Tips to Keep Stored Seasonal Clothing Safe from Pests

how to store clothes safe from moths and pests

Stored clothing should always be safe and away from pests and other dangers that could destroy such clothing. Seasonal clothing is different types of clothes that are worn during certain seasons. During summer, we wear cotton clothes because they are suited for this kind of weather. The same case can be said of specific clothes that are worn during winter because of the weather during that period. As such, we have to store seasonal clothes until the next such season when we shall need them. Therefore, when storing these clothes, you may have to use ultrasonic pest repellers to ensure that such clothes are safe from pests.

We shall discuss some of the tips to help you either store your summer or winter clothes in such a way that they will be safe and free from pests. Here are things you need to know:

  1. Dry clean or launder the clothes first

Your clothes accumulate organic stains and body oils over time. Beetles and moths like this kind of environment and therefore you should never store the clothes before you clean them. If moths and other insects have laid eggs on your clothes, washing the clothes before storing them is a good idea to eliminate the eggs. Wash seasonal bedding at 130 0 F. for those that cannot be washed at that temperature, they should be run through a dryer at this temperature before they are washed.

  1. Use natural repellent to store your clothes

Some people do not like the smell of naphthalene repellents. This is found in the traditional mothballs and they may also fear the adverse health effects that such repellents may have. There are alternative natural repellents that you can use for storing your seasonal clothes. There are many herbal products that you can use such as cedarwood. It contains oils that have pest repellent chemicals. Buy it in the form of balls, chips, blocks, or even in sachets. Use it to store your clothes and once the smell fades, sand the wood to bring back the smell.

  1. Use clear, plastic containers

You should never use cardboard to store your clothes. Instead, you should use clear plastic containers that have tight-fitting lids. These are weatherproof and as long as they are clear and can let in light, no moth, larvae, or rodents will find a haven in such an environment.

  1. What to do with closets

Before you store your seasonal clothes in closets, there are some procedures you must follow in the storage of the clothes. Do the following:

  • Ensure you have emptied and thoroughly cleaned the closet before storing clothes.
  • Once you have removed dust, inspect for signs of mildew and disinfect it before you store clothes.
  • Check and ensure that the closet has no existing pest infestation. If such infestation exists, then use household pest products to clear the infestation.
  • Launder any fabric storage bags you plan to use to eliminate dust and mold spores.

In conclusion, pest infestations may persist even after one follows the right storage procedures. In such a case, you should invite a specialist to help you sort out the mess.

What pests can destroy your clothing?

Many common household pests can ruin clothing, and six of them are more common than others. Learn about them and how to get rid of them as well.

What pests can destroy your clothing


When we talk about clothing-consuming pests, moths are probably the most common. Webbing clothes moths and case-bearing clothes moths can permanently damage organic materials.

Adult webbing clothes moths don’t chew/cut clothing, but they can cause staining. On the other hand, their larvae are more dangerous as they eat wool, cashmere, and mohair. The webbing clothes moths can lay hundreds of eggs and have several generations every year, so the risk of damage is significant.

Case-bearing clothes moths don’t look like moths; sometimes, you cannot even spot the adults. The hard-shelled larvae look like worms and are more pronounced, though. The larvae are dangerous and can eat anything from flannel to fur.


Most of us know about termites’ ability to eat through the wood; they leave burrows that alter the load-bearing home structure and roof beams. They can also eat paper and any plant matter with cellulose and natural clothing fibers.

Linen and cotton have cellulose, just as other plant-derived products do. After burrowing through the wood of the bureau/closets, termites will find and eat clothing made of linen and cotton. Should you notice termites in these areas, you probably already have whole-house infestations. We recommend you call a professional for evaluation and help.

Firebrats and Silverfish

Firebrats and Silverfish resemble each other. Firebrats will eat all sorts of organic materials (sugar, paper, wood, flour, starches, mold, and wallpaper paste). They can also eat textiles such as linen, rayon, and cotton.

On the other hand, Silverfish aren’t very attracted to the clothing fibers but rather to the edible organic materials that they contain. Silverfish will find starched shirts highly appealing because of the starch. They will also ruin rayon, silk, and other fabrics that have sugary beverage stains.

Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are also pests whose larvae, and not the adults, will ruin the fabric. They are mostly found on materials, but they can also live in dark closets, air conditioning ducts, and various hiding places.

