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    sweater care

    I've been wearing my sweaters for the first time this season. And inevitably when I pull out my sweaters for the first time I notice a few new holes in a couple sweaters. I'm assuming they may be moth holes, but I really don't know. I've tried keeping sweaters in drawers and in closets both with cedar blocks. Nothing seems to prevent this. I would rather not use moth balls and smell like grandma all the time. Any else have this issue and have any suggestions?

    #2
    Always dry clean or wash before storing. Insects eat the skin cells and lipids we deposit on clothing, not wool and rarely cotton fibres. Holes are generally collateral damage. Make sure to clean the area beforehand as well, and remove attractants such as paper or cardboard; silverfish will also eat holes in clothing but like dark places with plant starches for food. Cedar wood doesn't repel the moth larvae or silverfish, it's the cedar oil and that evaporates in open air. The clothes have to be kept in a container, either one made of recently-sanded cedar or something reasonably airtight with a piece of cedar inside. Nice thing is that freshly cleaned clothing won't have anything for bacteria to grow upon, so mildew is unlikely even in a sealed plastic bag, and the cedar will absorb any moisture before it can form condensation.
    Last edited by Galcobar; November 14, 2020, 05:42 PM.

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      #3
      Thanks really helpful. I appreciate the feedback.

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        #4
        Originally posted by 6string View Post
        I any suggestions?
        the plan i've been going by is to beat the living shit out of my sweaters so they fall apart before the moths can even get more than a season to get them.

        i've never really had trouble with moths anyways, but i always keep some FRESH cedar in there too.

        i'm at the point where my sweater collection it is about 90% wool. and of that maybe about 90% shetland wool.

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          #5
          Ugh, dreaded moth attack! Gives me severe anxiety just thinking about it. I had one of my favorite suits ruined by moths about a year ago, and went full nuclear on moth prevention. Dry cleaned all my suits and sweaters, put cedar everywhere, used moth traps, and used a couple of these: https://www.amazon.com/No-Moth-Close...5553155&sr=8-6

          That suit was ruined, but I never had a single issue with anything else that I know of, and that suit was hanging next to all of my others (also wool). The funny thing is, I also never saw a single moth (I know they're small, but still), nor found any in the moth traps. So I don't know, maybe it was something different, but MAN it made me paranoid. Maybe it was just something about that particular suit that attracted something, dunno.

          I would recommend using one of those no-moth closet hangers. They do stink for about a week, but once you take the clothes out of the closet and air them out for a few minutes, the smell completely dissipates. I I also highly recommend cedar, as much as you can add, if nothing else it smells good! This year I am going to be storing my sweaters in a cedar chest after dry cleaning as well.

          One other point, since the holes you found are in sweaters, they may be repairable by a decent tailor. They can usually weave those holes in to a point where they are barely noticeable...and it's usually not too expensive.

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            #6
            It's not a moth which damages fabrics, it's the larvae which turn into moths. Clothes moth larvae are almost microscopic, and only emerge at night so it's not surprising you wouldn't see them. That all the damage was confined to one garment suggests eggs were laid on it when you were outside, and the larvae fed on the only garment they could reach. If you caught them in the ten days of so of metamorphosis all that effort might have killed or removed them before they could turn into adults.

            If it were silverfish damaging clothing, you may see their secreted trails, but I've never noticed such even when I knew there were silverfish in a building. They are also nocturnal, so less likely to be about where it's lit, but they're also much larger than moth larvae and move quickly so they're easier to spot.

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              #7
              Great knowledge Galcobar!. I freak out about this too. Depending on your wardrobe, you MUST create a ritual for moth prevention. Although, it's never fool proof, everything Galcobar has stated is correct. I have 18 suits, all in suits bags. They are all on cedar hangars. Then I throw cedar balls and moth packs in the bag and zip up. The moth bags evaporate after a few months so that is when I do my suit maintenance. I brush and steam my suits gently(do a visual check) and replace the moth bags. Dry cleaning is used after I wear a suit a few times but before I put it away, I brush and steam it. As far as sweaters, same concept but I put them in zip bags along with cedar ball and moth bags.(Enoz brand and can be found at Walmart). Don't be afraid of the moth ball smell, you'd be surprised how much is dissipates after a few minutes out of the bags. Our clothes are important to us so I think staying on top of them every few months is well worth it. I even keep a notebook on the suits and when I maintain them. GREAT QUESTION AND INFORMATION!!

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                #8
                Originally posted by evanparker View Post
                ... of that maybe about 90% shetland wool.
                That doesn't heat you up beyond belief? I know wool's breathable, but I have a boiled merino sweater and it's quite toasty.

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                  #9
                  Yeah I had this issue with my sweaters this year. Have had issues in the past too...but only with fine-knit merino wool stuff. The moths I have seem to leave all my lambswool/shetland/cashmere alone. They always go for the merino for reasons I can't explain. Dry cleaning will kill the larvae/eggs. Another option is to wash in water that is above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Water that hot is apparently hot enough to kill the eggs/larvae. I usually run the bath tap until the water reaches maximum heat, then add the cleaner I use, then I gently submerge the sweater in the hot water. I have not had a problem with shrinking - I was worried about that so I tried it first on a damaged sweater and it came out fine. I would recommend trying this out on a sweater that is already damaged to make sure you get similar results before doing it with something you really care about. From my understanding wool shrinks due to agititation induced felting rather than because of water temp. I submerge the sweater and let it sit in the hot water without any agitating until the water gets down to room temp and then gently agitate it a little.

                  The cleaner I use is Eucalan. It's available on Amazon and is a no rinse formula, which eliminates the step of a second rinse with a fresh tub of plain water. It also has some lanolin, which is the oil sheep produce to protect their fur. I've repaired small holes myself with regular thread that matches the color of the sweater. If you find the right person they can actually re-knit the hole and the repair is pretty much invisible. My guess is it's not super easy to find people that can do that these days though. My seamstress has repaired some small holes in sweaters for me and I'm pretty sure she stitches them up with matching thread like I've done on my own. With textured knits or more rough-knit sweaters that kind of repair is nearly invisible. With fine merino it's less noticeable than a hole but if someone looks carefully enough they can see it, especially if it's in a spot that's more fully in the line of sight - like right on the chest.
                  “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

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                    #10
                    I've had success with the cedar blocks and cedar oil.
                    Pro-tip: No need to buy fancy cedar blocks, just get cedar lumber and cut it into strips. You can buy 100% cedar oil as well, which I use to "refresh" the blocks, along with sanding them.

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