Moth Infestation Of Rugs – Signs

Moth Infestations in Oriental Rugs - Egg Casings

Moth Casings And Dirt After We Beat A Rug

Moth Infestations In Oriental Rugs- Damage From Moths

Moth Damage Showing Rug Wool Eaten Away

You want to preserve the life of your beautiful Oriental Rug. It has many enemies and one of the most devastating is damage from moths. Learn how to recognize and treat moth infestations in Oriental Rugs.

What should I look for?

  • Missing wool, especially on the back of the carpet or under furniture.
  • Black sand-like grit on the floor. Rice sized larval casings in the wool and where the wool has disappeared.
  • Some casings may have small white larvae in them.
  • The larvae eat the wool, leaving holes like the holes in your wool clothes.
  • Don’t expect to see the moths. 

Unlike their most moth cousins wool moths don’t like light. They’re short lived, are nocturnal and spread their eggs when you are asleep.

more mothe damage

Moth damage and active larva

What should I do?

  • First remove the infected rug from your residence.
  • Check any other rugs and woolens for infestation.
  • Be sure to check under furniture and the backside of carpets. Unlike their moth cousins, wool moths like quiet, dark, undisturbed places.
  • After the rug is out of the house ,contact a business that WASHES oriental carpets.  Most  rug cleaners only shampoo  rugs.  Beating and washing in water does the best job of removing the embedded larvae and eggs.  However, no washing can totally guarantee that it will get out all the eggs.
  • Insecticides don’t work either.  They may kill moths and larvae, but they won’t kill the eggs.  We don’t recommend moth proofing a carpet.  Do you want your kids or pets playing on those chemicals?
  • If you can’t find someone who actually still washes carpets, we do. We believe our wash room is the last commercial facility in Maine, NH, and Vermont.  There are at least two in Western Massachusetts. Customers ship us rugs for washing from all over the US.

How do I deter or prevent moths?

As moths like quiet, dark places, the best deterrent is regular vacuuming (a little dirt adds to their enjoyment).

  • You need to disturb their environment.
  • Do the face of the carpet monthly and the back at least once a year.
  • Remember to get the entire carpet, especially those hard to get places under the couch, under the bed, chests of  drawers, and that pedestal-based, dining room table.
  • If you have someone cleaning your home, be sure to check that they are doing a thorough job.  The worst infestation I ever saw was in a house being cleaned by a “professional.”


About the author:
Tad Runge has been buying, selling, washing and repairing vintage oriental rugs in Maine since the 1970s.  He is the latest generation of Runges to buy and sell old oriental rugs a tradition started in the 1880s in New York by his great grandfather, Edward Runge.
His shop A.E. Runge Oriental Rugs is in Yarmouth, Maine – 207-846-9000