How to Get Rid of Moths in Kitchen

Moths are a pest that starts to take over many homes when food infested with moth larvae is brought inside.

The pests eat almost any food found in the kitchen including grains, rice, flour, cereals, spices, grits, and pet food.

Before you call a pest control company, you should try to get rid of the moths yourself.

Here we will show you some of the ways you can eliminate these pests from your kitchen.

Kitchen Moths: What You Need to Know?

Kitchen moths, also known as the Indian meal moths or pantry moths, can infest the food pantry in your kitchen.

They feed on almost all types of food items including grains, flour, dried beans, nuts, pet food, teas, spices, and more.

Moth larvae spin a large amount of silk in the infested area that collects cast skins, fecal pellets, and eggshells.

The moth larvae mostly come when you buy food items from the grocery store.  These eggs are laid by moths in the store or the food packing store.

Female moths are brown or gray and about a half-inch long. They can lay about 400 eggs at a time. The larvae will feed and grow for weeks, spinning pupa or a cocoon.

A moth’s lifespan can be around 30 days or as long as 10 months or more depending on the food source, temperature, and other factors.

One of the good things is that kitchen moths don’t cause any diseases.

This means that you won’t get sick if you eat a few larvae or come in contact with a few.

However, they can be a nuisance in the kitchen once the larvae emerge from the cocoon.

Getting Rid of Moth Infestation

The obvious sign of pantry moths is flying moths in the kitchen. They can be seen flying in the food pantry during the evening.

You can also check the silk cocoon in the corners of the kitchen cabinet or food pantry. Moreover, a less visible sign is tiny holes on the food package that are created by moth larvae.

You can get rid of moths in the kitchen using different methods.

Here are some tips that can help in getting rid of the moth larvae in the food pantry.

1. Clean the Kitchen Cabinets/Panty

You must clean the kitchen cabinets and food pantry to get rid of moths in the kitchen. Here are items that will be required to clean the area.

  • Dish soap
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Sponge
  • Garbage bag
  • Airtight containers
  • Vacuum Cleaner

You should remove everything from the cabinet or pantry shelves. Discard rotten and infected food items in the garbage can.

Now, put the remaining food items in containers and freeze them overnight to kill the moth eggs.

Use the sponge dipped in dish soap to clean the corners and edges of the shelf. You should also clean the door hinges and baseboards using the sponge.

Next, you should use a portable cleaner to pick up pieces of food crumbs left on the cabinet or pantry shelf.

You must dump the content of the vacuum cleaner in a trash bag outside soon after vacuuming. This step is important to ensure that the critters don’t have time to re-home. 

Afterward, you should fill the spray bottle with warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap. Next, add a cup of bleach to the liquid soap solution.

Shake the bottle and then spray on the surface of the cabinet. You should spray the bottle on the cabinet walls, doors, shelves, and base.

Finally, you should wash the surface using a clean cloth and then dry using a towel.

2. Clean the Food Items

Cleaning the food items is not enough. You also have to clean the food items to make sure that all the moths are eliminated from the kitchen. 

The moth infestation will remain if you don’t clean the food items. Here are things that will be required to clean the food items in the kitchen.

  • Dish soap
  • Hot water
  • Soft cloth

Inspect food packages and throw away those that have small holes. You should next clean all the food containers from inside.

Fill the sink with hot water and add some drops of dish soap.  Wash the food containers in soapy water and then let them dry out completely.

You must add fresh food only when the containers have dried.

3. Using Peppermint Oil and Vinegar to Get Rid of Moths          

Peppermint oil and vinegar can be used to eliminate moths from the kitchen cabinet or pantry shelves.

Vinegar will effectively kill all moth larvae, while the essential oil will deter moths from contaminating the food containers.

Here are the things that you would need to get rid of moths using peppermint oil and vinegar.

  • White vinegar
  • Peppermint oil
  • Sponge
  • Spray bottle
  • Water

Put a cup of vinegar, water, and some drops of peppermint oil in a spray bottle. Shake the bottle well to mix the solution.

Next, you should spray the mixture inside the cabinet and shelves of the kitchen pantry. Use a sponge to wipe the area including the floor, walls, and door hinges.

Spraying the mixture in the cloth closet will also deter moths from infesting the area. You can use lavender in addition to peppermint oil to get rid of the unwanted critters from the closet.

Apart from spraying the solution, you can also dip cotton balls in the mixture and place them throughout the food pantry, cabinet, and closet.

4. Getting Rid of Moths Using Pheromone Traps

Pheromone traps available in most hardware stores can also be used to get rid of moths from the kitchen pantry and cabinet.

