3 Different Types of Moths That Eat Clothes

Types of Moths That Eat Clothes
Image credit: depositphotos.com

The clothes moth is the most common type of moth that people tend to find in their homes.

These moths are relatively small and are likely to fly at night. This article consists of the types of moths that eat clothes.

You can find them in homes because clothing and fabric items attract them easily, including carpets.

They also eat natural materials like wool, fur, feathers, and hair. How do you identify clothes Moths? Clothes moths are relatively easy to locate.

However, there are many types of moths that eat clothes. Moths come in the following sizes: 1 cm (3/8 inch) Wings.

Types of Moths That Eat Clothes

We know a few types of moths that eat clothes. The webbing clothes moth is the most common of these.

Clothing made of natural fibers such as wool, cotton, and silk can draw a moth.

The webbing clothes moth will eat holes in these fabrics and prefers dirty or stained clothing. Carpet moths are another type of moth that may consume clothing.

Although less common than the webbing clothes moth, the carpet moth can still be a problem in homes with carpets or rugs.

Carpet moths will eat holes in these fabrics and are especially attractive to dark colors. Clothes moths are tiny, 1/2-inch beige or buff-colored moths.

Their wings are narrow and fringed with tiny hairs. They are frequently confused with grain moths, which infest stored food in kitchens and pantries.

Unlike some other moths, they are rarely seen because they avoid light. They prefer dark, quiet places like closets, basements, and attics.

Similar-looking moths in kitchens and other well-lit areas are likely grain moths from cereals or other stored foods.

However, below are the types of moths that eat clothes.

1. Webbing Clothes Moth

Webbing Clothes Moths
by The NYSIPM Image Gallery is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Webbing moths, also known as Tineola bisselliella as one of the types of moths that eat clothes, are the most common clothing moths in the United States.

This pest’s common name refers to its larvae producing silk webbing. The larvae of moths spread this webbing all over whatever they’re feeding on, usually clothing.

Webbing clothes moths have established themselves as pests throughout the world. You can see webbing moths almost anywhere people live.

They are about 1/2 inch long “long from tip to tip of the wing. Their wings are long and narrow, golden or beige. You can distinguish adult moths by a tuft of red scales on top of their heads.

Mature webbing attire, moth larvae are approximately 1/2 “long. They have brownish heads and are primarily white.

They appear to have distinct body segments, as do other caterpillar larvae. Female webbing clothes moths lay 40 to 50 eggs on average during their adult life.

These eggs will hatch in four to ten days. Larvae immediately begin eating nearby food materials, producing silk, and molting after hatching.

A single larva can molt up to 45 times before pupating. When larvae are ready to pupate, they move away from food and spin a silken cocoon around themselves.

After emerging from the cocoon, the new adult begins mating and laying eggs. Adult moths do not live long after they have metamorphosed.

Natural animal fibers are the only food source for webbing clothes and moths. However, they will also provide synthetic fibers interwoven with animal fiber.

Webbing clothes moths will infest keratin-containing materials such as wool, hair, fur, and others.

They can infest beef meal, fish meal, pemmican, casein, milk products, skin, and other products.

When feeding in exposed areas, the larvae may spin a silken mat or patch and feed from beneath it.

2. Casemaking Clothes Moth

Casemaking Clothes Moth
by xpda is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

The casemaking clothes moth, also known as Tinea pellionella, is among the types of moths that eat clothes.

These moths are small, and tiny scales cover their brown or gray bodies. They get their name from the silken cocoons or “cases” they build in which to live and pupate.

These moths are often found in closets or where you keep your clothes.

Natural fibers such as wool, silk, and fur can attract them, and they will happily munch on your favorite sweater or jacket.

If you find evidence of clothes moths in your home, you must take steps to get rid of them.

Otherwise, they will continue to damage your clothes and other items made of natural fibers.

In 4 to 10 days, the eggs laid by female moths, either alone or in small clusters, will develop into tiny caterpillars.

The casemaking clothing moth larva goes through five to forty-five instars of development before reaching almost an inch in length.

They develop into pupae in silken casings that contain feces and fibers from the contaminated fabric.

They complete their life cycle in two months, which might also take years. Caterpillars have teeth for chewing.

Wool, feathers, fur, hair, upholstered furniture, milk powders, lint, dust, or paper are the primary food sources for larvae.

They can occasionally harm contaminated synthetic clothes with oils or combined with animal fibers.

The casemaking clothing moth will also consume the kept plant materials (e.g., spices, tobacco, hemp).

You can see these species through materials from stored animal products, such as old clothing, woolens, yarn, and felt on piano strikes. These animals shun light in all stages.

3. Carpet Beetle Larvae

Carpet Beetle Larvae
by division, CSIRO is licensed under CC BY 3.0

As their name suggests, carpet beetles occasionally infest carpets.

The pests prey on numerous other materials made of wool, fur, felt, silk, feathers, skins, and leather, just like clothes moths.

The larvae can digest the fibrous animal protein keratin found in these substrates.

