Moth is a four letter word in the fiber community, and keeping them away from our precious yarn and finished projects should be a high priority. Working for months on a sweater only to have it ruined is heartbreaking. Preventing these little critters from getting into your stash isn’t too difficult. Removing them once they’re there can be harder, so some preventative measures are the best way to go. We asked our staff for their favorite ways to prevent yarn disaster.
I keep anything I bring into my house separate from the rest of my yarn for a little while just to make sure, and then it goes in plastic bins. – Mary K.
Lavender is a natural moth repellent, so using lavender sachets (which are easy as a DIY project with some fabric and dried lavender) is a good combination with an airtight container. (See image below) - Michael W. and Sara D.
Within my storage bins, I group my yarns by weight and brand and keep each in a separate seal-able bag. For example, if I have 6 skeins of Cascade 220 I will put those into a zip-top bag, and put my 5 balls of Valley Superwash into another bag, even though they are both worsted weight yarns. That way, if moths happened to come home with me when I bought the Cascade 220, they will likely only destroy what was in that bag. The Superwash is likely to be safe even though they were all in my worsted weight yarn container. - Tina
Plastic storage bins with latching lids have been the best solution I’ve found. Some say that the original eucalyptus and lavender scents of Eucalan also discourage moths – they certainly can’t hurt! In the end, though, if your stash is more than a few years old, you’re going to have to know when to freeze it (if you suspect moth contamination, noticing a granular, sand-like “dust” on the yarn or find some adult moths on or near it, a few days in the freezer or outside in a bin in winter should kill moth eggs) and when to toss it. If you notice frayed ends sticking out of the yarn, you know there are even more within, and it’s time to let it go. But natural, undyed fibers DO make good compost – just saying! - Kirsten H.
If you discover the evidence of moths, take your whole stash (I know!!) and put it into a black plastic bag and leave it in your car with the windows up on a hot day for a few hours. The heat will kill the moths and the eggs - if you put it in the freezer, the eggs may just hatch when they warm up! - Andrea V.
You can also put blocks of cedar wood in your containers, if your containers aren’t quite airtight. – Stephanie B.
My solution is to not worry about it, and rely on luck! All kidding aside, I think some of it is that I wear my knits a lot. I don’t keep them in one place all the time. I don’t let them get too dingy, but don’t wash them necessarily all the time either. - Kristin L.
I’ve got one airtight container, the kind they use for dog food, with a screw-in lid! -Ashley F.
You can use these tips to prevent other pests like carpet beetles and fleas from getting into your yarn. Pests like fleas and mice are hard to get rid of once they find a place they like, so prevention is really important in that case.
Have you ever had any damage to your knits or yarn from critters? How do you keep your stash safe?