I was lying in bed the other night watching ‘Keeping Faith’ on my iPad (totally brilliant, by the way. It’s currently on BBC I-player, download it before it drops off) when something small and silver flickered past my face. ‘That was a moth’ said my husband in his voice of doom. I won’t repeat the words that came out of my mouth at that moment, but if you have ever had a moth problem, I am sure you’ll understand my reaction.
The arrival of Spring means that the moth larvae are starting to hatch so now is the time to take action. May to October is moth breeding season and it’s also the time that we pack away our winter knits, so it’s really important to make sure you that you are putting them away clean and protected.
I asked Julia Dee, the anti-moth expert a few questions..
Q – What is the best way to store our clothes in winter?
Julia – Make sure everything is clean. Wrap in acid free tissue and put into breathable storage boxes or fold and put into bags ( see our knitwear bag ) A pillow case will do the job!!
Q – Can you ever truly get rid of moths once the little critters have taken up residence? Or is it just a case of managing them?
Julia – Cleanliness and maintenance. It will take about a year to do it naturally. Use our treatment chrysanthemum spray to deep cleanse the area and kill everything in sight. Then clean madly, empty all wardrobes and drawers and wash down then spray with our linen spray filled with yummy essential oils that the lady moth doesn’t like. Keep a pheromone trap at one side of the room, this catches the male moth and is a good monitor of your problem. Put a moth decoy at the other side of the room and this changes his sex and confuses the whole moth mating scene. Then fill the wardrobes with scented sachets and put large bowls of fresh herbs around the place.
Q – Once you spot a hole in a jumper, is it game over? Should you dispose of it?
Julia – No there are quite a few solutions. Pretty patches are available online. For elbows, a lovely piece of silk for elbow patches, or some lace cut out and draped over the holes. Re knitting can be done by experts. Try wwwthewardrobecurator.co.uk in Battersea London for invisible mending.
Q – Why do they love cashmere so much?
Julia – They eat the protein in all natural fabrics, called keratin, it’s the same as skin and hair particles, pet fur and birds feathers. It just so happens that we love cashmere, buy more of it and wear it more. Leaving food and hair splats ( dream topping ) on it then shoving it to the back of the wardrobe and not cleaning and protecting it!!
Q – Do you recommend fumigating? If so, are you supposed to remove all of your clothes before you fumigate the space?
Julia – If you have a serious problem then everything must stay in the room , including the clothes, but this is the last resort. Who wants nasty chemicals puffed in to your bedroom? Better to wash or dry clean all your clothes, buy a steamer and steam everything, ( try Fridja or Morplan )or freeze everything for a few days…. But CLEAN CLEAN CLEAN, don’t leave any traces of food splats, hair or skin particles on your clothes.
Q – We have bought so many anti-moth products over the years, but truth be told we don’t remember to replace them as often as we should. Like anything we tend to treat as soon as we spot a hole or a moth… Are any of the treatments long lasting or do they need constant refreshing with new ones?
Julia – Constant vigilance…. Boring I know. There is nothing that lasts for ever. The moth box and moth decoy and sachets last 6 months. The moth season is May-October, but I would use the products year round. Put the date on them as soon as you open them, then don’t forget to replace them!!!
Julia founded Total Wardrobe Care in 2007, a unique natural anti-moth product collection and clothing storage range which was in development for five years. New for 2018, is an effective and 100% natural anti-moth DIY kit, designed to eliminate and prevent moth infestations.
These are a few of Julia’s tips.
is paramount. Only on-going cleanliness, moth maintenance and garment protection will keep moths away.
Tackle one room at a time.
To eliminate all living moths from a room, use the chrysanthemum moth spray. Close all windows and doors, remove any fish tanks, pets and children. Spray all areas thoroughly. Under furniture, behind curtains and around the edges of the carpet. Take out all your clothes from the wardrobe and drawers and spray inside. Leave your clothes in the room and this will also kill any moths in your clothes. Wait 4 hours and the open the door and another 4 hours the room is ready to use.
If you suspect moths in your clothes and see the tell-tale signs, holes and little white trails or tiny rice like cocoons then spray directly into the wardrobe, this will kill everything. Then everything should be dry cleaned or washed if in doubt.
Putting clothes in bags and freezing for a couple of days also works to kill any larvae, but it doesn’t remove the food source which is skin and hair particles and food splats.
To give continual protection all year round use a moth box and moth decoy in each room and replace every three months. The moth decoy attracts the male moth and he gets covered in a powder that only attracts males and puts off the females and so the breeding cycle is interrupted. Place on a shelf or chest of drawers, but not in a draft. At the opposite end of the room place the moth box, under a chest of drawers, chair, or bed, somewhere dark and undisturbed. This has a sticky pheromone paper in a special box and this also attracts the male moth but he gets stuck to the paper and dies. These two together complement one another and help to protect your room.
The female moth is looking for a dark undisturbed place to eat mate and lay eggs. So make sure clothes are not put away dirty at the end of the season. Protect natural fabrics by putting knitwear into knitwear bags or storage boxes with some acid free tissue. Hanging garments put into breathable garment bags with Velcro necks that close tightly around the tops of the coat hangers. The lady moth doesn’t like a strong smell so add repellents to the wardrobes and drawers. The essential oil is made from 8 natural ingredients that have been historically used around the world to keep moths away. Lavender cedar-wood, patchouli, lemongrass clove, laurel, rosemary and thyme.
It can be used with the little wooden diffuser and placed in the wooden cup, the oil travels up the stick into the ball and gives off a fragrance that we love and moths hate. It’s lasts for 6 months and then needs to be replaced.
I have been sent Julia’s kit, so my plan is to combine my overdue wardrobe detox with an extensive wardrobe clean. I also plan to wash all my cashmere jumpers and then store them in see through crates that I bought from Ikea. I don’t think I can do it just yet though, as it’s so chilly today, I feel like I might be needing them for a few more weeks. (I know that the advice is to dry clean cashmere, but I don’t really fancy a huge dry cleaning bill. I have a lot of jumpers!)
I should mention that this is not a collaboration or sponsored post, but I was sent the kit to try and after a quick poll on stories, I realised that so many of you were keen to find a solution so I thought I would share Julia’s tips with you. I have a friend who SWEARS by leaving orange peel everywhere. I am not sure I fancy orange peel filling up my dressing room, but if you are looking for an inexpensive option, it might be worth a try?!
If you are still reading, I suspect it’s because you have also spotted a moth or a hole, so good luck and may the moth busting force be with you!