At first I thought it was just me. It seemed that over the last few years more and more moths have been invading my house. Granted, my home and wardrobe are full of natural textiles, soft furnishing and clothes – it comes with the professional territory. In other words, I live in the moth equivalent of a Michelin Star restaurant. Who then can blame them?! But no, it’s not just me!
For a few summers running, friends, acquaintances and customers have increasingly complained to me about damage done by moths to their jumpers, suits and rugs and other much loved pieces of clothing. Why so many moths all of a sudden? Are the winters too warm, the summers too humid, the houses too well insulated, our wardrobes too packed with clothes we never wear and therefore never handle? Are moths just simply more numerous, more hardy and more hungry? And most important of all: how can we protect our natural textiles from them?
While I remember my mother and grandmother always concerned about the damage moths might do to their clothes, I do not actually ever remember seeing moths flying around the house. During moth season my grandmother used to carefully wrap her clothes in newspaper with dried lavender flowers or zipped them up in specially made linen covers. I guess it must have been quite effective as I can recollect her clearly in her ‘good’ grey wool suit – no moth holes whatsoever – for most of my childhood. Money was tight, clothes were few, so every summer she took the time and made the effort to protect her clothing.
My mother, owning already a lot more clothes than her mother, was happy to make use of what the chemical industry had to offer in the 60s and 70s: moth balls or strips containing the foul smelling and, let’s face it pretty dangerous, naphthalene, were a permanent feature in her wardrobe moth season or not. Not that anyone knew (or cared) that the active ingredients were problematic for human health. These products were cheap, easy and did the job!
Even though I like the idea of my grandmother’s white linen garment bags and lavender twigs in her wardrobe there is no way I’d find the time to moth-proof my wardrobe in this way. Of course, the quick fix chemical warfare waged against moths in the more recent past is a definite no no for anyone who cares about their own and their family’s health.
For the second year running I have now been using a ‘have your cake and eat it’ range of moth protection products that work on a combination of neem and lavender (both known for their natural insecticide powers). They have worked a treat so far and I actually quite like the smell. There’s a ‘hang in your wardrobe and forget about it’ sachet that works for about 3 months or so. A little more involved is a spray which can be applied to clothes directly or if you are really serious about moth-proofing your wardrobe you can use an oil, which cares for your wooden furniture at the same time as deterring moths.
Knock on (moth-treated, beautifully oiled) wood: no more moth damage in my house!
Best wishes / Gaby
If you’d like to find out more about our new range of natural moth protection, visit our New Products section online