WIW moth-eaten favorites

I am having a moth problem this year.  Of course they are only going for cashmere and the most prized things in my wardrobe, such as my Rick Owens capsule.   I purchased some moth balls but they disgust me, so not an option.

I found Inge's link to the Guardian article about the moth surge.  It was in link love in December.  I think it's happening in California too, not just the UK.  Another consequence of warming, as the moths have more warmth to breed in (indoor heat contributes too).  So the jacket and dramatic cardigan in these pics, as well as two dresses, are getting holes from moths.  I've thought about discarding, but you have to look in all of the drapes to find the damage.  I'll wait until the holes get bigger I guess.

I took my RO moth food to the dry cleaners, but does that remove the larvae that feed on wool?  The Guardian article suggests that freezing is the only way to go.

Thanks for looking.

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • kellygirl replied 4 years ago

    Sympathizing with the moth issue. I’ve been told to make sure there are no food stains or crumbs on woolens before storing to prevent moth attacks. You could store in cedar too. Doesn’t lavender repel moths too? Perhaps a sachet would be a good idea? I must say you look as gorgeous as ever in both outfits. It’s such a treat to see you!

  • Suz replied 4 years ago

    Denise, you look effortlessly  cool. Moths cannot wither her, nor stale her infinite variety...

    So...we've had to deal with this in various years. I have several lines of action. I HAND WASH all woolens/ cashmeres to ensure all food etc is off them -- especially before storing. But I hand wash after every few wears -- usually in the hand wash cycle of my machine, then laying the items out to dry. I do in fact often freeze for a week before putting into storage at the end of season. And for items where an invisible mend will not show (like these) I take the item to a really good seamstress who does invisible mends. Of course it is *not* truly invisible unless you are dealing with a genius. But in an item with a lot of drape it will not be noticeable. They can fix the little holes and prevent them from getting bigger. 

    Cedar and other supposed repellants smell nice but don't work. Or don't work against a genuine infestation. Mothballs are just gross, so no. 

  • rachylou replied 4 years ago

    Gosh those are seriously gorgeous pieces. I’d wear them anyways and say they’re Chanel (if anyone remembers that collection).

    It really has been quite warm. We’ve had mosquitos all winter!

  • Joy replied 4 years ago

    Moth eggs and such fall off even with a good shake of the garments. I use unwrapped bars of a strong smelling soap like Irish Spring in a bag with a sweater or two for off season storage after the garments are washed and air dried. I have been known to put the most expensive and most vulnerable pieces in a zip loc bag and then in the freezer for summer. No moth damage. In the past I have successfully used crewel embroidery wool strands or even thread the color of the garment to reweave the hole area. Kind of like darning a sock..

  • bella replied 4 years ago

    Lovely to see  you post! Your moths have excellent taste! 

  • Kate replied 4 years ago

    Nice to see you, Denise. I’ve had great luck repelling moths by tucking pieces of Irish Spring soap among the vulnerable woolens. The only problem is i’m repelled by the soap’s smell too. So far I haven’t come up with a good way to mitigate that.

    Joy, what other moth-repelling soaps have you had success with?

  • Jessikams replied 4 years ago

    Ugh, WHAT a bummer! I say keep wearing and enjoy.

  • Bijou replied 4 years ago

    Beautiful items, I would wear and enjoy and see if you have someone who can do invisible mending.

  • Aquamarine replied 4 years ago

    Nice to see you post! Great outfits. Knock on wood, I’ve never had a moth problem, but I do store my oldest sweaters in a cedar chest (a hope chest gifted to me by my parents when I got married...remember those??).

  • Janet replied 4 years ago

    Denise, it’s so good to see you, and you look fantastic! Moth holes and all. :-D

    I’ve never heard of the Irish Spring treatment, but my husband likes that soap, so I’m going to try it! One of his nice wool sport coats developed tiny moth holes and I set it aside to see if there is a way to repair it. I put cedar blocks and lavender sachets in the pockets of wool coats and jackets when I store them, but the little buggers seem unfazed. And I cannot tolerate the smell of mothballs.

  • Jaime replied 4 years ago

    Fantastic to see you and especially in those smashing outfits. They must be saved. I use tons of lavender satchels but Suz's advice seems much better.  I would get the items cleaned and mended as best possible and wear them anyway, but lately I have been developing a bizarre affinity for damaged goods. 

