15 Practical Tips for Preventing Closet Pests in California


custom closet

may be occupied by more than your clothing – pests may be in residence, feeding on your wardrobe. 

Pests seek out dark, quiet, warm, or humid corners, so your custom closet is the ideal environment. Most closet pests do not carry any harmful germs or disease; however, they can cause immense damage to your clothes, linens, and other fabric items stored in your closet.

Luckily, you can take steps to prevent pests from feasting on their favorite fabrics and damaging your clothes. 

Here are 15 tips to keep pests far away from your custom closets in California.  

1. Recognize Signs of Pests

Now if you notice holes, tears, or stains on your clothing, you may have a pest problem. The most common clothes-eating pests are clothes moths and carpet beetles (the larvae, not the adult insects), according to




also expands upon other insects known to eat fabrics such as silverfish, termites, cockroaches, firebrats and crickets. 

Some pests are so small you might not even see them, which is why it’s essential to look for holes or other damage when inspecting your clothing and closets.

The Family Handyman

mentions that both moths and beetle larvae feed on animal-based fibers, including wool, cotton, silk, and cashmere. Silverfish don’t eat fabric but instead, feed on nutrients such as food and sweat. Moths and carpet beetles can leave holes in your clothing. Clothes moths make small holes throughout your garments while carpet beetles damage only one area. 

If you suspect pests, check your entire closet for signs of bugs, larvae, and eggs. 

Moths like to move around seeking places to lay eggs, so the infestation is probably not isolated to one area. Vacuum your closets thoroughly and throw away the bag.

2. Store Only Clean Clothing in Your Custom Closet

Clean your clothing before storing it in your closet. Even if you only wore a garment once, you should still wash it. Pests are also attracted to perfume, hair, food stains, and dirt on clothing. 

Wash all clothing, linens, and other fabric items in your closets in hot water to remove any eggs. For items not machine washable, place in the dryer on high heat for 15 minutes. Smaller items can go in the freezer for several days.

When laundering your clothing, pay special attention to sweat, food, and other organic stains. If you can’t remove the stains yourself, bring items to your local dry cleaner. 

Pests are attracted to moist areas, so ensure clothing is completely dry before putting it back in your closet.

3. Be Cautious with Second-Hand Clothes

Clothing bought at a thrift store or consignment shop may bring unwanted pests into your custom closets. Before adding to your wardrobe, check items carefully, and wash them in hot water.

4. Skip the Starch at the Dry Cleaner

Starch is beneficial to clothing, but it also is a magnet for pests, especially silverfish. Ask the dry cleaner to skip the starch next time you bring your clothes in for cleaning.

5. Vacuum Closets Regularly

Weekly, vacuum your closets including the floor, corners, and hard-to-reach places to remove dust and dirt. Vacuum any drawers or cabinets in your closet. If your closet contains any fabric or carpet material, vacuum those as well.

6. Deep Clean Your Closets

Every few months, treat your custom closets to a deep clean. Wipe down closet walls, baseboards, and clothing rods with a soft cloth and an all-purpose cleaner.

7. Inspect Rarely-Used Clothing

If you have items you rarely or never wear stored in your closets, don’t ignore them. Every few months, inspect the pockets and seams for signs of pests or anything that could attract pests. Wash or dry clean any infested items.

8. Place Mothballs in Closets

Mothballs are one of the best defenses against pests but do not put directly on your clothing. Hang the mothballs above your clothes or put them in an enclosed area nearby. One downside is that the mothball scent can leave an odor on your clothes. Hang the clothes outside your closet or bring them to a dry cleaner if this occurs.

9. Try a Natural Pest Repellent

If you are concerned about using chemical pesticides, there are different natural or organic repellents that you can use.


recommends opting for natural or organic repellents such as cedar or lavender to keep pests away from your closets. 

The cedar scent turns off pests, especially clothes moths and carpet beetles. Cedar comes in several options, such as cedar chips and cedar blocks. Place the cedar chips in a small container or place cedar blocks on hangers to ward away unwanted visitors. Don’t let cedar touch your clothing directly as the essential oils in cedar stain. Cedar loses its scent every few months but rubbing it with sandpaper brings back the scent. 

Lavender repels insects and other pests while providing a pleasant fragrance for your custom closets. Make dried lavender sachets to hang or place in your closets.

10. Declutter Your Closets

The t-shirt you threw at the bottom of your closet could be hiding pests. Cluttered closets also can bring mold and moisture, which pests love. Don’t let your closets become too disorganized or overcrowded. Clear out your closets regularly to avoid overcrowding and disorganization.

11. Store Clothes in Garment Bags

If you have dresses or other expensive-fabric clothing, store them in garment bags made of breathable material. Do not store clothes in the plastic bags from the dry cleaners.

12. Avoid Cardboard

Do not use cardboard boxes to store seasonal clothing, especially anything made of wool or feathers. Silverfish like to live in cardboard. Also, the humidity during California summers can cause the cardboard to dampen, which will draw in other pests. Buy plastic bins with tightly sealed lids for storage or use compression storage bags.

13. Open Your Closets

Moths do not like light, so keeping your closets open will prevent them from getting in and making themselves at home. Moving clothing around frequently also scares moths away because the movement is another thing they dislike.

14. Clean Rooms 

Don’t limit your prevention methods to your closets. The rooms your closets reside in can also attract pests. Regularly, vacuum and clean the room including carpets, rugs, curtains, and furniture. 

15. Fix Cracks and Gaps

Look for any openings pests could use to enter your home. Fill any cracked wall, holes, or broken seals you find. No hole is too small for pests, so don’t ignore tiny cracks or gaps.


Custom closets are ideal for keeping your clothing and other items organized and in one spot. Unfortunately, pests enjoy lounging in closets as they are typically darker and are only too happy to chew on your clothing. Follow the tips and ideas in this article to keep the fabric-eating pests in California away from your closets. 






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