So, you’re sick of those pesky creamy worms eating up your carpet, rugs, or clothes.
They eat your natural fibers. Fur, feather, leather, and even your cashmere are all fair game
They have a mouth for only the top-notch goods in your house. Expensive jackets. Fancy rugs. Leather couches.
And the worst part of it? They eat your things hidden in the dark so you don’t even know.
So, how do you get rid of these nuisance pests?
In this guide, you’ll learn about:
- Why you have carpet moths in the house
- How to identify them
- Natural ways to get rid of them
- How to repel them
- How to prevent them for good
- And more
You should have everything you need to know to formulate a plan of action by the end for this page.
If you have any questions, ask me by posting a comment- as always.
Bookmark this page so you can easily reference it again later.
Note that this guide will have repeating themes. It’s made so you can easily jump to the section that applies to you. Some key ideas are important, so that’s why they’re repeated over and over.
Let’s get these carpet moths out of your carpet.
What’s a carpet moth?
Carpet moths are a nuisance once they infest your home.
These little buggers are known for their huge numbers when left to their own devices.
They’ll feed, breed, and hide in the darkest corners of your home until you shine light into their lairs. And that’s when you cue the scream.
These moths are common all across the US, especially in warmer regions with central heating units.
They’re popular in northern states and southern Canada. They’re natively found in forested areas all over the world. And even other countries.
Woodlands and marshy environments are perfect for them. They’re found everywhere from Mexico to New Zealand.
Carpet moths, like most other home-infesting pests like meal moths, thrips, and spiders, will breed to high population numbers if you don’t get rid of them.
They don’t reproduce linearly- it’s exponential growth, friend. This means as long as your home provides the warmth, shelter, and food source (which we’ll get to), they’ll continue to eat.
Carpet moths do NOT leave on their own.
You must control and eradicate these pests on your own- DIY style or by hiring a professional exterminator.
Since they’re so common, many different names have been construed for them since they’ve become your carpet’s bane.
Here are some other aliases they’ve gathered:
- Clothing moths
- Keratin moths
- Clothes moths
- Webbing moths
- Pantry moths (confusingly)
- Meal moth (confusingly)
Note that these pests include both the adult FLYING moth and the white larvae WORM. They’re both the same bug- not different ones.
Types of carpet moths
There are a few types of carpet moths you should be on the lookout for.
In the US, these are the most popular species you’ll find in the household:
- Webbing clothes moth
- Case bearing moth (AKA case-making clothes moth)
- Tapestry moth
They’re also named by their patterning on the wingspan, such as pug, wav, emerald, belt-line, somber, chalk, silver, unadorned, striped, etc.
These moths aren’t specific to the USA. They’re found all over the world as they just need a place to hide, keratin, and warmth to thrive. Warmer regions with higher humidity help them breed.
What do they look like? Appearance?
Carpet moths are easy to identify.
First, let’s talk about adults.
They’re about the size of a bottle cap- they’re about 0.7” in length including their wingspan. They can be brown, red, or tan.
Their forewings have specks on them (three on each wing) and are lighter in color compared to their body. Forewings are smaller than their hindwings. Their body is about 5 mm in length.
Carpet moths are experts in camouflage and will hide in fibers that are the same dye color as their environment to blend in. They have beady black eyes and 2 visible antennas that are cooled.
They also have 2 front legs with 4 rear ones- all visible from the top dorsal view. The wings are brown, tan, or silver/white. They leave behind a powder if you crush them so avoid using it because it’ll stain.
When the wings are shut, they are just upward with less than 0.25” in height. Stripes will go across the entire wings from left to right. It’s usually a striking pattern that’s very distinct and has high contrast from the rest of the wing (white on black).
The larvae are what do the damage to your fibers. They look like small worms (caterpillars, maggots, etc.) that will munch on your keratin fibers. The larvae only have one job- EAT. they’ll consume everything until they’re ready to pupate.
Pupating is when they spin a cocoon and emerge as an adult moth- just like caterpillars to butterflies, but the less pretty version.
Their heads have two large antennae and feathers. Their underside has plenty of coverage with thick furs. They have different sizes, patterns, and colors pending on the type of species.
