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Moths, and the eradication and prevention thereof.

Don Carlos

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Preface: I've done my homework. I've done the forum searches. I've done the Google searches. And there's still very little consensus on how to keep moths at bay while simultaneously minimizing the dry cleaning of one's clothing.

What's the preferred method for most people here? I'm a little leery of filling my closets with balls and wafers full of toxic chemicals -- not just because of the health hazard, but because I hate smelling like mothballs all day.

In a perfect world, sure, I'd have more than enough closet space to keep my out-of-season items dry cleaned and locked away in a dedicated closet full of mothballs. But I suspect many of us do not have that kind of space. I know I don't. Closet space is at a serious premium in my real estate market.
 

holymadness

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For the first time in my life, I found a moth hole on the sleevehead of one of my better sport coats this fall. My solution so far has been to give every suit and sport coat its own suit bag and to put a small plank of cedar like so in with it, near the only opening at the top. Not sure if it's foolproof or not.
 

acecow

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I assumed that the cedar smell doesn't kill or drive moths away, it merely masks other smells which makes it less likely for the little bastards to find your clothes.
 

Slewfoot

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I think the biggest thing is to keep things as airtight as possible. I use clear plastic bags and boxes for sweaters and scarves and garment bags as seen below at The Container Store for suits and jackets. The trick with the garment bags is to take some puddy and seal the holes where the hangers come out. I then put a few moth balls in each bag. While I don't enjoy the smell of mothballs I find it does fade after only 30 minutes or so of wearing.

 

stubloom

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I responded, in detail, to a similar question on SF last week. Here's the link... http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...=210236&page=2 Here's a summary of my comment: Woolens that have worn and then stored for the season WITHOUT first being properly dry cleaned contain all the nutrition necessary to sustain life for the larvae of the female adult moth when they hatch. Remove the source of nutrition and you eliminate the likelihood that the female adult moth will seek out YOUR garments as a perfect location to lay her eggs (200 per cycle/5 times a year). This eliminates the need for mothballs, herbal sachets, cedar blocks, cedar chests, cedar closets, polypropylene plastic boxes, ziplock bags, and anything else you care to throw into the mix. The "best" way to prevent "moth damage" to your fine garments is to dry clean before you store. The issue of the risk associated with poor dry cleaning is a COMPLETELY SEPARATE PROBLEM and should be separated from any discussion as to the "best" way to prevent a "moth problem". Unfortunately, there are 26,000 dry cleaners in the USA and the vast majority haven't got a clue what constitutes fine garment care. So is the solution not to dry clean or is the solution to find yourself a true quality cleaner you can trust?
 

cimabue

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A favorite sweater from Ireland was devoured. Found some holes in trousers and a couple jackets. Never had a problem with moths till this year. Li'l basturds. Might be a rug I bought.
 

Slewfoot

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^Eek! Sorry to hear.

Ourt of curiosity, has anyone ever had moth problems with clothes that were kept in airtight garment bags or airtight plastic bags/boxes?
 

Professor Chaos

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Originally Posted by cimabue
A favorite sweater from Ireland was devoured. Found some holes in trousers and a couple jackets. Never had a problem with moths till this year. Li'l basturds. Might be a rug I bought.
Could be carpet beetles. I had a huge problem with them when I was 21 and moved into a carpeted apartment in the ghetto.
 

stubloom

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Slewfoot asks about airtight boxes and bags. I also responded to that question on SF last week. Here's the link.... http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...=210236&page=2 Here's a summary of my comment: All fibers, natural and synthetic, need to breathe. Specifically, wools are hydroscopic, meaning that they attract and absorb moisture from the air. Anywhere from 5% to 50% of the WEIGHT of a wool garment is moisture depending on indoor and outdoor atmospheric conditions. The notion of placing a garment that contains moisture in a sealed container for some months is (fill in the blanks).
 

robinsongreen68

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mottlock moth boxes, get them from whole foods or ebay. wont eradicate the problem but kills a lot of the little bastards. it's the only thing i've tried that really works. seriously, these things are amazing (and no, i don't own the company or anything)
 

Twotone

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Move to Denver, never a problem here.

Twotone
 

Jan_

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Old fashioned way: Put your clothes into a wooden box and add some good-smelling crops and fruits, e.g., apple, lavender, citrons, cedar.

Modern way: Use a suit bag (not air-tight) and place moth paper at the hanger (i.e., the opening). Moth paper doesn't smell and works for around six months before it needs to be replaced.
 

cbird

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What about using a clothes steamer? I would assume that a good steaming should kill off the larvae. Has anyone got real world experience that would support or refute this approach?
 

Redwoood

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Originally Posted by cbird
What about using a clothes steamer? I would assume that a good steaming should kill off the larvae. Has anyone got real world experience that would support or refute this approach?

I'd imagine it would probably kill them.
It could easily kill your garment, too, though. Tailored clothing is not meant to be steamed, and definitely not thoroughly.
 

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