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I think we have moths, the wool eating kind. Any opinion on natural remedies? Cedar oil?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Growing up, everyone in my family had tons of mothballs in every drawer and closet.  My mother is insane about the threat of moths getting into the woolens.  I always thought she was overreacting until now....

 

I am getting ready to put wool winter things away and I am noticing holes!  I haven't seen anything flying about the house but am wondering if we might have moths.

 

Traditional mothballs are not an option for storage.

 

We do have one non-mothball-polluted cedar chest.  I read some place that it could be refreshed with cedar oil. Anyone have any experience?

post #2 of 13

While moths are possible, carpet beetles are often more common (our problem was more with them - which I discovered after lots of cleaning and sorting and re-storing items).  

 

 

I have used cedar oil on a cedar lined closet in our house - it was pretty easy, seemed effective (smelled really strong), easy to get (@ target, I think).  I believe you can also lightly sand the cedar to help strengthen the aroma, which will help keep them away.  Dried lavender & bay leaves couldn't hurt either (I tuck them with my stored fabric items in little pouch bags).

 

Diatomaceous earth works for carpet beetles (possibly not wool-eating moths? I'm not sure) - but I'll sprinkle some around the floor of where I'm storing seldom-used clothes, sweep it around the base of the closet too maybe.  

IMO one of the best things you can spend your time doing is just making sure you're cleaning everything thoroughly, and take it out for use more often - anything that just sits there and is rarely used is more likely to become 'a target'.  

post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 

Carpet beetles?  I will need to keep my eyes open.  I haven't seen a single bug, yet.......

 

 I will check at Target tomorrow.  I love the smell of lavendar and bay leaves so I might use that for the stuff not stored in the chests.

 

 I wash everything carefully before I put it away so I felt I was not at risk.

post #4 of 13

We wash woolens and then pack them in sealed plastic bags (trashbags with twist ties) being careful that the bags don't get holes (put them in a bin or box) for storage. 

post #5 of 13

We wash ours (as I have heard the moths love dead skin cells), and then pack them away in ziplock bags with cedar balls.....

post #6 of 13

Lavender oil is supposed to work.  I've had mixed results with it.  One very important consideration is that the lanolin in diaper covers is a food source for the moths!  So when putting woolens away, DO NOT lanolize them or wash them with a detergent containing lanolin like Eucalin.  Wash them well with regular detergent and put them in well-sealing plastic totes or plastic bags.  There is some danger of molding in sealed plastic bags, so make absolutely sure they're completely dry.  

 

I read in one place that wool moths and pantry moths are the same moth.  Not sure if this is true or not, but if you have problems it doesn't hurt to also look through your cupboards and make sure you're not breeding moths in a forgotten box of open cereal or something in the back of the shelf.

post #7 of 13

Olive soap bars placed in drawers or on the shelves.

I have also used wooden blocks soaked in cedar oil.

post #8 of 13

Make sure you are thoroughly cleaning your containers, dressers and so on before putting your things back into them. With moths it is the larvae that cause the damage. When you pick up your holey woolens, do you see some dark dust underneath? If so, then moths are your problem. If not, it is likely carpet beetles. Taking things out through the season and giving them a good shake is a good practice to get into so you can spot trouble before it gets out of hand.

post #9 of 13

Ugh!  We totally have moths too.  I find their larvae cocoons on our ceilings, as well as see the "dust" they leave behind in the bottoms of our drawers and closets.  I really need to do something about this problem but I find myself being totally overwhelmed by it.  We do live in FL, so don't have a ton of wool stuff to worry about, but it's still annoying and we have plenty of moths.  

 

I think I need to do a deep-clean of the house including closets and drawers, and then try some of the remedies including the cedar oil, plastic packing, and lavendar/bay sachets.  

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post

Make sure you are thoroughly cleaning your containers, dressers and so on before putting your things back into them. With moths it is the larvae that cause the damage. When you pick up your holey woolens, do you see some dark dust underneath? If so, then moths are your problem. If not, it is likely carpet beetles. Taking things out through the season and giving them a good shake is a good practice to get into so you can spot trouble before it gets out of hand.

 

No.  And I still haven't seen any other bugs either.  I am in the process of washing the things that can be hand or machine washed and putting everything into bags with lavendar oil and then into the cedar chest (already gave that a through cleaning)  I don't have enoungh room for the blankets in the chest so those will also be washed and bagged and put up into the attic. 

 

 

 

post #11 of 13

Oh man. As a knitter/spinner, wool moths are the bane of my existence.

 

Best non-toxic things to do:

  • Always put things away completely clean - wool moths love oils, from food or skin or lanolin
  • Periodically hake items out in the sun. This will make the eggs fall out, and the larvae can't stand light.
  • Any really strong smelling stuff will help drive moths away (lavender, cedar, etc) but if the clothes are dirty, the moths will brave it.
  • Light repels moths -- keep items in a well-lit area.
  • Vacuum frequently around the area (the carpet, inside the chest, on the wall, etc)

 

Good luck!

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TracyGladRags View Post

Oh man. As a knitter/spinner, wool moths are the bane of my existence.

 

Best non-toxic things to do:

  • Always put things away completely clean - wool moths love oils, from food or skin or lanolin
  • Periodically hake items out in the sun. This will make the eggs fall out, and the larvae can't stand light.
  • Any really strong smelling stuff will help drive moths away (lavender, cedar, etc) but if the clothes are dirty, the moths will brave it.
  • Light repels moths -- keep items in a well-lit area.
  • Vacuum frequently around the area (the carpet, inside the chest, on the wall, etc)

 

Good luck!

 

The bold is news to me and actually, good news.  I have been washing the washable blankets and putting the sheep skins in the dyer (in attempt to kill anything with the heat from the dryer) but don't have room to store all the containers I would need to buy.  I do have a sunny room in the house and I might stack everything there.  The sweaters can go in the cedar chests.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caneel View Post

 

The bold is news to me and actually, good news.  I have been washing the washable blankets and putting the sheep skins in the dyer (in attempt to kill anything with the heat from the dryer) but don't have room to store all the containers I would need to buy.  I do have a sunny room in the house and I might stack everything there.  The sweaters can go in the cedar chests.


Yep! Just make sure to move things periodically. Light won't kill the moths, but they do *not* like it, so they'll go elsewhere. Unfortunately, that means that if you have folded blankets, they'll head into the dark folded area, so you'll want to move things around periodically and take the other steps (cleaning items, shaking out the items in the sun, vacuuming, strong-smelling sachets, etc) to keep them out of there.

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