Carpet moths have a lifecycle just like any other moth.
Nothing special about it. Adults will mate and the females will deposit eggs on your fabrics (clothes, carpets, etc.). The eggs are white and extremely small. The eggs hatch within 10 days, depending on the humidity and local temperature.
Warmer temps with high humidity can have eggs hatching in as little as 3 days. The larvae emerge from the eggs. Then they search for the keratin to eat from your natural fibers in your property.
They eat constantly and then pupate by spinning a cocoon. The cocoon hangs from one end on various objects like furniture or drapes.
Sometimes it’s right in the carpet and if you feel a sticky white web, it’s probably a smushed cocoon.
You may find this under your furniture or stuck on the leg of a TV stand, under the sofa cushion, or even on your walls. The adult moth emerges within 10 days and repeats the process.
How long do carpet moths live?
Adults can survive in the house for up to 45 days depending on the temperature. If it’s cold, they’ll move in slow motion and their lifecycle will be a lot slower.
Typically, they only fly around for 30 days or so. Their only goal is to mate and lay eggs. The larvae can survive for extended periods- up to 3 years. A single female adult can lay up to 200 eggs.
Do carpet moths bite humans?
Carpet moths are relatively harmless. Remember that there are TWO different parts of the moth life cycle you have to deal with. The larvae are what do the damage.
The adults are just a nuisance. Both larvae and adult carpet moths won’t harm humans, pets, or wildlife.
They don’t bite or transmit any documented parasites. However, the larvae (worms, caterpillars, maggots, etc.) will do damage to your rugs, wood, furniture, and property.
So that’s what you need to watch out for. The longer you let them eat, the more damage is done. If you have expensive goods, furniture, or other things in storage, you’ll want to keep the moths out.
Carpet moths aren’t dangerous to people and pets, but they will damage clothing, wood, rugs, carpet, and other fabrics. They can stain, eat, breed, lay eggs, hide, and defecate in these materials which can spoil them.
Do carpet moths damage clothing?
If your clothing is weaved with natural animal fibers made from keratin, then yes, these moths can damage your clothing.
If it’s a blended material, they’ll feed on just the natural fibers while ignoring the synthetic fibers. Keratin-based fibers include wool, feather, silk, leather, fur, and more.
They only eat the most expensive goods in your home, friend.
When are carpet moths active?
Carpet moths are active all year round.
They eat and mate all season and don’t have a “quiet” period. The warmer your home is, the more activity you should expect.
If your local climate gets cold in the winter and the weather dips substantially, then you may notice that the moths seemingly disappear during the wintertime!
How nice, right? Only to see that they’re sprouting up everywhere in the springtime again- with even more than before!
Their only goal is to eat and breed. And your home provides both of these requirements.
They like the heat, so you can guess easily when you’ll see these buggers. They can be found out and about between March and October.
Though, it can shift depending on food availability, local climate, humidity, and of course, temperature. These are all variables that gauge how quickly they spawn, their activity patterns, and the time from larva to adult.
The type of carpet moth also will affect it. They’re usually not noticed until they screw up your carpet. The carpet will change color or have visible stains on them.
Carpet moths also like high humidity levels, so if your room is damp or you have carpeting that’s constantly wet (near bathrooms or kitchens), it’ll attract worms.
Can they fly?
They have fully functioning wings and are capable of flight.
They don’t generally fly unless they’re disturbed. They prefer to spend their time “jumping ” or doing small flights to their next destination.
Think of frogs jumping across lilypads.
How do you know if your carpet has moths?
The easiest way to tell is to simply spot them.
The larvae aren’t hard to see and you can see them with the naked eye. The fluttering blue-white adult moths flying away from the nest is also a dead giveaway.
Here are some tips to find out if you have a carpet moth infestation:
- Visible worms
- Eggs stuck to the fabric
- White or blue adult moths flying around
- Moths around the home
- Carpet that changes color over time
- Ripped or torn weaving
- Damaged fabrics
- Larvae falling out of clothing
- Larvae on the carpet, drapes, or bed
- Visible moths flying around fabrics or clothes
- Smudged streaks of white powder on fabrics
- Larvae of moths around the laundry hamper
- Torn edges or corners on carpeting
- White or brown webbing
Cocoons are attached to walls, shelves, furniture, drapes, curtains, or carpets (these are pupating moths).
