What To Do If You're Pestered By Pests

It’s never a good sign if you find any sort of indication of pests in your antique or vintage clothing storage area. But in particular, you should keep your eyes open for:   


    * Moths (who’ll leave silken webs behind on fabric, as well as holes or thinned spots)
    * Silverfish (who leave behind irregular holes or thinned spots on fabric, and often infest old books or papers, as well)
    * Carpet Beetles (who leave behind skin casings in your light fixtures, on window sills, and in cracks of floor boards)
    * And Mold or Mildew

      Each of these pests can greatly damage a collection of garments. Vacuuming regularly will help prevent pests from infesting your storage area, as will cleaning of all garments and paper goods that come into your house. You can also vacuum infested garments with the use of a hand held vac (being careful to avoid things like beading, fringe, or loosely sewn-on fastenings); in this case, vacuum both the inside and outside of the garment, paying particular attention to all seamlines and hems.
      Silverfish, mold, and mildew are attracted by moisture. Never store textiles in the attic, basement, kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere moisture tends to linger. If, however, you live in an area like Washington, where dampness is a given environment, use dissident in your storage area. You can buy dissicent through archival-products companies, and like the little packets put in new boxes of shoes, it will help suck-up moisture.
      If, however, you are currently stuck with the problem of pests, call an exterminator. If, after your home has been treated, you come across garments that are infested, treat them the way museums do: freeze them.
      Unfortunately, refrigerator freezers will not work for this; you must use a freezer that can reach a low temperature of –2  to -4 degrees F.

~~Eliminating Pests By Freezing~~

Step One—First, roll or fold the garment and place it inside a thick but clear freezer bag.

Step Two—Remove as much air as possible from the bag; be very careful about this, since excess air in the bag will cause condensation, which can hurt the garment.

Step Three—Seal the bag. Even if the bag has a “zipper” closure, take the extra precaution of sealing it additionally with duct tape. (Other tapes, including masking, packing, or shipping tape, won’t work because they’ll “unstick” from the package during the freezing process.)

Step Four—Place the package in a chest freezer for at least 48 hours. Do not open the freezer at any time during these 48 hours! A constant temperature is necessary for the process to work properly.

Step Five—Remove the package from the freezer, and allow it to completely thaw before opening it. Condensation will appear—but it will be on the outside of the package.

Step Six—Once thoroughly thawed, open the package and remove the garment. Look it over carefully, and if there is any indication that the pests are not completely killed, repeat the entire procedure.

Step Seven—Vacuum the garment on both the inside and outside, using a hand held vac. This will remove insect debris that will attract more pests if left on the garment.




(c) 2001 by Kristina Harris