How To Get Rid of (and Prevent!) Fabric-Eating Moths

Apartment Therapy Tutorials

Toxic moth balls can be about as dreadful as a moth infestation itself, so we've explored a few natural, pleasant alternatives you can take to protect your woolens and other clothing you keep stored away.

What You Need


  • Moth repellents - ceder, herbs, essential oils


  • Washing machine or dry cleaner
  • Vacuum
  • Airtight containers
  • Iron
  • Freezer


1. Moths are attracted to soiled fabric, so launder or dry clean clothing before placing it in extended storage. Laundering in hot water also kills moth eggs and larvae.

2. Regularly and thoroughly vacuum the closet and surrounding areas. Moths like dark places such as corners, baseboards, edges of carpets, under furniture, etc. If there are signs of infestation, discard vacuum bags outside, away from the home.

3. Store susceptible clothing (wool, silk, fur, and other animal fibers) in airtight boxes or bags. Make sure there are no holes and seal with packing tape for extra insurance.

4. If you have signs of infestation, ironing clothing can kill moth eggs and larvae.

5. Freezing is also said to kill eggs and larvae. You can even store sweaters in the freezer!

6. Cedar repels moths if it has a strong enough odor. Look for it in the form of blocks, balls, hangers, or boxes and sand it with sandpaper every few months to revive the scent.

7. You can purchase moth repellent sachets, but it's also easy to make your own. Fill fabric pouches, tea bags, wiffle balls, or just a bowl with moth-repelling herbs or essential oils like lavender, rosemary, mint, thyme, cloves, peppercorns, lemon, eucalyptus, and ginseng. Refresh every few months, and enjoy the bonus of a nice smelling closet!

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(Image credits: Ashley Poskin)