They can also be in closets that have carpeted coverings, upholstery, furniture, couches, cushions, or even your TV unit (it’s warm). They seek warmth, so any electronics or appliances are good for pupating moths to turn into flying adults. Take them out.
They even eat wall insulation “behind” the scenes.
Larvae are about 0.5” in length and have a creamy white appearance. They also have a dark head with black eyes.
Carpet moth eggs are tiny and creamy colored also but are usually tucked between carpet fibers so they’re hard to spot. Adult moths are big and easy to see.
Carpet moths vs. pantry moths
It’s hard to tell the difference between carpet moths vs. pantry moths, especially if you have no idea about their behavior.
The easiest way? Find out where you’re discovering them hanging out.
- If you see them in your bedroom, living room, or other carpeted dark areas, they’re probably carpet moths.
- If you see them in your kitchen or near food storage, they’re probably pantry moths.
You could have both, also. Pantry moths (Indian meal moth) don’t damage your carpeting, clothes, and other fabrics, but will eat your food.
Which one’s worse? Getting your carpet eaten or your food? Tough choice.
They’re not hard to identify if you look closely.
You’ll probably find them everywhere before they find you. They’re pretty hard to ignore when we’re flying in your face as you smack them away from you.
What do they eat?
Carpet moths, specifically the larvae, feed on keratin.
This is a natural protein that’s found in fibers coming from animals. Contrary to popular belief, the larvae of carpet moths don’t eat cotton, polyester, or other synthetic/artificial fibers.
You’ll only find them munching on your wools, silk, fur, leather, feather, cashmere, or other animal-based products. Some common items include clothing, carpet, drapes, upholstery, bedding materials, etc.
A note on fiber blends: If your material is made with blended fabric, such as 50/50 synthetic to natural, they’ll still eat it. They can dig out the keratin-based fibers and eat that while ignoring the synthetic materials.
That’s a negative for infestations because animal-based fibers are generally more expensive than artificially produced ones. And carpet moths eat the expensive fibers. So they’ll destroy your most expensive goods!
They also eat hair, skin, and food debris. This means that your dried skin flakes are a food source.
So is all your hair. And the debris that collects on your clothing from your everyday lunch break that builds in the hamper. Gross, right?
Will they leave on their own?
Sadly, clothes moths will likely stay in your property because it provides them with everything they need.
Until you remove all the food, shine light 24/7, or eradicate their population, then you can expect them to be breeding somewhere hidden in your house.
This is why you need to do something right away before they really do major damage.
For most homeowners, they notice ONLY when the damage is too significant. So it’s a Catch-22.
Do they breed in the house?
Oh yes, they do.
Adult female moths that have bred can deposit up to 200 eggs throughout their adult life. This is just from a single moth.
Imagine if you have dozens or hundreds of them. Then what?
They lay eggs in dark, quiet areas in the home directly into the fabric of rugs or carpets. Anything that has keratin will do. When the larvae are born, they can eat directly into the substrate their eggs were deposited in.
Depending on the temperature, species, fabric type, food availability, and overall humidity, the time to hatch is usually around 5-10 days.
Warmer months will have them going through pupation in just under 60 days. Adults are harmless, but they laid the eggs. The larvae eat. The best thing you can do is to eliminate both to stop them effectively. Thankfully, it’s easy if you’re patient.
Adult moths don’t eat, but they will lay eggs if they can mate. These clothes moths are harmless. The larvae will do ALL the damage to your textiles, clothing, and carpets.
They only eat protein fibers that are from animals. Food, skin, sweat, etc. They love to eat the most expensive fibers in your home, but don’t care for synthetics. They have a golden tongue!
Where do they hide?
Carpet moths hide in the dark.
Both the larvae (the worm-like creature before they pupate. The damage comes from larvae, not adults. Although it’s annoying to have a bunch of flying moths in your face when you look behind the sofa, they’re harmless to you.
To locate an infestation, check dark places in your home.
