter to wash your fabrics.
After doing so, if this works for your needs, wrap the tubes in clear plastic and keep them tightly sealed until you plan to use them.
Don’t despair if this seems like a lot of work and upkeep. I’m a bit of a cleaning nut at times. So, I tend to go to the extreme. In a big city, we typically live on top or under other people. So, what is only your moth problem will soon become someone else’s. That is why I believe it is best to take care of business right away before the issue gets much, much worse.