How to Protect Oriental Rugs from Moth Damage

Moth Damage is one of the biggest concerns for Oriental rug owners. The smallest infestation of these tiny insects can spread rapidly causing extensive damage to your rug. It’s not the adult moths flying around that do the damage. The damage to oriental rugs is actually a result of the larvae that eat away at the wool when they are in the early stages.

One of the reasons why moth damage is usually so extensive is that it goes unnoticed for a long time. Most rug owners only start to suspect that they may be a problem when they happen to see a moth flying around in the house.

By then a lot of damage is already done because the larvae are voracious feeders and eat just about anything that comes in their way including the fibers of the rug.

 

This pictures shows damage of  Moth at the back of wool rug
This pictures shows damage of Moth at the back of wool rug

 

How To Keep Moths At Bay

The good news is there are several simple steps that you can take to prevent moths from entering into the house for the best rug protection. The vital thing to remember is that these clothes moths cannot survive in bright, clean places. They need dark, dirty, undisturbed places to nest and thrive.

With that in mind here are a few things you can do to keep moths at bay:

  • Vacuum the whole house regularly and this includes the furniture and curtains. Disturbing their preferred environment will deter moths from nesting in those areas
  • At the end of winter, get all of your woolen clothing and bedding cleaned before you stash them away.
  • Clean all air ducts in summer.
  • If you are planning on storing your rugs, whether it is for a short while or for a longer period, get them professionally cleaned

A little prevention by vacuuming your rug regularly and doing periodic inspections are the best ways to prevent rug damage and keep your rug in good shape for many years to come.

A Look At What Exactly Happens In The Life cycle Of A Moth

 Understanding the life cycle of a moth can reveal a lot about how the rug damage occurs. Female moths look for dark, undisturbed areas to lay their eggs. Rugs that are not vacuumed or moved around regularly or dark areas under the furniture are preferred locations for nesting.

When they find a favorable spot, they lay  of eggs at a time. The eggs are very small in size and are attached to the base of the rug fibers. Within about two weeks, these hundreds of eggs hatch into hungry larvae, which will feast on the silk or wool fibers and anything else around that they can manage to sink their teeth into. After a period of eating nonstop, the larvae create a cocoon before evolving into the adult moths that you may spot flying around the room.

Depending on environmental conditions, such as temperature, humidity and the amount of food supply, it can take a few weeks for the larva to cocoon itself and then turn into an adult moth, which start the life cycle all over again. Unlike most other insects, moth eggs do not lay dormant for weeks or months. If conditions are not perfect for the larva to survive they will die off. It is the larva that eats your wool rugs not the adult moth.

Moth Life cycle Rug damage by Moth when they are in Larva.
Moth Life cycle Rug damage by Moth when they are in Larva.
Damage of Moth in  the front of Rug by eating wool
This picture shows damage of Moth in the front of Rug
This picture shows the damage of Moth in the back of Rug

How Moths Get Into The Home

So how do these moths get into the house in the first place? Several different ways – though an open door or window, air ducts that have not been cleaned out for a long time, old wool items that are stored undisturbed in the home or abandoned bird or wasp nests in and around the house.