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Moths need a source of keratin, which is a protein that’s present in organic fibers, and – you guessed it – human hair. Clothes moths are unique, because few species in the animal kingdom are able to digest keratin. Any substance containing keratin in your home will be a target for the clothes moth’s next meal.



Recycle old cashmere textiles with moths and extract keratin from them


  • Common uses: sweaters, scarves, and other light cold-weather gear

Cashmere is a type of wool that is made from the hair of a certain type of goat native to the Gobi Desert and Central Asia. Long considered to be one of the softest and most luxurious types of wool in existence. While cashmere is not as insulative as other types of wool, it is much softer and finer, which makes it possible to weave cashmere into highly dense but thin fabric. This type of wool will not insulate you as well as traditional sheep wool, but it is soft enough to wear directly next to the skin.

Material name Fabric composition Breathability Moisture-wicking abilities Heat retention abilities Stretchability Washing temperatures
Cashmere, Kashmir fabric Fiber - cashmere or pashmina goats High High Medium Medium Cold / cool

Second handed cashmere

We can also use second-handed cashmere sweaters for keratin exraction. Although the selection has to be careful due to the use of polyester fibers in production process.


This method has not been tested yet for these reasons:

  • the duration of larval hatching is several weeks or months
  • chemicals in moth extraction
  • the amount of protein extracted is probably insufficient - this should be tested.

Last update: 2022-05-10