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Moths are ruining my sweaters (and life). How do I get rid of them?

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The question

Moths are ruining my life, creating holes in my favourite cashmere sweater. How do I get rid of them (without stinking of mothballs)?

The answer

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Moths are much more likely to make a meal of your cashmere when it's dirty (from sweat or food stains) because they like the moisture. So your first line of defence is the dry cleaner. When I asked Cherie Federau, founder of the vintage-fashion website Shrimpton Couture, she urged regular cleaning in addition to storing sweaters in sealable plastic bags.

"Spend the money on cleaning and not mothballs!" she insists. As for scented deterrents that are non-toxic (and more economical than cedar closets), consider lavender. My mother makes her own lavender sachets, which she tucks between her sweaters. Another option: pesticide-free "pheromone" moth traps. These little boxes adhere to your closet wall and are intended to attract and capture moths.

Finally, freezing garments for a few days (between –18 to –25 C, Federau suggests) can kill larvae. But don't let moths turn you into Godzilla; just let the dry cleaner do the dirty work.

Amy Verner is The Globe and Mail's Paris-based style reporter. Have a fashion question? E-mail

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