|In the late 1990's I was working on Saturdays at my dad's theatrical dry cleaning business in London. I was standing at the counter and noticed a customer I recognised approaching the door clutching a couple of black bags, she popped them on the floor and mentioned she'd back in a minute. Seconds later, her husband arrived again clutching a few black bags. By the time they'd finished ferrying the bags in there were around 30 in a giant pile.|
They had just discovered a rather serious moth infestation in one of their wardrobes which had remained undisturbed for some time. They wanted to have all their clothing dry cleaned to remove any remaining moth eggs which turn into the larvae which are responsible for the munching.
I spent the remainder of that day just putting tickets on their items. By the time I had finished their bill was just over £2000. Worse still, having carefully checked each item I had to deliver more bad news, there were many garments which were beyond repair. Beautiful quality, 4 ply cashmere jumpers which had cost hundreds of pounds each, which looked like the fabric equivalent of a piece of Swiss cheese. Perhaps most annoying, was the damage to the suits - you couldn’t really pick a more prominent area for a few choice holes than the lapels. Sadly beyond even the miracle work of invisible mending. Judging by the scale of the damage, these moths had been left undisturbed for some considerable time.
Moth damage is a growing problem. We've got nice warm homes, wardrobes and cupboards stuffed with fabric, 21st century living conditions are pretty good for moths. Forewarned is forearmed. You need to be vigilant. This is a problem which causes many millions of pounds of damage each year.
Based on our experience we would recommend the following 5 tips:
Check - If you store your out of season clothes in a low traffic part of your home, check them periodically - if they likely won’t be used for a year, pay them a periodic visit just to check there isn’t a problem.
Clean - Your wardrobes and drawers probably don’t get vacuumed nearly as often as the rest of your home.Its the nooks and crannies where we store stuff where the moths perform their skulduggery.
Separate - Moths are attracted to Keratin (90% of wool is keratin).Consider a separate approach for higher risk items like wool and cashmere jumpers and placing them in breathable moth storage bags to keep them safe from moths and dust free.
Store Clean - Moths have extremely well developed olfactory systems and are said to be attracted to sweat and food stains.Another important reason to store clean clothes, is to ensure you don’t inadvertently introduce moth larvae from one part of your home into one of your storage areas.
Trim - Often when the weather changes and we begin to adjust what we wear, we notice our wardrobes may have become a bit bloated with things we longer use.Creating some space in your wardrobe by trimming your collection is a great way to see what’s going on in your wardrobe and identify a potential problem.
While we sell a number of products to help you protect your clothes - vigilance is the key to protecting yourself. Don’t leave these stowaways undisturbed for long periods of time. They can do an awful lot of damage. As our thoughts turn to spring and you can begin to think of putting your heavy coats and jumpers away till Autumn just spare a moment to consider how you can best protect them till you next need them and avoid the misfortune of a huge dry cleaning bill.