How to fight a moth infestation

Updated February 21, 2017

When it comes to moth infestations inside of a home or business, the two most common problems you have to worry about are clothes and pantry moths. Clothes moths lay their eggs on any fiber that is animal based, including wool, feathers, fur and felt. Pantry moths lay their eggs close to the food source for their larva, which is dry goods and grains such as flour, cornmeal and cereals.

Locate the source of the infestation and begin your efforts there. Remember to not only check areas of the house where clothing and other material items are stored, but look in your kitchen pantries where you store dry goods and grains. Also check pet food and bird seed.

Empty out the closet or pantry once you determine the source. If the moths that are in your house are pantry moths, throw away all dried goods that were stored in the pantry that you find the moths in.

Use a moth bomb or a total control moth spray to get rid of the adult moth population quickly. This kills the adults and prevents them from doing further breeding, but does not kill the larva and eggs (see Resources below).

Dry clean or machine wash in hot water all clothing and material that was stored in the closet if you have clothes moths. You have to kill all of the eggs that are on the clothing or the infestation will re-occur when the eggs hatch.

Wash the closet or cupboard thoroughly. Be sure to get in all the nooks and crannies. If the closet is carpeted, shampoo the carpet.

Put pheromone moth traps into the problem area. Monitoring the traps to see if any moths are caught is a good way to be alerted to future moth problems before they become an infestation (see Resources below).


If you have a problem with pantry moths, seal all dried goods and grains in plastic containers or sealed plastic bags before putting them into the pantry. Store off-season clothing in air tight, sealed containers. Use moth balls or cedar chips in the container for longer term storage. Have the closet that you hang your clothes in lined with cedar wood if you have an ongoing clothing moth problem. Cedar oil emits a fragrance that repels moths and other insects.

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