Moths can be really annoying and bothersome. While they aren’t actually harmful to humans, they’re notorious for damaging expensive wool and cashmere clothing and consuming food items. We’ll cover what you need to know on how to get rid of moths naturally with a few simple solutions.
There are different types of moths, but nearly all are drawn to dark, humid spaces. The most common problem associated with moth infestations are the ones you find in your home. You may find them in your pantry or making a meal of your clothes. Then you have the moths that are bothersome outdoors. These can be a pest for outdoor gatherings after dark and pose a threat to gardens.
The adult moths aren’t actually the main concern, however. It’s the larvae that feast on natural fabrics, food in your pantry, and even your plants. Moths are nocturnal and will find dark, warm places to lay their eggs which then go to town on nearly anything. Here are some effective methods on how to get rid of moths naturally inside and around your home.
Lifecycle of A Moth
There are over than 100,000 species of moths, which is quite incredible if you think about the diversity of these little creatures. They live throughout the world, except in the polar regions. Moths are typically plant eating insects. They have four distinct stages of life:
- Larva (Caterpillar)
How to Get Rid of Moths Naturally
Some heavy fragrances work well to repel moths naturally without the need for any harsh chemicals. You may even have these in your home already.
Cinnamon – This natural spice will repel moths and other bugs that are not a fan of its heavy aroma. A great remedy to rid your cabinets and pantry of moths is by placing a few cinnamon sticks around, in corners, and areas where moths might hide.
Bay Leaves – This is another common kitchen staple you might have in your spice drawer. Fresh bay leaves, however, have a more fragrant aroma that can effectively repel moths and other common pests. Spread leaves around your cabinets and in your pantry then replace them as needed.
Cedar – This is another really strong fragrance that has been widely known to repel moths. The essential oils naturally found in unfinished cedar wood evaporate and produce a strong fragrance which moths hate. Place cedar chips in closets and cabinets to deter moths. These can also be used in mulch for gardens to help deter moths. Eventually these will need to be replaced, especially outdoors, once the scent fades.
Cedar is Natural Repellent for Moths
Indian Lilac – also known as neem, this plant is available as an herb as well as an oil or in a powdered form for many different uses. It can be used in various ways to repel moths around your home. Place fresh leaves from the plant in corners of your cabinets and pantry or use the oil diluted with water in a spray bottle to spray in closets and drawers.
Lavender – If you want a natural repellent that leaves a more pleasant smell in your closet or drawers try lavender. You can make little sachets using dried lavender flowers to place in drawers or hang in your closet. Some opt for a lavender spray to use around their home.
Natural Methods to Kill Moths
If you discover a moth infestation it may call for more invasive measures than simply repelling them. Signs of infestation include moth webbing, a foul smell coming from your clothing, discoloration and holes in your clothes. These are some ideas to safely and effectively kill moths and their larvae.
Vinegar Solution – A solution of vinegar will kill moth eggs and larvae on contact. It will also help prevent future infestations as a repellent for adult moths. Combine equal parts of vinegar to water in a spray bottle and spray where you find signs of moths. Vinegar can cause discoloration of fabrics, so avoid spraying directly on clothing.
Use Heat – Moths and their eggs cannot withstand intense temperatures. Using a blow dryer directly on infested areas will kill the eggs and larvae. This may be a more practical solution for getting rid of moths naturally from clothing in drawers where you wouldn’t want to use vinegar or substances that can get on your clothing.
Diatomaceous earth – This is a powdered substance made from sedimentary rock. It is completely harmless and non-toxic to humans and pets, yet lethal to many common pests. When consumed or coming in contact with DE, its composition results in death within minutes for many insects. Use a food-grade Diatomaceous earth to sprinkle or dust shelves of cabinets, pantries, or drawers where infestations are present.
Once you have succeeded in how to get rid of moths naturally you will need to thoroughly clean all surfaces where they were present. Remove all food items in your cabinets or pantry that are not completely sealed. Inspect boxes and packages for signs of entry such as small holes or if they’ve been left partially opened.
Clean and wipe down shelves, cabinets, drawers, and closets making sure to get into the corners using soapy water or a cleaning vinegar solution. Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and hose attachment to vacuum upholstery, fabrics, drapes, and tight corners that are hard to reach. This will not only pick up dust and dirt, it will also catch and pick up dead insects as well as eggs or larvae that may have been missed.
Consider — Safe, Non-Toxic Moth Traps for your Pantry
How to Prevent Future Moth Infestations
Prevent moths from returning by eliminating sources of entry. Inspect your cabinets, closets, and other areas of your home for tiny cracks and crevices where insects may enter or hide. Fill in these tiny spaces with caulk or silicone to seal them. Repair holes in window screens and seal around window air conditioning units.
Reduce the humidity in your home. Moths love a warm, moist environment. If you live in a region with relatively high humidity you may be more susceptible to moths invading your home. Use a hygrometer to monitor humidity levels in your home. If levels are at 50% or higher you may need to opt for a dehumidifier to control the internal atmosphere.
To prevent moth damage to your clothing install energy-efficient fluorescent lighting in closets to deter them. Clothes moths like dark places so lighting will help keep them away. For old, vintage clothing bring them to a cleaner to have them properly cleaned and heat treated. Don’t let soiled clothes sit for long periods of time as these will easily attract moths looking for an ideal place to lay eggs. Store clothes that aren’t being used such as seasonal clothing and jackets in airtight clothing bags or sealed containers.
Spring cleaning shouldn’t be limited to just the spring time. Periodically clean your home thoroughly by dusting, vacuuming, and wiping down surfaces to eliminate dust buildup. Wash your drapes and curtains periodically as well as shampooing/cleaning rugs and carpeting. Use a vacuum hose to clean furniture that can’t be washed such as sofas and recliners.
You can apply fragrant methods to freshen up your home and repel common household pests as previously mentioned. Essential oils such as lavender or Indian Lilac can be used in a spray bottle diluted with a carrier oil and water to spray throughout your home.
How to Prevent Moths in Your Garden
Ultimately the best solution on how to get rid of moths naturally is by taking preventative measures to avoid them in the first place. For gardens this may be a little tricky, however. For natural plants with repelling properties such as lavender flowers, these can be incorporated into your garden or around it to keep threatening pests away. Many of these can serve various purposes as well. Here are some additional plants to consider adding to your garden to repel moths:
- Bay Leaves
- Sweet Woodruff
If you have a vegetable garden remove potential food sources that may be attracting them. Caterpillars like to feed on certain plants such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and curly Kale. Once these plants reach the end of their season remove them from the garden after they’ve been harvested. This eliminates a food source while making more space available for your garden to plant something different for the next season. Consider planting moth-repelling vegetables or herbs in their place such as celery or coriander.