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The method is effective in preventing moths from laying eggs in the kitchen.

The traps lure moths who get stick to the glue boards.

This prevents the moths in the cabinet from laying eggs thereby eliminating the pest infestation in the kitchen.

5. Using Bay Leaves to Eliminate Moths in Kitchen

Another effective tip to get rid of moths in the kitchen is to use bay leaves. This is a cheap and natural way to prevent most infestations in the kitchen.

Bay leaves will repel moths. The herbs will also repel other pests such as silverfish from the kitchen pantry.

Here are some things required to use bay leaves for eliminating pests from the kitchen.

  • Whole bay leaves
  • Bay leaf moth repellent
  • Tape

Place bay leaves in the corner of the cupboard or food shelf.

Next, you should use tape to stick the bay leaves at the entrance and beneath the shelf.

You can also add the leaves to the food containers but this will change the smell of the food.

Preventing Moth Infestation

Getting rid of the moth infestation is not enough.

You should also take steps to prevent moths from entering the food pantry or kitchen cabinet.

1. Freeze Dry Food for One Week

A great way to prevent moths from thriving in the kitchen cabinet and pantry shelves is to freeze dry food items once you purchase them.

You should place the bagged food items such as flour and grans for one week after buying.

Make sure that you freeze all dry food items that are sold in paper and plastic containers. This will kill moth eggs on the food containers.

An important point to note is that moth larvae can chew through plastic and paper containers.

So, you must place the food items in an airtight container after freezing.

2. Buy Only the Required Food

You must buy the quantity of food that will be used within a week.

Storing food items for weeks will result in the infestation of moth larvae and other pests.

You must also organize the food pantry by getting rid of expired food immediately. 

3. Clean New Food Containers

Cleaning new food containers is also essential to prevent moth infestation. You should clean the containers using vinegar and dish soap.

Make sure that the container is completely dry before adding food items.

Pests such as moths and also bacteria can get inside the containers lying in the warehouse. Washing new containers will avoid pest infestation and food poisoning.

4. Refrigerate Unused Dry Food

Kitchen moths can survive in low temperatures. You should therefore keep unused grain food and spices in the fridge or freezer until required.

This will prevent the pest from contaminating your stored food.

5. Place Pet Food in Another Location

You should place pet food in a large container in a location other than the kitchen.

This will prevent moths and other pests from infesting the kitchen cabinets and pantry shelves.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective method for eliminating pantry moths?

The most effective method for eliminating pantry moths involves a thorough cleaning of your pantry or kitchen cabinets. Remove all food items and inspect them for signs of infestation.

Dispose of all infested items, then clean the shelves and surfaces with a suitable cleaner, paying close attention to corners and crevices where larvae might be hiding. Once clean, store remaining non-infested food in airtight containers to prevent further infestation.

Are there natural ways to remove moths in the kitchen?

Yes, there are natural ways to remove moths in the kitchen. One method is to use peppermint oil as a natural repellent.

Dab some oil on a cotton ball and place it in your pantry or cabinets. The scent will help repel moths without the use of chemicals.

How do you prevent pantry moths from returning?

To prevent pantry moths from returning, follow these steps:

  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Keep your pantry and kitchen clean and free of crumbs.
  • Regularly inspect your pantry for signs of infestation.
  • Use natural repellents, like peppermint oil, to keep moths away.

What signs should I look for when identifying a moth infestation?

Signs of a pantry moth infestation include:

  • Adult moths flying around in your kitchen or pantry.
  • Larvae or worms in your food items.
  • Webbing on food packages or on shelves.

If you notice any of these signs, take action to eliminate the infestation.

Do pantry moth traps work well?

Pantry moth traps can be an effective way to control an infestation, especially when used in combination with other methods like cleaning and proper food storage.

These traps use pheromones to attract adult moths, trapping them and preventing them from reproducing.

Is it safe to use chemical sprays to eliminate kitchen moths?

While chemical sprays can be effective in eliminating kitchen moths, they may not always be the safest option, especially if you’re concerned about contamination or health risks. It’s recommended to try non-chemical methods first, like cleaning, proper food storage, and natural repellents, before resorting to chemicals.

If you choose to use chemicals, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and keep them away from food preparation areas.


Moth infestation can be a nuisance inside the kitchen. You can get rid of the pest infestation by keeping the food containers clean after buying them from the store.

Moreover, you should shop smart and buy only the amount required for a few weeks.

Regular cleaning and smart buying habits will prevent moth and pest infestation inside the kitchen.

This will also prevent bacteria and harmful pathogens from thriving in the cabinet and pantry shelves that can cause food poisoning.

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