Moth Treatment

  • Insects

    Insect pests cause irreversible damage to rugs and carpets that is costly to repair. With climatic changes creating the perfect atmospheric conditions for insects to breed, along with the withdrawal of many insect proofing agents due to their carcinogenic properties, we have seen a considerable increase in the amount of rugs brought in to us over the last few years containing insect infestations.

    The Studio has carried out research into the field of natural insect eradication using processes that are harmless to the textile and people’s health.

    The most common insects that harm rugs and carpets in the UK are clothes moths and carpet beetles.

  • When and where they are found

    Carpet beetles and moths fly indoors readily in the spring and summer months to lay eggs. They prefer little disturbed, dark warm conditions so are more likely to be found in stored textiles, on the back of rugs or on rugs where covered by furniture. The females will lay eggs on wool, fur, feathers, skins or soiled textiles, which all provide nutrients for the growth of the larvae.

    Stored rugs are especially vulnerable; they provide a perfect undisturbed environment where insects happily breed. The locations in which rugs are most commonly stored are in attics, cellars and garages. These locations are attractive to birds and rodents where they nest and excrete; this in turn provides a source of nutrients attractive to insects. Rug storage advice can be found below.

  • How to identify them

    Moth: Tineola bisselliella

    The larvae resembles a small cream coloured maggot. It will leave a trail of grazed textile with fragments of excreta (frass). The cocoon it spins resembles silk like sheets or tunnels, which looks like a slug has left a trail across the textile. Adults are small dull fawn moths about 5-7mm long.

    Moth damage is often clearly identified in piled rugs where the pile has been damaged forming irregular bald areas and leaving just the base of the knots intact. Holes may be caused in the ground weave if it is made of wool.

    Moth: Tineola bisselliella: Moth: Tineola bisselliella:

    Carpet Beetle: Verbasci

    Rug damage is not caused by the adult beetle but by the short fat hairy larvae often referred to as ‘woolly bears’ which grow to about 4mm long. Adult beetles are 3mm long and covered with a pattern of grey and gold scales.

    Damage from beetles is more commonly found on the reverse of a rug. Irregular patterns may be formed where the back of knots have been damaged.

    Beetle damage Beetle damage

  • How to prevent them


    Monitor the areas insects are most likely to breed and make a point of checking under undisturbed furniture

    Monitoring traps containing a pheremone lure will provide early warning signs of insect presence.  These are available to purchase from The Rug and Carpet Studio

    Moth balls are no longer widely used due to the carcinogens within the active ingredient

    Strips and cassettes incorporating transflutherin which kills moths are currently popular for use in drawers and cupboards. Transflutherin is low in toxicity and carcinogens and is not a skin or eye irritant

    Natural moth repellents are camphor, cedar and lavender. These are often found in the form of drawer liners, bags and wooden balls impregnated with oils


  • Moth proofing

    The chemicals in many mothproofing products can have long-term harmful effects. Obtain advice prior to their use.

    We provide a moth proofing spray for use on underlay and fitted carpets.



  • Storage

    When storing rugs make sure they are clean as the larvae are particularly attracted to feeding on soiled rugs.

    Wrap rugs securely in canvas. Stitch or tape the edge to form a seal. Check regularly for evidence of insects. Avoid storing rugs in plastic; fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause condensation resulting in mould growth.

    The active ingredient dichlorobenzene in moth balls has been found to be carcinogenic so avoid in frequently used areas. We do not recommend their use but if you decide to use moth balls, position them near to stored rugs, but not directly in contact as they could cause harm to the textile.

    Moth damage to a rug that had been in storage

    Moth damage to a rug that had been in storage

  • What to do if you find evidence of an insect infestation

    The search for alternatives to insecticides has intensified in recent years after concerns over the effects of chemicals on objects, people’s health and the environment.

    Do not reach for the nearest can of insecticide as this can harm your rug.

    Isolate the affected rug(s) to avoid contamination to other rugs and textiles, and then obtain advice. If you have used a vacuum to get rid of insect frass, do remember to dispose of the hoover bag, otherwise the insects could thrive inside the bag.

    The Studio has carried out research into the field of natural insect eradication using processes that are harmless to the textile. These include heat and freezing treatments. These processes kill the egg, larva and adult carpet moths and beetles with the use of extreme temperatures rather than chemicals. The insects cannot regulate their body temperature so they die in these conditions. This service is available through The Rug & Carpet Studio.

    Moth damage repair. Surrounding area stitched onto a dyed support fabric. Embroidered to cover and protect, re-instating the design

    Moth damage repair. The surrounding area is stitched onto a dyed support fabric and embroidered to cover/protect and re-instate the design.

    We can provide extensive fact sheets on the following:

    Insect proofing products

    Natural insect treatments

    Monitoring systems to prevent infestations in the home, historic property or museum

    Please contact us if you require any of the above factsheets.


  • Your rug repair team did an excellent job with Sophie’s rug.  It did look a sad case as Sophie’s cleaner in Hong Kong had put it in the clothes washer!  The rug now looks like the one my mother bought for Sophie’s 21st  many years ago.


    Mrs S

  • Just to let you know your attention to the various rugs you have undertaken on my behalf is much appreciated and fully to my satisfaction! Regret not having met you personally – Thank you for your service.


    Mrs J

  • Today I received a notice about the Restoration Workshops, sent on from my old address in Norfolk. I am afraid I am too far away now to be able to visit your workshops.   I very much appreciated the work you did on my old rugs, you are providing a very valuable and interesting service.

    Mrs F

  • Just wanted to say thank you! Your team did a great job on my rug last week and a big thank you for doing in the 24hrs I had up in Suffolk. Best wishes.


  • Many thanks for the excellent repair work and I am very pleased with the newly cleaned and mended Qashqai rug.

    Ms C

  • We are delighted by your work on the pair of Kashan rugs that we bought in Teheran in the mid 1970’s. They have always travelled with us to our various places of work and were beginning to show signs of wear. Your cleaning and excellent restoration have revived them, so many, many thanks. The underlay will help on our present terracotta tiled floors. We appreciate your efforts and send our very best wishes.



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