It is one thing to find moth holes in your cashmere sweater. But when you are a hand spinner with a wool based fiber art business, just a single moth can be a sign of doom.
I buy wool directly for the farmer, you would not believe all the farm bits that come with every fleece that I buy. This can include these eggs or even nests of bugs. I know…ew… don’t even get me started on what lanolin really is. It is inevitable that I have to have a moth prevention plan in place.
So here is a little recipe I use for keeping the little devils from chowing down on my hand knits as well as my entire business.
We all have heard of how cedar is really good for moths. Think of cedar lined closets or a cedar hope chest. It is the strong scent of cedar that moths do not like. Lavender is another scent that deters moths. I added orange to round out the fragrance. You can also add other strongly scented herbs and oils like eucalyptus, clove, and cinnamon.
So far, I have had success using a two part approach–adding moth prevention to my wash as well as creating sachets to store in drawers and closets with my sweaters. Here are my recipes:
Washing woolen garments before storage will remove the perspiration and other everyday dirt that moth larvae love love love to feed on. Adding the Moth-Be-Gone mixture to the wash will help deter the little beasts from settling into your hand mades for a the summer.
I add 4-5 drops of the moth be gone blend to my wool wash to wash one medium woman’s sweater. For fleece or hand spun yarn, I would use 6-8 drops per pound of wool, in the final rinse.
Now if you are just protecting yarn and roving stash. It is just not practical to wash the braids/skeins before you knit/crochet/spin them. Here is a nice spray you can make to just mist across your stash before storing.
Add 8-12 drops of Moth-Be-Gone blend, 1/2 cup of distilled water, 1 oz. of vodka to a glass or metal spray bottle. Shake well before using. Be sure to let the stash dry completely before storing.
Sachets are just an absolute must when storing anything swollen be is fleece, roving, yarn or sweaters. Moths thrive in dark hiding places like your stash basket. So here is the combo I use. I buy and mix in bulk and make large industrial sized sachets for the bottom of each bin. But for everyday household storage here is what I use:
I combine equal amounts of dried lavender flowers, cedar shavings and dried orange peel into DIY tea bags. I drop 2-3 drops of the moth be gone blend to the sachets as the scent fades.
If you do find evidence of moths…
Check surrounding bins and bags to make sure there is not more moth evidence. Rewash items that can be washed in the mouth away woolen wash. Place the garments/wool/skeins in the freezer for 2-3 days to kill the initial round of larvae. Remove from the freezer and let sit for a day. Place back in the freezer for 2-3 days (this will kill any larvae that hatch after the first freeze). Vacuum out storage and surrounding areas (including carpets and furniture) Respray items and refresh sachets with a few drops of the Moth-Be-Gone blend before returning all your stuff back into storage.