Creating a Homemade Moth Trap – DIY Moth Trap

Have a moth problem? Here’s a simple, no toxic chemical solution to creating a homemade moth trap to keep the little creatures from taking over your home!

Have a moth problem? Here's a simple, no toxic chemical solution to creating a moth trap to keep the little creatures from taking over your home! #mothtrap #creatingamothtrap #diymothtrap #homemademothtrap

Creating a Homemade Moth Trap

I don’t know about where you live but the moths here on the South Dakota plains are just awful this year. Last night we snuck into the house in the dark without turning any lights on and still had over 30 moths in the kitchen when we finally did flip on the lights. A swarm of moths attacks our heads every time we head out to the garage.

I have to give my hubby all the credit for this idea. While I was still wondering what to do, he thought he’d heard of something to try so he set up this moth trap.

moth trap

DIY Moth Trap

What you need to create it is dish soap that will foam up, water, a bowl, and a light. (Note: Homemade Dish Soap will not work well for this trap since it usually does not foam up very much.)

Place the water into the bowl and add in the dish soap. It would help to add in the soap while you are filling with water so the soap foams up. You only need a few inches of water.

Place the bowl under a light. In the house, we put the bowl on the stove and turned the stove light on above it. Turn off all other lights in the area.

Here’s our bowl the next morning. The suds are gone but the moths are there. No chemical sprays used and easy to set up but it works! And nothing extra to buy, you can easily set this up with what’s already in your house!

Update: It’s now been several years since I made this post and since we began using this DIY Moth Trap solution for removing moths from our home and I’m happy to say that it’s still working! It’s wonderful to have easy, low-cost solutions to common household problems.

DIY Moth Traps for Pantry Moths

Please note, this DIY Moth Trap solution described above is for the miller type of moths, it will not work for pantry moths. If you are dealing with a pantry moth situation, here are some ideas that can help.

  • Clean your pantry shelves with a vinegar solution such as my homemade All Purpose Cleaner and add some lavender essential oils into it. They will dislike the smell.
  • Hang flypaper in your pantry to catch the moths.
  • If you have a reoccurring issue, trying adding some cedar lining into your pantry.
  • Dry mint leaves from your garden and hang them in little mesh baggies inside of your pantry.
  • Spread some food grade diatomaceous earth outside around any cracks in your home where they might be getting in. Use peppermint essential oil around gaps in the windows and doors.
  • If none of those ideas work, you can also buy Pantry Moth Traps on Amazon.

Have you ever had a moth problem and tried this moth trap?

This post on how to create a Homemade Moth Trap was originally published on Little House Living in May 2012. It has been updated as of July 2019.

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34 Comments

  1. When we lived in Stergis there were more miller moths than I have ever seen. And all of them were in my kitchen windows…ivk. I don’t mind them, or freak out over them like some people do but really that many in one spot was just a bit much

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I have moths, we get them every spring and I never know how to get rid of them. I will do this tonight!

  3. I have another similar trick but this one for fruit flies. Put a few drops of dishwashing detergent into a small bit of apple cider vinegar.

    1. I haven’t tried it yet, but someone told me you can also put some rotting fruit (like an apple core) in a cup with a bit of vodka, cover it with Saran wrap, and punch some holes in the wrap. Apparently, the fruit flies are drawn to the fruit, get stuck inside, and before they can find their way back out, asphyxiate from the alcohol. Like I said, I haven’t tried it. Your version seems so much simpler!

  4. I used this growing up and it works great! Its super easy and fast too. Much easier than trying to swat them like flies (and getting that dust everywhere) or spray them with chemicals.

  5. Thanks – will also try this for those flying ants that we seem to get so many of at this time of year (particularly at Full Moon).

    1. I had flying ants in an apartment I lived in years ago. The nasty things were coming out of the bottoms of the walls. My mom told me to mix equal parts Borax and granulated sugar, and pour it around where they were coming in at. I did what she said to do and fixed my ant problem. The ants took the sugar back to the nest and fed it to the babies, the babies ate the poisoned sugar and died, effectively killing off any future generation of ants.

  6. I can’t thank you enough for this. This Spring we too have had such a moth problem. I have been at a loss as what to do. I cannot stand the smell of moth balls. Do you happen to know if this works with the larvae too (maybe they inch their way into the bowl)…LOL.

  7. Thank goodness for Facebook, otherwise I would have thought WE were the only ones with such a severe moth infestation. Please tell your hubby thank-you for the insecticide free recipe. Ask him to come up with one for mosquitoes too. LOL
    Texas native.

