What Causes Carpet Moths? (Everything You Need to Know)

Have your carpets ever been invaded by moths? No? You are VERY lucky. Yes? You must know how pathetic that is. An infestation of carpet moths ends in irreparable damage. The interesting thing is that moths are symbolized for determination. I am positive that YOU are determined to finish this moth nuisance from your house forever. This post will explain everything you need to know about these little pests with wings.

Figuring out the cause of a problem is the first step down the road of elimination. The same goes for getting rid of moths. An infestation can usually occur as a result of unclean environments, availability of natural and synthetic fibers, dark spots, and warm temperatures. Regular cleaning and proper pest control can help you say no to carpet moths.

Carpet Moths

What are carpet moths?

Moths are a polyphyletic group of insects. There are said to be 160,000 species of moths. That’s such a massive number. It wouldn’t have been a concern for us if some of these species weren’t called Carpet Moths.

Carpet moth a.k.a Trichophaga tapetzella is from a family of moths called Tineidae. They are also called Tapestry moths. These infest our houses.

Carpet Moths

They are one of the nastiest pests. Why so? Because they reproduce soo quickly. And you know what is the ‘cherry on top’ (Sarcasm Alert)? They can digest keratin. This protein is found in animal-based products.

You probably do have products made out of animal protein. These can include silk, wool, leather, fur, etc. This means RED ALERT. Your home sweet home could be on the target list of these carpet moths.

No, no. I didn’t mean to freak you out. I am going to answer all your potential questions about these pests. You will be able to solve this problem.

Their Appearence and life cycle

Carpet moths go through 4 stages in their lifecycle.

Appearence and life cycle

The first one is obviously when they are tiny eggs. After they hatch, they become larvae.

Larvae appearance:They look like caterpillars with 1 to 1.5 cm of length. This can vary depending on their food and water intake.

Their larval stage can last from 2 to 30 months. Then they move into the pupation stage where they spin themselves in a cocoon to protect the pupa.

Cocoon appearance:This is a wrap of silk covering around the pupa. It can be brown, grey, or other dark colours.

Cocoon appearance

The pupal stage can last for around 8 to 14 days. Then the moths are matured into their adulthood.

Adult appearance:Their wingspan is just 14 to 18 mm. They are about 5 mm in length. The color is usually a lighter hue of brown with a few darker dots.

The adults live to mate and reproduce. They are likely to die within 2 to 3 months of being adults.

What causes carpet moths?

Carpet moths can be huge trouble. Their larvae cause the most damage. Their tiny size coupled with colors that usually match our carpets, helps them stay hidden from our eyes. They might be right in front of us, but we aren’t able to see them.

Your home can provide the ideal living environment for these unwelcomed visitors. Are you wondering how? Let’s take a look at this subject in detail.

1. Natural fibers

The first and foremost reason for carpet moths to be living in your house is natural fibers. Items containing animal-protein are their preferred feed. Do you have a wool rug? Do you have your pet’s fur all over your furniture or carpets? Then you aren’t immune to these invaders.

From silk to leather, they can nibble on any animal-based fabric material. This eating habit is a result of moths’ ability to digest keratin, and these products are rich in it. Makes sense, right?

moth with larvae in the carpet

2. Synthetic materials

Did you feel relieved after reading the last paragraph? Did you think “I don’t have any wool or natural silk materials! Moths ain’t messing with me.”? I am afraid these textile enemies can still invade your house!

Contrary to general information that is spread around, carpet moths can destroy synthetic carpets too. They feed on the food remains, dust, hair, and fur piled up in the carpets.

Carpets provide a warm hidden place for them to lay their eggs. When the larvae hatch, they feast on them.

They are microsized. Hence, you won’t notice an infestation until there is visible damage. This gives them the advantage of spreading around quickly and vastly.

moth-eaten carpet

3. Lack of cleanliness

Carpet moths love to feed on dirt, hair, fur, and food remnants. All of this accumulates if there is no proper cleaning. Can you recall a day when you said “Ahh, I will vacuum tomorrow. How dirty can the house get in one day?”

Truth is, it can get VERY dirty. Not only that, but pests can stay unbothered for a little longer


Many people don’t think that vacuuming is needed regularly. Trust me, it IS. The larvae can settle in the carpets if there is no disturbance.You can shake their world by hoovering every day.

