Protecting Your Clothes from Moths

M-J Says: Protect Your Clothing from Moths and Other Insects in Summer

Make sure your clothes are completely clean before putting them away for the summer. Moths, beetles and silverfish are attracted to food particles, stains, body oils and perspiration left to sit in the cloth or fabric.

Don’t wash your clothes with fabric-softeners, or put them away with starch in them if silverfish are a threat, because these elements will lure them.

Cedar blocks, cedar oil, and lavender sachets may repel moths. Sew some lavender into cotton envelopes and set them in your closets or drawers. Add a few drops of lavender oil to the inside when your sachets need freshening. Cedar chips may be bought in little fabric bags, and you can amplify their efficacy by  sprinkling them with cedar oil. Cedar and lavender are pleasing to humans, and not-so-attractive to wool-hungry insects, which will also eat silk.

No one likes the scent of old-fashioned moth balls. They only belong on moths!

To kill any larvae present in your wool clothes and sweaters, put the clothing in plastic bags and freeze them for twenty-four hours before storage. Remove, drying off the bag with a towel. You may choose to keep the clothing in these plastic bags. Then, put the items in your cedar closet or in an airtight storage bin. Now, say “Toodles” to moths and other clothing-munchers for the season, as they find oodles of good eating elsewhere.

Copyright M-J de Mesterton ©2010

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Zote, the Economical Soap for Hand-Laundering Shirts

Shavings of Zote Soap, Made with a French Chef's Knife ©M-J de Mesterton
Shavings of Zote Soap, Made with a French Chef’s Knife ©M-J de Mesterton
Zote Soap and Boraxo for Economical Laundering ©M-J de Mesterton 2009
Zote Soap and Borax Powder for Economical Laundering ©M-J de Mesterton 2009

Zote soap comes in a huge, bright pink bar. It’s made in Mexico, but has been gaining popularity in the U.S. I discovered it long ago when searching for Octagon. Zote is not only mild and fresh-smelling, but is an effective stain-remover when rubbed on a wetted spot before washing. It can be grated and added to a general laundry load. Zote, cut into small chunks, is also an effective fishing-bait, especially loved by catfish. Zote is also suitable for bathing and dishwashing. It contains coconut oil, a natural “optical brightener”, tallow, and citronella.

Zote soap is available at Walmart, and on-line at Lehman’s, home of the butane-powered clothes iron seen here at Elegant Survival.
One bar of Zote will last many months, when kept clean and dry, and usually costs a dollar or less.

For washing men’s shirts: wet the underarms, cuffs and collar, then rub these areas with Zote soap. Soak overnight in a small tub of water. Then, scrub the areas with a small brush–a nail brush is a handy tool, available at Walmart for under a dollar. If you need more suds during this process, rub more Zote onto the fabric. Agitate and rinse shirts, then hang to dry. You may wish to use a washing machine for this step, but use your gentlest cycle to prevent the sleeves from getting twisted while spinning. Hand-washing will give your shirts a much longer life than just throwing them into the washer would do, or worse yet, sending them to the cleaners. To read more about shirt care at Elegant Survival, use the search-box.

©M-J de Mesterton, January 2009