Here are some common areas that carpet moths infest:
- Behind or under couches
- Under beds
- Skirting boards
- Within bookcases
- Under rugs
- Pantry shelves
- Behind furniture or under it
- Corners of the room
- Curtains that touch the carpet
- Laundry rooms
- Curtains or drapes
- HVAC units
- On the carpet!
They especially like natural fiber carpets.
Damaged, torn, stained, or threadbare carpets will be hotspots for these pests. They also eat natural furniture and curtain fabrics.
Note that you won’t find them in areas with lots of activity. They hide in darker rooms with minimal human disturbance and like messy debris. So keep it clean and keep your house “active” to reduce the infestation. It’s that simple.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a house, apartment, condo, townhouse, etc.
Carpet moths are equally likely to infest all of them- especially if it has central heating. If you pry up your carpet, you may see them hiding under it.
Notice that they can infest your home without any visible signs of damage. They hide under carpets in the dark so you don’t see them until the damage is done to your furnishings.
Worn or dirty carpets are especially prone to infestations.
How do carpet moths get in your house?
Carpet moths come from the outdoors. These moths are native to cozy and tight spaces outside where they typically inhabit the fur or skin of animals.
If you have a dog or cat that sheds a lot, you should already know about the buildup of animal fur in areas that are hardly cleaned.
Think of this, but outside. These moths will hide in these furs and consume them.
Wool and carpet are their preferred environments because it provides plenty of keratin for them to eat.
Carpet also provides them with dirt, debris, hair, or other microscopic particles that they feed off of.
Food is everywhere for them to eat.
If you don’t pay attention to it, you won’t notice until adults are flying around your place. They can get in from new rugs, clothes, or straight from the outside into your property.
What causes carpet moths in the first place?
Carpet moths used to be a lot less frequent, but recent changes to carpet and textile industry regulations have banned the use of DDT.
It used to limit the number of pests hiding in the carpet before it reaches the end consumer, but now that it’s banned, carpet moths have a chance to get inside your house.
They especially like warm weather, which is when they’re most active. They get inside your house by smuggling themselves through fibers on the products you buy (rugs, carpet, drapes, clothing, etc.).
Once they get in, they eat and breed within that material or infest other keratins in your property.
Since the majority of homes have central heating, it provides them a stable temperature to constantly breed all season.
How to get rid of carpet moths naturally
This section covers the various DIY home remedies to get rid of carpet moths without chemicals.
As you’ll see, there are MANY techniques. You should try a few of them out at a time and see what works for your specific situation. There’s no single technique that works for everyone.
If you have any questions or tips/tricks, you can post it at the end of this page.
Alright, let’s get onto the techniques.
Grab that vacuum and dust it off! It’s time to do a thorough vacuuming of your entire place. I strongly suggest using a vacuum with either a hose attachment or a handheld portable one.
This will save you time and make it easier to get into hard-to-reach areas in your house. Additionally, you should use a vacuum cleaner that has a HEPA filter because you’ll be vacuuming areas that have been neglected.
Dust settles in these areas and you’ll be scattering it everywhere. This will prevent other pests like dust mites or spider mites from infesting other parts of your property.
Regular vacuuming will help control and slowly eliminate the pest populations in your house entirely. You’d be surprised how effective it can be.
Dust likely attracts carpet moths as it has plenty of food particles for them to eat. Pet hair, human hair, skin, and nails. Everything that has keratin that rolls off your body is food for them.
Grossed out yet?
Think of all the places you don’t regularly stick that vacuum hose near. That’s where all the food is collected.
When was the last time you got under the TV stand? Or vacuumed/laundered those curtains?
Use your vacuum of choice and get into each nook and cranny. This means all the cracks and crevices that you normally don’t vacuum or skip over.
You’ll want to do a thorough job and make sure you get UNDER and IN BETWEEN objects that collect debris:
- Under furniture or appliances
- Under the bed
- Mattresses (horsehair or wool)
- Within dressers, drawers, and closets
- Kitchen pantries
- Between the gaps where furniture meets the wall
- Rugs and carpeting
- Curtains, drapes, and other fabrics
- TV stands, nightstands, and other things that you rarely move to clean
- Between, around, and under all other objects that are stationary on your property
- Old clothing or fabrics in storage
If you’ve been slacking off on the vacuuming, now’s a good time to do a nice cleaning of your home.
