Worms That Eat Clothes

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It has probably happened to all of us at one time or another. You go into your dresser or closet to take out your favorite shirt and find it has tiny holes it. If you have not damaged your clothing, these holes were probably made by the larva of a clothing moth or the larva of a carpet beetle. These pests can damage clothing and other fabrics.


A larva is the worm stage that a clothing moth or carpet beetle go through before forming the cocoon to transform into adult form. The larval stage is where the most damage is present to your fabrics.

Clothing Moth

The clothing moth is the most well known culprit for clothing damage. The adult moth will lay its eggs on fabric. The larva hatch and begin to eat the fabric, gathering enough sustenance to grow into its adult version. Once transformed into a moth, it lays eggs, starting a new cycle. These moths can remain in the worm stage for 35 days or more.The clothing moth can be found in dark areas of your home such as a closet, dresser drawer and corners of the carpet. The clothing moth lives in normal room temperatures, as opposed to cold or hot conditions.

Carpet Beetle

Carpet beetle larva causes damage to clothes. Carpet beetles remain in the worm state from 14 to 21 days. Adult carpet beetles are found in the spring and summer months. The adults will mate near a source of light and then lay eggs around your home. Unlike the clothing worm, which primarily stays on the food source, carpet beetle worms will travel from room to room feeding on any type of fabric. While adult carpet beetles enjoy light, carpet beetle larva is found in dark areas, such as closets and dresser drawers. Unlike clothing moths, carpet beetles can withstand temperature changes as long as they are not extreme.

Taking care of the problem

Dust your carpets with borax to take care of your beetle problem. Put a thin layer over the carpet and go across your carpet gently with a broom to massage the borax into the rugs.Regular vacuuming and proper care of your clothing, such as washing them in the washing machine and using your regular detergent, will kill off any active larvae and adults and help to prevent larvae from being attracted to your fabrics. The scent of cedar blocks, cedar shavings or cedar oil will help repel these pests. Continue treatments for as long as you see active clothing moths and carpet beetles. For a more serious infestation, contact your local pest control.