Reorganising The Pantry and Getting Rid Of Pantry Moths

pantry moths reorg

About 12 months ago my pantry looked like this after decluttering.  Decluttering is an ongoing effort and the pantry was needing some decluttering again late last year.
Decluttering - Pantry after

Also late last year, I undertook some work with Tupperware and for part of it received some new Tupperware.  It sat in the box over Christmas as I knew it would take time to sort the pantry, wash up the new storage containers and reorganise.
Pantry DSC09386

My hand was pushed though; we came back from holidays to an awful case of pantry moths.  I do like to keep supplies of items and those not in storage containers must have been infested and it spread through pretty much all the supplies of pasta and rice I had.

This post from Apartment Therapy was the best I found on how to get rid of them.

To get rid of the pantry moths I:

  • Threw out anything that looked remotely suspect.
  • Vacuumed out the cupboards and then used hot soapy water to clean the shelves and walls of the cupboards.
  • As we were in the middle of a dry spell, after I wiped them down with a towel, I just left the cupboards open for a while to make sure they were completely dry.
  • I then spread bay leaves everywhere. Apparently they repel pantry moths, so I even stuck them in the little holes that the shelf supports stick in.

Pantry DSC09434

However in a hurry, I did however do two things wrong:

  • I didn’t  wipe with vinegar .
  • I did put in the pantry some food items that were not in storage containers. They were new so I thought they would be okay. They may have been free from infestation and I may just have missed some moths eggs when cleaning, who knows what the cause was, but within a week, I opened the pantry and I saw moths again.

Pantry DSC09426
So I repeated the process and this time, used vinegar to wipe down the shelves and walls of the pantry.

Pantry Moths DSC09977
I poured straight vinegar on to a cloth and started wiping. I also wiped the outside of the containers as well.
Pantry Moths DSC09985
Then I wiped eucalyptus oil on the shelves as well and did the same for the inside and outside of the pantry doors. Again I just poured a small of amount of eucalyptus oil onto a cloth and wiped.

Pantry Moths DSC09984
I then made sure everything had a container. For food items like some additional flours that I didn’t have a container for, I am storing them in the freezer until I can out them in a container. The freezer is supposed to kill off weevils and insect eggs in the flour. Apparently you can store flour in the fridge or freezer which I didn’t know. You need to make sure it reaches room temperature before using it though.

Pantry Moths DSC09980
Not sure exactly what part of the second time round process did the trick, but it worked!  I am pantry moth free at the moment which makes me happy!

Pantry Reorganisation

So the pantry seems much barer now without my stock pile of goods, but I would rather that than pantry moths. Here are few of my favourite additions to the pantry storage collection:

Pantry DSC09428
Spice containers. Love having the labels on the top, so I can easily identify them. I am going to make small labels for my other spices too, to save the pick up, put down, dance I do with them every time I want a spice for a recipe.

Pantry DSC09432
I had been storing my onions and potatoes together, which apparently you should not do. According to this website you should:

Avoid storing potatoes with onions because, when close together, they produce gases that spoil both. Now they have their own space!

And lots more airtight containers for the variety of crackers and nuts we have.

As I was putting everything back into the pantry, I used the Guide ✼ Plan ✼ Check ✓ which is the free download you receive when you sign up to my newsletter. (It has individual checklists for the pantry, fridge and freezer as well as other guides and checklists that are useful for the home.) I noted the items that I was out of and I also used the tips in the guest post from Kyrstie last year on 12 Pantry Essentials, so the pantry could be well stocked.

Have you had trouble with pantry moths? If so how did you get rid of them?


  1. Corrin says

    I often don’t check my groceries when buying them as I’m usually in a rush, however, it is pretty common to buy some dry goods at the end of their date, and by this stage, ‘something’ may be growing, and if it doesn’t go into a container in the cupboard it will spread. I esp check things like flour, breadcrumbs and sesame/poppy seeds (if you choose the ones in the spice packet they don’t have a date at all).

  2. Lopi says

    That was a fantastic post. Didn’t know about bay leaves! I have bought unopened organic flour from the supermarkets which went on to infest my entire pantry with weevils. That was a nightmare.
    On another note, can you tell me where you can get those wonderful onion and potato containers from; I have never seen them for sale.

  3. Kazzie says

    Yes, the bay leaves do work and I too would love to know where you got those onion/potato containers from please… they look fab! :)

  4. says

    Thanks for the great post,I forwarded it to a friend who was fighting pantry moth too. I love all the containers, where are they from?

  5. Alison Wilson says

    I love an organised pantry! Lopi – the containers are from Tupperware, and are called a ‘Veg Out’. They are brilliant.

    Some of my spices are still in their original containers, I just wrote the names on the lid with texta so I could see it.

  6. Samantha says

    Got them last year and was totally freaked out – never had them in the uk! Anyway I did very similar to you with the bay leaves etc and also bought a trap which is a triangle with sticky stuff in it which catches them which I just left on top and they didn’t come back – however we moved house and I forgot to take the trap and I’ve just found a moth in the pantry today. Luckily it seems to be a rogue one from a first check but will have to do a more in depth one and get a new trap.

  7. says

    Ooooh, how are the potato and onion keepers going?

    I have a terrible time keeping the potatoes from going green, so much so I only buy them on the day I am using them and resorting to frozen far more than I would like.

    I NEED something!

    • says

      I have only been using them for less than 6 weeks, but they seem great. We buy potatoes weekly and they haven’t started growing anything or going yuck during this time.

  8. Karen says

    Have a quick look in all those little holes that run down the sides of your pantry – the spots where you’re meant to put lugs for your shelves. I’ll bet they’re full of old egg sacs… yes I’ve learned this the hard way!

    I suggest you use a bamboo skewer to scrape them all out and then maybe swab them with a cotton bud dipped in eucalyptus.

  9. Fiona says

    Thanks for the tip about bay leaves – now I have a use for my bay tree prunings!

    Be careful using pantry moth traps. They contain insect pheromones that can attract insects into the pantry.

  10. says

    Great tip about the bay leaves!

    This rain has brought fruit flies and pantry moths into our house!
    I just did a big pantry clean out…basically everything you described except the bay leaves…and I hope that I got them all!
    And for the fruit flies I created this funnel trap that I saw on Pinterest that is working amazingly well!

  11. says

    Hi there,
    Thanks for this detailed post. I recently got a tip from a friend that helped me get rid of all kinds of insects in my pantry. Purchase some borax powder and mix it with a blob of butter or margarine. Add a bit of water, then make some balls with the mixture. Stick in cabinet corners and anywhere else you have problems with kitchen vermin. Works instantly.

  12. Mandi says

    I have been struggling with pantry moths for the last 12 months. I bought a “cheap” bag of rice from my local Woolies and when I went to use it the bag was almost flying around the pantry. Threw sooooo much food away :( Took everything out of the pantry and have also wiped down with hot soapy water, eucalyptus oil and put out the pantry moth traps (multiple times now). Traps are available from Woolworths $9.99 for a pack of two. Can not believe how many are still attracted to the trap. And yes my pantry is now so organised with Tupperware and everything is in a container. After this experience I have learnt to put my flour in the freezer for the first 48 hours of being in my home and then I transfer it to my tupperware container. So sick of pantry moths and hopefully they will be totally gone soon.

  13. Ursula says

    I put bay leaves in all my flour,rice,&pasta, as well as scattered on shelves, seems to keep pantry moths out of my cupboards.