Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Eek! It's a Moth!

Since a couple of people commented on the freezer trick I mentioned in the last post,  I feel I should say some more about moths.  These little creatures can decimate your wool stash in the blink of an eye, so you must be ever-vigilant and not count on one trick to keep your wool safe -- unless you're using DDT in your studio (which I sincerely hope you are not doing)!

Most rug hookers know to wash thrift store wool immediately.  If you can't get to it the day you buy it, leave it the trunk of your car or in a pile on the porch.  Wash it and dry it in the dryer thoroughly.  The soap and the heat will help rid the wool of pests if they are there.

I keep my wool stash in wire grid boxes that I bought at Target on sale for $12.99 a box.  In my first studio, I had my carpenter build wooden boxes all the way up the wall.  They looked great, but they didn't allow air to circulate like the wire boxes do.  Also, the wire boxes can be reconfigured very easily.  I scatter lavender sachets through out the boxes.  I've heard that dryer sheets will also keep bugs away.  Moth traps are available, but if you catch a moth in one, you already have a problem and better start washing all your wool!

If you have purchased an old rug, take a vacuum to it.  If it is fragile, use a piece of screening between the rug and the vacuum so your don't eat up loose wool or backing. Get as much dust and dirt and larvae as you can.  I clean all my old rugs --and I have collected a lot of them over the past 20 years -- with Woolite Heavy Traffic rug cleaner.  It is a spray-on foam that I work into the surface of the rug with soft brush (I use a cheap plastic back brush from the five and dime).  I let it dry, then I vacuum on low suction.  It really works. 

The next step:  air your rugs out.  I put all my rugs outside in the sun periodically.  It helps them to smell fresh, and moths don't like sunlight.    I use my old rugs in places that don't get a lot of traffic, or I hang them on the wall.  I NEVER store my rugs in my cedar chest.  I learned this the hard way.  Cedar chests are very hospitable places for moths.  The smell of the cedar does not necessarily keep them away.  Also, the acid in the cedar can destroy wool.  I keep the unused portion of my rug collection laid out flat under all the beds in the house and rotate them once in a while.

I do freeze rugs if I see moth damage on them.  I leave them in the freezer for a few weeks then go ahead and clean them with the Woolite.

I do clean my rugs in fresh snow when possible.  The snow really makes them look fresh, but it won't get rid of moths if you have them.


Lisa said...

thanks for the info. I am new to all this and am doing a few things wrong. Thanks. Lisa

Lisa said...

after my last comment I noticed you had stopped by. Thanks for the info on paisley. I have so much to learn thanks for helping the process along. Hope you are having a great day. Lisa