Updated: Jun 15
5 ways to keep devastation in your wardrobe to a minimum
COVID-19 isn’t the only small organism currently wreaking havoc in our homes. I hate to mention the M-word. MOTHS! Or to be more accurately the larva of Tineola bisselliella, the clothes moth. These pesky critters are responsible for weaving tiny tube-like webs among your favourite woolen & cashmere pieces and then the feasting frenzy begins. The first you will know of this is when Lockdown Fever hits and you decide to edit your wardrobe.
Sadly the only option for the damaged sweaters, scarves and hats is some creativity (more planned for a separate blog). However, now is a good time to make sure that this devastation doesn’t revisit next year. Some of the advice is a bit drastic but we are talking about an infestation here and frankly it is nothing compared with what is happening outside our front doors. The good news is that April & May is the peak time for adult activity so now is the perfect time to stop them in their tracks!
Always pack pieces away freshly washed, steamed or dry cleaned (this will be tricky right now so fingers crossed you are better organised than me). If you have resealable bags this can help, though I tend to use fabric bags. My dear friend Nikki recommends using resealable plastic bags from Ikea. They come in two sizes in one box and are perfect for storing precious wollens.
The best way of killing adults, eggs and larvae is to deep freeze items. Seal them in the plastic bags at -18°C for at least two weeks. Fortunately for our family in Lockdown, my freezer is currently full of food! There are alternative strategies.
I am a huge fan of cedarwood, either blocks in with my clothes or on hangers. I also have cedarwood essential oil to refresh the blocks and to put drops on hankies to pack in with woolens.
I have heard that putting fennel tea bags in the wardrobe and resealable bags also works. I would have been very skeptical if I hadn’t seen the effect of both cedarwood and lavender on previous infestations.
Regularly shaking out the items in your wardrobe as well as those in storage will dislodge any little critters before the damage begins.
If the worst happens and you do find holes in your favourite cosy cashmere sweater there may be some comfort in finding out a little more about the creature that has done the damage. You may end up seeing it as a beautiful ethereal part of nature that we are lucky to share this planet with. Not a thought that might have occurred to me when I first read Prof. Rob Dunn’s remarks at the end of this article. Funny how our outlook changes when the world around us is in chaos!