The Eco-Expert Helps You Eliminate Moths, Naturally

What is baking your home, a guide to steam cleaning and the difference between soap and detergent?

| July/August 2001

Controlling Clothes Moths

Please tell me how long clothes moth eggs are viable and suggest natural ways to keep moths at bay.

—Helen Purdum
Via e-mail

The most common fabric-attacking moth in the United States is the webbing clothes moth, which eats natural fibers in the larval stage. Each adult female lives ten to twenty-eight days and lays up to two hundred eggs, which generally hatch in three to twenty-one days—but depending on conditions, eggs can hatch for up to four years. Larvae can live from thirty-five days to two-and-a-half years, munching on your clothes. Here are some suggestions for controlling clothes moths naturally.

• Clean fabrics thoroughly before storing them. Moths are attracted to the stains of food, sweat, and urine in woolens and other materials, not to the wool itself.

• Shake, brush, and air. Because moth larvae are very fragile, regular moving and use of garments can dislodge and destroy them.

• To kill moth eggs before they hatch, place clothes in the sun, run them through a hot clothes dryer, put them in the freezer, or wash them. Do this right after you purchase clothing and at periodic intervals thereafter.

• Store clean, infestation-free items in airtight containers and seal edges carefully with paper tape.

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