CategoryPest Control

The Best Way To Clean The Silverfish

Repel and prevent silverfish in your home

The takeaway

Silverfish are pretty harmless indoor insects that rarely cause any major damage to homes.

When they grow to large numbers, they can eat up valuable belongings and generally be a nuisance.

For many people, their skins can produce allergens that, when combined with other indoor allergens like dust and other microscopic debris, result in disruptive allergy symptoms like itching, mucus buildup, and coughing.


People can find the debris that silverfish create to be allergens. Some people may find that they’re allergic or sensitive to the molted skins and droppings.

A protein known as tropomyosin, found in their molted exoskeletons, can even combine with other allergens found in common indoor pests, such as dust mites. This is called a recombinant allergen and can create stronger allergic reactions.

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Wrapping Up: How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Silverfish aren’t a terrible pest like bed bugs or wasps, but they are creepy nuisances. No one wants bugs in their home; we’ve given you a whole range of ideas you can use to kill them or keep them out.

For the most part, we prefer a multi-layered approach. Combine several of the methods we’ve listed to create overlapping layers of defense. That way, if one doesn’t get them, the other one will. Bye-bye, bugs!

How to Prevent Silverfish in the First Place

One of the best ways to prevent silverfish from entering your house is to make it uninviting to them.

Chief on the list is to dehumidify your house. This won’t be a major issue in the winter, but in the warmer weather, it will make a huge difference.

Best Product Suggestion for Getting Rid of Silverfish

Suspend is one of the best pyrethrin-based pesticides on the market today. It has little to no odor even when it is mixed at double strength. In addition to silverfish, it kills a wide range of other insects such as ants, spiders, and beetles.

It can be used outside as well as inside, which means you can use it around the outside of the house to keep silverfish from invading your home in the first place.

Sticky Traps

Another method that may work is sticky traps. Place sticky traps in all the areas where you’re seeing silverfish.

Pay close attention to the areas of high humidity, though. Sticky traps are thick paper or thin cardboard; exposure to humid conditions or water will cause them to become soggy and useless.

Silicone Caulk

One way to keep a silverfish problem out of your house is to use clear silicone caulk around all the cracks and crevices on the outside of the house.

Using a standard caulk gun, go around the outside of the house sealing any crack and crevice no matter how small.

Silverfish: How To Get Rid of Them & Prevent an Infestation

How to Get Rid of Silverfish Naturally

If you see one silverfish every once in awhile, it’s not a huge deal. It’s when they show up in greater numbers that you can justifiably start getting heebie-jeebies. To discourage them from arriving in droves, take the following preventative measures:

  • Put out some cedar, or spray crevices with cedar oil. Silverfish reportedly don’t like the stuff, and steer clear.
  • Some people report that dried bay leaves are an effective insect repellant. Insects don’t like the smell.
  • Don’t leave piles of newspaper, ephemera or mail lying around. Similarly, get rid of old cardboard boxes in the basement.
  • Store off-season clothing in sealed bins and somewhere dry.
  • Vacuum regularly to pick up food crumbs (and potentially suck up any eggs).
  • Keep dry food in containers with tightly sealed lids.
  • Seal any cracks or crevices with caulk to keep them from entering the home, or laying eggs while they’re in there.

Long term, you also want to deal with any moisture problems:

  • Use a dehumidifier.
  • Install a better bathroom fan for showers.
  • Clear the perimeter around your home of leaves and other damp debris.


Silverfish Biology and Habits

Silverfish are considered a nuisance pest because they feed on wallpaper pastes, natural textiles, books, and papers. Silverfish also feed on mold and fungus that grows on a variety of other surfaces.

Silverfish are fast-moving and can travel throughout buildings. Once they find a good source of food, they stay close to it.

Silverfish go through a three stage life cycle called gradual metamorphosis, whereas most insects have a four stage life cycle (complete metamorphosis). Silverfish can lay eggs at any time during the year. The eggs take 19-43 days to hatch. The life cycle from silverfish egg to adult is three to four months.

Silverfish are nocturnal, but they are also active in dark areas throughout the structures they inhabit. They can be a problem year round.

You may see silverfish trapped in sinks and bathtubs because they enter seeking moisture and are unable to climb a slick vertical surface to escape.

Silverfish may attack fabric if there is left over food particles (spilled cokes and other starchy carbohydrates ) or areas of soiled substances (sweat). They will not eat the fabric for substance like clothes moths, but will damage the fiber tryiing to get to the substances on the fabric.

How To Get Rid Of Silverfish

Call in the professionals

Just can’t get rid of them? If your silverfish problem persists after trying all of these methods, you might have a high-level infestation on your hands. This shouldn’t be the case, but you might want to call in the professionals to fumigate your home. This can be costly, so we’d only recommend it as a last resort.

DIY sticky bait traps

If you want to make your own sticky traps, why not use duck tape? It’s a cheap solution and will catch dozens of silverfish in their tracks. Place it sticky side up around the perimeter of the room that you wish to treat. Each morning, discard and replace any tape that has insects stuck to it.

How to get rid of silverfish with essential oils

Wondering how to get rid of silverfish naturally? Lavender and lemon essential oils will ward off not just silverfish, but a whole host of other creepy crawlies. Dilute a few drops of the oil into a trigger spray bottle of water and spray liberally around your home. You can also peel the skin off of a lemon or any citrus fruit to achieve the same results.

Scatter wood shavings

A slightly messier way to banish silverfish from your home involves scattering cedar wood shavings around the perimeter of the room you wish to treat. The smell of the shavings will ward off the pests, without having to capture them.

Purchase a commercial silverfish product

If you’re looking for a slightly more potent way to get rid of silverfish, you could try out commercial products. There are a few different options out there, including different sprays and bait traps.