Protecting Suits From Moths
The transition from summer to fall means reconnecting with wool suits, tweed sportcoats, topcoats, and the other pieces of tailored clothing that may have been languishing in your closet since Spring.
But reuniting won’t feel so good if they’ve encountered moths in the meantime. If your favorite suit is marred by tiny, inexplicable holes in the fabric, you may have a moth problem on your hands.
First, you’ll want to check every piece of clothing made from an animal fiber (such as wool or silk) for holes, and then dry clean each piece just in case it’s hosting more larvae eggs. But it’s better to prevent this dire scenario from happening in the first place by following a few basic maintenance steps. Read on to learn how you can protect your suits from moths before it’s too late.
While moths choose to lay their eggs in animal-based fabrics like wool or silk, what attracts them is not the fabric itself but the other proteins that the fabric may be hosting, such as dust, sweat, tiny bits of food, or liquid stains. You can stop the build-up of these moth-attracting bits by using a soft-bristled garment brush to gently brush off your garments after each wear.
Dry cleaning isn’t necessary after every wear. Because the process may cause damage to your suit, it’s best reserved for staining and soling that can’t be resolved with spot-cleaning or brushing. If a major spill has affected one of your suits, send it to the dry cleaner before placing it in storage.
Invest in Cedar
Moths hate cedar. Capitalize on this fact by fortifying your closet with the aromatic wood, which you can do by purchasing cedar hangers or small cedar rings that can be slipped onto existing hangers. After six months the natural cedar oils that repel moths will begin to fade, but you can rejuvenate them with a quick rub of sandpaper.
Hang With Garment Bags, Not Plastic
A garment bag can function as an effective moth shield (for an even more secure set-up, hang your suit in a garment bag and then place a cedar ring around the top of the hanger to seal the entrance). But do so with a real garment bag, not a sheet of plastic like you may receive from your dry cleaner. Those plastic sheets will attract dust, which in turn attracts moths.
For maximum peace of mind, set an alert in your calendar to clean out your entire closet once every three months. After emptying your closet of clothing, vacuum up moth-attracting dust and dirt, and then wipe down the entire surface area with a washcloth soaked in a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar. Like cedar, vinegar is effective at repelling moths (and if vinegar has a similar effect on you, open your windows and light a candle).