1. Home

Discuss in my forum

How to Control Clothes Eating Insects - Fabric Pest Control


Most everyone knows that moths can damage wool clothes but there are several types of insects that can damage cotton, rayon, linen and other types of clothes. Learn about each one and how to control infestations with chemical controls. If you would prefer to not use pesticides, there are green methods for insect control. You can find them here.

Specific questions? Just ask here.

1. Carpet Beetles

Insecticides to control carpet beetles should only be used after a thorough cleaning of baseboards, corners and edges of carpeting where debris accumulates that is fed on by the beetles. To vacuum thoroughly, you must go over infested areas several times. It is important to vacuum in different patterns to ensure that the carpet pile is moved in every direction to access the carpet backing. In infected nonfood areas, household formulas pyrethroid insecticides can be used to kill the infestation. There are many products available and should list as the active ingredient: permethrin, bifenthrin, deltamethrin or tralomethrin. Follow package directions carefully.

2. Clothes Moths

Moth repellents contain naphthalene,common in moth balls or blocks,or paradichlorobenzene (PDB),common in moth crystals. PDB is generally more toxic to the moths. At temperatures above 50 degrees F it turns into a heavier-than-air gas. It should be used in sealed containers or closed rooms at a high concentration for two to three weeks. It reacts with some hard plastics and can even melt storage boxes and plastic buttons. Read directions carefully before using.

Naphthalene is best used by scattering the balls in layers throughout the fabric. However, in moist conditions naphthalene can discolor fabrics and should be wrapped with paper so there is no direct contact with the fabric. It does not react with plastic but it can corrode some metals.

3. Cockroaches

Begin by cleaning and sanitizing the areas around your clothing. Remove soiled clothes and vacuum away insect eggs and droppings. You can then use residual insecticides or baits to control the cockroach infestation. The insecticide should have one or more of the following ingredients: chlorpyrifos or Dursban, propoxur or Baygon, pyrethrins or pyrethroid, hydroprene Gencor and silica gel.

Baits should contain propoxur or Baygon, boric acid, sulfluramid or hydramethylon. Follow package directions carefully for best success. Repeated treatments will be necessary.

4. Crickets

To control indoor crickets, begin by removing sources of moisture and food. You must also find the points of entry from the outside. Look around light fixtures and inspect any cracks along floorboards and outside foundation walls. Insecticide should be used with there is a large number of crickets. Select a product that is labeled for control of indoor crickets and contains the ingredients chlorpyrifos (Dursban), permethrin, or propoxur (Baygon). Whether choosing an aerosol product or liquid, follow application directions carefully.

5. Silverfish and Firebrats

As with carpet beetles, before you can control silverfish and firebrats you must first remove moisture and food that these insects crave. A thorough cleaning before treatment is a must.

For an infestation, select a spray insecticide that contains synergized pyrethrin and pyrethroids. Look for listed ingredient bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, tetramethrin or phenothrin. Some sprays are an oil-based solution and should not be used near electric motors or gas pilot flames. They should not be used around food preparation areas.

6. Termites

It is likely if you have found termite infestation in your clothing area, the problem is widespread throughout your home. Commercial pest-control treatment is recommended because over-the-counter insecticides will not solve the problem.

You can improve the situation by cleaning debris and firewood from around the foundation of your home and reducing moisture levels.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.