How to Get Rid of Moths in the House

For homeowners in Lancaster and York Counties, Pennsylvania, the presence of moths could signal the start of a serious infestation that threatens your property. Whether they’re dining on your favorite wool sweater or setting up shop in your pantry, moths can be a persistent problem that demands a solution – fast. If you’re wondering how to get rid of moths quickly and effectively, read on for some handy tips.

Identifying Moth Types

Not all moths are created equal; they each have unique features and preferences.

The Indian Meal Moth

The Indian meal moth (also known as a pantry moth or flour moth) is a common annoyance that can be found in various pantry goods such as flour, cereal, and pet food. This type of moth typically hitches a ride from the grocery store, having arrived from infested factories or warehouses.

The Indian Meal moth is notable for its vibrant, two-toned wings, which showcase a distinct division between coppery reddish-brown at the tips and a creamy, almost grayish hue closer to the body.

The Clothes Moth

The clothes moth is an entirely different menace: While it lacks a strong flying ability, it makes up for it with an appetite for keratin – a protein found in natural fibers like wool, fur, and feathers. This variety often enters through small cracks or open doors or windows.

Compared to Indian meal moths, clothes moths present a less pronounced appearance with a uniform, pale yellowish-brown color.

The Moth Life Cycle

Understanding the life cycle of a moth is important for effective control and prevention measures. The cycle begins when a female moth lays eggs, often hidden within the fibers of clothing or the nooks of pantry shelves. These eggs hatch into larvae (caterpillars), which feed voraciously on materials like wool or pantry goods. After feeding and growing, the larvae spin cocoons and enter the pupal stage. Inside this protective case, they undergo a remarkable transformation, emerging as fully developed adult moths ready to mate and continue the cycle.

Signs of Moth Infestation

Spotting signs of a moth infestation early on can help prevent widespread damage to your belongings. Here are some common indicators to watch out for:

  • Visible adult moths flying around, particularly near light sources
  • Cocoons or larvae in stored clothing or pantry goods
  • Damage to fabrics, such as tiny holes or shredded edges
  • Presence of webbing or silken tubes in corners or on shelves

If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to take action immediately.

Moth Prevention Techniques

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Below are some effective techniques to keep moths away.

Seal the Cracks

Moths can slip through the tiniest openings. Prevent future breaches by sealing any cracks or gaps around your home.

Store Smart

Transfer pantry items to airtight containers and store clothing in sealed bags or chests (after washing and drying in sunlight, if possible). Since moths thrive in humid environments, keeping the storage area dry keeps them away. Plus, moths can’t lay eggs where they can’t make contact.

Clean Regularly

An often overlooked but critical component in the fight against moths is establishing a regular cleaning routine in areas where moth infestation is likely. Wipe down shelves and vacuum frequently. By maintaining a clean environment, you’re removing the very elements that attract moths into your home.

So How Do You Get Rid of Moths?

If you’ve already spotted signs of a moth infestation in your home, don’t panic. The treatment you use will depend on where the moths are located in your home.

How to Get Rid of Moths in the Pantry

If your pantry has become a battleground for moths, a swift and thorough approach is necessary to reclaim your space.

  1. Empty the Pantry: Begin by removing all items from your pantry to inspect for signs of moth infestation, such as webbing or larvae in the food.
  2. Inspect and Discard: Carefully check each item for signs of moths or larvae. Dispose of any contaminated food in a sealed bag outside your home to prevent the moths from spreading.
  3. Deep Clean: Vacuum the pantry shelves, corners, and walls meticulously to remove any remaining moths, eggs, or larvae. After vacuuming, wash all surfaces with a vinegar solution or soapy water to ensure that no residue remains.
  4. Use Airtight Containers: Store all pantry items in airtight containers. Moths cannot penetrate these, protecting your food from future infestations.
  5. Apply Bay Leaves: As a natural deterrent, scatter bay leaves on your shelves and in your food containers. The scent of bay leaves is repulsive to moths but completely safe and natural for your pantry.

How to Get Rid of Drain Moths

Dealing with drain moths requires a targeted approach, as these pests thrive in the moist environments of sinks and drains.

