Vintage News | How To Beat Clothes Moths

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Photo by Tim Walker for Vogue.


Editors Note: This article ran on the British Vogue website so some of the info in it is Britain specific so take that part of it with a grain of salt. We have touched on this subject in the past as well - here and also here - but it never hurts to read any and all information that can potentially keep your valuable and beloved vintage intact and pristine! xx Cherie


The warmest winter since the 17th century is set to play havoc with British wardrobes this year in more ways than one: the mild weather has provided moths with ideal conditions for breeding.

Johnsons Dry Cleaners has reported a rise in demand for invisible repair services to clothes riddled with moth holes as damp, warm conditions have provided moth larvae with a perfect munching playground. Prepare for a biblical onslaught. "For the moth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool", as Isaiah puts it.

The clothes moth has good taste: luscious cashmere is their favourite dish, followed by a host of natural fibres including silk, lambswool, shearling, feathers and cotton. So, how to defend your Dolce, guard your Gucci and secure your Céline against imminent infestation? Follow Vogue's tips for safeguarding your wardrobe this spring.


1. Deep clean your wardrobe.
Moths like undisturbed corners that are dark and warm. Remove everything from your wardrobe, hoover all the corners and drawers, and wipe them with a detergent-soaked cloth to kill off larvae. Then wash or dry clean all of your clothes (and curtains and upholstery, too). Freeze anything you can fit in your freezer; sub-zero temperatures kill larvae, although make sure you put clothes in plastic bags prior to freezing to avoid a condensation build-up and keep them in there for 48 hours. 

2. Keep your clothes clean.
Moths love to feast on human sweat and food particles. Do not put any clothes back in your newly cleaned wardrobe that are dirty - especially knitwear.

3. Store your knitwear in garment bags.
As summer beckons, store winter knits and any other items you particularly value in zip-lock bags (Argos has zipped garment cases in a range of sizes, from £5.99) and line with anti-moth paper strips (Rentokil's are unscented and kill both eggs and larvae, which not all do, from £5.64 at Amazon). Line your drawers in anti-moth paper (from £18.50, Total Wardrobe Care) and employ cedarwood sticks (£4.95 for 20 sticks, Muji).

4. Vet your vintage.
Vintage clothes should be dry cleaned before being introduced to your wardrobe, as they are often the source of infestations.

5. Invest in cedarwood hangers.
Moths hate them, and they'll keep the shoulders on your dresses and jackets neat, too (from £9.95 for 3, Muji). Always take your clothes out of the plastic hanging bags from the dry cleaner. The plastic attracts dust; the dust attracts moths.

6. Be vigilant.
Keep checking your clothes for moth holes, keep rooms well-ventilated as temperatures start to rise, and keep a natural oil diffuser in your wardrobe at all times - it smells great and wards off moths (£19, Total Wardrobe Care). Rentokil's moth cassettes are also a good precautionary measure; keep them hanging on your rail at all times (from £5.88 at Amazon).

7. When all else fails, turn to fumigation.
EnviroGuard provide a 24-hour emergency call out service and will fumigate your house if the problem is deep seated. Overkill? We think not.

Click here to see this original article on vogue.co.uk >

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