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How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths

In this Moth Emergency Plan we will tell you how to get rid of your moth problem. We will walk you through a three-step process whereby you will take action to rid yourself of these pests. First, observe the photos below. Carpet moths are sly creatures which are no larger than a quarter of an inch long. They thrive in damp conditions and spend most of the day hiding. For more details, visit our moth types page.

What do Moths Look Like?

two species of moths

Unlike outdoor moths, clothes moths do not fly toward light sources because they do not use light for navigation.

Any keratin-containing fiber in your home is a potential food source for these ravenous creatures.​

Clothes moths like to come out of hiding at dusk. You’ll see them perched on ceilings and walls.


Phase One:
Protect Your Valuables

Moths are insidious pests that will eat their way through your clothes and valuables, leaving you and your family devastated. To combat these creatures, you must first secure your premises immediately. This will stop the moths from spreading inside your home as you slow their destructive advance.

  1. Close all windows and doors. Although clothes moths prefer living in the stable environment of the indoors, moths have been known to migrate from outdoors.
  2. Close all interior doors, and keep them closed whenever possible as you move throughout your home. This will help you “divide and conquer” the moth invasion by slowing down their migration throughout your house. 
  3. Gather valuable articles: your grandmother’s handmade quilt, wedding dresses, suits, linens, antique carpets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, and anything containing animal-based fibers. Clothes moths are attracted to fibers containing keratin, a natural protein.
  4. Under adequate lighting, meticulously inspect these items for signs of infestation. Look for holes, eggs, and larvae. Divide all articles of clothing into two groups—”infested” and “clear.” Place the “clear” items in a vacuum-sealed bag. If you don’t have a vacuum-sealed bag, use a large trash bag.
  5. Using an old toothbrush, remove eggs and larvae from infested articles. Do this outside to avoid spreading the infestation throughout your home. You may not get all of them; that’s okay for now.
  6. After the contaminated items have been brushed, place them in a vacuum-sealed bag. Again, you may use a large trash bag. Although you may have gotten most of the eggs, it’s unlikely you got all of them. Therefore, you have a few options to finish off the infested garments:
    • Dry cleaning: This is the most effective method, but also the most expensive. Take the items to a dry cleaner and have them professionally cleaned. The chemicals used will kill moth eggs.
    • Heat: Cheap method. If you live in a warm climate, put the bag in the trunk of your car. Park it outside in direct sunlight for 24 hours. Although moths are resilient, temperatures over 120 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the eggs to break down. 
    • Cold: Cheapest method. If you live in a cold climate, put the bag outside for 24 hours. Freezing temperatures will kill moth eggs. You can also try putting the bag in your freezer.
  7. Place inspected, washed articles into vacuum-sealed bags for long-term storage. Periodically monitor them for new moth infestation.



person holding fencing sword

Phase Two:
Clean Your Home

Moths are remarkably resilient animals with long life cycles. They have the uncanny ability to thrive in the most inhospitable conditions, from frozen tundra to barren desert. Despite their seemingly wayward lives, they really want to settle down in the warmest, most inviting, protein-rich environment of all: your home. In this step, we will make your home so inhospitable to moths that it’s impossible for them to continue breeding there.


  1. Identify where moths may be breeding. It is unlikely every room in your house is infested. Common “hot zones” include (1) beneath wool carpets, (2) closets, (3) dressers, (4) dog/cat beds, and (5) dusty areas.
  2. Inspect closets and drawers. After sunset, grab your flashlight and get to work. Since moths are nocturnal, you’re more likely to find them at night. Moths like to hide in the crevices of clothing, so shake out sweaters to find them. Don’t worry, they don’t bite!
  3. Conduct a full house sweep. It may take several hours, but it must be done to identify where moths are hiding. Look in the dusty, gross areas you never otherwise look; under the fridge, behind walls, and in the attic. Look for cocoons in dust piles. 
  4. Check under your bed, the corners of carpeting, bookshelves, dusty areas, under couches, between cushions, underneath tables, behind your desk, under floorboards, and anywhere else it’s dark and safe for moths to breed. Remember: you’re looking for signs of infestation.
  5. Thoroughly dust and vacuum your house to remove dust, hair, and potential keratin food sources. Doing so will prevent moths from living there. It cannot be emphasized enough how important this step is!
clear spray bottle

Phase Three:
Trap Moths

Moth trapping serves two purposes: not only does it capture and kill moths, but it also tells you what rooms have the worst infestation. In this way, traps act as moth “sensors.” If properly deployed, they are invaluable against moth infestation. 



  1. Get to know the enemy. Study their appearance, coloring, and flight pattern. Understand the two species of clothes moth.
  2. Consider where you have seen moths in your home. Typically they will gravitate to closets where wool and silk products can be found. Also check carpeting, which is usually in common areas.
  3. Deploy moth traps in areas where moths have been sighted. Divide your home into regions and deploy a trap in a centrally located area. Since moths like corners, try to place them near walls up near the ceiling.
  4. Even if you haven’t seen moths in your closet, place a trap inside your closet to be safe. Keep your door closed whenever possible, because this will seal in the pheromone scent. Typically, a pheromone trap will last three months.
  5. For a closet under 25 square feet, one trap should work. For larger closets, use two or more. In these situations, try placing one near the ceiling and the other near the floor.
  6. Be observant. It is possible you may have several “hot zones” of moth activity inside your house. Observing where you see moths throughout your daily routine will give valuable clues to where they are hiding. Typically, adult moths do not fly very far. If you see them fluttering around a certain area in your house, that’s where the infestation is likely to be.

"I'm ready to fight back."

A Moth Emergency Plan is incomplete without the tools needed to do the job effectively. I’ve compiled a list of products that I’ve personally reviewed. These items are integral to carrying out your battle plan.