Got Moths? Here’s How You Get Rid of Them

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Your house is supposed to be your escape from the world – safe, clean, cozy, and comfortable. But if it has bugs or pests crawling around, it’s anything but a haven.

While roaches, centipedes, and ants may give you the creeps, they can typically be killed on the spot and removed with little trouble. A moth infestation, on the other hand, is a lot more challenging to deal with and can continue to plague you from months and years at a time.

If you have moths in your home, it’s time to get rid of them once and for all.

Moths: What You Need to Know

If you’ve never spent any time studying moths, you probably have a very basic view of them. However, the truth is that – as annoying as they are to humans – moths are incredible creatures with unique capabilities and functions.

“There are upward of 11,000 moth species in the United States alone – that’s more than all the bird and mammal species in North America combined,” Lindsey Konkel writes for Live Science. “Moths can range in size from smaller than a pencil tip to bigger than a songbird. The Atlas Moth, of Southeast Asia, considered the largest in the world, has a wingspan of nearly a foot (30 centimeters) – more than that of a Baltimore oriole.”

The ones found in the continental U.S. are much smaller, but equally intriguing. If you have moths in your home, it’s likely that you’re dealing with pantry moths or clothes moths. As the names suggest, each category goes after a different food source.

Aside from damaging clothing and getting into food, these moths can leave behind skin, webbing, and excrement – making a mess of your house and giving you an uneasy feeling.

4 Tips for Getting Rid of Moths

The sooner you can get rid of moths, the better. If you give them a chance to lay eggs, the situation will become far more challenging to eradicate. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Remove Infested Items

“The first step in stopping a moth infestation is getting out the trash bags,” says Caroline Picard, Associate Editor for Good Housekeeping. “Throw out any potentially contaminated food and get it out of the house. If you’re dealing with clothes moths, start making a laundry pile. Wash what you can with hot water and detergent, then dry on low heat to kill larvae.”

In some cases, it’s best to just toss everything that’s been affected. This gives you peace of mind that you aren’t reintroducing larvae back into your pantry or closet.

2. Perform a Deep Clean

After removing the items that have been directly affected by the moths, you’ll need to perform a deep clean on everything else in the surrounding area.

Be sure to wipe down hard surfaces with a cleaner. This includes walls, shelves, the insides of drawers, and anything else that moths have possibly touched.

3. Use Safe and Natural Repellants

A male emperor moth can smell a female’s pheromone from up to seven miles away. This is part of the reason why they seem to multiply so quickly. If there’s any presence of moths, you’re going to have more. Even after getting rid of the live ones, you should use some sort of repellant to prevent other moths from coming.

There are lots of moth prevention products on the market, but only a few are safe for people, children, and pets. If you’re dealing with clothes moths, look for natural, non-toxic traps.

4. Vacuum Regularly

A lot of homeowners think they’re getting rid of their moth problem when they’re actually just addressing the surface level issue. Because moth larvae can hide in carpet, under furniture, in the corners of cabinets, and underneath tight spots around the floor, you have to be religious with vacuuming.

A thorough vacuum is necessary during the eradication process, but don’t stop there. Make it a point to vacuum problem areas every few days – even if they don’t appear visibly dirty.

Reclaim Your Home

You don’t have to share your house with moths. As soon as you detect their presence, you should take action. Developing a proactive plan will allow you to eradicate them at the source and reclaim the comfort of your own home.