With spring transitioning into summer it is time to start packing away my sweaters, coats, hats and scarves. This is one of two occasions that I think about that household pest, the clothes moth.
The other occasion is when I pull out my winter wear and find holes in my favorite sweater or a chewed out depression running down the arm of my coat – sure signs that I did not take care to protect my clothing from this tiny but destructive pest.
It is actually the larvae of the clothes moth that does the damage. The female moth settles in your closet and deposits eggs among your woolens. The eggs hatch and the larvae begin eating their way through your wardrobe, growing to their mature size to begin the cycle all over again.
The traditional defense against moths is to scatter moth balls among your clothes. But some people find the odor too strong for their liking and have concerns about the ingredients used to make them.
An alternative method of dealing with these pests is with herbs. We have been using herbs since ancient times to battle moths and I have found that it works quite well.
Not only are many herbs insecticidal, but the aroma of an herbal mixture will also repel the moth. Moths rely on their sense of smell to find the wool where they lay their eggs. Rather than smelling wool the female moth will smell herbs and be on her way.
So how about a recipe that blends the leaves and flowers of herbs with essential oils to keep moths on the run? It’s an inexpensive and safe alternative to mothballs because the mixture is all-natural.
In a large bowl combine the following dried herbs:
1 ounce wormwood or artemisia
4 ounces lavender flowers
2 ounces rosemary leaves
Handful of cedar shavings
30 drops of lavender oil
5 drops of rosemary oil
5 drops of vetiver (grass extract)
Toss the essential oils gently with dried herbs. Fill sachets or a bowl with the mixture and place in your closet, wardrobe or drawers.
Moth Proofing Tips:
Clean your clothes before you store them. Moths are even more attracted to material with food stains, body oils, etc.
If you haven’t worn a garment, scarf or hat in a while, give it to a charity. This will remove potential moth havens from your closet.
Keep your closet clean. Vacuum the corners and shake out the blankets.
When you bring clothing in purchased from a resale shop or garage sale, send it to the dry cleaners or pop it in the dryer. This will kill any eggs or larvae that may come with the garment.