There are parts of carpets where dust settles the most. It could be under the furniture or at the edges. That can be carpet moths’ paradise.

4. Dark places

Carpet moths LOVE to stay in peaceful and placid spots. This includes your carpets, under your furniture, and in your pantries. The female moths prefer to lay eggs where food for larvae is in abundance.

They can reside in undisturbed spots for quite some time. Your home provides an ideal habitat for moths.

5. Warmer temperatures

Well, who would have thought that the warm cozy homes we love are carpet moths’ favorites too?!

That’s sad. I know. Warmer temperatures cause an increase in their breeding activity. A centrally heated home provides them a comfortable living environment all year round.

So, that’s another reason carpet moths like to infest your carpets.

How do carpet moths come in your house?

Carpet moths can cause expensive and upsetting damage once they find their way into your house. Let’s look at how are they able to trespass on your property.

First and foremost, any opening can be inviting for these moths. The adult carpet moths can easily fly in through windows, doors, or cracks. The larvae then leave a mark everywhere they go. They literally do.



Larvae leave tiny tubes like skin behind as they grow and move. These larvae casings can often be found stuck to carpets or other fabrics. That’s a clear sign of an infestation.

Secondly, any second-hand rugs, carpets, or furniture you bring in the house can already be infested by moths. This is how they can easily gain entry in.

Are you a person who is fond of taxidermy animals? Do you have stuffed animals displayed in your house? If so, have you gotten them treated with insecticides? No? Oh God! I am worried about your house and the precious carpeted floor.

That is because carpet moths love to feed on an animal skin. Untreated taxidermy can easily be infested by them. If you bring such a stuffed animal in, you are basically bringing moths in.

stuffed wolf

How do they spread?

Female moths can lay up to 200 eggs in the 2 to 3 months of their adult life. This is one of the biggest reasons for their widespread.

The moths can stay in the larval stage for a maximum of 30 months. Hence, they have A LOT of time to migrate from room to room in your house. They enjoy parties in your carpets while you enjoy your life unaware of an infestation.

There is another way of how carpet moths can spread from house to house. I never thought about it until I found it during my research. Let me share it with you.

What happens is that you visit a house that has a carpet moth infestation. Microscopic eggs can be picked up on your shoes. You come to your house and step in with the same shoes. A future carpet moth infestation gets transported in your house. This is not something very egg-cellent. See what I did there? LOL.

door mat and boots

Taking off your shoes or changing them while entering your house can avoid this house-to-house spread of moths.

Are they seasonal?

Moths were usually said to emerge in the summer season. However, with the increased use of central heating systems, I am afraid they aren’t giving us a break. They are an all-year-round problem now.

This surely is an ‘OMG, NOO’ fact. However, spring is the season when their reproduction speeds up considerably. That’s when they look for cozy and dark spots to lay eggs.

Carpet moth control

A carpet moth infestation is frustrating. No one wants pests to devour their carpets. However, there are ways through which you can say goodbye to moths forever.

Proper cleaning is the key to preventing any kind of pests. Make sure the food crumbs that fall on carpets are picked up by regular vacuuming.

vacuum under the sofa

Check any used items you bring in your house for any possible infestations.

If you already have an infestation, you could use appropriate insecticides. You could also find some DIY solutions for an infestation. Though it is recommended to take the assistance of professionals.

You can’t afford the moths coming back. So, only professional pest exterminators can seal the deal for you.

We have compiled a directory of the best carpet cleaners in hundreds of cities. I am positive it will help you find the pro cleaner in your area.

For detailed information about carpet moth control, I suggest you take a look at the following post.

Carpet Moths

How to Prevent and Kill Carpet Moths. Step by Step!

If you have moths on your carpet, you know how big a problem this can be. With our Ultimate Guide To Rug Cleaning you’ll find the solution you were looking for.


That was surely a lot of carpet moth talk. However, I am sure it increased your knowledge about these unpleasant invaders.

Moths are pests that reproduce quickly. Their larvae cause the most damage to your carpets, just like carpet beetles.

If you want to learn about carpet beetles and get rid of them, we have a blog post dedicated to this subject.

Your house can prove to be a perfect habitat for carpet moths. Unclean environments, hidden spots, and natural fibers can attract them.

You can surely prevent carpet moths by taking suggested measures. Good luck!

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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