to Account
Call Us

(855) 948-5816


Find Service Area

Do All Moths Eat Clothes?

Written by Aptive Environmental June 17, 2019

When you find holes in your clothing, it’s easy to blame all moths for your wardrobe misfortune. However, before you start pointing fingers at every moth you see, you should know that adult moths don’t actually eat clothing. In fact, the majority of adult moths don’t eat anything at all. Some moths don’t even have mouths! When it comes to your clothes, only one species eats clothing: the clothes moth. What’s more, it’s not even the adult clothes moth that is responsible for damaging your belongings, it’s the clothes moth larvae.

What do Clothes Moths Look Like?

While clothes moths may look similar to common household moths, such as the pantry moth, their food preferences differ. Instead of grains, flour, pasta, and cereal, clothes moths feed on animal fibers containing keratin. This includes wool, fur, silk, feathers, and leather. For the most part, clothes moths do not feed on cotton or synthetic fabrics unless they are blended with animal fibers or are heavily soiled.

One thing that is important to note is that the damage caused by clothes moths is similar to that of the carpet beetle. Since carpet beetles feed on similar materials as clothes moths, it is common to lay the blame on clothes moths when in actuality; you could be dealing with carpet beetles. As a result, proper identification is key.

Identifying clothes moths can be difficult, especially given their small size. For the most part, there are two types of clothes moths that cause problems for homeowners – the webbing clothes moth and the casemaking clothes moth. In addition to a similar size, the webbing clothes moth and casemaking clothes moth look similar in appearance as well. The major difference is that a webbing clothes moth is golden, tan in color and the casemaking clothes moth has wings with dark specks on it.

Adults clothes moths lay between 40-50 tiny eggs on susceptible materials. These eggs will then hatch into fabric-eating larvae. Clothes moth larvae look like small creamy-white caterpillars. As the larvae develop and graze along the clothing surface, threadbare spots will occur.

Where do Clothes Moths Come From?

Unlike the moths you see fluttering towards a light source, clothes moths actually hate the light. Instead, clothes moths prefer dark secluded areas. Clothes moths can get into your home by simply flying through an open door or window. Given their small size, it is easy for clothes moths to get into belongings without you noticing them. If you’re a fan of consignment stores and thrift shops, clothes moths may get into your home by way of second-hand clothing or furniture. Furthermore, clothing and furniture kept in storage, sheds, or garages are susceptible to clothes moths as well. However, no matter how they get into your home, there are a number of ways to prevent clothes moths and if you do have them, get rid of them.

How to Get Rid of Clothes Moths

To determine whether you have a clothes moth infestation, you must first thoroughly inspect any susceptible items. This could be anything from a wool scarf, an old rug, a second-hand sofa, or a taxidermy stuffed animal. If you find clothes moths in your belongings, you should take the following steps:

  • Dispose of items that have been destroyed by clothes moths, or are past the point of repair.
  • Thoroughly clean your clothes by taking them to a dry cleaner or washing them in hot water.
  • Deep clean and vacuum carpeted areas, rugs and closets thoroughly. Be sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately.
  • Freeze any items you cannot wash or dry clean for 72 hours.
  • Call a pest control expert.

While it’s established that clothes moths can cause holes in clothes, this nuisance extends to other items in your home as well. Wool sweaters, silk dresses, leather jackets, and even fur throws can fall victim to these hungry larvae. Not all moths eat clothes, but those that do can create significant damage. Preventing moth holes in clothes and other materials involves keeping your wardrobe and storage areas clean and using moth deterrents like cedar wood or lavender sachets. Remember, moths are less attracted to well-maintained and frequently used items, so regular use and proper maintenance of your clothes can also help keep these pests at bay. If you’re dealing with a persistent problem, moth proofing with professional-grade products or consulting a pest control expert can provide long-term solutions to protect your valuable garments and fabrics.

Unfortunately, when you are trying to get rid of clothes moths yourself, it’s hard to be successful on the first try. If you find yourself with a clothes moth situation, your best bet is to call a pest control expert such as Aptive Environmental. An Aptive pest specialist will be able to identify vulnerable materials and problem areas in your home, and can determine the most effective treatment option based on your needs.

