Holey Woolies …….


I pulled three woolen cardigans out of my wardrobe yesterday before I found one that did *not* have holes in it!

Jeez –  I have moths!   According to my local (over) friendly hardware man they  could be Casemaking clothes moths (Tinea pellionella), Webbing clothes moths (Tineola bisselliella) or Carpet Beetles (Anthrenus verbasci) .

Whichever they are they took up nearly my whole day today!

I have a small built-in wardrobe and what doesn’t fit on hangars on the rails I fold and put on the carpeted floor in piles.      Today I took everything out – and was incredibly surprised at how much was in there!

Once everything was out I vacuumed the floor and wiped down the walls and rails and then sprayed an entire tin of bug spray in there (Overkill?  You bet!) and then shut the door on the fumes while I dealt with the clothes.

I started 3 piles:  Keep;  Charity;  Throw Away.

I then spent hours washing and drying my  Keep stuff before putting it back in the wardrobe which now also has some mothballs hanging in a net bag in the corner!    What couldn’t go in the dryer is draped over the clothes horse or hanging on hangars all around the house.

The Charity stuff  I inspected really closely for holes, moths and larvae before putting in bags –  I’ll think about washing them before giving them away.

The Throw away stuff is outside in the freezing cold (which coincidentally kills moths and larvae –  one suggestion for treating clothes was to put them in the freezer!!)   – the bins go out in the alley tomorrow night.

I’ve read that lavender and rosemary might keep clothes moths away –  between them and the moth balls I sure will smell like a little old lady on the metro!

At least it wasn’t bed bugs!



32 responses

  1. ugh! that sucks! *knock wood* I haven’t had that problem. Of course I have been doing about 3 loads of laundry a day due to my problem, also overkill, probably, but I am not taking too many chances since I can’t see the offenders. I hope you got your problem taken care of and didn’t lose too many favorites. You can always get a cedar chest or some cedar chips, they are supposed to help and they don’t smell as stinky as mothballs!

    • My problem was nothing compared to yours but I certainly felt itchy after I’d put these on. The first one I noticed a big hole in the sleeve and thought “I wonder how I did that” before taking it off and putting another one on. When I saw holes down the front of that one I realised what was happening and psychologically got itchy. When I was pulling things out of the wardrobe I could see little moths between layers – or bits of moths – these were the clothes down the bottom of the piles that I probably haven’t worn for a year or two.

  2. Yes, lavender is a good deterrent. Have a look in the shops and see if you can find cedar balls though – little balls (about 1″ in diameter) of cedar wood, which you can refresh with some cedar essential oil; they smell a whole lot nicer than Naphthalene!

  3. Since we’re surrounded by cedar trees, I often take fresh hunks of cedar from when we cut one (we heat with wood) and place them in my closets…I don’t know how wonderful that works if you have an “infestation” to begin with or if it’s best for warding them away.

  4. I’d rather prefer smelling like a lavender field (I should say that I am not a fan of lavender) then mothballs. Yuk!!

    My mum used to put soap bars of any kind into the wardrobe. Never experienced any problems with moths or the any other creepers and crawlers.

    Though this reminds my of a story my mum told me a while ago, which left me in tears from laughter. But I guess mainly because of the way she told it. In a very stern and affronted tone. She tends to put clothes outside to air them, when they don’t need washing yet. She had a really nice woolen sweater that she loved and which was on the balcony over night. Next day when she wanted to put it in the closet again she noticed small holes, but wouldn’t react. Not long after that she put it out again and after that there were big holes – huuuge holes. Not knowing what the reason was she left it outside to see what happens. And it showed that a squirrel decided to pluck it apart to use the wool for nesting. My mum was so pissed off with that squirrel it was hilarious.
    And I guess what made it even more funny to me is – if this would have happened to me I would have stood there and bent over with laughter. Whereas mum would have been able to laugh about it if it would have been her own fault. Though if she could have climbed after that little thieve – this would be one dead squirrel.

    • Ha! Maybe that squirrel put your mother’s sweater yarn under the hood of my car. I was driving my car to work after being on vacation for a week, when I smelled something like scorched clothing and burning popcorn. Once I got to work, I popped open the hood and found a bundle of yarn tangled with bird seed on top of the engine. Some squirrel had built a nest in my car, and apparently used someone’s sweater for her bedding—the tags were still on the yarn! I asked around to see if one of my neighbors was missing a green and orange sweater, but nobody came forward, maybe with good reason. The yarn was a spectacularly ugly color combination.

    • LOL – that is a wonderful story and I love the image I have of your mother clinging the tree and killing the thieving squirrel! I once put some clothes out on the back deck to dry (the lay flat sort of clothes) and when I looked outside there was a squirrel nibbling on them! Now, after your story, perhaps he was trying to pull bits off for his home!

  5. My parents’ closets were crawling with moths before I started cleaning them. When you opened the doors, a little cloud of moths would fly out. After I got rid of all the old clothes, I scrubbed the insides with Pine-Sol, which is a very pungent-smelling cleaner. It seems to have worked: I haven’t seen a moth since then, though we still have to go through the Christmas decorations with all the felt and cotton wool.

    • Most of my moths were dead ones – or just bits of wing or a puff of “ash” stuck on my clothes. I don’t think I’d like to have things flying out at me. I’ve suggested the manservant should do his wardrobe too even though he doesn’t have anything made of wool – his clothes get holes in them because he wears them to death before he throws them away so he probably couldn’t tell the difference between his normal holes and moth holes.

  6. Carpet beetles look like itty bitty caterpillers (I call them “fuzz bugs”) and leave carcasses behind. So, if it was them, you probably would have seen evidence.

    Remind me not to sit next to you on the subway – mothballs & bug killer, ewww!

    • Yeah I was a toxic passenger this morning! After the funky chemical smell on my clothes I decided to put a bit of extra perfume on me this morning – I’ll bet I smelt really peculiar!

      I now know how to store clothes properly in-between seasons! Something I’ve never done a lot about before. I’m going to try the cedar as soon as Amazon delivers my package.

  7. The smell of mothballs always takes me back to childhood because my grandparents house in Kent smelled of them! Well done on the clearout, I keep thinking that I need to do that myself but I never seem to get round to it.

    • For months (years?) I’ve been saying that I must go through my wardrobe and we all know that I’d still be saying it next year if I hadn’t been forced to do it by bloody bugs! All my old rellies used to store blankets and winter things in camphor chests liberally laced with napthalene flakes. It was awful when you went to stay and they got a blanket out of those chests!

  8. hai, I didn’t read all the comments. Just wanted to tell you a tip I got from the peeps at the natural history museum when I was just a little biology student.
    If you don’t like to soak your clothes in nasty poisons, you can kill eggs and larvae and such by simply sticking your clothes in the freezer for three days. It’s a treatment that doesn’t harm any of the delicate natural fibres, and it works very well… you gotta leave them deepfrozen at least three days though.. they are tough little buggers.

    • Hi Drude – yes I saw the freezer tip online and thought it would be cool (ha ha) if I had more room in mine to try it! I put a few things outside in the freezing weather and felt a sense of satisfaction as I realised I was murdering the little buggers.

  9. The experts talk about red cedar and essential oils as good bets to keeping moths away from clothing. I know we discussed putting cedar paneling in the closet at one time, but instead, used an old cedar chest my wife’s father made for her, rubbing it with the red cedar oil now and again on the inside.

    • I’m sure that cedar chest is beautiful. I have a lump of red cedar that my father shaped and sanded as part of physical therapy after a massive stroke. You’ve given me an idea – rub it with some cedar oil and put it in the bottom of my closet! Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s