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Moths and Lavender, or, how to put your summer suits to bed

Moths and Lavender, putting your summer suits to bed

It is time to put your summer suits away for the winter, but it is important to take a few precautions to avoid a nasty surprise in the spring. 
 
The clothes moth, Tineola bisselliella, is a beast that has caused more damage to the clothing of English gentlemen than any war could inflict. The female moth lays clusters of 50-200 eggs, which hatch in about five days into microscopic larvae that immediately begin to feed on wool and some other natural fibres. Depending on temperature and humidity, they can feed for between thirty days and two years, all the while munching your precious worsted or tweed. Modern heating keeps the larvae active and hungry. The larvae spins a cocoon, then emerges as a non feeding moth that lives for 15-30 days. The adult moths do not feed and some do not even fly, they just mate, lay eggs and die, to start the cycle again.
 
A wool coat that stays undisturbed for a few months in a dark place, is the perfect feed for a hungry larva, so what can you do to prevent the destruction?
 

Preparing your coat for storage

 
In normal circumstances it is best to sponge clean and press your suit, then brush it well to dislodge any eggs and hang it in an individual garment bag, with a two to three inch space between garments. Most importantly, in the absence of insecticides that have largely been removed from sale, tie a bag of lavender flowers to the hanger. Lavender acts as a deterrent and it can be refreshed with lavender oil. Cedarwood is also famed for being a deterrent. If you know that you have a moth problem, you might want to freeze your garment for several days before bagging it, to kill any eggs.
 
When taking garments out of storage, allow them to air for a few days and if any small repairs or a proper clean is required, bring them to us for professional care.