Start protecting your home by calling your local Aptive Environmental branch today.

Related articles

Curated articles for you, from our pest experts.

Close-Up Of A Black Ant On A Green Leaf With Water Droplets.

Pest Control: The Lifecycle of Pests

Pests are a nuisance to homeowners, and can cause a lot of damage to property, as well as health risks to humans and pets. To effectively control pests, it is important to understand their lifecycle and behavior. In this article, we will explore the lifecycle of...

Feb 17, 2023
A Variety Of Pumpkins And Gourds In Different Shapes, Sizes, And Colors Are Arranged On The Steps Of A Front Porch. The Steps Are Terracotta-Colored, And The Porch Is Flanked By Green Leafy Plants.

How to Keep Pumpkins from Rotting

Nothing says fall like newly-picked pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns. These festive vegetables provide the perfect front door decor and after-school activity for kids. Unfortunately for homeowners, though, carved pumpkins will often last between just one to two weeks...

May 8, 2024
An Aptive Pest Control Specialist Waves To Two Children From Outside A House Window, With An Aptive Van Parked In The Background. The Children Are Sitting At A Table Inside, One Waving Back While The Other Is Drawing.

3 Reasons Why You Should Have Pest Control

It’s easy to recognize the need for pest control when we find a wasp nest next to the front door, or when a roach scuttles across the kitchen floor, but some issues may not be as visible. Sometimes a single ant on a countertop or a tick crawling up a pant leg can...

Feb 20, 2024
A Close-Up Of Two Mating Black And Orange Lovebugs On A Green Plant With Small White Flowers, Set Against A Blurred Green Background.

Lovebugs: Facts, Identification, and How to Treat Them

Lovebugs: these small insects may seem harmless, but they can quickly become a nuisance in the southeastern United States. With their unique mating behavior and rapid reproduction, lovebugs can swarm in large numbers during certain times of the year. But what...

Feb 12, 2024
A Close-Up Of A Norway Rat Eating Food Scraps From A Dirty Plate In A Cluttered Kitchen Sink.

The Rodent Riddle: A Guide to Rat Control and Identification

In the corners of homes and urban landscapes, rats lurk as stealthy intruders, capable of causing damage and spreading disease. Recognizing the signs of a rat infestation and understanding effective control measures are crucial for maintaining a more pest protected...

Feb 5, 2024
A Close-Up Of A Deer Mouse Sitting On Green Moss With A Blurred Leafy Background.

How to Treat Mice in the Home

Mice, those elusive yet troublesome creatures, have a knack for infiltrating our living spaces and turning a minor annoyance into a full-blown infestation. Understanding their characteristics and behavior is pivotal in effectively controlling these invaders....

Jan 29, 2024
Close-Up Of A Yellow Jacket Wasp With A Black Body And Yellow Markings, Perched On A Small, Gray, Hexagonal Paper Nest.

Understanding and Controlling Paper Wasps

In the intricate tapestry of nature, paper wasps play a crucial role, contributing to the balance of ecosystems by preying on various pests. However, when these buzzing architects decide to build their intricate nests in and around our homes, they can quickly turn from fascinating insects to potential pests.

Jan 8, 2024
A Cozy Living Room Interior With A Light Beige Sofa Adorned With Various Pillows, A Wooden Coffee Table With Decorative Vases, And Large Windows Showcasing A Snowy Outdoor Scene With Trees Covered In Snow.

Why You Need Pest Control in the Winter As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, many people tend to believe that pests die off during winter. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. In fact, winter can be a time of heightened pest movement as...

Dec 4, 2023
A Heat Map Of The United States Showing Pest Activity Levels Across Various Regions From March 10, 2021, To April 28, 2021, With Higher Activity Indicated By Brighter Colors.

Data, Patterns, and Pest Control

As a leading pest control provider, Aptive service professionals encounter all kinds of pest activity across the country. Our ability to monitor this pest activity has provided valuable insights into understanding the prevalence of specific pest types at different...

Aug 1, 2023
How To Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with managing pest-ridden garbage cans. What many city-dwellers and suburbians don’t realize though, is how easy it is for their own trash cans to become home to opportunistic pests. Allowing bugs to live in your...

Oct 20, 2022

Take back your home with pest control today.