Adult moths aren’t a big threat to your home on their own, but their larvae commonly eat through fabric, especially cotton and wool, and dry goods like bread and pasta.

This can be a huge nuisance and ruin many good clothes, food, and other household items.

There’s plenty you can do to get rid of moths to keep them from ever breeding and snacking in your home again.

About moths

Moths aren’t terribly dangerous household pests. In fact, many of them can be quite pretty or fun to watch as they fly seemingly erratically around well-lit areas of your home. They’re part of the Lepidoptera order of insects, the same one that contains butterflies. There are at least 160,000 known species of moths, only a few of which you’d ever find inside your home.

Now the part you’ve been waiting for: How in the world do you get rid of moths if they’ve already infested your home? Here are some top tips for effective moth removal:

  1. Fill your home with cedar. You can also use cedar oilin a spray bottle diluted with water or in a diffuser that can spread the scent of cedar. Moths and other insects are repelled by the pheromones in cedar.
  2. Combine dried, crushed, and powdered herbs. Combine the following in a bag that you can hang anywhere you keep clothes or food: lavender, bay leaves, cloves, rosemary, and thyme. Moths also hate the odors of these herbs. You can also dilute the essential oils of these herbs and spray them on your clothes and belongings or use a diffuser with one or more combinations of these oils.
  3. Use a sticky trap. Cover it with moth pheromones to attract moths and get them stuck to the surface. Once they’re stuck, they can’t escape, and they eventually die.
  4. Keep your floors, carpets, and moldings vacuumed and dusted. Try to clean your home with a vacuum, dusting cloths, and eco-friendly cleaners to keep your home free of dust and dirt, which can draw moths into your home. Be sure to empty vacuum contents and wash dusting cloths regularly so that eggs and larvae don’t grow and develop.
  5. Freeze any clothes or belongings that show signs of moths. Keep these items in the freezer for at least 24 hours to make sure any larvae are killed off.
  6. Wash clothes that contain larvae or eggs. Use hot water and high heat in the dryer, if possible. For clothes that can’t be washed or dried hot, put wet clothes in the freezer for a day to kill larvae and eggs.
  7. Use vinegar to help. Wash and scrub any areas you found larvae or eggs with a vinegar and water solution.
  8. Consider calling a pest control service. Sometimes, removal and prevention techniques just aren’t enough. If you have a moth infestation that’s out of control, contact a local pest control company and see what solutions they can offer.

Here are some tips to prevent moths from getting into your belongings:

  • Brush any clothes made of wool or fur after you wear them outside. Moth eggs can easily infiltrate your closet by affixing themselves to these materials, so scraping them off regularly can help keep any moth larvae from getting inside.
  • Keep your clothes and belongings washed before you store them away for long periods of time. Air-dry them in sunlight, if possible. This ensures that any eggs or larvae in your clothes are rinsed out or killed so that they don’t grow into maturity while they’re in storage.
  • Keep your clothes and belongings stored in airtight containers. Use tightly sealed chests, plastic containers, sealed suitcases, or something similar to make sure moths can’t get inside and lay eggs. Don’t leave any materials like wool or suits exposed to the air — put them in zipped, airtight garment bags inside your sealed containers, especially when you don’t plan to wear them for a while.
  • Keep storage areas for clothing and other belongings dry. Moths thrive in moist, humid surroundings. Avoid storing clothes or belongings in basements, garages, outdoor sheds, or other areas that can be exposed to changes in the weather. Put them in an indoor closet, room, or in the attic.

Most people don’t experience any health effects from the presence of moths in the home.

Sure, they’re annoying and they can eat up your clothes and dry foods, but for the most part, they don’t carry any diseases or typically cause any reactions in those who have allergies to other indoor insects like dust mites or silverfish.

But moth larvae — called caterpillars, just like their butterfly brethren — can cause some allergic reactions or irritation when they make contact with your skin. Some larvae have sharp spines or hairs that can sting, causing symptoms like:

  • itching
  • scaly skin
  • blisters
  • rashes
  • outbreaks of skin irritation similar to eczema
  • contact dermatitis, which causes redness, hives, and swelling

Some moth larvae or adult moths also produce glycoproteins from external substances on their bodies or wings that can result in allergic reactions when they’re inhaled.

Combined with allergens from other common indoor pests, such as dust mites, moths can fill your indoor environment with insect substances that cause disruptive allergy symptoms to those with genetic dispositions to allergic reactions to these proteins.

While most species of moth aren’t ever going to be interested in your home, a few species are common fixtures in closets, food pantries (especially those full of grains, bread, and pasta), or just generally throughout the home.

Moths aren’t the most harmful pest you can find in your household, but they can cause plenty of damage to clothes, food, and other belongings. If you have allergies, moths can be a nuisance to your symptoms.

Even if a moth infestation seems overwhelming, there are plenty of ways to rid your home of them and keep them out for good with some consistent preventive measures so your clothes, food, and sinuses remain undisturbed.