Why Do Moths Love Cashmere?
Posted on 17 June 2016
For many people cashmere is one of life's special pleasures. It is wonderfully soft to the touch and makes people look and feel good. So you would doubtless be upset if you discovered a cashmere garment with holes all over it. This would more than likely be the result of your wardrobe or room being quietly invaded by moths. Beware, as moths are partial to cashmere!
Why moths love cashmere
Not all species of moths love cashmere. In the United Kingdom, there are over 2,000 species of moths and only 2 species of them are known to like cashmere. They are namely the Tineola bis-selliella and the Tinea pellionella. It is the larvae not the moth that wants to nibble the cashmere. The larvae need a protein called keratin that is found in cashmere. Keratin can also be found in hair, skin, nails, wool and feathers.
Keratin eating moths have a life cycle of 65 to 90 days. As adults these nocturnal creatures have more than enough time to lay their eggs, ideally on items where they know that their larvae can feed themselves when the egg has hatched. Female moths can lay up to 40 to 50 eggs before passing away.
Once the egg hatches, the caterpillar spends another 10 days fattening itself as it feeds on whatever nutritious environment it finds itself in. In some cases this may be your beloved cashmere jumper! By the time you notice an adult moth flying around the caterpillar may have munched its way out of your cashmere.
How to protect your cashmere
It is unlikely that you will need to call in the local pest control officer as moths can be managed quite easily.
It is important to know that moths in general love remaining still in dark corners of your house like the wardrobe. So when you are doing the cleaning remember to vacuum inside your wardrobes once in a while and periodically remove the clothes and brush them down using a clothes brush. This also gives you a good excuse for a sort out of your old clothes! Storing in drawers may be better for cashmere items as most can easily be folded.
There are moth repellents that you can also use like cedar-wood and lavender but it is more important to create a situation where the moths just can't have access to the clothes and that is by keeping them in a garment bag.
Aside from that, should you buy second hand clothes, be sure to clean them before storing away.
There is one simple technique that is believed to always work. Just put any clothes that you suspect have the larvae in the freezer for a few days. The process of freezing kills all the eggs. Place the garment in a plastic bag first so it doesn't get stuck to other frozen things.
Cashmere should not be left for long intervals between wearing and washing, as this is when it becomes particularly attractive to moths. Wash regularly and be sure you do general house cleaning at regular intervals to make sure your rooms are not hosting any moths hidden somewhere.
Clothes made from quality cashmere, like those from I Love Cashmere are to be cherished, so take good care of them so you can enjoy yours for as long as possible.