During the week before the "siege" of house-cleaning in spring of fall, look over all garments and articles to be put away, mend, remove all grease spots if possible. An effective mode for cleansing is to a table-spoon ammonia add a tea-cup boiling water; when cool enough saturate a piece of the goods or a sponge with it and rub the spot briskly, rinse with a clean cloth and fresh water, rubbing as before. Shape the garment with the hands so that the wet part will neither be stretched or shrunken; dry in the air or by a sunny window. If not out repeat process being careful to rub the goods with the nap, then beat with a limber cane and place on the line in the wind and sun for a day. Towards evening, before dampness finds its way into them, fold them up with pulverized camphor, cut tobacco or cedar chips, lay in their wrinkles, wrap them in newspaper, carefully tie and label them, and they are ready for the closet shelves. Or, have fixed a trunk, box, or chest that is thoroughly cleaned, and lay an old sheet, that has, however, no holes 28 in it, in this receptacle, so that the middle of the sheet is parallel with the bottom of the box. Lay the heaviest garment at the bottom with a plentiful supply of gum camphor in hits the size of a hickory-nut, or cedar shavings, strewn upon each garment; when the box is filled strew camphor or cedar shavings on top of the last garment, and all around the edges, and fold and pin the sheet over so that all of the edges lap over each other. Close the box, and set in closet in some part of the house which is frequented often during the warm weather, for the presence of any animated object is certain to disturb the moth. Always clear out all closets and trunks early in the spring. Wash with a sponge dipped in a mixture of ammonia and alcohol. Every thing the closets or trunks contain should be shaken and well aired.
Sometimes a heavy carpet, in a room seldom used, is not taken up at house-cleaning time. In this case lay a cloth along the edge of the carpet and pass slowly over it with a hot flat-iron. This will kill moths and their eggs. If moths are discovered in a carpet at a time when it is inconvenient to take it up, they may be killed in the same way. A carpet, particularly if turned Tinder at edges, should not be left down longer than one year, even if not much used.
All moths work in the dark, hence clothing, furs or carpets exposed to the light are not in so much danger as when put away in the dark. The worms are torpid and do not work during the cold of the winter. Early in the spring they change into chrysalids, and again in about three weeks they transform into winged moths, when they fly about the house during the evening until May or June. Then they lay their eggs, always in dark places, and immediately after die. The eggs, which are too small to be detected with the naked eye, hatch out in about two weeks, and the young worms immediately proceed to work.
Furs should not be worn late in the season. They should be combed carefully with a dressing-comb, beaten and aired (but not in the hot sun), sprinkled with camphor gum, and wrapped in linen, sewed up, and then put in a paper bag. Newspaper is not strong enough; brown wrapping paper is better. Paper boxes may be used, but should be pasted securely so nothing can enter. Cedar chests will effectually keep out moths, but few are so fortunate as to possess these. Any article of fur, which has previously been troubled with moths, should be opened and examined in July, to make sure no moth is harbored in them, despite the precautions taken. This process, pursued resolutely year after year, will keep a house almost, if not entirely free, from the moth, and save much destruction and annoyance.
In the country remote from drug-stores, many housekeepers use the dried leaves of sage, thyme, spearmint and other highly scented herbs. These are gathered after the housewife has laid in all she may require for cooking and medicinal purposes, are tied in bunches and dried, and then laid among the clothes in the large wooden chest; or a pole is laid from rafter to rafter, and the clothing is hung over this, and casings of calico or old cotton quilts are carefully pinned around each garment, the bunches of herbs being also pinned at intervals about the clothing.