Dirty clothes attract ants because of salty sweat, sticky food or soup spilled on them. Ants may also be attracted to clean clothes if they are poorly washed and rinsed. Before washing, identify stains on each and wash them with the right heat, soap, and water.
Combine 15 drops of peppermint oil with 8 ounces of distilled water and spray it in the closet to keep ants away from clean clothes. Dirty clothes should not be kept for more than 1 week because the sweat in them can attract ants.
Ants like moisture accumulated in dump materials. Ensure your clothes are well dried before storage. The closet should also be aerated to avoid moisture accumulation. Clothes made from heavy cotton should be checked after every four weeks because they trap air and build moisture in them after some time.
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Why are there ants in my clothes?
The main cause of ants in your dirty clothes is moisture build from sweaty fabrics that are folded and kept in an airtight laundry basket. Even though most laundry baskets are always ventilated, squeezing dirty clothes makes them stuffy.
Human sweat contains salt that most ants need. Ants that leave away from the coastal areas have a high demand for salt because do not find it easily. Those who live near the ocean have confessed that they do not have a problem with ants in their clothes as compared to those that leave away.
However, ants are attracted to clean clothes if they are not properly washed. Stains from sweet food can still produce a mild odor that ants can pick. They will crawl on the clothes while trying to trace the source. As a result, you will find them in your clothes after washing and they will keep coming back even if you remove them.
After storing your clothes, ensure that the wardrobes and the closest have a free airflow. During the hot seasons, ants will migrate to moist places and your damp wardrobe can make good habitat. Poorly dried clothes can build moisture in the closet and this is a major ant attraction.
Do ants eat clothes?
Ants cannot eat clothes because there are no nutrients for them. However, ants can eat holes in your clothes if they are sweaty. They will also nibble on soft fabric if they have food stains like meat stew on them. Fabric is not part of an ant’s diet and it is only damaged because of food or sweat it contains.
Dirty clothes can attract other bugs like roaches and moths which can make holes in your clothes. Ants can feed on their young ones and they will be attracted to your closet as a result. Several holes in your clothes are a sign of a moth infestation and this should be urgently controlled.
This means that ants cannot crawl on clothes if they are free from moisture, salty sweat, and food stains. A moth infestation on your clothes can attract ants because they can feed on moths’ larvae. It is the moth’s larvae that eat clothes as part of their diet. Lavender repels moths and this can be sprayed in the closet to deter them.
In some cases, roaches hide in dirty clothes and they can also eat holes in them as they try to get food stains. Since ants are also attracted to the same stains, you may think that it is the ants destroying your clothes. Ants do not make big holes like moths do because their aim is not to eat the fabric.
How to get rid of ants in clothes
An easy solution for ants in clothes is to check the type of stains before washing. Those with sticky food stains should be washed with the recommended heat and detergents. Sweaty ones should also be grouped according to their materials and washed thoroughly to remove the salty odor.
Use ant repellents like lavender and peppermint in the closet to keep ants away from clean clothes. Lavender will also leave your clothes with a good aroma that is refreshing. Some detergents contain a lavender scent that can help in deterring ants even after the clothes are washed.
Soapy water can kill ants and rinsing your clothes properly after washing can also help in keeping any attractive odor away. A wet towel soaked in white vinegar can kill and repel ants when used to wipe the closet. Find where ants are nesting in the closet and wardrobes because they will keep coming back if you do not eliminate their source.
Never use strong toxic pesticides to get rid of ants in your clothes because they can irritate your skin once you put them on. Those should also not be used in the bedroom closets where bedding is stored because sleeping on them overnight may put you in great danger.
Ants on clothesline
Outdoor ants can sometimes be seen crawling on cloth lines. This happens when the ground below is wet or they cannot crawl on it for some reason. They will crawl up the support posts and crawl on the lines. They do this by following each other’s trails after the worker ants have established a route.
If ants are using your clothesline as a major route, they can easily end up on the clothes. Sometimes, they can easily wander off the mainline because the clothes will be obstructing them. That does not mean that the clothes are dirty and there is no need to worry.
To get rid of ants from the clothesline, wipe the line with a damp towel soaked in soapy water to clear the ants’ trail. Ensure all the clothes are properly dried before you remove them outdoors. Then check the iron and fold each cloth before you keep them.
The main problem is when you carry them back into the house. They can easily settle in the closet and make a home if you fail to inspect the clothes. Look for the main source from the ground because there has to be a point at which the ants are using to access the line. Ants migrate for several reasons and they will not hesitate to use your clothesline while moving.