HOW TO GET RID OF CARPET MOTHS
There are all sorts of pests and creatures that want to live among us in our homes. They seek shelter, protection, warmth and food all of which our homes provide.
WHICH MOTHS EAT CARPET?
One such pest is the carpet moth, or rather a moth that eats carpets. This is an important point to make because although the Carpet moth species (Trichophaga tapetzella) eats carpets, it is a rare moth in the UK.
The Common or Webbing clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) is the most widely distributed carpet eating moth in the UK, followed by the Case making clothes moth (Tinea pellionella).
More recently, the Pale backed clothes moth (Monopis crocicapitella) has been noted by English Heritage but it is not yet known if this species will become established or indeed cause a serious problem.
Tip – Carpet eating moths prefer a dark place to hideaway, so unless you have a severe infestation, you are unlikely to see the small, similarly light coloured adult moths flying around. To find out if you have carpet or clothes moth, closely check for carpet damage around the edges of a room, behind and under furniture and underneath rugs. Bald patches, webbing, loose grainy debris (usually the same colour as the carpet pile) all point to a carpet moth or clothes moth infestation.
A Moth Box can help to identify the common clothes moth. The pheromone on the sticky board attracts the adult male moths and is a great tool to help you work out where you have an infestation. Place the box under furniture and check weekly for trapped moths.
WHY DO MOTHS EAT CARPETS?
What is it about moths and carpets? Why do you find certain species of moth in carpets? The answer lies in the natural fibres.
First things first, adult clothes and carpet moths do not feed or cause damage as their sole purpose is to produce the next generation. The moth larvae feed on a protein called keratin which is present in natural fibres such as wool, silk, leather, skin, hair and feathers. The larvae have cutting mouth parts and munch their way through any fabrics and soft furnishings made from these natural fibres, using the keratin to grow until they are ready to transform into an adult moth.
Tip – The first step towards getting rid of carpet moths is to remove their food source, which means giving your house a deep clean. Vacuum carpets and rugs and move furniture so every inch can be accessed. This removes any eggs that may be present to avoid the next generation of moths emerging and it will also remove dust that is mostly composed of skin cells which carpet moths love. Importantly, keep cleaning regularly.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CARPETS & CLOTHES FROM MOTHS
Carpet moths and clothes moths are all after the same food source in natural materials. They don’t differentiate between clothes and carpets just because of the names we have given them. Carpet moth eats clothes and clothes moth eat carpets, we should just call the entire group ‘carpet clothes moth’ because regardless of what species you have, a key part of eliminating them and keeping them away is cleanliness.
Keeping wardrobes and the clothes inside them clean is equally as important as keeping carpets vacuumed and dust free. Regularly vacuum inside wardrobes, especially the cracks and crevices where dust, eggs and larvae can collect and hide. Make sure that all clothes in the wardrobe are clean, particularly those made of natural fabrics. Sweat, skin cells and food splats are all very attractive to moth larvae so keep repeating the mantra – remove the food source!
Tip – To protect your clothes once they are cleaned, use protective storage bags which physically prevent moths from accessing the fabrics. Use our Knitwear Bags to protect folded items and Garment Bags for shirts, suits and coats. Another handy tip is that clothes and carpet moths don’t like certain strong natural scents that we love, so place moth repelling essential oil blends in your wardrobes and drawers to keep them away.
HOW DO YOU KILL CARPET MOTHS?
Heavy moth infestations are unlikely to be cured with cleaning alone, so whilst a deep clean is an important part of the process, you will need a moth killing spray to treat the affected rooms. There are many moth sprays on the market that use a man made chemical called a pyrethroid to kill carpet moths.
Our Chrysanthemum Moth Spray uses the natural version of these synthetic chemicals called pyrethrum which is extracted from chrysanthemum flowers. It is combined with our bespoke moth repelling essential oil blend to kill moths and keep them away.
Tip – Treating a room will take a day. Once the room is cleaned and wardrobes are emptied and cleaned, close the windows and curtains. Wear a mask (as the spray though natural is powerful). Spray carpets and all soft furnishings particularly those hidden areas under or behind furniture and rugs where moth larvae hide and cause most damage. Start at the back of the room and finish at the door. Close the door and after four hours, open the curtains and windows. Give the room a thorough airing for another four day light hours. Day light helps to break down the remaining pyrethrum leaving only the fragrance of our bespoke May Chang blend.
HOW TO KEEP CARPET MOTHS AWAY FOR GOOD
Keeping your home free from carpet moths and clothes moths is an ongoing task.
Once the hard work of cleaning and treating your house is done it’s a good idea to think about long term prevention. You can protect your house from the Common clothes moth (Tineola bisselliella) by using the Moth Decoy all year round. This will prevent any clothes moths that slip past your defences from mating and starting a new population. The Moth decoy uses the female pheromone of the clothes moth to the attract male moths which then become coated in a natural powder laced with the pheromone. This confuses their senses and stops them finding females, so mating does not occur. Find out more about our flagship product here.
Tip – The Moth Decoy can be used in conjunction with a Moth Box to alert you to new common carpet clothes moth infestations. Pheromone gradually loses it’s strength just like a perfume and therefore needs replacing every three months. Signing up for a yearly subscription will ensure you have consistent ongoing moth protection.