How to protect your clothes from moths

The last thing anybody wants is to unpack their clothes from storage, only to find their prized cashmere sweater has been eaten by moths. Knowing how to protect your clothes from moths is important when storing clothing. It can save you a lot of time, money, and frustration.

In many cases, we only take measures against moths after we’ve discovered them eating our clothing. However, there are a few tactics that you can use to avoid moths in the first place. Want to know how to protect your clothes from moths? Here are all the strategies you can use. 

Identify the moth

If you find your clothes being damaged, the first thing you need to do is to identify if you actually have clothes moths. There are many bugs that eat clothing, and most of these bugs are a lot easier to get rid of than moths. 

For example, beetles have a long life cycle which makes them easier to get rid of before they damage your clothing. Beetle eggs are also a lot easier to find and remove from your clothes than moth eggs.

There are only two types of moths that will eat your clothes. Both are a kind of yellow or grey in colour, and both are only about 1cm in length. If you see larger moths in your clothes, they won’t be a problem. 

If you identify clothes moths, don’t only get rid of the flying moths. Their larvae will actually cause the most damage. Knowing how to protect your clothes from moth’s eggs and larvae is the most important thing.


Throw out badly damaged items

If you have any items of clothing that are particularly badly damaged, it’s best to just throw them out straight away. This will help you get rid of the moth infestation much faster. It’s much more effective to throw out a badly damaged piece of clothing than to try to fix it while the moths spread.

Clean your clothes properly

Once you have identified a moth infestation, the first thing you will need to do to remove their eggs is to completely clean all of your clothes. 

The best way to kill moth larvae is by dry cleaning your clothes. Otherwise, you can wash your clothes in hot water over 50°C to kill the larvae. Just be aware that many types of wool and materials will shrink or damage at this temperature, so read the label first.

Clean your closet

You also need to make sure that your closet is completely cleaned and larvae-free. To do this, you will need to vacuum every corner of your closet, especially the dark and hard to reach corners. If there are any carpets or rugs in your closet, it’s best to use a carpet steamer to clean these. When you are finished vacuuming out your closet, empty out the vacuum clear outside. This will probably be full of moth eggs.

Air, heat, or freeze your clothing

There are other ways to get rid of moth eggs besides washing your clothes. You could air out the clothes in the sun and brush the clothes thoroughly. This could get messy and spread the moth eggs onto you, so be careful not to bring any back inside with you.

Heat treating the clothes is another solution. To do this, you can place the clothes in your oven set to its lowest heat, and leave them in there for some time. The dry heat will kill the moth eggs. Just be careful not to do this with clothes that have any plastic or beading.

Freezing your clothes is also possible, but this isn’t always completely successful. You will need to make sure that the change from the outside temperature to freezing is very sudden. You will also need to leave your clothes in the freezer for at least 3 days. After this, it is still possible that larvae could survive. 

clothes on rack

Store your clothes in bags or containers

Beyond just cleaning out moths, you should also take measures to avoid them infesting your clothes in the first place. The key to this is proper storage. 

Storing your clothes in tightly sealed plastic storage containers will keep moths out. Make sure that these are not fabric containers. 

You can also use tightly sealed compression storage bags to completely protect your clothes. These work particularly well for dresses. These bags work well for any hanging clothes. This is the best solution for long-term storage

Avoid humidity

Moths enjoy dark and humid conditions. If possible, try to store your clothes in a climate-controlled area with low relative humidity. This will generally stop moths from wanting to settle into your clothes.

Repel the moths

When learning how to protect your clothes from moths, there are also a couple of tactics that you can use to repel moths. Cedar and herbal scents have been known to repel moths, although cedar is not always 100% effective. 

Of course, there are mothballs, but these should be used with caution. Only use mothballs if they are completely necessary, and stick to the manufacturer’s instructions when using them.

Pheromone traps can be used to kill adult male moths. This won’t clear out a moth infestation, but it will stop moths from breeding.


Knowing how to protect your clothes from moths is important if you want to avoid having your valuable clothing eaten. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to avoid moths in the first place. 

Tightly seal your clothes in proper storage containers and bags, or expose your clothes to regular light, movement, and air. And if you do find a moth infestation – act fast. The sooner you remove any moths and larvae the better.