How to Get Rid of Moths Inside the House

Updated February 21, 2017

Moths are common but often very destructive household pests. They can infest the food in your pantry and consume clothing, carpets, blankets and other materials. Adult moths are easily seen with the naked eye, but it's the tiny, hard-to-see larvae that do the most damage. You may find moth larvae in your food, especially food that contains wheat, or in wool materials, consuming everything in their path. Getting rid of moths requires regular cleaning and upkeep, but an exterminator is rarely necessary.

Perform a thorough inspection and cleaning operation in all areas of the home where moths are likely to thrive. Moths can be found almost anywhere in the home, but their favourite places are pantries, closets, drawers and bathrooms. Vacuum and disinfect these places using basic household cleaning supplies. Make sure to remove clothes, food boxes or other such items that may contain moth larvae.

Throw away food that contains moth larvae and keep any new wheat products you buy in airtight containers. Wash clothes, blankets and any wool materials in the washing machine using hot water to kill remaining larvae.

Control the humidity level in your home to reduce its attractiveness to moths. According to, moths prefer a relative humidity of 70-80%. Set your dehumidifier to "Extra dry" in places where you keep clothes, basements and other particularly damp places.

Replace the lights on your porch or patio with low-pressure sodium bulbs. These attract bugs and pests much less than traditional light bulbs. Patch any holes in your screens to prevent moths from getting inside.

Purchase moth traps at your local home supply store. Strategically place these in locations where you find moths, and use a fly swatter to kill off any renegade moths you see around the house.


Regularly clean out your closets, attics and basements, and do a thorough moth-killing operation. Moths are persistent and survive quite easily so you need to be consistent. To ensure you get rid of moth larvae in clothes, wash and dry them, then seal them in a plastic bag and put it in the freezer. Moths and their larvae quickly die in cold temperatures.


Don't use mothballs. They contain poisonous chemicals that can cause long-term health problems in humans and are not an effective way to kill or repel moths.

Things You'll Need

  • Household cleaning supplies
  • Airtight containers
  • Dehumidifier
  • Low-pressure sodium bulbs
  • Moth trap
  • Fly swatter
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About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.