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What’s the Difference between Clothes Moths and Carpet Moths?

clothes moth

This week, we received a letter from Josie in Chicago, IL about the difference between clothes moths and carpet moths:

Moth Guy,

You use the terms “carpet moths” and “clothes moths” interchangeably. Is there a difference between the two? Love the site!


This is an important question. In my opinion, I believe the reason we have two names for these creatures is because we have struggled to define their ideal living conditions. Adding to that the fact that their observation has been limited to anecdotal evidence (especially before The Moth Guy was launched), it’s been difficult for people to describe the characteristics of what these bugs eat, and why.

In short, there is no difference between clothes moths and carpet moths. They are one in the same. The names are used interchangeably to demonstrate the varied, keratin-containing diets that they have.

To take it a step further, we could also call them:

  • Dust moths
  • Keratin moths
  • Hobo moths

The reason I prefer “clothes moths” is because most modern carpeting is made of synthetic fibers instead of wool. However, we still use wool extensively in clothing, so it’s a more relevant term (in my opinion).

Rest easy,

-The Moth Guy

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