May the Moth not be with you!

Conservation is just as important to us as making clothing and the craft itself. If there is no conservation for the clothing there is no longevity, no sustainability, and no one will bring us trousers or jackets that belonged to their Father or Grandfather for a small alteration or repair. As much as we love to remake, repair and recycle, there has to be conservation in the first place.

Tineola bisselliella, also know as the common clothing moth, comes in two varieties. The webbing and the casing moth. The gestate differently but sound the nell of catastrophe no matter what. What can we do to protect our belongings and home before they succumb to the horrors of an infestation.

TOP TIPS from our Workroom to your Wardrobe and beyond.

  1. Clean your wardrobe, cupboard or drawers

    You should approach the arrival of Moth season with the sae rigour and immediacy as you wold cleaning a crime scene. No spot left un-wiped, no corner left unspoken for and no folded piece of clothing left unturned.

    1. Remove every item of clothing, and either wash by hand or let air. Remember the moths live off of biological residue. If you’ve worn the item and not cleaned it there will be biological residue left behind. Moths will feast away, lay larvae and depart with holes in abundance and a new class of critters to terrorise you next year.

    2. Using a detergent you should wipe clean all the surfaces that you store clothing on whether a shelf or a drawer. Vacuum thoroughly as well. The darker the area or tighter the nook the more likely you are to have unwanted lurking guests.

    3. Throw away vacuum bag and cloths you have used straight away.

  2. Clean your clothing

    You will need to wash or dry clean all your clothing. Try to avoid dry cleaning at all costs of course but if utterly necessary you can proceed. Wash with detergent and hot water and air dry your clothing, if knit, or on low heat if woven. If you are worried about washing your clothing you can also put sweaters, jeans etc in the freezer over night to kill any living moths or larvae.

  3. Stay away from the Heating

    Luckily as the temperatures go up you can turn your heating down. Moths and their larvae love those tropical temperatures. The better options would be to turn down the thermostat and put on extra layers of Moth-free clothing if you are cold.

  4. Seal and Protect

    Once you have thoroughly cleaned storage spaces and clothing you should seal everything in zip lock plastic bags.

    The best ones to use you can find here.

  5. Moth Papers

    A lot of products kill or deter Moths once they already have grown their wings from plenty of feasting on the woollens and cashmere items in your wardrobe. These papers on the other hand kill eggs, larvae and adult moths. They last for 6 months for the duration of the epidemic and you can place them in drawers, cupboards and wardrobes as well as inside the plastic zip-lock bags ( which are reusable) for extra protection.

  6. Killer Cassette

    Hang these cassettes from the rails in your wardrobe. They also will kill eggs, larvae and adult moths for the piece of clothing you have hanging in a wardrobe.

  7. Cedar Balls

    Sprinkle these nut sized spheres of Cedar throughout the drawers and wardrobes of your home. They can also go inside the zip-lock bags if you want and anywhere with a dark corner where you cant easily see whats going on.

  8. Get rid of plastic dry cleaner bags and garment covers

    All that plastic is bad for the environment and also for your clothing. If you have claustrophobia imagine how your clothes feel. You should use breathable cotton garment covers or next best cotton-like woven garment covers. This helps to put a layer of fabric that moths don’t like to eat between their little pesky bodies and the luxurious fabrics of your wardrobe.

Zip-lock bags are your friend!  You can generally fit two larger and chunky sweaters in one bag or 3 or four medium to thin knit sweaters.

Zip-lock bags are your friend!

You can generally fit two larger and chunky sweaters in one bag or 3 or four medium to thin knit sweaters.

The best option is to have a fully cedar lined wardrobe and drawers. But not everyone likes the smell or has the inclination to go quite so far!

Robert McKinley’s cedar-lined walk-in closet ready for an attack.

Robert McKinley’s cedar-lined walk-in closet ready for an attack.

The only caveat here is of course the oils in the cedar will fade over time and you will need to gently sand the wood every couple years.

One step shy of this are cedar hangers or hang cedar blocks like these. The wonderful thing about cedar is of course that it is a natural Moth repellent.

Moral Of The Story

As makers of predominantly woollen clothing we are well aware that this is a grave undertaking. We are constantly battling to make sure our workshop and front of shop are free of any intruders. We haven’t suggested any Lavender solutions as we just are not particularly fans of the smell. Of course if you love Lavender have at it! If you hate Cedar, hopefully we have offered alternatives to your liking. When our customers come to us with moth holes in their suiting, tailoring or clothes we are able invisibly mend for them giving them a new lease on the life of the garment. We do everything we can to help but of course there is no step to far when it comes to protecting against the damage of Moths. Pick one step or pick them all, but if you are going to pick one thing from the list go with number 5 and get plenty of moth papers.

If you would like further information or to discuss please feel free to contact us at the shop for our 2-cents on the matter. Gina and Alexander can talk for quite a while about this!

Norton & Sons