I was going to wear my Tuckless Wonder to work yesterday, but when I put it on, I noticed a hole in the sleeve. Uh oh. I checked a couple of other woolies in the closet, and sure enough, found a couple more holes.


I suspect that I have carpet beetles, as I saw a small dead beetle on the stairs recently, but it could be moths, too.

Do any of you have any suggestions on what to do to get rid of the current problem, and protect my sweaters from future problems? How do you store your woolens?

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16 Responses to SOS!

  1. kitten says:

    Oh no! I think carpet beetles are probably unlikely, as they would be perfectly happy to stay on the floor. (As far as I know, lots of vacuuming keeps them at bay, but who would take such a drastic step? I’ve had them myself, and just took my knitting basket off the floor and they never reappeared in my yarn.) I am less knowledgeable about moths, since they aren’t much of a problem in southern AZ, but I am told they don’t like the smell of cedar (the fools!) so maybe Larry could line/replace your sweater shelves with cedar?

    • Cheryl says:

      My “closet” is actually our repurposed sauna, which is made of cedar. I’ve heard that cedar is only mildly effective anyway, and only when new/fresh. Once the oil in the wood is gone, it doesn’t make much difference.

  2. Karen Berthine says:

    How I store my clothes handmade from protein fibers: at the end of the summer when the days are still nice though autumn’s in the air, I wash everything by hand using Eucalan liquid soap. I dry it on a nylon mesh rack in the shade in the hottest time of day. Then I fold and put in a zippered garment bag with a couple of lavendar stalks. 🙂

  3. margene says:

    Perhaps one of the yarns you used was untreated and ended up infesting your closet. The best way to keep your woolens protected is to keep them (and the area they’re stored in) completely clean and stored in airtight containers. It’s impossible to protect everything and more delicate items, such as lace weight sweaters, are more prone to problems. So sorry!!

  4. Tricia (archaeoknits) says:

    When I lived in Moab, our house had carpet beetles. I first noticed them in the bottom of my knitting basket (that sat on the carpet) and I also found them in the large plastic bins (that I thought would provide protection…ha!). I pulled out all of my yarn, inspected it for visible signs of infestation (the shed from the larvae, eggs, etc.) and damage. Anything not worth saving was thrown out and anything with a lot of damage or larvae shedding/eggs was thrown out (even the good stuff, ouch!). The yarn worth saving was placed into large ziploc bags (I used a triage method: undamaged or no visible infestation with the like and damaged or small amount of damage or infestation with like) then they were all placed in the deep freezer for 76 hrs. Removed from freezer for 48 hrs, and then back into the freezer for 76 hrs. I had read online and on Ravelry that this would kill off larvae and eggs. It seemed to work for me. I have not had a return infestation (and the remainder of the time I lived in that house there was no return infestation) but this was primarily through keeping all of my stash and all animal fiber knitwear in sealed, air-tight plastic bags. I have heard plastic bags are not great for knitwear, but they are better than carpet beetle infestations. I hope you have the best of luck in getting rid of the wee beasties!

  5. Cookie says:

    Burn the house down, walk away and start fresh somewhere new. Yeah, I know… helpful.

  6. Chris says:

    I haven’t been able to get rid of the #$#*$) clothing moths. It doesn’t help that I am allergic to lavender, cedar, and mothballs…

  7. Judy Jackson says:

    I had a fleece that brought in moths. The only thing that works is to get yourself some No-Pest Strips. I keep one downstairs at all times (they are odorless and will kill anything that crawls. But, you can’t have food in the open around them). I take the ones that I replace like once a year and put it into the bags that I have fleece in or yarn in. Carpet beetles and moths will eat through plastic. Judith MacKenzie did a test on killing moths. She tried microwaving them, freezing them, washing them, setting them out in the sun, No-Pest strips, and soaking in water I think I remember. The sun works along with lots of fresh air, but will fade some of your stuff. Freezing them to get rid of eggs will make the eggs hatch. Along with re-freezing them. ack! I wash my sweaters in the spring each year. The moths will go for anything you have spilled on your wool. They like yarn and woven or knitted stuff because it’s easier for the worms to eat. Wool is a wonderful thing. You can air your woolens out when you finish wearing them. The wool doesn’t take up odors and you really only need to wash them if they get actual dirt or food on them. No-Pest strips work. You can usually find them where you find those odorous moth balls that really are gross and don’t necessarily work. Cycle all of your sweaters into a big bag with a strip and leave them there for a month. Then take your stuff out and either air them outside or wash them. Works like a champ.

  8. joan says:

    I use Moth Away sachets in all my wools and they seem to work. You can find them on Amazon:
    It may also help that my yarn closet id super warm in the summer and freezing cold in the winter.
    I store my sweaters on a shelf, in canvas boxes that zip closed and I try to check and refold them every month or so.
    And nothing is allowed to touch the floor.

  9. Lynn in Tucson says:

    Nothing is allowed to touch the floor?

    I’m hosed.

  10. Nora says:

    ugh!! My closet is lined with cedar paneling, and it doesn’t help even when I sand to reactivate the scent. I do find that my cedar chest is effective, though, and it’s 70 years old. The hand knits go in there, and I wash them before storing for the summer. I wash all my cashmere and other nicer purchased sweaters and store them in canvas zipper cubes. I still have some trouble every year during the heavy use season. You can’t wash stuff every time you wear it, so I always plan to replace a few pieces each year.

    All this reminds me that I have to clean my closet…

  11. jill says:

    Oy! You have a great deal of advice (though I’d eschew Cookie’s suggestion). I can only send my well wishes that you stop whatever beasties you have by whatever means works!

  12. Sheila says:

    I would recommend you go to your nearest nature store (a store that sells bird food, feeders, bird houses etc) and look for flour & pantry moth traps or clothing moth traps. These traps use pheromones to attract the mature moths. Works like a charm even if it is a bit icky. You can probably get them online if you haven’t a store that sells them. A word or two of warning: don’t get the stuff on you or you will have moths following you around (found that out the hard way) and don’t be surprised when you see how many you actually have. I thought I had a mild infestation until I saw the trap. It was covered. I keep one in my closet and on top of the fridge and haven’t had a problem since. The one I use is by Tanglefoot by Contech Enterprises but there are many really good ones on the market. Good luck!

  13. Susan says:

    Oh yuck! We have had moths too…
    Now that I have finished reading all the great tips and always delightful comments, I think I had better check my sweaters.
    BTW, if you decide you want to make some ‘moth away’ sachets I have some Lavender that I dried from this summer…

  14. Pingback: The Doctor is In | CabledSheep

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