This will help get rid of more than just carpet moths- mold mites, psocid mites, and more can all be controlled just by regular vacuuming. Only if more people knew about the possibilities of the suction.
Store your fabrics
Any clothing that contains keratin should be stored properly so that moths can’t get to them.
Use airtight containers that are made with thick plastic to keep bugs out.
Not only will it protect your clothing from being infested by carpet moths, but you’ll also defend against dust mites.
If you put them in the closet, make sure that there isn’t already an infestation going on inside there.
If there is, they can get inside the container before you shut it and then they’ll have everything they need to chew your fabrics.
Try to keep it “sterile” if possible.
Get rid of infested items
It’s important to identify and find out where the infestation is coming from.
When you’ve identified the item that they’re eating and breeding in, you need to remove it and dispose of it.
If it’s a small item, you can safely put it in a trash bag and seal it. Let it sit outside on a hot day and the heat will kill all the moths and the larvae. It may not kill the eggs though.
Carpet should be stored in rolls. Don’t lay them flat or fold them. This makes them easy to access or pests. Mothballs can be applied to the stored rolls.
Ensure that the carpet is clean before you store it by vacuuming it to remove debris. If you have a large sheet, you can drape it over. This will protect it even more from pests. Avoid bending it.
Don’t crease it either. Reduce surface area where possible. Note that if you use mothballs, you need to ventilate it now and then. Or place them. Keep the carpets out of wet areas or humid environments.
Larger items can be disposed of by putting them outdoors and hosing them off with soapy water.
This will kill the larvae, adults, and eggs. If you want, you can do the same for anything that’s infested no matter the size. The soapy water kills them instantly.
If it’s something valuable (such as a roll of carpet), you can spray with soapy water, wash it, then dry it out for a few days outside or indoors by the windowsill. Just don’t let it get infested again!
However, if you’re not sure whether or not you killed all the larvae and eggs, you shouldn’t keep it.
Eggs are tiny and can be stuck onto any surface (both soft and hard). If you miss one, and it hatches, it can start a new problem for you. When in doubt, throw it out!
If the object has value and you don’t want to throw it out, such as a small nightstand or dresser, you CAN put it inside a large bag then keep it in the sun.
Give it a few hours and it should kill all the larvae and moths if done correctly.
However, you’ll still need to find the eggs and scrape them off.
Getting rid of the junk that’s infested is key to ridding entire populations at once.
Carpet moths hate light. If you have a dark corner in your room, they’ll congregate in that area.
Raise your drapes or open those blinds. Let the sunlight shine!
This will help keep them out of that area. Direct sunlight makes it hot. The heat will eradicate eggs and larvae. Moths also avoid the light and will only hang out in the dark.
Carpet moths don’t exhibit phototaxis (they aren’t light loving), so they avoid light. They’re not attracted to light as the majority of other flying insects are.
If you’ve ever disturbed one, you may have noticed that it immediately flies to the darkest area of the room you’re in.
Use turpentine to kill carpet moths
Turpentine kills moths can be used with a cleaning scrub on carpets. The chemical kills and then removes the moths’ eggs and larvae.
However, using it improperly can be harmful to you and others. Use as directed and read the warnings on the container. You can use it to do a deep cleaning of your carpets.
Spray soapy water
For small infestations or visible larvae, you can neutralize them with some soapy water.
Just mix one tablespoon of dish detergent with a quart of water.
Then spray it directly onto the larvae. They should be killed upon contact. This is good for spot cleaning pests.
Use natural repellents
If you want to only use natural means to get rid of carpet moths, stick with natural repellents. They have the scent of dried herbs that are very strongly scented.
Buy these at your grocery store and put them into nylon bags (or socks). This makes it easy to move them around your home from room to room. There’s also no mess.
Some of the popular herbs that moths hate are:
- Bay leaves
- Mint leaves
- Peppermint leaves
- Citrus peels
- Basil leaves
Try boric acid
Boric acid is an excellent way to kill moth eggs.
Get dry, pure, boric acid powder from your local hardware store.
