See that happy couple up there? Well we’ve come out on the other side now… but just a couple weeks ago we were fighting the dreaded PANTRY MOTHS. You may laugh, but please go google this and then come back. It is THE single most disgusting thing I’ve experienced. Picture a lice outbreak in your pantry that can only be seen with a microscope. You may think I’m exaggerating, but seriously I’m thankful for a husband who scoured the entire pantry including the floor and ceiling with hot vinegar not once- but twice.
Now I’ll go ahead and give you a spoiler alert before going any further… this finally resulted in a beautiful pantry makeover!
However, that was after hundreds of dollars of food thrown away and hours spent by my husband, myself, and my mother-in-law. Although it is centered around a DIY project, this probably sounds like the most random blog post I’ve ever written. No. Please educate yourself about pantry moth larvae and how it can enter your household in the glue on the bottom of pantry items, and in our case larvae in the dog food bag. We keep our dog food in a plastic container, but the bag was opened in the house and poured into the container. These are not in the form of flying moths. No no. That would be too easy. There were little cocoons and webs above the door trim, corners, under canned good labels, in my place mats and centerpieces stored at the top of the pantry, in my wooden anniversary wine box… EVERYWHERE. Guess where all this went? Into the TRASH. Because it was not worth another outbreak people! I don’t know how to put it into words how maddening it was without sounding insane… They can hatch over 300 eggs at a time on a food source. They can magically get through unopened cardboard AND unopened plastic making you second guess everything you thought impossible and wrecking havoc on your home.
Be vigilant. One month later- even after all this work and repainting and buying all new containers and having barely any items in our pantry… Taylor or I will see a tiny moth or little tiny web and immediately grab a vacuum and rag and start shouting “Not again, pantry moths! You can’t win with us!” We’re not quite to the laughing stage but some day. Oh- and empty the vacuum into the outside trash. *Sigh.
What we wish we knew
A few preventative measures so that your home does not get infested with pantry moths:
- Don’t leave one single crumb out in your pantry. Continually wipe down the pantry and your pantry bins with vinegar.
- Don’t settle for cute organization- pay more for airtight canisters even for pasta and things already in boxes. Home Goods is an affordable place to find these.
- Put out bay leaves in the corner of your pantry shelves. This will keep them away.
- If you have pets of any kind, store the food in your garage even if it is in a sealed container. This includes dog food, bird seed, etc. I also read about cat litter being a concern as well.
Back to the Pantry Makeover
Since we bought our house, we had painted painted our entire house including the basement except for our closets and pantry. This project has been a long time coming, pantry moths are not. These shelves have needed some TLC since we moved in, but especially after all the scrubbing they endured!
When the house was built, they were painted with flat paint. Over the years, they soaked up everything which made this project a BEAST. I thought it would only take a few hours. It took me 4 days. It took 2 coats of Zinzer 2 in 1 primer and 3 coats of paint before it was all said and done!
first coat primer
first coat paint
This was leftover quality interior/exterior paint+primer from Lowe’s we used on the exterior trim of our house. I figured the extra primer couldn’t hurt ahead of time, but it didn’t seem to help either! This was just such a hard space to lighten up.
To protect the shelves this time, I used this shelf liner from Dollar General. It was super easy to apply and remove to realign when needed.
FINALLY, I don’t cringe when passing by our pantry! Ha!
Can you tell a difference?
Had you heard of pantry moths before?
It was hard for us to find advice because neither of our moms had ever heard of it… and none of our friends had either! I later found out when posting on instagram that other people could relate to the struggle with the exact same word for word feels as us and it made us feel so much better. I would not wish this on ANYONE… but if you ever get into this predicament or somehow found this post while researching what to do, feel free to reach out to me haha!