Higher quality clothes and warm weather sees spike in moth infestations

Rentokil says call-out have increased by 60% in the UK in recent years

A pest control firm is warning that a sharp rise in moth infestations could be due to the quality of our clothes and the temperature we wash them at.

Rentokil is warning that call-outs for moth infestations increased by 60% in the UK over the last four years.

It said UK callouts also shot up by 110% between April and May this year.

A company survey revealed that people are 54% more likely to wash their clothes at 30C now than they were five years ago.

Moth infestation

Washing clothes at 30C is recognised as being less harmful to the environment – using around 40% less energy over a year than washing at higher temperatures.

Washing detergents are also proven to work just as well at the lower temperature.

Some 58% of people also said they prefer to buy high-quality clothes in the hope they will last longer.

Higher-quality clothes are often made with natural materials, such as wool and silk – materials that contain the protein keratin, a tasty treat for moth larvae.

The larvae can only be killed when clothes are washed at 55C.

Perfect conditions

Rentokil spokesperson David Cross said: "May's unseasonably warm temperatures and the early start to summer has helped to create the perfect conditions for moths to breed and potentially thrive.

"With a prolonged breeding season, clothes and soft furnishings in British homes could be at increased risk to damage caused by moth larvae feeding on the natural fibres they contain.

"Washing clothes at high temperatures or having them dry cleaned are practical methods to help remove moth larvae from clothing."

Some 13% of people have had a moth problem in their home, according to the Rentokil survey.

Tips for preventing clothes moth infestations include checking for moths in the creases, folds and behind labels of clothing, keeping items in vacuum bags, and taking out items from the wardrobe and giving them a good shake at least once a month to disturb the moths.