Sunday, April 03, 2011

Up From The Depth, 20 Stories High....

In case you’re wondering what that is a picture of, it is Mothra, the one of Godzilla fame and fortune.

Long ago I noticed a tiny hole in my A&F Happy Camper t-shirt. Without question, and with ample evidence in photos going back a few years, one of my favourites. As it was just about the belt buckle area, I thought it had just had its day and chalked it up to wear and tear.

Over the course of the last year, I have found similar holes in two other t-shirts. One as old as Happy Camper (now a painting shirt) but the other’s relatively new. I suspected moths, but as the shirts are cotton and none of my wool sweaters were harmed, I thought nothing more of it.

Finding yet another hole just last week, I showed it to Fauntleroy and Kitkat who both pointed the finger of blame at tithraustes noctiluces. Suspicions ‘confirmed’ I swung into action. It must be said that I wasn’t in panic mode. I thought, in over a year I have found 3 holes so I didn’t think there was on infestation. And as all the shirts came from the same shelf, I figured it (or they) were quite lazy moths as they didn’t even move one shelf up to the wool.

Turning to my good friend Google, I researched how one gets rid of these little pests (even if you don’t have them but merely suspect) without chemicals. There were several ‘non-mothball’ options.

Most frequent were cedar blocks/oil and lavender sachets and/or oil. These seemed targeted at ‘how to keep them away’ and not so much about getting rid of them. I didn’t see the point in having them move house and perhaps onto greener pastures. I would save these for post extermination.

To get rid of them, there were suggestions of vinegar, sealing everything in plastic bags and freezing for 3 days, washing and drying everything with hot water and high heat, vacuuming every nook and cranny in your closet and steam cleaning the carpet.

Not being able to decide on the ‘best’ method, I did them all. First, everything went in the dryer for a tumble and then right into a jumbo Ziploc bag. Not having a chest freezer and not wanting to take a month for this little project, the bags then went into the garage. I for one was happy with winter’s reluctance to release its grasp this year.

Most options suggested freezing for 3 or 4 days so I settled on a week. My closet in the meantime was thoroughly vacuumed and the walls washed down with vinegar. And I didn’t dilute it with water either. Go hard or go home I say.

I then filled several small ramekins with vinegar and set one on each shelf. And just to be safe, I also spread some mothballs around. Okay, an entire box. A little overboard perhaps but cheaper than replacing an entire closet full of clothing. The door was shut, packing tape sealed.

A week later I Howard Cartered my way in and quickly had to retreat due to the fumes. Mothballs not such a good idea. Surgical mask on, I went back in with the central vac for one more sweep and then set a fan in the closet to let it air out.

Everything then came out of the Ziploc, went back in the dryer for one more tumble before being ironed and folded using my GAP folding board. Once sorted and stacked according to colour, shirts and sweaters were set back in place.

Moths or not, this little exercise set me in spring cleaning mode and soon all my dressers were emptied of their contents, vacuumed and polished. I also managed to enforce my “if I haven’t worn it in a year, out it goes” rule. I usually circumvent this by wearing it once before putting it back promising myself, “next year, for sure”.

Two sweaters, a pair of pants, 3 t-shirts, 2 ties and a jacket are now washed, folded and ready for the Goodwill. I hope I no longer have moths, but I sure do have one of the cleanest closets. If a little on the pungent side.


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