Moth-er of God! How to save your clothes from destruction

·3-min read
Carpet moths are wreaking havoc on the nation's clothes (Getty Images)
Carpet moths are wreaking havoc on the nation's clothes (Getty Images)

The UK is currently experiencing a plague on, well, all its houses, as huge numbers of hungry clothes moths feast on our clothes and carpets.

While moths are always an issue, there's a particular scourge of them at the moment, at least partly because so many people left their formal suits, dresses and expensive knitwear totally neglected and unprotected in the wardrobe during successive lockdowns.

What's more, we always see more moths in the spring and summer when the weather warms up, due to their life cycle.

There are an astonishing 160, 000 species of moths in the world, with 2,500 of those present in the UK - but it's the Tineola Bisselliella, aka the common clothes moth, that really concerns us.

While adult moths - curiously - almost never eat, the larvae and caterpillars that clothes moths grow from love to feast their way through natural fibres in clothes and carpets - and in fact, they're particularly fond of munching wool and cashmere.

Stately homes, similarly, have been suffering from insect invasions. The National Trust has reported an 11 per cent rise in pest insects, including moths, since last year, while Blickling Hall in Norfolk recently deployed an army of tiny wasps in order to hunt out and eradicate moths that threatened the mansion's invaluable furnishings.

Watch this: Wasps deployed to tackle moths at Norfolk stately home

So, if we don't have an army of helpful wasps on hand, how best can we guard against acts of moth destruction?

Adrian Holdworth, of London menswear shop Volpe, is waging a one-man war against moths. He advises us to keep our windows closed at night, to defend against the proverbial moths-to-a-flame scenario.

"At dusk they seek bright lights and warm air from inside shops and homes, so an open door or window is akin to inviting a vampire into your home!" he said.

Moths can leave you with a very holey jumper (Getty Images)
Moths can leave you with a very holey jumper (Getty Images)

What's more, moth larvae like to feed on tiny deposits of food on our clothes - a level of dirt that we might not even notice.

"The remedy is to keep your clothes clean, wash them regularly or dry clean them every so often," he told Yahoo. "Then store them in bags once clean, and - most importantly - regularly move the clothes because it stops the larvae settling. They hate being moved!"

Read more: 16 ways to get rid of, and prevent, moths in your home

Many people swear that lacing your wardrobe with conkers or cedar oil can help, but Adrian isn't convinced. "I have never found cedar or conkers work particularly well," he said. "But I use a couple of preventative products called Zensect and Acana which both have a pleasant smell and seem pretty effective."

"If you have already found moths you can buy a spray called Zero in which helps," he said. "You can spray it inside drawers and wardrobes. It sadly does not smell quite as nice!"

Watch this: US man returns home to find thousands of moths covering entrance