Carpet beetles can lay up to four generations every year. It takes two weeks for the eggs to hatch and leave the closet filled with larvae that eat fur, mohair, wool, feathers, etc. Vacuum your carpets and house regularly to control a carpet beetle problem and remove eggs and larvae from your property. You can also freeze/heat/wash/dry clean the clothes to get rid of them.


Cockroaches will eat a wide range of organic materials, clothing fibers including. Food and beverage stains, laundry starches, and even perspiration will attract cockroaches, making holes in the clothes as they eat the substances.

Unlike other fabric pests, which only harm the clothing and materials, cockroaches also pose a threat to your health. They can go through many unsanitary environments, pick up bacteria and disease microorganisms. They will take them onto your things when eating.

If you deal with a cockroach invasion, you must discover where they come from and stop them from entering. Seal up all gaps around electrical conduits, repair plumbing leaks, and upgrade the window/door weather stripping. Always clean up the food spills and keep your groceries in pest-proof recipients.


When you worry about pests ruining your stored clothes, crickets don’t make your primary concern. However, they can also ruin clothes because they try eating substances left on the clothes, drink and food stains, or sweat. While eating the stain remnants, they will also fray the threads of the cloth.

One aspect that is really disturbing with crickets is their excrements. Even if they don’t leave holes in the clothes, they can leave ugly stains that force you to wash a garment even if it’s new.

What can you do to prevent fabric pests?

If you want to reduce the risk of fabric pests, try our recommendations:

  • Install weather stripping around windows and doors
  • Seal openings around windows and doors and repair damaged door screens and windows
  • Keep the outdoor lights turned off when you don’t use them
  • Vacuum and dust your house on a regular basis. Always insist on areas under furniture and upholstery.
  • Remove access to food and store paper and fabric items in plastic recipients with air-tight lids and not cardboard boxes.
  • Try not to introduce used clothing, furniture, rugs, and other fabric items into your house.

How to have fresh-smelling stored clothes?

Fabric pests don’t make the only concern when storing your seasonal clothes. You want your clothes to smell nice and fresh after you take them out of the storage containers. Here are some tips to remember!

Use air fresheners

Air fresheners are excellent for keeping your clothes smell nice and fresh for a long time. Even if you have an old car air freshener, it will still work at leaving your stored clothes nicely smelling. Just remember to add a scent you really like.

Dryer sheets

Use dryer sheets to make your clothes smell nice. Dryer sheets come with a lovely scent that keeps the self-storage unit and clothing smelling nice for a long time. Place the dryer sheers in one of the corners to enjoy a pleasant scent on all your clothes.


For the vintage pieces, you can use some vodka to remove the unpleasant smell. Mix equal amounts of vodka and water in a spray bottle and sprinkle it on the clothing.

Coffee grounds

Coffee grounds will absorb bad smells of the clothing. They also leave a lovely fragrance that most of us like. Fill a recipient with coffee grounds, make some holes in the lid and place it inside the box where you store the clothes.

Essential Oils

Consider essential oils to make your stored seasonal clothing smell fresh. Use them in the wash. During the final rinse, add 10-20 drops of the oil you like; it will leave a lovely scent on your clothes before you store them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you keep mice away from your stored clothes?

Rodents can easily chew through cardboard and tear up your stored seasonal clothes to make nest material. Instead, use plastic containers that are weatherproof and have tight-fitting lids.

Are fabric pests dangerous?

Fabric pests can alter your clothes but don’t necessarily pose a threat to your health. The immature stage (larvae) of clothes moth and carpet beetle will rue fabric items stored inside the home. Adults will lay the eggs on a convenient food source; when the larvae hatch, they will start feeding on and ruin the clothes.

Why do you have a pest problem?

Clothes moths like darkness and stay away from lighted areas. They can get inside your house accidentally in things like furniture, rugs, potted plants, or clothing that has eggs or larvae already on them.

Where can you find fabric pests inside your house?

Closets, basements, attics, and various quiet places are often where fabric pests live and feed. Areas under upholstered furniture, around baseboards, in clothing stored in basements or closets, and the undersides of carpeting are the most common hiding spots for the pests. Fabric pest populations can become quite large before you discover them because they don’t live and feed in plain sight.

Can you get rid of fabric pests?

You can try various products to get rid of fabric pests. Arm yourself with patience, time, and energy as you need them until you identify and eliminate the fabric pests. Of course, you can always hire professionals to help you get rid of fabric pests.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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