Rugs and Moths – What to Do!

You have had your rug on your floor for more than a few years. You love how it makes your room feel, warm, inviting and cozy. The sofa has been over the one end of the rug and a closed bottom end table beside it. Well, it’s been a while since you turned the rug to even the wear, so off goes the sofa and table when you notice in horror that moths have been dining on the wool. “How is this possible?” you ask, sitting over the damaged area in complete disbelief.

That scenario is more common than most people know. So what to do? Understanding what they are can help in protecting your investment. The flying moth doesn’t do any damage to rugs. But they are the ones that lay the eggs, 100-150 at a time. Those eggs hatch into larvae of which eats the rug. There are two types of moths that eat rugs. Case-making moths and webbing moths.  The larvae of both moths live in tubes that are about a half inch long, and they bury themselves in cracks, crevices or deep into the rug. And the larvae stage can stay there from 2 to 30 months.They love dark undisturbed areas such as under furnitures where the vacuum seldom goes. Moths love the keratin in dog and cat hair that gets trapped in wool rugs. They love the protein in the wool, and usually avoid the cotton foundation. The dirtier the carpet, the more attracted the moths are to it. They will eat wool synthetic blends, but never synthetic only.

So what to look for. If you see flying moths, be concerned, very concerned. Look for loose fibers on surface. Try to see if there are any cocoons, those tubes that are about half inch long. You may even notice the actual larvae squirming around.  Look for any damage to the rug itself.

So what to do. Get the rugs professionally washed. Full submersion cleaning is most effective. The rug washer can treat the rug that makes the rug taste bad to the larvae. Contrary to many people’s opinion of not ever getting their rugs washed, clean area rugs aren’t as attractive to larvae as are dirty rug buffets. Dirty rugs are a target for moths.

Every few months, do an inspection, especially in un-walked on areas. Vacuum regularly. Moths hate it when you do that. If you suspect anything, take it out on the back deck and bake it for a few hours in the sun. Flip it over half way so the back gets the sun. If it’s winter, freeze them for 72 hours. They can’t live in sub-zero temps. And finally, don’t use mothballs. They are not effective, and are bad for our health.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Peacock Rug Care, 613-232-5110 or 613-258-5110.