We live in Northampton for many reasons, one of which is that we love to experience the changes in season. Every year, when I pull out my Winter clothes, for awhile I feel as if I have a whole new wardrobe that I had forgotten about. It's very exciting, especially when I pull out the forgotten items that I had purchased or obtained at a clothing swap the year before. I was not so thrilled, however, to find that a number of favorite clothes from my closet and cedar chest had gaping moth holes in them!
Adding insult to injury, I then took one of my favorite merino wool wrap sweaters to Main Street Cleaners in Northampton to have it cleaned. I was informed that cleaning the item (for $11.75!!) would likely turn up underlying holes because what I thought was a bit of lint on the sleeves was not lint but was, in fact, moth webs! Eeeeek!
Last Winter, I did notice that we had an infestation of closet moths. After doing some online research, I froze all of our sweaters, and then cleaned them. I nestled cedar blocks inside of all my sweaters, and stored the ones that I rarely wear in my cedar chest. I thought we were in the clear.... Apparently I was wrong. It turns out that I was missing a few steps. According to the owners of Main St Cleaners, the best defense is to clean (dry clean) your wool, linen and silk items when you are done using them for the season, and to store them in airtight containers in between seasons. According to a more recent online search, even that protocol is a bit *lite*... It seems that in order to get rid of closet moths, you need to clear your calendar for a few days and put all else on hold. Sort of like trying to rid your family of lice. See the recommended steps below...
1. Set out moth traps in your closet.
2. Wash your clothes (someone in the garment industry once told me that many items marked "dry clean only" do not, in fact, need to be dry cleaned... use your discretion. Merino wool does, cashmere does not. Some silk and linen does not. Use a gentle detergent on the gentle cycle or hand wash). ALSO wash everything else in your closets to be be thorough (linens, towels, etc)... because you have nothing better to do with your time, of course : ). Food on clothes attracts moths.
3. Empty and clean out your closets. Use vinegar and water and soapy water to wipe down all surfaces, then vacuum well.
4. Brush clothing made from wool, fur or feathers after each use to loosen any food residue that may attract moths.
5. A source I read online suggests dry cleaning before storing for the season. This is an expensive proposition and I, personally, might skip it. But I'm the one with the giant moth holes in my clothes so you might want to think twice before doing as I do.
6. Store your clothes in an airtight container. Hang wool coats in garment bags.
7. Here's a good one -- keep your closet well ventilated and cool!
8. Air out your clothing frequently.
Good luck everyone! I hope your clothes fare better than mine have.