Noticed a few more holes in your woollens this year which aren’t down to a dodgy washing machine? It could be an infestation of moths, warns dry cleaning specialists Johnsons the Cleaners – and it’s all thanks to our warm winter.
Figures from the Met Office show England and Wales have just had the warmest winter since 1869, which has boosted numbers of certain clothes-munching varieties of moths - and their larvae.
Dr Zoe Randle, surveys officer at Butterfly Conservation, an organisation which works towards the conservation of butterflies and moths, says: “These mild, damp conditions will have encouraged the breeding of common clothes moth and case-bearing clothes moth caterpillars, who are the main clothes eating culprits.”
Of the more than 2,500 moth species in the UK, only six eat clothes, including the two mentioned above. But it’s not the adult moths that will do the damage to your cashmere cardis and silk shirts – it’s their caterpillars or larvae.
Graham Warren of Johnsons the Cleaners says: “Seeing a moth flying around your home is a problem, but not the problem, as it is their eggs that do all the damage.”
He says that although invisible mending of clothes can be done in some cases, prevention is paramount.
Here’s how to moth-proof your wardrobe:
1. Spread clothes out in the wardrobe, so it’s harder for larvae to migrate between clothes
2. Store valuable clothes in garment bags
3. Check regularly for signs of larvae - they look like small grains of white rice
4. Dry clean valuable garments often to keep the problem at bay
5. Carpets should be professionally cleaned every three months to maintain protection
6. Regularly vacuum under furniture that sits on top of carpets as this is where moths will breed
7. Vacuum areas where clothes are stored for long lengths of time e.g. under the bed
8. Use natural products to provide extra protection for clothes and minimize harm to moths, such as Orphea Moth Repellents
9. Don’t leave dirty clothes in piles for longer than a few days
10. Don’t leave clothes in dark, undisturbed places if not packed in plastic bags
Have you noticed more moths or holes in your clothes than usual? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.