Written by Grove Collaborative

How to get rid of moths naturally.

Last Updated: May 26, 2021

Are you tired of moths eating your sweaters and cereal? Banishing these night-dwellers naturally is easy—and it doesn’t have to leave your house smelling like mothballs.

The fight between moths and homeowners is as old as the battle between good and evil. These nocturnal creatures lurk on the darker side of life –– closets, pantries, and storage rooms are a few of their favorite haunts.


A sometimes-fatal attraction to light and an insatiable appetite for hand-knit sweaters, moths can lurk in your house unless you start driving them out. The good news is that banishing these creatures of the night just got easier –– and it doesn’t have to leave your house smelling like pungent mothballs or cedarwood.

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What are moths?

Moths are thick, furry pollinators with feathery antennae and a penchant for darkness. There are approximately 160,000 species of moths worldwide –– a few of which enjoy feasting on various items found in your home.


Moths and butterflies make up the order Lepidoptera, which means “scaly-winged.” While these flying insects have a lot of similarities, the most important thing to note about moths is that they’re considered pests. After all, who’s ever had to Google “how to get rid of a butterfly infestation”?


Watch the video below to learn more about the differences between moths and butterflies.

How do you know if you have a moth infestation?

The two most common types of moths you’ll find are pantry moths and fabric moths. Here are some telltale signs that these night dwellers have taken up residence in your home:


  • Adult moths don’t eat, but if you see them in your house, it means they’ve most likely recently laid eggs somewhere nearby and those babies do like to eat.
  • Webs and caterpillars in your food are indicators that you’ve got yourself a moth infestation.
  • Holes and furrows in your natural-fiber clothes can be a sign that moths are eating through your fabrics like wool, silk, cotton, fur. You might even see this in any taxidermy in your house as well.
  • Excessive shedding of your fur items is a telltale sign you’re facing a moth problem.

Noticed bugs in your flour as well? Here are some other natural tips to getting rid of flour bugs.

MOTH-BORNE MALADIES

Are moths bad for your health?

Moths are a potential health hazard. Lepidopterism, also called caterpillar dermatitis, is the result of contact with adult or larval moths and butterflies.


The painful and itchy rash that results can be treated with an oral antihistamine or cortisone cream. Call your doctor if you experience any irritation or allergic reaction from the moths in your home.

8 ways to get rid of moths naturally

Finding moth holes in your clothes or baby caterpillars in your pantry is a big bummer. Unfortunately, moths will not go away on their own either. Remove moths and larvae from your home with these eight easy tips:


1. Vacuum.

Vacuum your home regularly to clear up eggs or larvae that might be creeping around or any dirt and dust that could attract more moths into your home.


2. Clean with vinegar.

Clean out your pantry and closet shelves with a vinegar cleaning solution to clear out any nests and eggs that may be hiding in there.


3. Store your food properly.

Use storage containers with tight-fitting lids to keep moths from getting into your dry foods and laying eggs.


4. Store your clothes properly.

Keep your closets and pantries cool and dry. Seal your clothes that aren’t frequently worn in airtight or vacuum-sealed bags to prevent moths from getting to them.


5. Use cedar oil.

Because cedar oil deters moths, diffusing cedar oil into your home is a great way to keep them at bay.


6. Keep herbs around.

Certain herbs –– like rosemary, lavender, cloves, and bay leaves –– help keep moths away. Place some herbs in sachets around your home for natural moth prevention. Or use this pre-made herb bag from earthkind to keep moths out.


7. Freeze them out.

Place any salvageable food or moth-eaten clothes in the freezer for at least three days to kill off any eggs and larvae.


8. If needed, set out moth traps.

Moth traps are sticky pieces of flypaper that have been saturated with moth pheromones to attract and trap adult moths. We don’t love this method, but to make an initial dent in your moth infestation, you may need to catch some of the adults first. Or build your own.

9. If needed, call pest control.

If your infestation is severe, call in professionals who specialize in eco-friendly methods to take care of the problem.

4 natural ways to prevent moths

The best way to stop moths from invading your home is by preventing them from getting inside in the first place. Here are the four best ways to stop moths in their tracks:


1. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Wash your clothes, bed linens, and rugs before storing them. This kills moth eggs and larvae and stops them from reaching maturity while they’re in storage.


2. Brush off your clothes.

Brush off your wool or fur duds after you wear them. Brushing removes eggs and larvae that may have attached themselves to your clothes while you were outside.


3. Keep your clothes dry.

Moths thrive in humid conditions, so store your clothes in sealed bags, and avoid leaving them in your garage or attic.


4. Keep your pantry clean.

Clean your cabinets with a natural all-purpose cleaner regularly, and store your dry goods in airtight containers.

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