How do I get rid of Carpet Moths & Carpet Moth Larvae?
- Identify Carpet Moths
- Assess the intensity of your infestation
- Cleaning out where carpet moths live
- Reduce the breeding of carpet moths in your home
- Eradicating carpet moth eggs & carpet moth larvae
- Ongoing Regime
- Continue to monitor
If you are asking “how do I get rid of carpet moths?’ then we’ll assume you have seen some damage to carpets in your home.
Carpet moths have unfortunately been increasing across the USA over the last decade, invading homes and your personal possessions. This puts items you use everyday such as your invaluable carpets, rugs and clothing at risk of being permanently damaged - potentially having to be replaced. For many of you, some of these pieces may have been passed down from family or purchased as a one of a kind making them absolutely irreplaceable. Best to attack at the first sign of damage then to wait for a potential infestation.
If you waited and think you have an infestation, you might also see clothes and carpet moths cross over between closets and carpets - they are searching for natural animal fibers such as wool, cashmere and silk which contains the protein keratin - the natural food source for these types of moths. It is the larvae hatching from carpet moth larvae that do the damage; adult moths do not eat and have a very short lifespan - their only objective is to breed as fast as possible to perpetuate their species.
We hope that you find this guide useful - we have plenty more resources on this website to give you all the facts to tackle any carpet moth infestation and provide guidance on the right carpet moth treatment.
If you suspect a clothes moth infestation in your home, the number one thought should be, ACT FAST; clothes moths breed really rapidly and with a short lifecycle, you may be alarmed at how quickly they multiply.
Step 1 - Identify the Carpet Moths
The webbing clothes moth, otherwise known as the common clothes moth, is prolific across the US and is the most likely carpet moth you will find, followed by the case-bearing clothes moth which attack carpets and clothes. Brown house moths and white-shouldered moths are less common but potentially equally damaging to your carpets.
You may see case bearing moths in a state of pupation, often attaching themselves to walls in darker areas, near their source of food, i.e. your natural carpets! They may be found in carpeted closets, behind bedroom furniture, under sofas, behind TV units, and many other similar places.
You may see carpet moth larvae - they are around ¼ to ½ inch long, cream in colour with a darker head. You are unlikely to easily see carpet moth eggs which are white or cream in color and usually fall into the weave or pile of carpets.
It is important to distinguish between carpet moths and pantry moths - they are attracted to very different pheromones / moth traps. It is not likely that you will find pantry moths in your bedrooms but in living areas you may have one or both types, especially if close to kitchen areas with stored dried food. Pantry moth larvae will not eat your carpets and rugs, but may be seen as they try to locate.
See the moth identification guides on this site for more information.
Step 2 - Assess the intensity of your infestation
Use Carpet Moth Traps to identify how much of a problem you may have - unlike many other types of moths, carpet moths prefer dark, undisturbed places (under sofas, close to baseboards and in corners of your living room) and you will most likely need carpet moth traps to assess the level of infestation you are really facing. You are looking for irregular holes in thinner textiles, or reduced pile on carpets. In a severe case that has been undetected for some time, the carpet may be threadbare as shown in the below picture.
Moth traps also only catch the adult active male moths by using the female pheromone to attract them. They help to contain growth in numbers of the carpet moths in your home by helping remove the male moths from the breeding cycle.
Inspect likely areas for potential damage to carpets. Edges of rooms and along baseboards, under and behind furniture, in corners and behind floor length curtains are all potential ‘hotspots’ for carpet moth activity. Look for damaged or threadbare (in extreme cases) carpets, and damage to other natural furniture and curtain fabrics. Be aware of potential crossover between carpets and bedroom furniture such as closets and dressers.
Carpet moths will not lay eggs in highly trafficked areas of your carpets such as the middle of rooms, nor where you regularly vacuum. They’ll look for darker, undisturbed and dusty spots to lay their eggs to provide the larvae with plentiful food supply and maximize the chances of survival through the lifecycle to adult carpet moth.
Step 3 - Cleaning out where carpet moths live
Dust is likely to attract clothes moths - dust has a high content of human hair, pet hair and the skin cells that we shed every day - keratin included!
Do you vacuum under furniture, behind doors and closely along baseboards regularly? Do you clean and dust your furniture regularly? Do you ever take out your throws and rugs to shake and air them?
There are clues here in answering “how do I stop moths eating my carpets?”. A regular and thorough cleaning program will help with the risk of a carpet moth larvae infestation.
