Dealing with moths in your stash or woollens
Luckily, I don't have moths in my stash. I rather suspect that if I ever found them, I would be paranoid every time something airborne was spotted in our house. My 'Stash Palace' is rather large and has been lovingly curated, so the idea of finding moths or their carnage makes me uneasy.
Moths are attracted to quiet, dark places like your yarn shelves or woollens drawer. They like to feed on ceratin, a protein that occurs in natural fibres and human hair/skin.
I have come across and engaged in quite a few chats about deterring and killing moths and so here is my list of things that you can do whether you want to deter them, or protect your stash like a ninja.
1 - Use lavender as a deterrent
Moths are scent sensitive and do not like the smell of lavender. I have mini lavender pouches in my crochet and knitting project bags. In my Stash Palace, I have little sachets dotted around in the skeins and little crocheted containers with dried lavender flowers in to make sure that the lavender scent is everywhere. I also have lavender sachets in my shawl basket and in my woollens drawer. You would be amazed by how many people protect their stashes, but not their finished objects.
I add these little sachets into my woollens drawer.
Every now and then I fumble the sachets so that more of the essential oils with the dried lavender flowers are released and the scent continues to be present. I also do this with the lavender in my crochet containers.
I also have a lavender kitchen surface spray which I use to clean down surfaces in my Stash Palace as an extra layer of lavender scent.
Lavender will not kill moths, but it is a very good deterrent!
2 - Move your stash around & wash your woollens
By rummaging through your stash every now and then and going through your woollens drawer, you can disturb adult moths and discourage them from settling and laying eggs. This is also a good opportunity to look for signs of moths and you should be looking for:
- Small white fuzzy spots - this means that you probably have larvae on your items and you need to take action.
- Small holes in your items, remember to check the items thoroughly including underarms and collars. Again, if you see holes, you need to take action.
I tend to wet block all of my projects. I do this because every time I do, I am amazed by how much dirt comes out and it allows me to wash the project with lavender Eucalan which adds another layer of lavender scent into my woollens. Lavender Eucalan has lavender essential oil in it but doesn't have an overpowering lavender smell when you wear your garment.
Moving your stash/woollens around will not kill moths, but is a deterrent.
3 - Freeze your stash
If you suspect that you have moths or have bought yarn and want to ensure that you aren't bringing moths or their larvae into your home, then you can place your yarn into Ziploc bags and freeze them.
Freezing the yarn kills the moths and larvae and therefore protects your stash and items. I have had conversations with people that freeze every skein/ball of yarn before it goes to their stash. This may seem over the top to some but if you have really beautiful yarns it would be awful to find it decimated by moths.
You will need to freeze the yarn to below -8 degrees C for two weeks. Freezing your stash will kill moths and their larvae.
4 - Storing your yarn and woolens
Storing your yarn in bags or containers can be a great way of creating a barrier between your yarn and moths. There is a question over letting the yarn breath in which case you will still want to store it in something like a synthetic drawstring bag.
Keeping your stash in large sealed containers will create a barrier. If you are lucky enough to have a cedar wood chest, this is ideal for keeping your yarn and woollens in.
If you find moths or larvae, then you need to act quickly. Wash your items thoroughly, clean the area (vacuum and clean down with a lavender based spray) and store your newly washed and dried items in a sealed container. If you have found moths or their larvae in your stash then the above still applies but instead of washing, you should freeze your yarn/woollens.
Once you are sure that you have eradicated all sign of them, then you should keep on doing the things that help to deter them see points 1 and 2) - use lavender and move your stash/woollens around.
I hope this helps you to keep moths away from your precious woollens and stash.