Oriental rug with moth damage
Oriental rug with moth damage
Oriental rug with moth damage

Moth rug damage

Yes, we are talking about those harmless little insects you find in nature. Unfortunately, they are not harmless to certain textiles.

An adult moth will not actually cause any problems; it’s the larvae (moth babies) that feed on wool. They feed on other natural fibers such as silk and hair. These are referred to as “protein” fibers. Larvae actually consume these as sustenance and can digest almost any natural protein source. Although it’s much rarer, larvae can be found in synthetic carpets or fabrics if there is a protein source there such as food or beverage. The term “protein” is associated with coming from an animal.

Adult moths love wool rugs because it is basically an unlimited source of food for larvae. They are small insects and can go unnoticed even within rugs laid out in a clean home. The process starts by:

  1. Moths find protein source
  2. Moths lay eggs (larvae)
  3. Larvae feed on protein source
  4. Larvae continue to feed for 2-24 moths

If the insect goes unnoticed the larvae can actually remain in a state of feeding for over two years. We’ve actually seen live moths and larvae under rugs in people's homes. We arrive to roll the rug up for professional cleaning and see the insects attached to the wool fibers within the rug.

As you can image, this can cause a lot of damage to a nice wool rug. It’s important to occasionally do a quick inspection of your rugs, even when they are simply lying in your home. You may see loose wool fibers, adult moths and even larvae.

Although adult moths are harmless to wool rugs, their presence is a good indication that larvae may exist.