Does Steam Cleaning Kill Carpet Moths?

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Moths are a very common household problem. They cause damage since they are attracted to wool, silk, and other fabric. Because carpet moths cause unwanted problems, many homeowners are exploring different methods to exterminate them for good. One method in particular, is steam cleaning.

Does steam cleaning kill carpet moths? Steam cleaning can kill carpet moths. In fact, it is one of the most effective, non-toxic ways to kill carpet moths. In order to kill carpet moths with a steam cleaner, apply steam up to 120 °F to upholstered furniture and carpets for more than 30 minutes.

With that said, there is more to explore when it comes to steam cleaning carpet moths. In this post, we answer the question: do steam cleaning kill carpet moths? Getting rid of moths for good requires the right knowledge. Moreover, finding moth activity early saves you money and your wool area rug.

About Carpet Moths

Carpet moths are similar in size to clothes moths. The larvae have the same taste in fabrics, furnishings, garments, and natural fibers. They will happily eat their way through wool carpets and silk rugs. Female carpet moths can lay up to 200 eggs at a time in dark, undisturbed areas. You can find them:

  • Along skirting boards
  • Behind heavy curtains
  • Beneath furniture
  • Under sofas

Since larvae can live up to two years, you may find them eating away at the natural fibers and leave balding patches in carpets and rugs. Interestingly, the larvae may become the same color as the carpet fibers they are consuming, having digested the dyes in the carpet. Carpet moths can produce several generations a year.

Does Steam Cleaning Kill Carpet Moths?

Steam cleaning is an effective, non-toxic way to kill carpet moths. According to, high temperatures are effective against insects, including carpet moths. Temperatures of 120 °F are lethal to carpet moths if applied for more than 30 minutes. Steam cleaners can easily reach this temperature level.

Additionally, periodically brushing woolen fabrics outdoors and exposing them to sunlight is also effective. You can periodically hang them in the sun and brush them thoroughly. Brushing destroys eggs and exposes larvae. Larvae do not like bright light and will fall from fabrics when they cannot find protection.

How to Get Rid of Moths with Steam Cleaner

Now that you know a thing or two about the annoying carpet moths, it is time to take action. Steam cleaning is an effective method to get rid of them (and bed bugs), however, you need to be methodical to eliminate carpet moths effectively. Here is how to get rid of carpet moths by using a steam cleaner:

1. Identify the Signs

The first step you need to do is to identify the signs of moth infestation. Moths love dark, undisturbed, dirty areas where there is a lot of organic dust and dirt. It does not take long for them to damage your rugs. If you find little holes in your fabrics, there is a high chance you are experiencing a moth infestation.

2. Set Pheromone Traps

If you cannot find signs of infestation, you should set pheromone traps. These sticky traps sexually attract the male moths, which attract and kill them with a sticky substance that they cannot escape once they touch. If you find moths in the pheromone trap, you know for sure there is a moth infestation in your house.

When choosing pheromone traps, we recommend buying one that is non-toxic and safe for the environment. We found one product that is non-toxic, natural, and odorless. It uses the strongest pheromone attractant and the stickiest glue, to draw in unsuspecting males to their final resting place.

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It is important to note, however, pheromone traps only attract the males. While unfertilized females and juvenile moths will die off, fertilized females can still lay eggs and reproduce. While it does significantly reduce the number of moths, it may not eliminate the whole population. Which brings us to the next step...

3. Steam Clean Thoroughly

Once you have identified the source, steam clean the upholstered fabric and carpet thoroughly. Set the steam cleaner to a minimum of 120 °F and move it slowly over the infested fabric. The hot steam will kill the moths and its eggs. Be sure that the fabric is safe for steam cleaning treatment before applying it.

Additionally, you can also vacuum the area after steam cleaning as well. Use a high-powered vacuum cleaner to clean the carpet in your closet. And while you are at it, vacuum the bedroom area too, since moths may have laid eggs there. Make sure to get under any furniture that is on your rug as well.

4. Wash Fabrics Regularly

It is equally important to wash fabrics regularly to remove unwanted moth eggs. Read the care instructions and wash the items accordingly. If possible, put the fabrics and carpets through a hot dryer. Items that cannot be dried on high heat can be placed in the freezer for several days to kill any moth eggs.

5. Consider Professional Cleaners

For extreme cases, consider hiring an exterminator. If you keep finding moths even after applying the steps above, they may be laying eggs in places you cannot reach with a steam cleaner. Getting rid of the eggs and larva professionally can save your rug from permanent damage and expensive repairs.

What Kills Moths Instantly?

What kills moths instantly? The Reefer-Galler SLA Cedar Scented Spray kills moths instantly on contact. Not only does this water-based spray non-staining, but it puts a protective barrier on clothing and rugs as well. Moreover, it uses pyrethrins to kill moths, which according to many users, is extremely effective.

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Bottom Line

And there you go, the complete answer to the question: do steam cleaning kill carpet moths? The combination of steam cleaning and vacuuming is very effective to keep carpet moths at bay. By also keeping your house clean and your carpets washed regularly, you can keep the moth infestation in check. 🙂

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