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What kind of pests can damage curtains?

Posted by QuickFit Blinds & Curtains on 30th Oct 2019

So, you’ve just noticed that your beloved curtains are not looking their best. You’ve taken the necessary time to keep them clean and followed every tip and trick in the book to preserve them in tip-top condition. Yet, somehow, there’s still a small hole or area where your curtain fabric is giving into wear & tear. If your damaged curtains are due to a pest infestation then chances are whatever is eating your curtains isn’t going to stop without a fight.

But what kind of household pest could be making a meal of your curtains and soft furnishings? And what is the best way to stop this from happening? Below is a list of some of the more common household pests that can damage your curtains along with some simple ways to prevent this from happening.

Carpet Beetles

Despite the name, carpet beetles usually live in the nests of birds, insects and small rodents but could find their way into your home via fresh cut flowers, plants, your washing that was drying on the line outside or they could fly into your home looking for a safe haven to lay their eggs. If a female happens to find themselves in your home, this could be the reason your curtains, clothing or soft furnishings are being eaten. Female carpet beetles will lay their eggs in dark crevices and once these eggs have hatched the larvae will begin feasting on natural fibres such as cotton, wool, fur or silk.

Synthetic materials are luckily not on the menu for carpet beetle larvae, however, if your curtains are a natural and synthetic mix, you could be in trouble. If you see adult carpet beetles in sunny spots such as window sills or your find the empty castings of the larvae, there could be a chance you have an infestation. 

Cockroaches

The cockroach is a common household pest and could be the cause of damaged curtains in your home. Cockroaches can feed on bodily fluids, food stains and laundry starch. If any of these are present on your curtains or other soft furnishings they will eat through the fibres of the material in the process. A cockroach infestation can become a serious problem quickly if not dealt with immediately so if you spot a roach seek professional help as soon as possible.

Silverfish

Similar to the cockroach, silverfish feed on food stains and starch. Silverfish are attracted to cool, dark and damp areas in your home such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements. They are nocturnal and therefore will feed at night which makes them difficult to spot. Silverfish are often brought into homes accidentally via books or cardboard boxes, they are also often found in new homes when brickwork is still damp. If you noticed damaged to paper-based products such as books, wallpaper as well as your fabrics this could be a sign your damaged curtains are due to a silverfish infestation.

Clothes Moths

When we see damaged curtains or fabrics in our home many people first thought is moths. Yet you may be surprised to know that it is not the adult moths that are causing the problem, it is, in fact, their larvae. The small, white grubs of the moth will eat through many fabrics including silk, wool, fur, leather as well as dust and paper products. Unlike other types of moths, clothes moths are not attracted to the light and will often avoid it if possible. If you have natural fur in your home that has started to shed excessively, notice small holes or signs of wear on your curtains, or find unused areas of carpets or rugs are becoming worn, you’re likely dealing with a moth infestation.

The best way to prevent household pests from causing havoc in your home is to first identify which common pest is causing the problem. Once you’ve identified the pest, there are a number of ways in which you can stop the infestation:

  • Enlist the help of a professional. A professional exterminator will know the most efficient way of dealing with your pest problem as well as advise you on how to prevent future infestations.
  • Keep soft furnishing clean, dry and vacuum regularly.
  • Use insecticides in affected areas of the home.

Remember that prevention is always better than a cure when it comes to household pests. Sealing cracks and crevices in your home, keeping unused soft furnishings in air-tight containers and keeping an eye on anything you bring into your home are all great ways to minimise the risk of pest infestations.