Nothing ruins a special event or potential interview faster than pulling your favorite suit out just to find out that it’s been chewed by moth caterpillars. They feed on clothes, and they prefer the dark. In fact, they are the bane of walk-in closets and wardrobes. But, moths don’t actually feed. Caterpillars are the ones that have voracious appetites.

A female moth can lay hundreds of eggs, and they hatch in just a matter of days. Larvae will begin feeding immediately, but they are difficult to spot because of their size. They’ll be feeding on clothing or natural fiber, but they have also been seen eating dry food. Dirty clothing is appetizing to them, most especially ones that contain moisture from sweat or spills as they let them hydrate.

By Thomas Bresson,

via Wikimedia Commons

Quick Facts About Moths


  • ¼ inch long with a wingspan of half an inch;
  • White and dull gold in color;
  • Prefer the dark;
  • Poor flyers


  • Have brownish heads;
  • Milky white in color;
  • About ¼ inch long;
  • They feed on natural fibers;
  • Prefer the dark as well

How to Prevent a Moth Infestation

There are quite a few steps that you can take in order to prevent moths from chewing and destroying your clothes. First and foremost, make sure that your hanging clothes are clean. Look through them regularly. Traditional washing and drying will kill caterpillars and moths. Dry cleaning will also remove moisture and dirt from clothes, which make them less appetizing to moth caterpillars.

While you can purchase mothproofing mothballs and chemicals, we suggest you don’t use them because they are highly flammable and toxic. What you should do instead is to use a trap for moths in your closet. The moths will be lured and captured, but you will also be alerted with potential issues. Natural deterrents exist like cedar oil and camphor. However, they will only work until they’ve lost their aroma or strong vapor. This is also true for cedar wood closets. They will kill or deter moths only for some time. As soon as their essential oils are gone, they will become ineffective.

If there’s an infestation right inside your home, there are several moth control strategies you can employ: keep an eye out on your closet. Once you’ve identified the source, take out all your clothes and wash them. As soon as you’re done, use an insecticide for three months to ensure that the eggs are gone. If you want the infestation to be neutralized as soon as possible, that can be done with the help of professional exterminators.