Insect damage is often identified by the presence of a hole, but it can also appear as a thin burrow or trail in the fabric. Unfortunately, the damage does not become fully evident until after the garment has been cleaned and the weakened fibers are flushed away by the agitation of the cleaning process.
The belief that insect damage is limited to wool is false. While natural, cellulose, or animal fibers are the most vulnerable to this type of damage, synthetic and synthetic/natural blends are also at risk. This is because insects often feed on food, beverage spills, or perspiration left on garments. When garments are left in warm, dark places, insect larvae feed undisturbed on the fabrics.
When accepting garments for cleaning, inspect garments for any signs of insect damage. If any damage is noted, the customer should be notified and advised of the risks of cleaning the garment.
For more information on insect damage, refer to DLI bulletins in DLI's Drycleaning Encyclopedia:
Technical Operating Information (TOI) 646 - Insect Damage
Textile Analysis Bulletin Series (TABS) 356 - How Insects Damage Clothes