  8. I have a strange kind of moth – one that seems to emerge from the cat litter. I did a Google search and only found a few references, so at least I know it’s not just me…but no insights on how to get rid of them. They don’t seem particularly attracted to light, though. I had some success with a store-bought moth trap (that uses pheromones and sticky paper; caught some of them, but I still see them flying around from time to time), but it would be nice to try something simpler. Anyone ever see these before? I live in Northern California; I’m from Michigan, where I’d never seen these moths.

    1. LITTER MOTHS! What’s the solution? I must have gotten a bag of cat litter that wasn’t sterilized and now 9 months later the moths have taken up residence all over the house. They are tiny and come out at night. In the summer, I’ve killed 75/ night. My walls have spots all over. It’s December & less daylight hours seems to =less moths. But they’ll be gearing up soon. Pantry Pest Traps by Safer doNOT work. I’ve tried a dish of water- I’ll try it with a light. I feel like they are never going to stop. I’m in So. California never had litter moths in 12 years of buying litter until last spring.

  9. We live in a swampy area of Florida and we use this out on our deck at night. Mosquitoes, gnats, no-see-ums, they all go for it. Some say that lemon or orange scented dish soap is better, but for me whatever I have on hand works fine.

  10. Here in Queensland, Australia, we get fruit flies this time of year (spring for us) and the Apple Cider Vinegar and dishwashing detergent works but even better than ACV, is red wine, dozens and dozens dead in a few days and the problem is 99.999% gone. Of course I only used cheap cask wine which I happened to have but it was worth doing it as we were being driven mad by them in all areas of our home. Also cleaned all the cupboards, under the fridge (found an apple core) and they apparently love scraps of food to eat and then lay eggs if you don’t kill them fast enough.. Goodluck

    1. Pantry moths and Miller moths are two different creatures altogether. This remedy is for Millers. For Pantry moths, unfortunately, it will require purging your pantry of all contaminated food (especially vulnerable grains like corn meal, flour, pastas, etc), washing down every surface, & placing purchased specially formulated traps for Pantry moths (consists of attracting phermones & super sticky papaer in small cardboard containers). Then you have to repeat the process a couple more times, about six weeks apart, to combat emerging new generations. To prevent future outbreaks, after you get rid of the pests, everytime you purchase flour or other grain foodstuffs place in plastic bags in the freezer for at least 3 days before placing in your pantry.

  11. I don’t think you should kill moths altogether. There just harmless creatures attracted to the light.
    P.S.
    Maybe they hang around you because they like you?

    1. The only sensible comment. Moths are harmless plus good pollinators and part of the rich tapestry of the natural world. Keep windows shut if you don’t want them in OR keep lights to a minimum – that helps keep down light pollution.

  12. I’m glad to have found this post. Will definitely give it a try as I feel like I’m going crazy with all the moths in our house this Summer!

  13. I can’t believe how I came across this quite by accident just now! Last night hubby and I were running through the house trying to swat moths before our cats saw them, because my numerous plants were taking dives onto the floor due to the cats not caring where they jumped, due to trying to catch those flying rascals! I have seedlings growing on the laundry room window sill and I just knew they wouldn’t survive the night, since we have a motion sensor on that back door and that light goes on and off at the flight of any outdoor bug! So we had to make sure that was totally off, much to our dismay since we live in the mountains and bears abound. SOOO bottom line, THANK YOU for this post. I will most def try it tonight!

  14. Staying in a cabin in CO, first night and these things are everywhere. I caught 19 by hand then googled this. I set a frosted big Tupperware salad bowl in the sink & put a flashlight on low underneath. Lights up like a glowing beacon. Thank you!

  15. I use my hand held vacuum with an extension. Now I will try the above suggestion. Remember to empty the vacuum cup outside.

  16. I left my window open after forgetting that my screen has broken. There were about 30 moths that I had no way of getting, so I quickly jumped on line to see this article. It works very well thank you!

  17. The house is infested with clothing “clothing” white moths. Repelling them is fine, but we need a clothes mop TRAP!
    The lures don’t catch enough, and they don’t like light
    Please, do any of you have ideas? We are allergic to professional chemicals and need DYI kinds of TRAPS.
    Thank you all even if you don’t have any answers!

  18. The pheromone traps you buy only attract male moths. They do work, but don’t do a satisfactory job since one female can lay as many as 400 eggs at a time. I use them in conjunction with other methods such as your light and water trap.