How To Protect Your Wool Rugs Against Moth Damage

A flame isn’t the only thing that attracts a moth. Moths and their larvae thrive in dark, undisturbed areas. If you have a rug placed where there’s little traffic and it’s not often vacuumed, you’re inviting these insects to settle in. Improper storage of a wool rug can also lead to a severe moth infestation and cause substantial damage, which can often go unnoticed for a long time, since the rug is either rolled or folded and put away in a dark place.

These photos of a valuable wool rug improperly stored show flying moths, webs, cocoons and larvae in the pile.

Identify the presence of moths by knowing the signs:

1     Flying moths — small, 3/8″ long or less, and usually silvery tan or soft brown in color.

2     Bare spots in the pile — often moth larvae will prefer the taste of one color yarn over another, so the bare spots may be a specific hue.

3     Webs — white gossamer filaments covering a patch of the rug’s pile (often only present with a bad infestation).

4     Cocoons — cylinders that are 1/8″ wide x 1/2″ long, slightly fuzzy and usually the same color as the rug’s pile (larvae camouflage their cocoons to blend in with the color of the wool that surrounds them).

5     Larvae in the pile — slender, white, worm-like moth larvae are about 3/8″ long and can sometimes be seen just after hatching, before they’ve constructed cocoons. It is the larvae that actually eat the wool.

6     Sand-like particles down in the pile of the rug — this material, often tan or brown in color, regular in size, and granular in look, is the excretion of the larvae.

7     Broken/loose plies – this is where the larvae have chewed through the yarn.

Prevent moths from finding a home in your wool rug:

1     Vacuum the entire face of your wool rug weekly.

2     Vacuum the back as well. If a rug is easily accessible to turn over, try to vacuum it several times a year.

3     Check the dark areas under heavy furniture for any moth activity. It is best if you rotate your wool rug at least once a year. This will help with your inspection for moths, as well as minimize furniture marks.

4     Make sure you have a clean perforated pad that allows the rug to breath while providing support and keeping the wool rug secure. Solid felt pads are not made of breathable material and will further cause moisture build-up, collection of dust, mold and bacteria.

5     Hire a professional rug cleaner on an annual basis. This is the best way to assure your wool rug is properly maintained.

6     Store your rug properly. If you plan to warehouse your wool rug for a long period of time, make sure you follow proper revitaRUGS storage guidelines.

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