Although any kind of infestation is likely to cause the shivers in the most stoic, moths are the most feared critter to the knitter. As springtime fast approaches it is time to consider these creatures and what they could do if not properly guarded against.
Tips to dealing with Cloths (Wool) Moths
1. Inspection of the goods. Seek out all your woolens. This includes your yarn stash, your sweaters, your socks, your mittens, hats, scarves, your winter coats, jackets, blazers, skirts and trousers, your wool rugs or other household items. Look for holes. Look for a white powdery stuff that is strangely sticky. Look for larvae and moths themselves. Hope that you don’t find any of this moth evidence, but if you do carry on with a strict moth-annihilation regime. If you don’t take to heart that old chestnut “a pint of prevention equals a pound of cure” and take steps to make sure all your precious goods are safe and sound as they hibernate away the spring and summer.
2. The best defense against moths is this: keep everything clean as whistles. Use one of the great wool washes on the market to wash all your sweaters. My favorite is Eucalan. A no-rinse cleanser (so very easy to use) makes woolens extra soft and is a good moth deterrent.
Once sweaters are clean, pack them away for the season in clear well sealing tupperware, or even better ziplock bags, or even better bags that can be vacuum sealed. This goes double for your yarn stash which should always be stored in a clean and sealed situation. Items that can not be washed take to the dry cleaner before storing away.
3. In your inspection if you find any moth holes or moth residue, then send these garments and household items to be dry cleaned regardless if they can be hand washed. Items that are taken over by critters will have to be removed from the premises immediately (if not sooner).
4. Freeze anything suspicious. Some yarn and cloths may need to be sacrificed, other items with any evidence of moths it is best to take on the expense of dry cleaning them, but some might be saved with temperature warfare. If the weather is still falling below zero you may put any questionable woolens to freeze outside. If you have room in the freezer this is optimal. Temperatures below 40 degrees F (0 degrees C) are not appreciated by moth larvae.
5. Avoid storing your yarn and woolens in the deepest darkest closets. This is Candy Land for moths who live on the dark side. Storing your newly clean, precious things in a light filled place will make them less desirable. Using sachets of lavender and cedar will not hurt anything and leave your cloths smelling fresh. Cedar chips can be found for cheap at pet stores where they are sold to line hamster cages.Eucalan also comes in wee little packages. These are nice to give away to people who you may give hand knitted gifts too. It reminds them they should hand wash the item you spent so much time making for them and will prolong the life of the item. They are also great to bring on trips when you might need some delicate soap to wash your unmentionables with. They smell good too, unless you get the unscented and then they don’t smell at all.