Carpet Moths


Carpet moths are especially prolific at this time of year due to the warm weather. The average householder has no idea about this type of moth, often believing it is the adult moths of other bigger and more brightly coloured species that are munching on their carpets and fabrics. As the carpet moth is so small you may not even realise you have a problem until you notice the worn patches on your carpet. Here is some information which may be of interest.

If you have a carpet made from natural fibres, such as wool, and have noticed small balding patches in the corners and at the edges, you may have an infestation of carpet moths.


Carpet moths are very small (under a centimetre long), a dull brown colour, and will often scurry around rather than using their wings. They originally live out in the wild, usually in the nests of birds and other animals. They feed on the protein fibres which are naturally discarded by their hosts and choose to live in animal habitats for this reason. They also benefit from the warmth of the animal and, unlike other species of moth, prefer dark rather than light places.

To end up nesting in a carpet the moths would need to find a way in to the home, and it is not uncommon for them to enter attached to an article of clothing or other item.

Once inside a moth will look for a hiding place where it is safe to lay its eggs. As it prefers dark areas, the most common places for infestation are around skirting boards and under cupboards, book cases and other furniture.

The only interest in carpeting for a carpet moth is the protein value of natural fibres. A room containing twenty square metres of wool carpet would be heaven for them, providing a plentiful land to reproduce and spread for generations to come.

A common misconception is that it’s the adult moths that cause the damage to a carpet, when actually it’s the larvae. The adults lay eggs on products that the larvae will consume. As soon as the eggs hatch the larvae will start feeding on the carpet fibres. This stage usually lasts between 68 to 87 days. The larvae of Tinea Pellionella (the ‘Casemaking’ moth) spin protective cases around themselves, leaving the ends open so that they can use their jaws and legs. These cases (which resemble grains of rice) are dragged around with the larvae as they move and eventually become the cocoon in which they pupate and develop into adult moths.

Carpet moths like humid conditions, so at this time of year they are especially prolific. However, since the advent of central heating, moths now breed all year round.



This is a problem that needs attention, because it will only continue to get worse. Also, did you know that the very same larvae that are eating your carpets will also quite happily munch away on your favourite items of clothing if they are made from natural fibres? Yes, I know, it’s a scary thought!

When it comes to getting rid of these creatures, however, controversy ensues. Different websites will site everything from placing an infested rug in the sun for a few hours to rolling them up and placing them in a cavernous freezer. But my advice to you is…. simply…. don’t waste your time!

A carpet suffering from moth infestation will require professional attention if it is to be dealt with successfully. If you suspect you have an infestation, call me and I will be able to help and advise you.




Everyone spills a drink from time to time, or drops toast and marmalade (sticky side down of course!) onto a carpet or a three-piece suite.

Cup 1x

The problem is that for you as a customer professional cleaners are not usually foremost in your thoughts during the initial stages of panic.

The drinks most commonly spilled seem to be tea, coffee, red wine and beer. Tea and coffee can create some challenges even for the professional cleaner, so bear this in mind when you try to remedy the problem yourself!

When I’m called out to such accidents, as I regularly am, the first thing I do when faced with these types of stains is to complete a survey.

The natural dyes (tannin) contained within tea and coffee can differ depending on whether the drink is decaffeinated or flavoured. The temperature of the drink at the time of the spillage, and whether it contained milk and/or sugar, are also important factors to consider. Hot tea and coffee will penetrate deeper into the substrate, swelling the fibres and exposing the dye sites to the staining material. The fibres then cool, trapping the stain and making it more difficult to remove. Dairy products (specifically the protein element) become more difficult to deal with the longer they are left in the substrate, and sugar can caramelise into a hard deposit.

Once I have assessed the stain, I then ask if anything (and if so ‘what?’) has already been done in an attempt to remove it. This may affect how I choose to clean the stain or even the final success.

WineGlass 960

Next, I establish what fibres and constructions are present in the item/s I have been asked to clean. Natural fibres are more absorbent than synthetic fibres. They can also be more easily damaged by spot and stain removal processes.

On completing the survey, I discuss with you what sort of result may be achieved, inform you what risks are involved and test all the products I intend to use in an inconspicuous area.

It’s always a good idea to clean the whole area first, as many spots will come out (or at least lighten) from this process and this will reduce the intensity of the stain removal product that is required on any residual stains.

It’s important to deal with any remaining stains carefully. I will only use products with particular note to the limitations imposed on me by the fibre type and construction. One major consideration here is to check backing materials for potential colour bleed/migration. Some stains can take as long to deal with as cleaning a whole carpet/suite.

(This was a recent job. Vodka and coke was the main ingredient!)

0407-Buss (1)       0407-Buss (3a)

(I love the ‘before’ and ‘after’ situations)

So next time you have one of those common little accidents please take this advice:-

  • Don’t panic – it’s happened so let’s look at the best way to deal with it!
  • Don’t use any random product you may have in your cupboard to remove the stain which may make it worse or damage your carpet or furniture.
  • Check my website here for a useful and safe process if you intend to do anything.
  • If you still have an issue give me a ring and I’ll either advise you over the phone or come and have a look at the problem myself.

Thanks for reading. If you got this far please consider sharing this post with your family and friends.



I often find that customers are often under the misconception that carpet protectors don’t work, simply because their expectations are too high.

