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How to get rid of clothes moths naturally


Discover how to get rid of clothes moths naturally.

What is a clothes moth?

The clothes moth ( Tineola bisselliella ) is a moth, a small moth that measures up to one centimeter. Grayish to golden, it has the particularity of attacking the keratin present in hair, hair, leather, feathers, fur, cotton, or wool, which makes it a real enemy of dressing rooms and cupboards. How to get rid of clothes moths naturallyHow to get rid of clothes moths naturally

In nature, its presence is very useful: the caterpillar of this moth colonizes the nests and naturally gets rid of the elements that are more difficult to biodegrade such as skins, nails, hooves, hair from the corpses of animals. It is part of the species of decomposing insects.

The life cycle of a clothes moth

A female can lay several hundred eggs in her lifetime. The egg is tiny, “ it measures about one millimeter and is whitish in color, ” explains Stéphane Audru, a pest control specialist.

After hatching from the egg, it will take about two months for the larva, which measures between two and five millimeters, to turn into a butterfly. This period can be longer if the conditions are not favorable to its good development.

Where do clothes moths come from?

Clothes moths simply come from the outside. An open door or window and they invite themselves into homes. Then, guided by their sense of smell, they settle in the places where they find their favorite food: most often linen cupboards and cupboards full of textiles. Don’t worry, clothes moths have nothing to do with poor housekeeping or cleanliness.

Clothes moths, food moths: What’s the difference?

The food moth is not the same animal as the clothes moth. As the name suggests, food moths lodge in kitchen cupboards where they can find food. We distinguish the butterfly from the food moth to that of the clothes moth by the fact that it is larger, darker, less slender, and with wider wings.

Clothes moth: Who eats the textiles, the moth or the larva?

The clothes moth mainly flies at night. It is sometimes rare to come across it, even if it causes visible damage to the laundry. Moths don’t like light, so they don’t attack curtains and prefer to stay in the comfortable darkness of a drawer, closet, or wardrobe.

Butterflies lay their eggs on clothes and it’s the tiny, white, black-headed larvae that devour woolens and leave holes in your favorite sweaters.

How to get rid of moths naturally?

A few years ago, mothballs were used to scare away clothes moths. But since 2009, this product has been banned from marketing. Toxic, it presents “ a risk of accident, sometimes fatal, in children, by ingestion or inhalation ” warns the High Council for Public Health. There are many other solutions for eliminating clothes moths.

Sort and store!

The eradication of clothing moths cannot pass without careful storage of dressing rooms, cupboards, and drawers. Take the opportunity to sort, remove all clothes and carefully vacuum every nook and cranny. Clean the surfaces, preferably with white vinegar. You can also pass a steam device which will kill the eggs still present. Finally, restore only the clothes you use to avoid any clutter in the closets.

Find the nest of clothes moths

According to Stéphane Audru, a pest control specialist in Paris, the key is to find where the moths live: most often in places where clothes are stored without being regularly moved. “ Very often, it’s the box of clothes that we never open, that stays in a corner, either waiting for it to be given away or because it’s seasonal clothes,” explains the specialist. What does a clothes moth nest look like? “ It’s a mass, quite sticky, sticky, which looks like a network of threads, a bit like a spider’s web. Its dimensions can vary, but generally, it can take the size of a fist” he describes. Once the nest is found, you will have to get rid of it, clean this area, vacuum well and why not, finish by passing a jet of the steam cleaner.

Careful ironing

If you have clothes for months, it will be necessary to think of carrying out conscientious ironing of your linen. This will have the effect of killing any eggs that may remain in the clothes.

Drive moths out of clothes with smells they don’t like


Once the laundry has been put away, you can install devices that will aim to scare away clothes moths. The idea is to place odoriferous products in the clothes to ward off these insects. The stronger the smell, the more bothered the moths will be. “ It’s what we call grandmother’s methods and if they’ve been around for a long time, it’s probably because they have some effect on moths,” notes the professional.

Orange studded with cloves

The stronger the orange smells of cloves, the more effective it will be. Don’t hesitate to cover it entirely with nails: it’s a fun activity to do with the children. You can also just place a small handful of these nails in a compress enclosed with an elastic band.


You can also opt for the famous little sachet of lavender, but it is possible that its smell is too discreet to be effective. Two solutions are then available: soak a cloth with about twenty drops of real lavender essential oil, or pour it directly on the small sachet of lavender, for a slightly more authentic effect.


Another smell that moths don’t like. You will find cedar wood commercially. For even greater effectiveness, you can disperse a few drops of cedarwood essential oils on the wooden blocks.


Moths don’t like minty smells. Soak a small handkerchief with essential oil of peppermint or eucalyptus, so that they quickly sulk your cupboards.

Other anti-moth tips

Killing them one by one: “ It’s undoubtedly a long-term job, but it may end up bearing fruit ” says the insect killer. It is indeed laborious work, especially since these animals more generally fly at night.

Place clothes with holes in the freezer: If your clothes have holes, it’s probably because tiny moth larvae are living there. To kill them, without damaging the most fragile fibers with heat which can damage woolen or silk items, place them for 24 hours in your freezer. The larvae will succumb to the effect of the cold.

Use dry cleaners: Some dry cleaners offer a treatment service applying a preventive and repellent product for clothes moths. This treatment will protect your sweaters for an average of 6 months.

Place out-of-season clothes in airtight bags: By storing your clothes in airtight bags, you ensure that moths do not colonize the laundry. “Mothproof” bag solutions also exist on the market.

Commercial chemicals: They can be effective, but not enough in the event of an infestation, especially since they represent a danger to health, but also to the environment. Read the instructions carefully, very often you will need to wear a mask to use them.

Moth traps: These are strips or plates on which pheromones, the sex hormones of the moth, have been coated. Attracted by this “smell”, the male moths will come and settle there… And stay stuck there because these traps are also covered with a sticky substance.

Disinsection by a professional: If you want to get rid of moths permanently, the best solution is probably to call on a professional insect remover.

Stéphane Audru, who operates in the Paris region, explains: “ what we do is that we target the butterflies by applying insecticide treatment to the entire apartment. As the butterflies hatch, they will die, so we are breaking the cycle .”


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