  • Cardiff girl replied 4 years ago

    Much sympathy.l am a suffer too..l store all my woollens in clear bags with moth repellent sachets.All the above suggestions good plus regular 
    Clean outs of wardrobes,shake everything out and hoovering regularly all your soft furnishings and carpets.Apparently they had less of a problem in the 1959 s when women spent a lot of time doing housework!!

  • taylor replied 4 years ago

    Looking fabulous!
    i have lost more than one favorite sweater to moths , it’s so frustrating. I went so far as to adding moth balls last year...ugh....just made everything stink and made me nauseous.  This is indeed a problem .

  • replied 4 years ago

    The drape on #1 is amazing. It's heart-breaking to lose beautiful, loved things! Keep as long as you feel fab! I had a cleaners in Portland that would beautifully hand-sew small moth holes, if salvageable. Could you call around and see if you can get some estimates about repair? I also hate moth ball smell - I sneeze and wouldn't go near my partner when he wore his dress coat stored in moth-balls! We had luck with buying a cedar closet kit from a big box home improvement store - we lined one shelf with cedar and folded cashmere there. I need to make sure we do something similar in our new place.

  • Angie replied 4 years ago

    Sweet, Denise. SO GOOD TO SEE YOU. You look KILLER gorgeous as always and better than ever! I’ve missed that mischievous glint in your eye...

    Those naughty moths have designer taste. Tell them they have beer budgets....

  • April replied 4 years ago

    We once bought an apartment in NYC that kept getting moths -- I think someone had stored something in their basement storage cage that was infested, and they were traveling through the HVAC.

    Anyway, I learned more than I ever cared to know about moths.  Remarkably hard to get rid of.  Washing your cashmere knits is a good idea -- in my experience, they can also go in the dryer, but that's only for people with nerves of steel.  Freezer is good, and so is light and cleanness, which moths hate.  

    Another good thing to do if you don't want to wait and see if your clothing gets holes is to buy some pheromone traps and put them in your closets.  They won't get rid of moths, but they'll tell you if moths are around, since we often don't know that until a beautiful Rick Owens piece gets destroyed.

  • cherylm replied 4 years ago

    I have done my own battle with moths. Sadly I agree they prefer the expensive or sentimental items. I finally had to call a professional service to come and treat our closets. It was a lot of work over several months but I think we have it under control. I now store my sweaters and scarfs in plastic boxes that seal tight - only after making sure they were dry cleaned and/or frozen. 

    I also have in our closets the sticky moth traps so I can monitor if they have come back. 

    Good luck - they hatch in waves. 

  • kkards replied 4 years ago

    I've actually read that dry cleaning is the way to go, freezing is ok, but not guaranteed


    Thoroughly clean the clothes you do keep. Dry cleaning is the most effective method for killing moth larvae,

    Freezing can also work, but only if the change from warm to freezing is abrupt (70 °F to 0 °F), noted Dombroskie, and you must leave the clothes in the freezer for at least 72 hours once they reach freezing temperatures. Even then, the freezer won’t necessarily resolve an infestation.


  • Gail replied 4 years ago

    Last year wasn't kind to my wool items either.  
    I had a problem several years ago and was very strict with myself on washing and storage. However I got lax the past few and  paid for it again. I took action by  putting all my items in the freezer for a few days then washed them . I happened to be getting all new carpet which I hope will help.  I washed all the paintwork in my closet , bought cedar hanging bags and also decided to remove my daughters old sweatshirts from a cedar chest we have and put my special items in that. Duh on not using the cedar chest before ! I'm now in the fingers crossed phase.

  • CocoLion replied 4 years ago

    Thank you Ladies for the excellent advice!  I don't wash my cashmere and fine knits, I get them dry cleaned.  Good to read that dry cleaning works to remove moth eggs.  I have been leaving my things closeted rather than stored in plastic, after getting things dry cleaned I will purchase some vacuum bags.

    I'm going to have to do a hard search to find a re-weaver.  There is only one dry cleaner in my entire county, I'll have to ask if they can recommend anyone.

  • replied 4 years ago

    Great pieces, but sorry about the hungry moths! Normally I don't have moth issues, but keep things in a cedar chest off season.

  • Sara L. replied 4 years ago

    You look great - I especially love the jacket in #2.  What a bummer about the moths!

You need to be logged in to comment