Sprinkle it in small amounts in areas of your carpet where you suspect moths to be present. Leave the powder there for a few hours. Don’t let people or pets near it.
Vacuum it up with a HEPA-vacuum and empty the bag/canister when you’re done. This will eradicate any eggs and larvae present.
Boric acid cuts up their exterior and dehydrates them. They let go of the fabric and will get vacuumed up. Make sure that you empty the vacuum when you’re done. If you don’t have boric acid you can use diatomaceous earth.
Get the food-grade variant that’s used as a supplement. Use as directed. Note that boric acid powder or DE may damage sensitive fabrics.
Use moth papers
These are sheets of paper that are baited.
They’re lined with a moth attractant that brings by and forces them to land on the sticky surface. Once they land on the paper, you guessed it. They get stuck.
They have pheromones to bait males to the sheets.
It’s an easy way to catch a ton of moths passively. Use as directed. For best results, place them where you suspect the moths to be hanging out (dark, undisturbed parts of your house).
You probably already know that these moths are getting in through various cracks around your home. The adults fly in and then start to breed when they find a suitable environment.
Moths come in through windows, doors, cracks, plants, and products you buy that contain keratin. Larvae may also be found in plant soils from newly purchased indoor houseplants.
You can exclude them from getting into your house by doing some basic care:
- Replace all damaged or torn window screens
- Fix worn weather-stripping around the exterior of your house
- Fix any cracks between patio doors
- Leave new rugs or carpets in an isolated area and check for infestation
- Quarantine new houseplants for 2 weeks before putting them into your house
- Seal cracks/crevices with caulk
- Fix any damaged exterior walls
- Replace any damaged grates or vents
- Never leave windows ajar when you don’t need them to be
- Seal up door gaps under door frames
- Check new clothing, drapes, curtains, etc. for larvae or stains from their poop (feces/droppings/frass)
The traditional way to do it is to use mothballs.
Rightfully named, these balls are designed to kill moths and other insects. They work by releasing toxic fumes.
Specifically, naphthalene. They’re best used when placed in small spaces where the ventilation is poor. The toxic compounds slowly release into the container and this will kill any pests in there.
However, the compound is bad for pets and people, so you should never use it inside the house or somewhere that people/pets will frequent.
Additionally, if you put mothballs into a container, such as for clothing, you should label it so the next time you crack it open, you’ll do it outside where there’s adequate ventilation.
Mothballs are a toxic approach and not as safe as the other DIY remedies on this page. If you need to use them to kill moths, use them as directed.
Build a DIY carpet moth trap
Did you know that carpet moths can’t resist the scent of fish? If you eat fish, save the fish oil next time and pour it into a container.
Get some sticky traps or sticky tape and then wrap it around the container.
The carpet moths will gravitate towards the oil and when they land on the container, they’ll stick to the tape.
This will kill them passively without you having to do anything. It’s perfect for areas that you don’t spend time in because fish stinks!
Use pheromone traps
Pheromone traps can be purchased from hardware stores.
They contain a scented bait that lures in male moths. Once they get in, they get stuck on the glue. This will eliminate the males and stop the breeding and greatly reduce their numbers.
The females won’t fly into the trap, as it’s baited with a female pheromone which only attracts males.
Use the trap as directed. Males will come out at night to find a mate. When they fly into the trap, they’ll get killed. Replace as needed.
The nice thing about using traps is that you can use them to gauge how your DIY pest plan is working. At first, you should see a lot of these bugs getting stuck since you’re just starting. They’re everywhere.
But over time, you should start to see fewer of them getting caught. Traps are nice to check the status of infestation.
Don’t look at the total number of bugs caught. Look at how quickly or slowly they’re being caught.
If you’re still catching a lot of them each night, consider switching to a different remedy. Or increasing whatever you’re doing.
If you’re catching less, then yes, it’s working!
Use those traps as a gauge, friend.
Moths hate the scent of acidic lemon.
You can save the peels and place them in small spaces where moths are present, such as your closet, drawers, or corners of carpets.
The moths will leave the area within a few days. Replace it to keep it fresh.
Essential oils are natural or organic concentrates that need to be diluted before you spray.
