two moths with a hole in a sweater
Photo: Jeffrey Coolidge/The Image Bank/Getty Images

What You'll Learn

  1. Introduction
  2. Bug off!
Bug off!
Here's how to treat—and prevent—infestations.
1. Empty the closet.
2. Vacuum or sweep the floor, walls, shelves, even the ceiling.
3. Nothing should be allowed back in until it's been subjected to one of these larvae-eradicating measures: Chemical dry cleaning—your best shot and the easiest, least painful solution; laundering in hot (120°F) water (sorry, lukewarm handwashing won't do); heavy steam-ironing, especially along seams, under the collar, and inside the pockets and cuffs; time out in alternating warm (120°F) and cold (below 18°F) temperatures, ending with several days in the freezer. Keep in mind that killing the larvae doesn't protect against re-infestation.
4. The risk of finding moth holes declines every time you shake out an item, hang it in a sunny spot, and brush it thoroughly with a stiff clothes brush, just like Jeeves. Give hanging items breathing room; keep dusting and vacuuming.
5. Store clean items seasonally in zippered storage bags, space bags, or bins with tight lids (tape shut if necessary).
6. If all else fails, call in pros; they'll devise a systematic way to wipe out the larvae and discourage the pests from flitting back in and doing more damage.
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