Moths, they make look harmless but anyone who had the unfortunate experience of a wardrobe infestation will know the huge amount of damage they can do. With their dream diet based on silk, cashmere and wool, this often means it's the most expensive items in your wardrobe that are at risk. However, even more annoying is the fact that it's the larvae not the actual moths that are responsible for causing the damage, meaning by the time you spot one fluttering around your bedroom it could be too late. With a life cycle of 65 - 90 days, moths can lay up to 50 eggs in this time which then eat into fabrics. They also love warmer months meaning spring time is an ideal time for them to start laying eggs. With this also the time of year when most people start switching their wardrobes over, storing winter coats and heavy jumpers, it's potentially a disastrous combination. However, with some careful prep and planning you can arm yourself against a dreaded sartorial attack. Here's how...
1. Go through your wardrobe throughly and decide what you want to keep and what you want to give to charity, sell or recycle. Anything that you're keeping needs to be stored clean so make sure to wash everything before and dry clean anything that needs specialised care. According to Total Wardrobe Care: 'Stains oxidise and moths love hair skin and food particles, do not feed them!'
2. Your actual wardrobe and any where else that you use as storage also needs to be cleaned too. Moths love dark, warm corners so take everything out and hoover all the corners and drawers. Then wipe all surfaces with a detergent-soaked cloth to kill off any larvae.
3. Don't leave dry-cleaning in those plastic bags it comes in. These can trap moisture and the chemicals used in the cleaning causing them to yellow. Instead, store them in specialist garment-storage bags that allow the fabric to breathe. This is particularly important for cashmere which moths love. These anti-moth bags from John Lewis are scented with lavendar which acts as a natural moth repellent. If you don't like the smell Rentokil have unscented anti-moth paper strips which you can add into garment bags such as these from Argos. Total Wardrobe Care also have created tablets infused with the female sex pheromone of the clothes moths. which attracts male moths away from clothes. Dubbed the Moth Decoy, the tablet also coats the male's antennae with an electrostatic powder, blocking their receptors and confusing the mating cycle. This prevents the moth mating by attracting other male moths, which over time significantly reduces their population.
4. Moths hate cedarwood hangers so they're worth investing in. Plus they'll prevent your clothes from losing shape around the shoulders.
5. If you have an investation you'll need to freeze anything that could have larvae. Put clothes in plastic bags then freeze for 48 hours. And always dry clean vintage clothes before introducing them to your wardrobe. You don't know where they've been before.