Get a bottle of pure oil and then dilute it accordingly with water. You’ll need to look up a guide to see how much to dilute, as each oil is different.
Once diluted, you can spray it around areas that you see moths flying around. They hate the strong scent of oil and will naturally be repelled by it.
Some good choices for essential oils are the following:
Bottles of these oils don’t cost a lot. You can also make a lot of repellent with just a few drops of the oil. That’s all you need!
Essential oils are natural, but they can be harmful to people and pets. Read all labels before use. Keep people/pets out of rooms you spray.
Keep up with the cleaning
In addition to regular vacuuming, you should be cleaning your home thoroughly when there’s an active pest problem.
Remove leftover food, clean stains and spills, clean the shower/toilet, change your sheets, vacuum everything, dust your furniture, etc.
Do all the things you should be doing.
You’ll reduce the number of carpet moths and other bugs infesting your property. Moths will feed on debris leftover in your home and drink the moisture from spills, houseplants, sinks, showers, leaky plumbing, toilets, etc.
They just need a few drops of water to stay hydrated. Combine that with food debris and they’re good to go.
Humidity is a requirement for these buggers to thrive.
If you have rooms in the home that have especially high moisture content, reduce it.
This includes areas like your bathroom, kitchen, garage, etc. Use fans, dehumidifiers, or just prop the window to let it air out. If it’s always humid, do something about it.
It attracts moisture-seeking pests like mites in the bathroom, stink bugs in your property, and scorpions?
High traffic areas like bathrooms or carpets right around the bathroom entrance are usually wet. These are perfect for bugs to breed. Keep them dry at all times! Clean up spills right away.
Dry out the sink when you use it.
One time, a friend from work told me that she always dries the sink with a towel when she uses it.
She says that you wouldn’t even notice she was there.
This is good practice not just to keep bugs out, but also to reduce hard water stains.
Use scented products
Some products are artificially scented which may help deter carpet moths.
These are things like shelf liners, odor eliminators, sprays, fresheners, or plugin warmers.
Anything that smells will help naturally repel carpet moths and you can use this around the home.
You probably already have some lying around. Put them where the pests are!
Carpet moths will perish under the heat. You can use anything from a clothes iron to a space heater to raise the temperature.
Of course, this is taking all safety precautions into play. Don’t do something that can start a fire.
Some fibers are extremely flammable and will ignite even at lower temperatures. So you’ll want to do your research first before you start ironing your carpet.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can cause serious harm, fires, electrical hazards, and more.
Do NOT attempt any DIY carpet moth treatment without advice from a professional.
Yes, that means contacting a licensed exterminator and asking them to inspect your home. And asking if you can use a specific heat method to help kill off some carpet beetles.
A lot of exterminators will do a free inspection, so you can use this to get as much info as possible.
Hire them if none of your DIY techniques work out. And give them a tip for their time!
Carpet moths can be killed at temperatures greater than 120F, which is achievable even with mildly hot water.
Or expose them to the cold
Just like heat, the cold also kills them if it’s cold enough.
If you have some kind of clothing that’s infested, put it in the freezer for a few weeks. It’ll kill the larvae, eggs, and adults.
The cold will slow down their activity. It may not kill them, so you need to check.
If you can make it hot, then very cold, the temperature change will be enough to wipe them out.
Does salt kill carpet moths?
There are salt sprays you can buy that can be applied to the carpet.
You spray it on and then vacuum it up. The salt stops their digestion. Use as directed. They’re usually boron-based and can be put into water and then sprayed onto carpets. It’s cheap to buy in bulk.
Get your carpet cleaned
When you’ve tried all the DIY methods and they’re just not working out for, then get your carpet cleaned professionally. Do some research for the local carpet cleaning companies near you and hire one.
This is one of the quickest ways and one of the easiest to get rid of them. It kills them instantly when done correctly because of the scorching hot temperatures in the cleaners.
Read some reviews. Ask if they’ve dealt with carpet moths before.
These companies have access to industry-strength agents that can wipe out eggs and larvae much more effectively than household compounds. Plus, they have the tools, equipment, and expertise for pest control.
