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Why do moths eat clothes?

Firstly, to set the record straight, it is not actually the moths that are eating their way through your wardrobe…it is their larvae! Adult moths can't eat your garments. Moths only have months during the larval and caterpillar stage of their life.

The process starts when the female moth lays a mass of fertilised eggs – this can range from 50 to 1000 eggs!! – onto a garment or a suitable household item.

Carpets are a favourite, but anything made of natural fibres such as silk, wool, cashmere, angora and fur. All these materials contain Keratin. Keratin is composed of structural proteins and can also be found in skin and hair. Moth caterpillars sometimes eat feathers and leather, even hairballs from humans and pets!

Moth larvae are not interested in eating synthetic or cotton materials unless the items are blended with animal fibre. The clothes moth larvae (Tineola bisselliella) are the most common clothes destroyers. Unlike other moths, clothing moths do not like the light and prefer to hide away in your wardrobes and drawers.

Where to check for clothes moths

Inspect all the items that include natural fibres. The moth will lay its eggs in the dark areas where they are unlikely to be disturbed. Check your wool carpets and rugs and if you can lift them up and check for signs of webbing.

At Farthings Dry Cleaners in Cambridge and Trumpington, we can help you with your clothes moths. The dry cleaning process will kill moths and their larvae in your garment. We also use a freezer to freeze your clothing if it cannot be dry-cleaned. Please note that dry cleaning or/and freezing serves as a one-time intervention and is not a definitive solution to eradicate moth. Unfortunately, no method ensures absolute prevention of future moth infestations.

We can also repair damage caused by moths.

Bring your garments into either Farthings Cambridge or Farthings Trumpington for inspection and advice.


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