WineGlass 960

Of course, no protection treatment is bulletproof against stains, but what it CAN do is give the owner of the treated item time to deal with a spillage before it becomes a stain.


They certainly work well within the constraints laid down by the manufacturers, as a “soil and stain resist” product.


The key word here is ‘resist’… providing, of course, that the treatment has been applied correctly in the first place.

Protected Wine1

I have been trained in the application of protection treatments and offer them as an additional service after cleaning either carpets or upholstery.

In order to overcome the misconceptions regarding carpet protectors here is a guide on how to get the best possible performance from any stain resist treatment you might choose to have applied after cleaning.

  • Allow 24 hours of cure time following the application of the protector prior to resuming full usage of the carpet.
  • Vacuum the carpet regularly to keep soil from becoming ground-in. The protection treatment will make soil removal easier and more efficient.
  • Blot up spills as soon as possible after their occurrence. While the protector will protect the carpet fibres, spills that work their way to the carpet backing are more difficult to remove and may wick back to the surface over time.
  • Stay calm if a spillage occurs. Vigorous agitation of the affected area and the application of chemicals are likely to remove the protector.

If you follow these simple rules the performance of the protector will be improved and you are much more likely to be pleased with the results.

The importance of Fibre Identification

Before any job, whether it be carpet or upholstery cleaning, I carry out a pre-inspection and record the findings on my pre-inspection software.

This records fibre type, construction, age and condition and helps me to ascertain the best method to use when setting about cleaning.


Even some professional cleaners do not take the time to go through the various necessary tests to identify fibres or fabrics prior to cleaning.

However, it is hugely important to know as much as you can about the fibre content to ascertain the best techniques, chemicals and temperature ranges to use.

Some cleaners might say that their experience allows them to identify many fibres and fabric construction techniques by sight but, be warned, even the ‘Old Hands’ that have been around forever can be fooled.

Some other cleaners just don’t know about it and are unlikely to unless they are properly trained and qualified.


This is the least accurate method and the one that is most likely to fool even the most experienced cleaner.

For example, acrylic is manufactured to look like wool, however acrylic fibres can also be manufactured in a velour finish and so could be confused with cotton velvet or perhaps chenille.

Generally, it is easier to visually identify a fibre after a problem has surfaced but by then it may be too late. For example, rayon / viscose velvet or velour crushes with use but even worse things happen if it is wet cleaned. The pile flattens and may never look the same again. The image below shows a piece of viscose carpet onto which water has been applied! The pile, once flattened, never returns!

Viscose Carpet

Some fabrics are, however, easy to identify visually with experience. Haitian cotton, raw silk, glazed chintz and wool are pretty easy. After that, however, picking out fibre content by looking at it is very difficult, in fact almost impossible to do.

A cotton and rayon blend can be made to look exactly like silk. Nylon and polypropylene are also very difficult to distinguish in bulky weaves.


In my pre-inspection I ALWAYS carry out a ‘burn test’. This isn’t to test how flame proof your carpet is, but to identify the fibre!

Burn Test 1

This is more accurate than visual testing, but can still be tricky. Blended fabrics, which most fabrics are, can present conflicting information during testing. However the burn test is fairly simple, and is the most commonly used test for on-location cleaning. It relies on the senses of sight and smell to ascertain the fibre type.

The test is carried out by burning a fibre or yarn sample and observing the flame colour and action, smoke, action of the burning material, odour, ash shape, colour, lustre and consistency.

You can be assured that I take the utmost care when cleaning your valuable items and for this reason the pre-inspection is a vital first step.

I hope you’ve found this informative. If you have please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post where it will appear on my Facebook page.


The Benefits of Carpet Cleaning

A lot of my time is spent cleaning carpets that are so heavily soiled that they are damaged already and there are compressed fibres in traffic lanes which no amount of cleaning will remove.

0150-Enwright (5a)

To prevent this carpets should be cleaned regularly and the following 3 points apply:-


All carpets need regular professional cleaning in order to maintain their expected lifespan. Accumulated soil and grit are major causes of wear and tear, which results in reduced carpet life. Every time you step on your carpets, you grind dirt into the fibres. This cuts the fibres, just like using a knife. This ‘cutting’ causes your carpets to wear out faster.

Regular vacuuming will go some way to prolonging the life of your carpet, however, on its own it is simply not enough. Professional cleaning will remove the soiling deep within the pile that regular vacuuming cannot reach.



There are many contaminants in indoor environments and, because they are unable to escape, they have to end up somewhere. That place is usually the carpet. A carpet is actually a very good retainer of pollutants, trapping allergens and dust efficiently, reducing the number of particles in the air and significantly improving indoor air quality. Some of these pollutants will be removed during a regular vacuuming routine but it is important to bear in mind that, unless carpet is regularly professionally cleaned, pollutants retained deep within the fibres will eventually be transferred back into the air.



Moths and carpet beetles are known to digest protein fibres such as wool, silk and specialty hair fibres, but these insects will also attack synthetic fibres if they contain protein substances. This means that carpets made from nylon, polyester and other synthetics can be damaged if they contain food or beverage stains, blood, urine, perspiration or other sources of nutritional protein.

The most effective way to prevent an infestation and inhibit growth is to keep floor coverings clean. Regular professional cleaning will remove the source of nutrition, meaning that the carpet will no longer provide the ideal habitat in which insects are able to survive and thrive.