They rarely damage fabrics made of cotton and synthetic materials like polyester and rayon unless they are extensively stained with body oils or wool blends.

Unnoticed carpet beetle infestations can spread and destroy delicate things.

The little eggs laid by adult beetles hatch into the larvae that consume fabric in a few weeks.

The 1/8- to 1/4-inch length, tan to brownish, sluggish, heavily-haired, or bristled larvae move slowly.

The growing larvae also leave behind molted skins or sheds. They frequently leave worn areas and crooked holes when they graze along the surface of delicate textiles.

In addition, carpet beetle larvae feed on animal-based materials, especially wool, feathers, and leather.

Commonly attacked items include sweaters, scarves, coats, blankets, rugs, down pillows and comforters, upholstery, toys, decorative items, and taxidermy mounts.

The larvae often feed within fabric folds (hems, collars, cuffs, etc.) in closets, chests, and boxes where you store your items for long periods.

Clothing and blankets in regular use are seldom attacked; the same is true of rugs routinely vacuumed.

Its effects edge and undersides of rugs and carpets are more likely than on areas out in the open.

Prevention of Moths from Getting to Your Store

The best approach to avoiding issues with carpet beetles is prevention, just like clothing moths.

Woolens and other prone articles should be dry cleaned or washed before you keep them for an extended time.

Cleaning eliminates sweat scents that tend to draw bugs and kills any eggs or larvae that may be present.

Then, pack the items in containers or tight-fitting plastic bags. Mothballs, flakes, or crystal users should carefully read and adhere to label instructions.

If mishandled, the flammable, pungent goods containing paradichlorobenzene or naphthene might be dangerous.

Never disperse them in areas where kids or animals can get to them, such as open closets.

Even if you only wore that scratchy holiday sweater for a few hours, you should wash it before putting it back on the rack since filth and oil attract bugs.

In the long run, doing this consistently will keep the moths away.

To permanently keep moths away, brush your clothing. You might want to invest in a clothing brush, particularly one with a wooden handle and made of horsehair or boar hair.

Use the clothes brush to carefully brush the clothing, paying particular attention to seams, folds, and pockets.

Place the clothing items in the sun or under intense light (this will induce any larvae to fall off the clothing).

Using these methods, you can prevent the moths from your clothes, carpets, and fabrics.

How to Get Rid of Moths That Eat Clothes?

To be saved from the types of moths that eat clothes, you should recognize your enemy before you fight against it.

Locate where the moths disturb you in stores or on your carpet. Clothes moths care not about who you are or how much you love your clothes.

Among the victims of the moths’ attack is Drew Barrymore, actress-turned-talk-show-host, who once took to Instagram to lament the destruction of her beloved knit top.

They’ll find their way into your closets and quietly desecrate your garments. Start by identifying whether you have clothes moths.

The casemaking clothes moth (Tinea pellionella) and the webbing clothes (Tineola bisselliella) moth are the only two moth species that can cause damage to your textiles.

After you’ve identified the moth, inspect your clothing for damage. Killing all the flying moths will not solve the problem because their larvae cause damage.

Darkness attracts the moth larvae, humid environments, and filthy clothing (especially unwashed items with lingering body oils or food residue).

If you’re unsure whether moths caused the holes in your clothes, one way to tell is that some larvae leave behind a web that looks like dried snot.

How to Get Rid of Moths?

After you’ve determined that you have clothing moths (or other cloth-eating bugs), clean your clothes and closet as follows:

  • Throw Away Particularly Infested Items: If the clothing is severely damaged, repair may be impossible. No matter how much you enjoyed it, getting rid of the infestation will be even more enjoyable.
  • Clean the Clothes You Do Keep Thoroughly: Dry cleaning is the most effective method of killing moth larvae, and it’s well worth the cost for wool sweaters and jackets you don’t want to ruin. However, read the labels carefully because many types of wool shrink and feel when agitated at such high temperatures. If your dryer has a non-agitating shelf, that would be a good option for killing moth larvae on woolen clothing.
  • Clear Out Your Closet Thoroughly: Moths and larvae prefer dark crevices and corners. Remove the vacuum bag and throw it outside because it is likely to contain eggs and larvae. You could also use a dry cleaning service or a carpet steamer to clean natural fiber rugs.
  • Items You Don’t Dry, Clean, Wash, Air, or Freeze: You can eliminate moth eggs and larvae by exposing the afflicted to sunshine and scrubbing them firmly. However, it may be messy, so prepare to become filthy and be careful not to track eggs or larvae back into your house.
  • Woolen clothing can also be heat-treated on trays in an oven to the lowest heat (at least 120 °F). Don’t use any dress with beading or plastic that can melt for this.


The clothes moth is a frequent pest of natural fibers like wool, silk, and fur because it lays its eggs on these materials. The eggs hatch into larvae, and they eat fabric as they grow.

To prevent moths, you must take care of any potential problems with the eggs, larvae, and cocoons.

Three types of moths eat clothes: the case-bearing moth, the webbing clothes moth, and the casemaking clothes moth.

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