Preventing and Dealing with Clothes (Wool) Moths

Clothes moths are small, silvery, dusty moths which often move by crawling rather than flying and will try to get away from the light. These moths are present around the country and breed more quickly in the warmer summer months. The larvae feed on natural fibres including wool, (including wool jumpers and carpets), which can be a problem for felters.

Prevention is better than cure!

  • Keep your wool in sealed containers or grip seal bags so that the moths can't get at it.
  • Regularly vacuum your working area including all the dark and hidden corners.
  • The moths don't like the light so keeping wool out in the open is better than at the back of a drawer.
  • There are a variety of natural sprays available, and moths hate lavender and cedar oil, so spraying or keeping these around the wool will repel moths.

Despite the above, you may find a moth, or evidence of them such as:

  • small whitish cases around the size of a grain of rice
  • wool fibres which appear 'cut' - this is where they have been eaten
  • grainy dust - this is the droppings and is often the colour of the wool fibres

If you find you have moths in your wool:

  • Remove the affected parts and dispose of them - it can be composted.
  • Put the rest of the wool in the freezer for a week - if tightly packed try to spread it out more thinly in a larger container. Freezing will kill any remaining larvae (but might not kill the eggs as they can survive to -23 degrees!).
  • Completely tidy and clean the working and storage areas, vacuuming into the corners and cleaning hard surfaces with a vinegar spray, this will kill any remaining eggs.
  • Invest in some moth repellents such as lavender bags, cedar balls / oil etc and use in the working and storage area.
  • Store your wool in sealed containers.
  • If you find you have an infestation then there are various traps available such as hormone traps which attract and catch the male moths.