You’re in the process of organizing your beautiful new closets and the excitement soon fades when you find moth-sized holes in one of your favorite shirts. Luckily, dealing with closet pests isn’t as hard as you may think.
You can rid your custom closets of pests with the following five tips:
- Get familiar with common closet pests in your area so they don’t surprise you
- Wipe out “hot spots” and habitats by deep-cleaning your closets
- Organize your clothes into different categories depending on quality and condition
- Use pest control methods like pre-made repellents or home remedies
- Make a plan to keep pests from invading your closets in the future
Identifying Common Closet Pests
Two of the most common closet pests include clothes moths and silverfish.
According to Rutgers University University Publication, you can identify clothes moths by their tiny, white appearance. Adult moths have shiny, golden scales and can’t fly well. They munch on materials like cotton, silk, wool, and leather. Sometimes you’ll spot a silky, thread-like residue around damaged areas.
Silverfish are teardrop-shaped, silvery bugs with a flattened body and antennae. They’re carnivorous, preferring clothes, paper, and (unlike clothes moths) food. Pestworld.org notes that silverfish also create holes in fabrics they feed on and sometimes leave indications of their presence with black, pepper-like droppings.
Re-Organize Your Wardrobe
Once you’ve confirmed the problem, prep your closets for cleaning. You’ll need trash bags you can seal.
Sort your clothes into three categories:
- Beyond Repair: The fabric is too damaged to repair yourself.
- Salvageable – Machine-Wash: You can repair these items after a machine-wash cycle.
- Salvageable – Dry Clean Only : You can repair but only dry clean the item.
Immediately toss Beyond Repair items into a sealed trash bag.
Sort your other clothes into the Machine-Wash and Dry Clean Only categories. Prep them in sealed trash bags until you’re ready to do laundry.
Wash items in the washing machine in the hottest water permitted, according to their care labels. Bring your other items to the dry cleaners. The heat will kill the remaining pests.
Bob Vila advises that if you can’t use heat, wrap any individual items that you think may be salvageable in a sealed plastic bag and store in the freezer for one day. Sub-zero temperatures also kill larvae.
When you’re done, shake your clothes free of any potential pests, set aside, and get ready to deep clean your closets.
Destroy Pest “Hot Spots” and Habitats
Understanding how common pests live and thrive helps you pinpoint their presence. Clothes moths aren’t attracted to light. You can find them nestled under shirt collars, a common hiding spot.
Silverfish prefer humid and damp areas, as explained previously by Pestworld.org. Like clothes moths, they’re nocturnal, and avoid warmth and light.
To get rid of these squatters for good, make sure you vacuum your custom closets. Don’t neglect tough-to-reach areas like corners and crevices.
Follow your vacuum job with a pest repellent spray before storing any clean clothing.
Introducing Pest Control Methods to Your Cleaning Routine
Part of the investment of a custom closet is keeping your items safe from household pests. Buy pre-made repellents or try making your own.
Most stores sell generic mothballs and pest repellent value packs. Check in advance before you make the trip. If you do decide to use a store-bought repellent, be sure to check its ingredients. Make sure it’s as natural as possible, non-toxic, and doesn’t have a strong odor. It should also be fabric-safe for your wardrobe items.
Pro-tip: When you go to the store, bring an old garment you’re looking to discard. Test any potential repellents on the item’s fabric.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself (DIY) type of person, you can buy cedarwood hangers to hang your clothes. Cedar is a natural moth repellent. You can also use herbs like lavender and rosemary to make your own natural repellent at home. You can put these herbs in a sachet bag, add a few drops of cedar or lavender oil, and place them on your hangers.
Create a Preventative Pest Control Plan for the Future
The best way to combat a pest problem is through preventative care. Set your household up for success by adding some of the following steps to your weekly routine:
- Wash any new clothes you bring into your home before storing them. You’ll weed out pests looking for food residue.
- Reduce clutter by using airtight bins. Even in a spacious custom closet, you’re bound to have a few crowded spaces. Store your seasonal items so they don’t become targets for pests.
- Deep clean weekly. Wipe down your closet walls and baseboards and vacuum every inch to clear out dust and dirt.
Interestingly enough, all three tips mentioned above also contribute to preventing mold from growing in your closets as well. Kill two birds with one stone! Custom Closets of Houston provides even more tips on this subject in Super Simple Tips for Avoiding Mold Growth in Custom Closets.
Taking care of your clothes starts with taking care of your closet space. Catch potential infestations early by understanding common pests’ appearances and how they live. Reorganize your closets and destroy the habitat.
Remember, the best care is preventative care. Keep returning nuisances away with pest repellent and a preventative plan. The repellents you choose should be compatible with your household and your preventative plan can be as budget-friendly or comprehensive as you need. Preserve your clothes and enjoy your new space!