There is an under the radar epidemic that seems to me as severe as the bed bug scare—Moths! Every week, a distressed client comes in to our workrooms with a wonderful custom suit of ours that has numerous holes created by moths. A few clients have had dozens of garments ruined, costing them tens of thousands of dollars in replacement costs. English Heritage, the British preservation organization, says that moths have doubled in the UK in the past five years. The charity has even discovered a new species feeding on the ancient fabrics under their care.
I know you have a lot of things to worry about in your life, but, I’d hate to see your custom clothing victimized by these prolific pests.
From my experience, here is the evidence of a moth attack:
- The affected garment has not been worn for months, and
- The holes are oval shaped
Typical moth holes in jacket sleeve
Adult moths do not have mouths so holes in clothes are actually made from moth larvae! See below:
Moth cocoons within wool fibers.
So, you don’t have to actually see winged moths to know you have a problem!
Surprisingly, many clients deny that they have a moth problem because of a silly stigma that it’s a sign of poor hygiene. Of course, this is not the case. In fact, I just had my own moth incident for the first time, finding a winter suit I hadn’t worn in six months destroyed by moths. (I know what you’re thinking—big deal, Andy can just make himself another suit. But I loved that suit, and the cloth is sold out!)
In any event, we try to help to fix the moth holes as best we can, but it isn’t easy. The ideal solution is to replace the damaged part with a new piece cut from the same cloth. If the hole is small enough the fabric can also be woven by a professional reweaver. These solutions usually cost about $250 to $500.. A less expensive alternative is to put a seam in the damaged area, but this is only practical of it’s in a less prominent area of the garment.
How can you prevent moths from becoming a problem in the first place?
- Moths are mostly drawn to the human sweat, hair and body oil that are left on clothing, particularly those made out of natural fibres (wool, feathers, fur, silk). Therefore, it's important to dry clean your clothes before you store them - especially if you are putting them away for a long period of time.
- Store clothes in an air-tight bag or plastic container – not cardboard boxes as moths can chew through these
- Vacuum regularly - moths can lay eggs in carpets too.
- Keep your wardrobe ventilated as moths are attracted to warm, humid spaces.
What do you do if you know you have a moth problem?
- You can try moth balls. They work, but we are all familiar with their awful smell.
- You can call a pest control specialist. I have a good friend in the business, that I can recommend if you contact me.
- My same friend suggests using a product that is very effective and can be purchased on Amazon called Vapona, https://www.amazon.com/Nuvan-Prostrips-Vapona-Insect-Control/dp/B004HFNVIW But, the product is toxic and should not be used if you have pets or small children that could come in contact with it.
Have you ever had a moth problem yourself and, if so, how did you handle it?