There really is no need to have holes in your clothes from moths nor toxic mothballs in your home, and the natural alternative is simple and not so hard to do.
Here is my 5 step action plan to rid your clothes cupboards of moths and keep your woollens beautiful.
Step 1. Clean, Clean, Clean
Clothes moths love dirt, hair, food stains, in fact any type of protein will bring them in.They are even attracted to the smell of perspiration.
Before you pack any clothes away over summer make sure they are completely clean.
If you have woollen carpets make sure you vacuum in the corners and never give pets old woollen blankets to lie on (a sure breeding ground).
Step 2. Light, Bright and Airing
Clothes moths thrive in dark, moist, warm corners such as the back of cupboards during a humid summer. (The moths flying around your kitchen are pantry moths not clothes mothes).
If you are not packing woollens away over summer try to take them out of the back of the cupboard at least once a month and give them a good shake and brush over and if possible hang in the sun to move moths and larvae out.
The best storage system is to place clean dry clothes in plastic storage tubs, ziplock bags or if possible a Cedar chest.
Step 3. Homemade Natural Moth Balls
The following oils can act as a deterrent to Cloths Moths. You can mix and match oils to suit yourself. Please be aware that some oils can produce allergic reactions in some people (I have a friend who is allergic to lavender).
Lavender Cedar Rosemary Lemongrass Eucalyptus Cloves Mint Thyme Sage
Place a few drops of your chosen oils on a cotton wool ball. Allow to dry and then place in cupboard or storage container with your clothes.
These should last 2-3 months before needing replacing and they leave clothes smelling beautifully.
Step 4. Invest in Pheremone Clothes Traps
These natural, easy to use and cost effective traps give out an odour that the male clothes moths cannot resist. It is also a good way of checking whether you have clothes moths in your home.
The traps are sticky so keep out of reach of little hands. I would suggest on top of wardrobes and cupboards (and not next to your homemade mothballs).
Step 5. If Clothes are Infested
If you can see little bits of webbing, tiny pupae or holes appearing in your clothes then they are already infested. Extreme temperatures will kill moths in all of their life stages.
If possible place the item of clothing in the freezer at a temperature of at least -18c for 72 hours or
keep in temperatures of 33c for at least 1 week. This may be practical in areas where summer temps are extreme or even in attics or sheds over summer (make sure it's mice proof).
For just a little time and effort you can keep your merino clothes in perfect condition and your children safe naturally.