If carpet moths lie undetected for longer periods - they can multiply unseen, and obviously the larvae cause damage, before you have noticed them. If you have moths damaging your carpet then you would benefit from a carpet moth killer kit.
Lastly, when vacuuming, empty your vacuum cleaner outside into a bag that is then tied tight and disposed of in the trash to avoid the risk of any carpet moth eggs and or larvae remaining in the home.
Step 4 - Reduce the breeding of carpet moths in your home
Use carpet moth traps to reduce the population growth - if you get the right moth traps and act fast then you MIGHT stop them from laying eggs on your carpets. At the very least you will contain the problem and reduce the amount of damage to carpets and other home textiles, as well as your clothes.
Remember, it is the carpet moth larvae that hatch from the eggs that do the damage to your clothes - adult flying clothes moths do not eat, but if they are able to mate, the females then lay hundreds of eggs in their short lifetime. Eggs hatch into larvae and larvae pupate into carpet moths.
Depending on temperatures and humidity conditions, carpet moth larvae can live for up to nearly 3 years (eating your home textiles!) - that’s for colder climates. In warmer areas they can go from egg to pupation into adults in little over a month. Either way, given its the larvae that do the damage, your carpets will NOT be safe if carpet moth larvae are present in your home.
Step 5 - Eradicating Carpet Moth Eggs and Carpet Moth Larvae
Carpet moth larvae only eat Keratin - the protein in natural animal based fibers - they will NOT eat cotton and synthetic fabrics unless they are heavily soiled in food or sweat. Look for signs of damage in woolens, silk and any feather, fur or soft leather items. Sadly the most expensive items of home textiles and furnishings, and the softest materials, will be at greatest risk - think wool carpets, fur throws or rugs, wool or cashmere throws, silk curtains, wool or leather sofas.
You are unlikely to easily spot the eggs - they are tiny, but you may see some larvae before they pupate and turn into adult moths. See our carpet moth identification guide for more information. You may also see some very fine sticky webbing in carpets.
After cleaning, a carpet moth treatment is the best assurance you can have of really dealing with the infestation and killing carpet moth eggs and larvae. A combination of spray and powder will have an instant impact while leaving an effective residual protection for two weeks. In the case of a serious and persistent infestation, a repeat application may be needed. If you are planning on using our natural carpet moth killer kit, then we definitely recommend a repeat application and provide sufficient in each sized kit to do this.
Explore our Carpet Moth Killer Kits:
Step 6 - Ongoing Regime
Human and pet hair, dust, sweat and food stains will attract moths to your carpets - regular cleaning is essential.
Carpets and curtains should be periodically deep cleaned - the build up of dust over the course of the year can be considerable even if not immediately visible.
Remove sofa cushions and clean underneath - you’ll be surprised what else you may find there, especially if you have children and pets at home!
All removable covers, curtains and other loose items should be taken outside and shaken before taking the next step. This also gives you empty space to thoroughly vacuum, dust and, if necessary, apply specialist treatments to high risk areas described above.
Step 7 - Continue to monitor for Carpet Moths
Prevention is better than a cure! Be vigilant
If you have suffered damage, you may want to keep carpet and tapestry moth traps in place throughout the season (March to November) to monitor their potential presence. In warmer Southern States from Florida across to Texas and then to California, carpet moths are often a year-round problem.
MothPrevention® Moth Traps attract BOTH male Clothes Moths and Carpet Moths.
Many of the traps on the market use an ineffective Chinese pheromone better suited to pantry moths. If you buy from Amazon, beware of fake product reviews on many of the less common brands, and make sure you research thoroughly before buying - the longer you leave it before finding the right clothes moth traps that really work, the more time the clothes moths in your home have to proliferate.
Lastly, remember that moths found in your carpets can easily transfer to your closets in search of soft natural animal fibers to lay their eggs - if you have had an issue with carpet moths, it is especially important to carefully check your closets and dressers for evidence of moth damage. If this is the case you can find out more about clothes moth prevention.
We hope this article has answered the question “How do I get rid of Carpet Moths and Carpet Moth Larvae?” - it may feel like a lot of work to do this thoroughly, and some expense, but it will save your valuable carpets and home textiles from being a complete loss, not to mention giving you back your peace of mind.
MothPrevention® speak to customers every day about their carpet moth issues - carpet moths are a species that are ever increasing and that can cause significant damage to clothes, carpets and other home textiles.
To date, we’ve helped over 100,000 customers deal with their moth problems. We have developed professional grade solutions including proprietary pheromones, not available from anybody else in the USA, and engineered in Germany to the highest production standards.