If you’ve found (or want to avoid) some premature holes in your favourite cashmere jumper, a natural moth repellent could seriously help.
Finding small holes in wool, silk, cashmere or leather clothes in your wardrobe is never any fun (it can also be costly). So making a natural moth repellent from dried herbs & a fabric spice bag is an inexpensive way to help stave off these hungry little creatures.
Why are moths attracted to animal derived fabrics, such as wool or leather? It’s basically down to a protein called keratin, which moth larvae feed upon & convert into useful nutrients.
Whilst natural plant based fibres such as cotton can also succumb to small mysterious holes, these are generally caused by friction or damage whilst in the washing machine. Cotton doesn’t contain keratin, so if you suspect holes in your cotton clothes are being caused by moths, it could be down to sweat stains (which does contain keratin).
As for synthetic fibres, such as nylon or polyester, moths won’t bother going near these, as they don’t contain any keratin protein at all.
Why Use A Natural Moth Repellent?
Whilst moth balls may seem like an obvious solution to moth problems in your wardrobe, they’re not natural & contain chemical pesticides. Moth balls also contain naphthalene, which is toxic if inhaled.
So if you want to keep things natural & eco friendly, a natural moth repellent is a safer, more sustainable option.
There are a number of ways you can make a natural moth repellent. White vinegar will get rid of moths & kill off any eggs or larvae. But most of us don’t want our clothes smelling of vinegar! So vinegar is often a better option for the kitchen or pantry, used in a spray form or wiped over surfaces.
For clothes, one of the most effective natural moth repellents you can use are dried herbs. Moths can’t stand the fragrant smell of herbs such as lavender, rosemary or thyme, so these make practical options for deterring moths in drawers and closets, whilst also adding a lovely scent to your wardrobe.
Here’s how to make a simple, effective natural moth repellent using 3 common herbs & a cotton spice bag.
DIY Lavender Natural Moth Repellent: What You’ll Need
- large bunch of dried lavender
- large bunch of dried rosemary
- large bunch of dried thyme
- reusable cotton spice bags (you can also use old pieces of cotton fabric or cheesecloth).
Lavender tends to be a particularly good herb to use in natural moth repellents, as it has a lovely sweet & fragrant aroma that’s naturally calming.
As well as rosemary & thyme, however, you can also add bay leaves, cloves or mint to your natural moth repellent. It really depends on which scents you like, or are happy to have around your clothes.
If you want to dry your own herbs, here’s a guide. Otherwise, packs of dried herbs are easy to buy online.
How To Make Natural Moth Repellent: Instructions
STEP 1 – Gently strip the flowers from your dried lavender & place in a bowl. Repeat with the rosemary needles & thyme leaves. Mix the herbs together. (If using bags of ready made dried herbs, simply pour a little of each into a bowl & combine with your hands or a wooden spoon.)
STEP 2 – Pour the combined herbs into your cotton spice bag & secure with the drawstring. If you are re-purposing an old piece of fabric or using a square of cheesecloth, place the herbs in the centre of the square of fabric, gather the corners together to make a small pouch, then secure tightly with a piece of string, twine or strong cotton. Remember to keep one end of the twine long enough to secure to your wardrobe pole.
STEP 3 – Hang your natural moth repellent herb sachet in your wardrobe or cupboard, or place in a drawer.
The scent from your natural moth repellent herb sachets should last anywhere from a few months to years, depending on the quality of the herbs, herb blends selected and where it is placed.
Herbs generally last longer in cool, dark places such as wardrobes, as they’re away from direct sunlight. You can also give your herb sachets a squeeze now and again to help release the scent.
How To Get Rid Of Clothes Moths That Are Already There
If you suspect you already have a clothes moths problem in your wardrobe or closet, it’s important to clean your clothes & wardrobe space to prevent any further damage.
Here are 5 things you can do to help get rid of clothes moths & larvae:
- Remove all the clothes from your wardrobe or closet. Wash or dry/steam clean (according to label) all clothes affected by the moths.
- Before replacing your clothes, vacuum & deep clean the entire wardrobe. This should remove any remaining moths or larvae.
- Air your wardrobe regularly to prevent warm, stale or musty areas building up (moths love dark & dusty, undisturbed corners).
- Try not to cram your wardrobe too full of clothes. Instead leave a little breathing space between clothes items, to aid air movement & ventilation.
- Remember not to store clothes with sweat stains in wardrobes. Like animal derived fibres, sweat contains keratin, which moths are attracted to.
You could also consider using cedar wood hangars, as cedar is another non toxic, natural moth deterrent. Although keep in mind, cedar will only help to repel moths for as long as the cedar oil scent lasts.
Natural Moth Repellent: Conclusion
Clothes moths can be a right pest, leading to premature holes in natural, animal derived fibres such as wool, silk or leather.
Making your own natural moth repellent for clothes stored in wardrobes, cupboards & drawers is a simple, inexpensive & natural way to deter moths from settling in and destroying your favourite jumpers, silk blouses or leather items.
Dried herbs such as lavender, rosemary & thyme, combined & hung up in a spice bag, are some of the most effective natural deterrents, as moths can’t stand these natural fragrances.
Yet, for humans, these natural aromas can add a pleasant, calming aroma to clothes & storage areas, whilst helping to keep clothes moths at bay.