Moths and their larvae thrive in dark, undisturbed areas where a rug gets little traffic and is often not vacuumed nor stored properly. A bad infestation sometimes leaves a cobweb-like veil in the area of the damage, along with fine, sand-like debris. A rug harmed by moths is repairable, however, if you contact a professional rug cleaning service.
The common clothing moth is small, 3/8″ long or less, and is usually silvery tan or soft brown in color. Flying clothes moths do not eat your rugs, but the females do lay hundreds of eggs each, and the eggs hatch into larvae that consume wool, fur, feather, and silk fibers.
Figure 1: Moth Damaged Kerman Persian Rug.
This valuable rug was stored improperly, as well as not aired or cleaned. Live moth, moth larvae, their cocoons, webs and larvae secretions were all present.
See Figure 3 below, for the after photo. The rug properly cleaned, treated and, restored by revitaRUGS.
Signs of Moth Damage
The signs of moth damage are often very visible. If you see any of the following signs, you need to act immediately and get your rug to a professional rug cleaning and repair company.
Bare spots in the pile. Sometimes moth larvae will prefer the taste of one yarn’s “dye” to another, and so the bare spots may be present in specific colors, but not others. This has to do with the dyeing process, organic dyes vs. synthetic dyes, or similar factors.
Webs: In case of serious infestation, there will be white gauzy filaments covering a patch of the rug’s pile.
Larvae: The larvae are what eat the wool. They are slim, white, worm-like moth larvae about 3/8″ long that can sometimes be seen just after hatching, before they have constructed cocoons.
Cocoons: Larvae camouflage their cocoons to blend in with the color of the wool that surrounds them, and look like fuzzy cylinders that about are about 1/2″ long.
Sand-like particles: Deep in the pile of the rug, a tannish-brown color and granular sandy look is the secretion of the larvae.
How To Prevent Moth Damage:
1- Vacuum the entire face of the rug at least once a week. Vacuum the backside of the rug and the pad and floor underneath on an annual basis. If your rug is placed under cabinets, beds or large furniture, try to rotate the rug once a year. Dark undisturbed areas are where the moths thrive.
2- Mothballs, flakes, cedar, or similar products act as repellents, however are very ineffective in moth control for rugs. They do not kill larvae, and their odor is unpleasant and can cause skin irritations for sensitive people, kids, and pets.
3- Annual cleaning of your rugs by a professional is the best way to protect your valuables. Vacuuming alone does not remove all the dust and dirt from the deep foundation of your rugs. A professional dusting via dusting machines, which lashes the rug from the backside, and proper washing, is the best care.
Figure 3: Kerman Persian rug cleaned, treated for moths, and revitalized by revitaRUGS master artisans.