How to get rid of bugs that eat clothes

by | Last updated Jun 23, 2023 | Bugs

They destroy cotton shirts, woolen sweaters, pants, jackets; you name it.

The most annoying thing about them is that the damage has already been done by the time you see them. Although these bugs are not carriers of germs and diseases, their presence in your closets, or clothes drawers is a nuisance.

How to get rid of bugs that eat clothes

Thankfully, there are ways to quell these insatiable creatures. Let us look at some tips on how to get rid of bugs that eat clothes, shall we?

Clothes moths

Clothes moths have very narrow wings, light tan in color, and can grow up to 0.5 inches long. You may think that they are eating up your clothes, but actually, it’s the larva that does so. They look like small white worms and thrive in the dark, moist areas like closets where they are not disturbed and have easy access to your clothes. However, it would be best if you did not ignore the presence of the adult moths because they lay eggs.

The damage made by clothes moths appear as small holes throughout your clothes. Well, let us look at some remedies to eradicate these moths.

  1. Monitor your windows. Although opening your home’s windows is a good thing, they may also be an entry point for these moths. Opening windows is necessary, especially during the day. Therefore, consider installing pest screens to reduce or even completely keep the moths from entering your house.
  • Declutter your closets or wardrobes. Organizing your closet or cabinet helps you notice any larvae present in your clothes. If you have any clothes that you do not use anymore, consider placing them in dry places like boxes and plastic bags. However, be sure to check for any larvae on the clothes before keeping them away. By doing so, you will leave no place for the moths to lay eggs and also disturb them, which is something they do not like.
  • Regularly wash, dry, and shake your clothes to get rid of the larvae. Washing clothes in hot water kills the larvae and eliminates the smell from your clothes because that is what they are attracted to. Drying them ensures that where you store them is not moist.
  • If you already have a moth infestation, consider placing them in sealed plastic bags and freeze them under -18°C or colder. These are very unsuitable conditions for the moth larvae to survive.

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These are carrot-shaped insects that have flat bodies, no wings, silver color, and are between a half and three-quarter inch long. Unlike clothes moths, both nymph and adult silverfish eat clothes. They mainly damage clothes made from linen, cotton, and rayon fabrics.

They thrive in dark, moist areas with moderate temperatures. They usually eat at the surface, leaving a shave, but they don’t leave holes. They multiply very quickly. A single female can lay up 20 eggs at once. So, one male and female silverfish are enough to cause a nasty infestation in your closet or wardrobe. Let’s look at how to get rid of them, shall we?

  1. Declutter your wardrobe or closets. Just like other bugs, silverfish hate being disturbed. Organizing and getting rid of clothes you do not use is an excellent way of spotting their eggs and leaving them with no place to hide.
  • Try using diatomaceous earth. If you already have an infestation, using this non-toxic powder is very effective in killing these insects. Just sprinkle it in areas where you have seen them.
  • Set up traps. There are several natural traps that you can use to catch and get rid of these silverfish. Use can tape a glass jar in your closet or wardrobe and place a piece of bread inside. The insects will be attracted to the bait, and when they get in, the jar’s slippery nature will prevent them from crawling out.
  • Regularly wash your clothes, scented detergents. Silverfish can not stand the scents like lavender. Therefore, regularly cleaning your clothes with scented detergents is an effective way of getting rid of them.
  • Dehumidify your closet and wardrobes. Since these insects love moist areas, finding ways to reduce the humidity in your closets, and wardrobes can be a great way to get rid of them. You can either leave an open box of chalk inside to absorb the moisture or a whole-house humidifier.

Related reading: Is It Possible For Bed Bugs To Reside In Your Body?


We all know how cockroaches look like. Unlike most other bugs that eat clothes, cockroaches carry around germs because they pass through everywhere. From bathrooms to garbages to kitchen sinks, to mention a few.

These insects are quite peculiar because they don’t eat clothes. They are attracted to food and drink spills, fluid stains on your clothes. So, as they eat away the food sources, they end up making holes in your garments. Let’s look at how to get rid of them.

  1. The first step to having a cockroach-free closet or wardrobe is to remove any soiled clothing from your closet or cabinet. Since they are attracted to the stains and spills on your clothing, removing them will the cockroaches with nothing to feed on.
  • Regularly clean and dry your clothes. This will help get rid of their eggs, and also leave them with nothing to feed on.
  • Cockroaches love dark and undisturbed places. By regularly decluttering your closet or wardrobe, you will have destroyed their cozy hideout.
  • Look for and seal any cracks or spaces around your closet or wardrobe. Cockroaches find those places very convenient for laying their eggs.

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Just like cockroaches, crickets do not eat clothes directly. However, they do find food stains and drink spills very attractively. So as they feed on them, they end up damaging your clothes. You can get rid of them by:

  1. Blocking their entry points from outside. It could be spaces between your closet doors or even the windows. You can install pest screens on your windows or seal any gaps between your closet doors.
  • Remove and clean any soiled clothing in your closet.
  • Regularly organize your clothes. They do not like being disturbed, so organizing your closet will send them packing.

Related reading: How To Tell If Bed bugs Are in Your Clothes


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To Wrap it all up

Any of these bugs gathering up in your closet or wardrobe can cause a lot of distressing damage on your favorite clothes. Well, with these tricks up your sleeves, you will be bidding them farewell.

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