Urban Valet Blog

How to Prevent Moth Holes and Damage

Posted: March 21, 2024

Photo of hands holding a pink sweater with a tear in the seam

Have you ever pulled a garment out of storage and noticed any damage that was not there before? This may be caused by moths or larvae eating at your clothes. Unfortunately, once the damage is done there is no solution other than to patch up the area of clothing that was affected. Our next blog post will discuss how to prevent moths from causing any damage! 

How to Prevent Moth Holes and Damage 

First things first, know your enemy. There are a few different types of moths that may be causing the damage. You should look out for brown or copper insects about eight millimeters long with black-flecked wings, or common clothes moths, which are beige and light brown insects six or seven millimeters long with beige or white wings. Larvae can also be blamed for the damage done to clothing, and are much harder to spot. Be on the lookout for tiny little white caterpillars that are only a couple of millimeters in length. Once either moths or larvae are spotted, give the area a thorough cleaning to ensure they don’t eat your other clothes. 

Next, know their target. Items that have been in storage for a prolonged period of time are prone to this type of damage. Moth damage is commonly seen on wool fabrics, but beetles, silverfish, roaches, and other insects feed on leftover food stains. The food stains can be invisible, like dissolved sugars. Direct damage occurs when insects such as cloth moths feed directly on the fabric. Indirect damage occurs when insects such as beetles, silverfish, and roaches feed on food stains, perspiration, beverage spills, and starch on the fabric.

Most often, insects eating food off of the garment will damage the fibers. During cleaning, the agitation in the cleaning wheel reveals the damage, leaving what are commonly known as “moth holes.” 

Finally, know the steps you can take to prevent the damage. To prevent infestation, it is important to store your items in a cool and dry place. You should not store garments in an attic or basement as the heat and humidity are not beneficial for fabrics. Instead, consider using airtight containers or tightly sealed vacuum bags to protect your items after they are properly washed. Additionally, using moth balls or cedar chips can help prevent insect damage. The scent of cedar chests or chips repels insects, and the air tightness of the chest protects the garments from insect damage.

The downside of using mothballs is the lingering odor on the garments after they are removed from storage. Try airing the items out by hanging them outside for several days. If hanging outside doesn’t remove the odor, bring it to us! Our dry cleaning process utilizes solvents that not only remove the odor but also protect it from future insect damage. Give us a call at 716-885-4351. We are happy to help you take preventive measures to protect your garments!

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