  1. Boiling Water: Begin by pouring boiling water down the drain. This initial step kills off larvae and loosens any organic matter that the moths may be feeding on. Repeat this for a few days to ensure the best results.
  2. Baking Soda and Vinegar: After the boiling water treatment, pour a half cup of baking soda followed by a half cup of white vinegar down the drain. This combination creates a fizzing action that helps to break down remaining debris. After letting it sit for an hour, flush the drain with more boiling water to clear everything away.
  3. Brush the Drain: Using a long, stiff brush, scrub the inside of the drain to remove any eggs or larvae attached to the sides. Be thorough, as drain moths can lay their eggs deep within the drain.
  4. Enzyme Drain Cleaners: For a deeper clean, consider using an enzyme drain cleaner. These cleaners break down organic material in the drains without harsh chemicals, removing the food source for larvae. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

How to Get Rid of Moths in the Closet

To eliminate moths in your closet, you will need a methodical and vigilant approach.

  1. Empty Your Closet: Start by removing all items. This allows you to inspect each garment for signs of moth damage or larvae.
  2. Launder and Dry Clean: Wash or dry clean all affected and susceptible items according to care instructions. High temperatures can kill moth eggs and larvae, so use hot water and a hot dryer cycle where possible.
  3. Vacuum and Clean: Vacuum the interior of the closet, paying special attention to corners, cracks, and crevices where moths like to hide. After vacuuming, wipe down all surfaces with a mild soap and water solution or a vinegar and water mixture to remove any lingering eggs or attractants.
  4. Use Moth Repellents: After cleaning, consider using natural moth repellents such as cedar blocks, lavender sachets, or moth-repelling sprays. These can help deter moths without the use of harsh chemicals and keep your closet smelling fresh.

Other DIY Methods

Diatomaceous Earth

Food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) presents a non-toxic yet powerful method to eradicate moth larvae. This fine, abrasive powder causes dehydration and death when it comes into contact with an insect’s exoskeleton. Lightly sprinkle DE in your pantry, along the edges of walls, and in other areas where moth activity has been observed. Vacuum up the old DE and reapply as needed to ensure a protective barrier remains.

Chemical Solutions

For more severe infestations, chemical solutions may be necessary. There are various insecticides and moth repellents available on the market that can be applied directly to affected areas. Pyrethroids can also be effective for larger infestations; however, they are also toxic to other insects and can be harmful to humans and pets if not used properly.

How to Get Rid of Moths for Good: Call an Exterminator

While the above remedies can be helpful, they won’t eliminate moths long-term. If you want a highly effective, lasting solution to your moth infestation, call Dominion Pest Control. Our professionals are equipped with a variety of powerful treatment options and possess the expertise to apply these treatments in a manner that is safe for your household.


Our exterminators will conduct a thorough examination of the infested areas, identifying the moth species and deploying strategies targeted to your specific situation. Our treatments may include the use of insect growth regulators (IGRs): a class of chemicals designed to disrupt the life cycle of pests, preventing them from reaching maturity and reproducing.

The deployment of pheromone-based traps is part of this strategy. These sticky traps attract male moths, significantly reducing the population by preventing them from mating. When used in conjunction with other methods, pheromone traps can drastically decrease moth activity over time.


We may also use natural insecticides like Nature-Cide All Purpose Concentrate. This product is specially formulated with ingredients like clove oil, cottonseed oil, and glycerin for a solution that is non-toxic to humans and pets but deadly to moths. As an added benefit, it also kills many other pests on contact — including bedbugs, cockroaches, stink bugs, and ticks.

Client Education

A key aspect of our service involves educating our clients on best practices for preventing future moth infestations. We provide personalized advice on how to maintain a moth-free environment, from proper storage techniques for food and clothing to tips on regular home maintenance and cleanliness.

Let Our Pest Control Experts Put an End to Your Moth Infestation

Don’t let moths take over your pantry or wardrobe. Our exterminators not only possess the knowledge and techniques to eliminate your current moth infestation, but we ensure a foundation for keeping your home or business moth-free.

Dominion Pest Control has over 20 years of pest control experience and is fully licensed, bonded, and insured. If you live in Lancaster or York County, give us a call today at (717) 393-7879 or contact us here for a free consultation.

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