Mothproofing your textiles: 2 do’s and don’ts
So, you work in the woollen textile industry. You are hailed for your quality products. Your clothes and carpets are high-end, and your customers expect the very best. There is just one small problem. Wherever you go, moth larvae try to sabotage your success. They turn up out of the blue and eat holes in your clothes and image. What should you do? Drown your textiles in chemicals? Set small moth traps? Change jobs? All wrong. In this blog, we share two important do’s and don’ts of mothproofing your textiles.
Why the moth hate?
Moth holes are irreparable and moth larvae are fast. So, as soon as you become aware that your textiles have moth larvae in them, you have lost your stack. It is therefore not surprising that textile manufacturers and brand managers have found an archenemy in the tiny, wingless monsters. Because contrary to what many people think, moths themselves are not the problem. It is their offspring that is responsible for the eating and the destruction. The moth larvae nestle in the textile fibres (preferably wool but also silk, cotton, and linen) and tuck into your finest products. The only way to avoid this, is to mothproof every piece of textile you own.
#1. Don’t: use dangerous chemicals for mothproofing
People tend to panic when they discover their products are being eaten. But please try not to. If you panic over moth larvae, chances are you choose rough remedies that will kill both the larvae and your business. We strongly advise against the use of products that are dangerous to people, animals or the environment. Because obviously, you do not want to be responsible for possible negative side effects that have an impact on your reputation. So, whatever you do, stay away from highly toxic chemicals. These include dieldrin (dangerous to warm blooded creatures and water animals) and cyfluthrin (irritates skin and is toxic to animals).
At the bottom of this page, you can find a simple guide to permethrin usage and regulations.
#1. Do: use safe chemicals
No dangerous chemicals it is. But we never said you should not use chemicals at all. Permethrin, for example, is a very effective mothproofing insecticide that kills moth larvae and other insects, but it is safe to people and animals. The moth larvae eat the permethrin, which attacks their nerve system and causes them to die almost instantly. As people and animals (apart from cats) possess an enzyme that breaks down the permethrin right after it enters their body, they are not affected by its toxicity.
#2. Don’t: wait too long
Moths release 40 to 50 eggs, that hatch within 4 to 21 days. As soon as they are born, the larvae start eating the woollen textiles, a phase that may take up to six months (or longer!). You can imagine the impact one grown moth can have on your products when you do not take precautions. Therefore, do not wait until you find moth holes in your textiles, as you will be too late. Besides, you could not check every single product for moth larvae and then use chemicals on them anyway; it would be a fulltime job and very much ineffective.
#2. Do: impregnate your textiles
Once you found your moth proof agent, use it as a finish on all your textiles. By mothproofing everything you have, you make sure you deliver products that are 100% hole and moth free. An added benefit is that permethrin impregnated products stay free from moth holes long after they have been sold. Wherever your products are, moth larvae that eat permethrin impregnated textiles will not last another five minutes. Your customers are protected against moth larvae and moth holes, while you are set apart from your competition.
So, when mothproofing your textiles: do not panic, use a safe chemical substance like permethrin and rather prevent than cure. Your competition and the moth population will hate you for it, but it will make your customers love you.
Do you want to know more about mothproofing and permethrin products?
Download our free white paper, in which we tell you all about permethrin usage and regulation. To find the best mothproofing solution for your textiles, visit our Wool Protection Concept page.