Moth On Window

How To Get Rid Of Moths For Good: Tips For Homeowners

Miranda Crace5-Minute Read
May 13, 2021

Homeownership comes with its fair share of new chores, maintenance and duties. For most homeowners, dealing with pests is one of the least desirable responsibilities.

Though there are plenty of pests for you to keep an eye on – like termites, carpenter ants and wasps – a critter that doesn’t often make the pest inspection list is the common moth. These nighttime insects may seem harmless at first, but they can actually cause lasting damage to your clothes, carpets and other belongings. In the most severe cases, moths that manage to lay their eggs in your produce can ruin an entire pantry’s worth of food.

If you suspect you’re sharing your home with these unwelcome visitors, we have a few tips you can follow to get rid of them for good.

Tips For Getting Rid Of Moths In The House

Before you can prevent moths from entering your home, you’ll have to fully eradicate any active moth infestations. Here are a few simple remedies that can help you eliminate moths and their offspring.

1.   Use Natural Repellants

Think twice before you set up that old jar of mothballs stowed away in your attic. Although mothballs are effective in getting rid of all kinds of household pests, the chemicals in them are toxic to humans. Plus, because the fumes settle toward the ground, these pesticides pose an even larger threat to small children and pets.

Fortunately, there are plenty of natural alternatives that perform just as well and help you create a greener home. Cedarwood chips are a homeowner favorite, but there are several other natural solutions that you can pick up on your next trip to the grocery store. The next time you encounter moths in your home, try using:

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Dried lavender
  • Lavender essential oils

2.   Clean Up The House

It’s a simple fix, but conducting a thorough spring cleaning of your home can drastically reduce the growth of a current moth infestation. Removing dust, food debris, webbings and other moth attractions can help you spot moths that are currently hiding in your messy closet.

Moths and their larvae enjoy making their homes in the darkest corners of your house. As you vacuum, make sure you get the corners, crevices and other hard-to-reach places. You should also dispose of any larvae you find in the process – if you don’t, you’ll soon find your closet reoccupied with a brand-new colony of moths.

3.   Set Moth Traps

Most homeowners are well-acquainted with traps for mice, ants and fruit flies, but purchasing pest traps specifically designed to capture moths could be the solution to your ruined wardrobe. Moth traps come in a variety of sizes and designs, and they can help you ward off moths in the different sections of your home where they are most likely to live.

A closet trap, for example, hangs alongside the rest of your clothing and ensnares moths with a sticky board. Other traps, which sit in your pantry, release pheromones to attract pests and keep them out of your food.

4.   Expose Items To Extreme Temperatures

Moth eggs, larvae and adults all share a vulnerability to extreme cold or extreme heat. As a homeowner, you can use this to your advantage during your pest removal efforts. If you notice moths chewing away at your carpeted sections, steaming your floors can eliminate eggs and larvae when throwing away the carpet isn’t an option.

Cold weather does the trick just as well. If you have a favorite shirt that you want to save, try sealing it in a bag and leaving it outside during the winter to freeze out any unwanted guests.

5.   Throw Away Infected Belongings

As tempting as it may be to hold on to sentimental items that have been ruined by a moth infestation, your best bet is to get these items out of your home. Adult moths are quite easy to spot, but their larvae are much more challenging to notice in your home. A garment that looks moth-free may still house many of these hard-to-notice creatures, and if given the opportunity, these insects will continue to infect your clothes, fabric surfaces and food sources.

In a similar fashion, you should avoid bringing in any used furniture that could be contaminated by pests.

6.   Hire Pest Control Specialists

If your moth problem persists, you might need to enlist the help of an expert. Pest control companies not only are trained to spot areas of an infestation that you might not see, but they also have all the equipment you need to get your home pest-free.

Tips For Preventing Moths In The Future

At this point, you’ve successfully taken care of all the moth infestations in your home – but how do you make sure they stay away for good?

1.   Know The Signs Of An Infestation

Similar to termite damage in a home, identifying the early signs of a moth infestation is key to preventing these pests from wreaking havoc on your home. The most telltale sign is an adult moth, but there are several other signals you should keep in mind as well.

Moths often create large holes in clothing, but they may tunnel through the fabric in a trench-like pattern as well. Occasionally, you may spot silk-like tubes or casings, which is where moth larvae feed and live. Finally, you’ll want to make note of any cocoons you see in your home, which are typically dark brown or gray in appearance.

2.   Wash Your Clothes Before You Store Them

Even if you don’t think your clothes contain moths, consider washing and dry cleaning them before you store them away for the season – especially if those clothes are made with animal-based natural fibers. Running your clothes through the washer can kill any lingering clothes moths and remove any odors or pheromones that could lure in new pests while your clothing is in storage.

Once the washing is done, be sure to stow away your clothes in a secure, bug-proof container. Some homeowners prefer using vacuum-sealed bags to save space in the closet, while others simply opt for a fully sealed plastic bin.

3.   Keep Away Moisture

Cool, damp spaces in your home are known to attract all types of creatures – such as bed bugs, rodents and cockroaches – and moths are no exception. Because moths can’t drink liquids directly, wet environments help them get the moisture they need to survive.

If you have wet clothing, draperies or fabrics, be sure to dry them thoroughly before you leave them in a cool, dark space for an extended period of time.

4.   Check For Entry Points

Moths enter your home just like any other pest – through cracks, gaps and holes in your windows, doors and walls. Keeping them out of your home for good means checking for these points of entry and sealing them up.

If you can’t pinpoint a precise area of entry, then you should find the time to conduct a full-house sweep to locate where bugs get in. Starting with the exterior of your house, inspect the siding, foundation, window screens, vents and exhaust fans. Next, take a look at the inside your home, paying particular attention to your attic, basement, chimney, doors, any cracks in the walls and crawl spaces.

5.   Seal Away Your Food

If you’ve noticed moth larvae crawling in your oats, cereal or other pantry staples, it’s high time you invest in some new food storage options. Pantry moths commonly lay their eggs inside cans, jars and boxes of food – including unopened packaging. If left to grow and spread through your home, these moths can cause a significant health hazard to you and your family, leaving you with itches, rashes and other skin discomforts.

To protect your pantry from these pests, you’ll want to use some kind of reusable glass container or any other kind of airtight storage. This will help prevent moths from breaking into food sources and further growing their numbers in your kitchen.

The Bottom Line

Moths can pose a serious issue for homeowners, especially when their presence is ignored or untreated. Fortunately, getting moths out of your home isn’t too challenging of a task, and implementing preventative measures today can help you keep your home pest-free down the line.

For more advice on maintaining a healthy, clean home environment, check out our other tips for homeowners.

Miranda Crace

The Rocket Homes blog is here to bring you all you need to know about buying, selling and making the most of your home. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a homeowner, selling your current home or looking to keep your place in tip-top shape, our writers and freelancers bring their experience and expertise to meet you right where you are.