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Moths are a common household problem in both pantries, where they feast on grains and cereals, and closets, where they’re attracted to wool, silk and other fabric. Getting rid of moths for good requires a two-pronged approach: first treat the immediate moth issue using moth traps, vinegar solutions, and thorough cleaning, then use preventative measures like moth balls and proper storage techniques to make sure the moths don’t come back.

1. Know the signs. If you’ve seen a moth or two fluttering around but aren’t sure if you have an all-out infestation, look for these signs:

  • Tiny holes in your sweaters or other items of clothing. If you see holes in one sweater, you’ll probably find more. Check all of your clothes made with wool, feathers, fur, and silk.
  • Clothing that looks dusty or discolored, or has a musty smell.
  • Webbing in corners of the closet or on clothing.

2. Set out moth traps. To take care of the immediate problem of moths in your closet, trap them with pheromone moth traps, which attract and kill them with a sticky substance that they can’t escape once they touch.

  • You can make your own moth traps with flypaper and fish oil, which attracts moths. Dab a bit on some flypaper and hang it in your closet.
  • Traps designed to catch mice are also effective for catching moths.

3. Wash your clothes. It’s important to wash every item of clothing to get rid of eggs the moths may have laid.

  • Wash the items according to their care instructions. If possible, put them through a hot dryer. Items that cannot be dried on high heat can be placed in the freezer for a few days to kill any eggs.
  • Wash linens, towels, and any other cloth items stored in your closet.
  • Remove suitcases, bags and other containers, and wash these as well.

4. Clean the closet. Now that everything has been removed from your closet, it’s time to scour it from top to bottom to get rid of moth eggs that might still be lurking there.

  • Use soapy water or a vinegar and water solution to clean the closet floor and walls. Dip a sponge scrubber into the solution and scrub the walls to scratch off all the eggs. Clean especially well in cracks and crevices.
  • Vacuum well. Use a high-powered vacuum to clean the carpet in your closet. While you’re at it, vacuum the bedroom area, too, since moths may have laid eggs there.