If you don’t have the time to deal with carpet moths on your own or you’ve tried nearly every home remedy you’ve discovered with no results, then it’s time to hire a pro to get it done right.
Don’t think of the price you pay but rather the time you save. Also, ask for green or natural cleaning. Some companies use natural products only, which is beneficial since it’s inside your house.
You don’t want to be touching synthetics if you can avoid it, right?
Note that you can also RENT a carpet cleaning machine and this lets you customize the cleaning solution you use.
This is a cheaper way to get it done and it lets you do it on your own time. It’s a handy solution if you need it.
Getting your carpets deep cleaned twice a year with hot water extraction machines will help eliminate pests hiding in them and keep your home pest-free of more than just carpet moths.
Two cleanings should do the trick. A rough clean and then a deep clean to get inside all the nooks and crannies.
Use pH-neutral agents or pesticide-free heat pods as a backup resort. If you have delicates that are infested, use the proper compound for it to avoid running it.
How do I stop moths eating my carpet?
If you’re tired of dealing with them, consider these tips to prevent future infections.
Switch to synthetics
Carpet moths don’t eat synthetic fibers.
So if they’re driving you crazy, you can consider switching to all artificial fibers. While this will stop them from eating it, note that it doesn’t stop the adults from laying eggs in the fibers.
So even if you’re using 100% fake carpeting, the carpet moths will still lay their eggs in it. It just won’t get damaged by the larvae.
Debris that gets caught in the carpet will provide their food source.
Food, dust, skin, water, hair, etc. It’s all going to be their next meal as they eat themselves to pupation. This is how you keep moths out of my carpet in the future for good.
Store up all-natural fibers
Take down your drapes, curtains, and other keratin-based fibers and replace them with synthetics
Again, it’ll stop them from eating it. This gets rid of their food source.
Once you get rid of all the keratin, you’re good to go.
Do regular cleanings of your house. Vacuum everything. Launder everything. Keep wet places dry.
Self-explanatory. They eat debris and food that collects in your carpet.
Remove it and they’ll have nothing to eat and then starve. It’s an alternative to getting rid of them.
No food? No pests to stress over.
Here are some references you can check out that may aid you:
- The curious case of the case-bearing carpet moth – TheGuardian
- Carpet moth – Wikipedia
- HELP -I was thinking of moth proofing, and found a … – Reddit
Did you get rid of the carpet moths permanently?
You should now have a solid foundation to control, manage, and eliminate carpet moths without the use of synthetic poisons.
They’re a nuisance, but not entirely difficult to get rid of.
It’s all about keeping clean, removing food, and keeping the vulnerable fibers in your house protected from pests. It’s not hard once you get into a groove of vacuuming and laundering your goods.
Do you have any questions? Are you dealing with a specific carpet moth infestation? Leave a comment and let me know.
If you found this guide somewhat useful, please let me know by dropping a comment as well. Consider telling a friend who may find it helpful too!
Currently an active researcher in the pest control industry for the past 8 years- with a focus on using natural and organic methods to eliminate pest problems.
I share handy DIY pest techniques I come across here to help out others (and possibly save them from a mental breakdown).
Fight nature with nature.
1 thought on “How to Get Rid of Carpet Moths (Naturally)”
We recently rented a home in Ashland, Oregon, and noticed what we thought was deeply worn areas of the wool carpeting (in one bedroom); the same carpet is in 4 of the rooms in the house. After we moved in, we began to see very small moths flying about, especially in the room with the obvious damage. Since we are working with a rental agency, and this is a very old house with many issues that have been pressing, this was not at the top of the list. We have used cedar oil in all the closets and on the wooden walls of the room in question and thought that handled it (this is the first time we have encountered an infestation and had no idea how bad it could get).
Now that the weather is very warm, the larvae have begun to hatch and they are more noticeable flying. We moved the bed and found a lot more damage than what was here when we moved in. Our rental agent company will only work with a chemical pest control company as the “natural” ones they’ve tried “did not work”. We are not willing to have someone spray a toxic chemical, especially in the room where we and our cat sleep!
The local natural pest control people use a clove oil spray, and are wondering if you have experience with this and whether you’ve found it to be truly successful. Any response will be much appreciated! Thanks!