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Wool or Silk Area Rug Moth Damage – We Can Help!

Moth Infestation on Wool Area Rug

<Click on the above “Moth Infestation on Wool Area Rug” for our video>

Beware! You could be harboring moths in your rugs right now! Even if you don’t see them flying around. One day you may call to have your rugs picked up to be cleaned only to find out they are full of moth larvae and in desperate need of extensive and expensive repairs.

How could this happen? You vacuum regularly, pick up food bits and sop up spills as quickly as possible. The answer is…There is a dark side to moth infestations (and carpet beetle destruction as well.)


  • These insects love those dark areas we don’t get to often enough such as the underside of our area rug, especially those with furniture on top of them.
  • The backside of rugs hanging on walls or over banisters.
  • Under the pet bed (or any other place where pet hair accumulates).

This problem of moths living and eating undetected in the dark places of your home is more widespread than you may realize. As many as 1 in 5 homes across the US are affected. Moths and carpet beetles can do their damage very quickly. If left too long, the damage often cannot be repaired.


Adult moths themselves cause no damage. It is the larvae they produce that do the feeding. The adults look for wool, silk, soiled cotton, feathers, some leathers, and areas of collected pet fur to lay their eggs.

Each adult moth can lay between 100 to 150 microscopic eggs, which hatch in about 5 days. Eggs laid in a rug can remain dormant for years, just waiting for the right conditions to hatch.

The larval stage itself can last from 2 to 30 months, and during this time, the larvae will feast on your natural fiber area rugs until hatched.  This significant variance in the life cycle is due to the availability of food, humidity, the frequency of vacuuming, lighting, etc. If gone unnoticed, larvae can feed for almost 2 1/2 years.

When a homeowner sees moths, the infestation has already begun somewhere in the home.


Look for these signs:

  • Look for a sticky substance that looks like spider webs on the back side of your rugs.
  • Look for bare spots in your rug where most of the pile has been eaten away. This is particularly the case if the foundation of your rug is cotton. The moth larvae will eat the wool pile right off the foundation.
  • Look for holes or loose carpet pile laying on top of the rug. If the pile of the rug and its foundation is all wool, the insects will eat the rug all the way through.
  • Look for the presence of cocoons. They will be lightly fuzzy cylinders, approximately 1/8 inch in diameter, and they will usually be the same color as the pile of the rug. The larvae camouflage their cocoons to blend in with the color of the wool that surrounds them.

HOW CAN YOU AVOID MOTHS IN YOUR RUGS?  Vacuum area rugs regularly, including their backsides. Get to those dark, undisturbed places such as under rugs with furniture on them.

Springtime, rainy periods and high humidity are especially suitable for larvae feeding. Check behind hanging rugs and under your rugs even more carefully during those times.  When vacuuming a hanging rug, be sure to use a soft bristle attachment.

Place your area rugs on top of a high-quality pad. This can eliminate air spaces between the rug and the floor making it harder for the bugs to settle.  Also, high-quality padding such as that sold by Oriental Rug Salon is treated to help prevent moth and beetle issues.

Remove the food source! Have your area rugs professionally cleaned regularly and treated with an insect repellent. This is most important when storing a rug. Before storing a rug for any length of time make certain it has been properly cleaned and treated.

The best you can do to protect your rugs, as well as your furniture and clothing items, is to be aware of what to look for, vacuum regularly, and have your rugs cleaned and treated every 1 to 3 years.


If you find evidence of moths in any of your rugs, such as loose pile, bare patches, spidery webs, cocoons, or live larvae, check all of your rugs since larvae can move from rug to rug.

Oriental Rug Salon is SW Florida’s most respected Oriental, wool, silk, and natural fiber cleaning and restoration company serving all of Lee, Charlotte and Collier County.  We are a Certified partner with the prestigious Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the International Carpet & Rug Institute (CRI).  In addition, we are A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau and a four-year-in-a-row-winner of the coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award.

For more information on Oriental Rug Salon’s thoroughly exhaustive hand washing, moth treatment, and repair services, please feel free to give us a call anytime at 239-424-8171 (Lee and Collier County) or 941-893-1655 (Punta Gorda. Port Charlotte and Sarasota) or visit us on the web at www.OrientalRugSalon.com

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