Do Termites Eat Clothes? + Getting rid of Termites In Clothes

In any case of damage to clothes and fabric, pest activity often comes to mind first. Most of these pests are insects and small burrowing animals which tend to feed on or use them as shelter. But, do termites eat clothes? If you notice small holes in your clothes or other fabrics, you might be dealing with termites!

do termites eat clothes

Although termites mainly eat wood, termites will eat anything that contains cellulose. So an answer to the big question is yes; wherever there’s cellulose, you will find termites. Termites eat wood, books, pictures, and clothes. Fabric and clothing made from plant materials contain cellulose, which is a source of nourishment for termites. Termites are not as picky as some other insects on where they get their cellulose from, so they’ll eat a large variety of items.

Do Termites Eat Clothes?

Yes, termites will eat clothes. Termites will eat any material that contains a plant material called cellulose such as wood, clothing, books, pictures, cardboard, wallpaper, ect.

Termites are chewy insects that feed by biting off chunks of their food before chewing. This is why you find holes in your clothes, wooden furniture, or firewood. But here’s a twist; termites are not the only organisms that boreholes or destroy clothing. Rats and carpenter ants also do similar damage.

What Attracts Termites To Clothes Or Fabric?

Termites are simple creatures and termites are attracted to their next potential food source, cellulose. Cellulose is a plant-based material that can be found in quite a few different materials such as wood, soil matter, clothes and fabrics, cardboard, and other material. Termites are some of the only insects that can actually digest and use cellulose as nutrients so that’s why they’ll eat quite a few different materials.

Does Washing Your Clothes Kill Termites?

Washing and drying your clothes will kill termites! Washing your clothes that have termites on them will kill a few termites, but drying your clothes that have termites on them is much more effective and should kill any remaining termites.

How To Get Rid Of Termites In Clothes:

Use borax (sodium borate) to get rid of termites in clothes. Sprinkle a tablespoon of borax in your laundry and wash your clothes at a high temperature for at least 30 minutes.

How Do You Know If Termites Are Responsible For Clothes’ Damage?

Clothes can fall victim to several pests as earlier stated. As per infestation, knowing the particular organisms responsible for certain damages will aid in figuring out the best action to take. Because other insects such as silverfish and carpet beetles also can eat and destroy clothes, you need to ensure you’re dealing with termites! Some signs to look out for that indicate termite infestation are:

  • Mud tubes anywhere close to your closet (or where you store your clothes)
  • The presence of swarmers. These swarmers are winged and usually shed off their wings when they fly in or out of their feeding zones. Discarded wings is one of the biggest tell-tale signs of termite activity.

When you notice any of these signs that confirm termite infestation, take action immediately. If you’re still unsure, do not hesitate to call for professional help.A professional will be able to give you a definite answer on whether you’re dealing with termites.

How To Prevent Termites From Eating Your Clothes

While considering calling the experts for help, there are some control methods you can use:

  1. Wash dirty clothing: do not pile up dirty clothing, as it could attract termites.
  2. Vacuum the closet: closets are easily forgotten about when cleaning. Even though this area seems like it barely needs vacuuming, doing so will keep out unwanted guests.
  3. Move firewood stacks: keep firewood at least three feet away from your home.
  4. Do not store your clothes in cardboard: as cardboard is easier to ingest, these pests would find their way into your clothes in no time. Another thing is that termites found in closets eating clothes tend to imply a possible termite problem. To avoid it from recurring, check your entire home and take action immediately. 
  5. Freeze your cloth: while this might seem weird, low temperatures will kill termites. But take note; don’t just shove it into the refrigerator because you risk spreading it. Put it first into a polythene bag before freezing

Final Thoughts On Termites and Clothing

Taking steps to avoid termites from destroying your property might be a little tasking, but sadly, the damage they cause is quite irreversible. Use the tips provided in this piece to save your favorite clothes by keeping these pests away. Professional help could be a little on the expensive side, that is why they are best for extreme cases of infestation. So save on expenses by trying out the preventive steps and control methods if you find termites in your closet. Check out our guide on how to get rid of termites naturally!

Resources:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/030504919290194V

About The Author:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. His main goal is to provide accurate and helpful DIY tips to keep your home pest-free and how to identify different types of household pests!