Saturday, June 20, 2015

Moth Prevention For Your Fiber & Wool

For all those Fiber enthusiasts out know what I am talking about. You are rummaging through your fiber stash and then you see it. You have a sick sinking feeling in your stomach. You begin to panic. You dig deeper into your stash. You see more of them. Yes, the dreaded moth.

All of us that have stashes of fiber know that it is only time until we see the moth amongst our lovely, soft and gorgeous fiber. We work hard to keep them at bay by storing our fiber in clear plastic tubs, adding cedar or lavender to repel them. But really what works?

Here are a few tips to help you keep those dang things out of your stash.

1. Clean Your Fiber. Always clean your fiber before storing it. That means washing it. If you must store dirty fleeces, keep them in a separate place and not with your stash. And try to clean them as soon as possible. I write this as I have 15 dirty fleeces waiting to be skirted and sent off to the mill. It is on my to do list.

2. Store Your Fiber. Store wool/fiber in clean, clear plastic tubs (I like the kind with the locking handles) or bags which are tightly sealed.

3. Add A Repellant. Add cedar balls or blocks, lavender dryer sheets work well too, in with your fiber. You can spray lavender water on the fiber but be sure to let it dry before sealing the tub or bag. Cedar and lavender don't work to repel moths unless they smell. The concentration of the scent is what repels them. I don't recommend moth balls here. They are a possible carcinogen and plus they stink. Moth balls are not a good combo for natural fiber.

4. Check Your Fiber. Frequently check your stash. Be sure that your cedar or lavender still is emitting a scent. Check to make sure your tub or bag is sealed tightly.

5. Use Your Stash. Don't let it sit forever and a half. Use it-spin it, knit it, sell it, gift it or whatever. I know, I know, fiber people like to hoard.

6. Vacuum. If it can be vacuumed such as a knitted garment, rug or yarn, do it. You can take the attachment hose and vacuum up the dreaded things. Be sure you get the worms. They look like this.

The worms look like pieces of white string. When you scratch them with your nail they are gritty. 

7. Use Traps. You can pick up some moth traps at the grocery store. They are located in the household section. They emit a pheromone that attracts the male moth. Place them strategically about your fiber room. You can buy them here.

8. Clean. Yep, you have to clean your fiber room. As our creative juices are flowing we tend to throw fiber all over the place and set things down where ever as we are caught up in the moment of carding, spinning or dyeing. Try to make a time once a month to vacuum and dust your space. Get into the corners and around the floorboards. Keeping your fiber room clean and neat will help you manage your stash and moths infestations.

9. Freeze It. If all the above fails and it is something you cannot bear to throw away, you can place the stuff in a plastic bag and throw it in the freezer two weeks. A deep freezer works great for this.   This will kill any moths or worms that are making their home in your stuff. I scared the living daylights out of my husband doing this. He opened the freezer and there was a two foot standing alpaca inside!

10. Bake It. Place your items in a ziplock bag and throw it in the back of the car. Be sure it is hot out side and your car is parked in the sun. This will kill any larva or moths.

If anyone tells you they don't get moths this is just not true. Where there is yummy wool and fiber there are moths. It is just a fact of life.

Do you have any more suggestions? Let me know. Write a comment.