Like clothing moths, carpet moths are extremely common and are found worldwide. This means any carpeted space in your home has the potential to be targeted by these little critters and you must always keep an eye out for any signs they may be in your home.
It’s important to remember that, despite the name, carpet moths attack more than just carpets. They can also cause damage to clothing, fur, upholstery, and animal skins.
Follow the tips below to eliminate carpet moths from your home and bring it back to life.
As always, the first step to to bringing your carpets back to health, is identifying the problem. The moths themselves are typically between 14 and 18 millimetres, and have very distinctive markings that aid in identification.
The carpet moth can go through several life cycles in a single year, leaving numerous silken cocoons around your home. The carpet damage is usually done while they are in their larval stage, as that is when they are feeding, in preparation for pupation. It is even common to see larvae the colour of your carpet, as they take on the dye!
Another sign of carpet moths are balding patches on the edges and in corners of carpets, which must never be ignored. You may even see the larvae themselves in places.
While you can take some steps, such as vacuuming and carpet shampooing, toward reducing their numbers, the only real way to eradicate these pests from your home completely, is to call a professional pest control expert.
Due to their short life cycles, carpet moths reproduce very quickly and can be present in all four stages (eggs, larva, cocoon, adult) at once. This means eradications of only one type will not result in their complete removal. Even the most thorough vacuum will not remove all the eggs, leaving your home at risk of re-infestation.
So remember, if you see any signs, call a professional pest technician – it’s the only way to be sure, and it can save you a lot of trouble and money in the future.
Once you have had your home professionally treated and are sure it is completely carpet moth free, you can begin to focus on restoring life to your carpets.
This method is most effective when you have a highly powered vacuum cleaner. Make sure your vacuum cleaner is not clogged or full before you begin and check it periodically during this process.
Begin by thoroughly vacuuming all carpeted areas, rugs, furs, animal skins, upholstery, and any crevices. This will remove most expired larvae and moths that might have dropped on the floors.
Make sure to focus on corners and crevices, and vacuum under any furniture, rugs, beds or cupboards. During this process, it is also a good idea to check if your carpets have come unstuck in any corners or edges. If you find this is the case, vacuum under them as far as you can, as they are perfect accumulation spots for any remaining debris. Once you are satisfied with the results, move on to the next stage.
Remember to empty your vacuum cleaner when you are done as it will now contain biological material that you want to remove as quickly as possible.
Baking Soda and Vinegar
A great cost-effective home remedy for refreshing carpets is the combination of baking soda (this can be purchased at any supermarket in the ‘baking’ section) with white vinegar. As well as refreshing, this method also has the added benefit of removing any spots or stains from your carpet.
Begin by generously sprinkling baking soda over the entire carpet surface and working it in with a stiff brush. Baking soda has natural antibacterial properties, which aid greatly in the removal and prevention of odours. After you have worked it in, leave the baking soda in the carpet overnight. Vacuum it up the next day.
Follow through by mixing equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray this over the areas of baking powder generously. You may notice a slight fizzing – this is the result of the vinegar reacting with the baking soda and is the intended effect of this treatment. As you go along, raise the pile of the carpet with the stiff brush and let dry. Don’t worry about the smell of the vinegar – leave the windows open and this will dissipate in a few hours.
This process will leave you with fresh, fluffy carpets that will be the envy of anyone who walks on them.
Damp Cloth and Iron
You want to combine this method with (at the very least) the vacuuming method, as this will not remove any debris left in the carpet.
For this method, you will need to prepare a vessel of water to take with you as this will save you multiple trips to the sink.
Begin by dampening the cloth with water and laying it over the targeted carpet areas. Place your preheated iron on the damp cloth for a few seconds until you see steam rising. This will cause the fibres of the pile to perk up and give them a fresh, fluffy look.
It’s important to make sure the iron never touches the carpet directly, as the intense heat is likely to cause damage to it, even if exposed only for a moment.
That’s it, it’s that easy.
Professional Carpet Steaming
If you have the budget and would like truly professional results, call your local carpet cleaning service and have all your carpets steam cleaned. This is the best way to restore and preserve any carpets (or even upholstery) in your home, especially if done on a regular basis.
Final Thoughts – Protection
Once your carpets are looking new and fresh, the best way to maintain them is to protect them against re-infestation and pest damage. Make sure to air out your home often, ensure any furs, animal skins and stored fabrics are treated and preserved, and book regular inspections from your local pest control service. It’s the only way to guarantee your home is protected against moths and other pests.
Using any, or a combination of these moth protection and carpet restoration strategies for your home, will help to keep your carpets and home healthy, but it’s always helpful to ask a professional.