HomePestsHow to Get Rid of Silverfish - Simple Solutions

How to Get Rid of Silverfish – Simple Solutions

To get rid of silverfish, wash the infested areas with soapy water and ensure that their habitats are clean and dry. Then Spread borax in the infested areas to kill them. Alternatively, use lavender or citrus essential oils to repel them.

Silverfish are among household pests attracted to dampness or high humidity levels. They look like wingless worms with a silver or brown shade. Adults are about 2-5cm long with two antennae on the head and three tail projections.

Here are some of the most common areas you are likely to find them;

  1. In and around washrooms.
  2. Under leaking sinks.
  3. Old cabinets.
  4. Damp and dirty drains.

Silverfish can also live and extract nutrients from carpets, curtains, or old upholstery, especially if damp. Therefore, you need to get rid of them before they cause any damage at home.

Silverfish picture + How to Get Rid of Them
Silverfish picture + How to Get Rid of Them

How to get rid of silverfish

There are temporary and permanent solutions when getting rid of silverfish at home. It is important to know what works best. Below are some ways to get rid of silverfish once and for all.

1. Vinegar

Unfortunately, vinegar can only repel silverfish, but it will not kill them unless drowned in it. It is wrong to think vinegar can kill silverfish since it is among the most common and efficient bug remedies.

Unfortunately, silverfish prefer wet surfaces. Spraying weak vinegar on infested surfaces may only offer them more opportunities for invasion. However, pure white vinegar can temporarily repel them from any surface.

Therefore, it is not advisable to rely on vinegar as a solution for eliminating silverfish invasion. There is no scientific proof that vinegar can kill silverfish. It is not immediately clear how these small creatures can overcome the reputation of vinegar.

Notably, the physical removal of silverfish may prove demanding and requires that whoever does the job is sure of the invaded areas. It becomes more challenging if the silverfish hide in cracks and crevices. They may also hide under sink bottle traps, making them quite difficult to reach in such situations.

2. Salt

Does salt kill silverfish? Salt can easily kill silverfish on contact. It will suck and dry all the fluids from the insects’ bodies and drain all the moisture from their habitat. Therefore, spraying salt in and around infested areas and habitats can be a solution.

Do not mix salt with water when getting rid of silverfish. Never do that because a salt solution will only soften their habitats, thus creating more surfaces that can be easily chewed.

Salt is one of the best dehydrators you can find easily within the home. It drains all the water and other fluids from an insect’s body. This can also eliminate silverfish under the bed if you have a bedroom infestation.

3. Borax

Borax is one of the most excellent substances known to kill silverfish. It is a readily available substance that can be bought from local stores. It is advisable to spread a thin layer around the infested areas.

Be cautious when using borax. Spread it in hidden areas that are not easy to reach.

4. Diatomaceous earth

One can use diatomaceous earth, which also works by draining all the fluids from the Silverfish’s body, killing it almost instantly. This can also be sprinkled around invaded areas.

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5. Repellent scents: What smell do silverfish hate?

Most researchers indicate that cinnamon, lavender, and citrus can repel silverfish. It is said that they hate the smell of the three substances. Many essential oils are made from such substances. Also, different kinds of soap have different fragrances.

If you have a silverfish infestation in your home, you may consider buying perfumed soap using lavender, citrus, or cinnamon.

Using diffusers and candles that emit lavender fragrances can also repel silverfish. The candles and diffusers can be stationed in the infested areas or areas prone to infestation, like the kitchen and the bathroom.

Silverfish in drains

Silverfish are attracted to drains because of the constant moisture available and privacy. Their preferred hideouts at home include drains under the sinks and bathrooms.

Keeping those areas dry and clean is one of the best elimination measures. Spray boric acid after cleaning to kill and repel silverfish in drains. Ensure that the drainage areas are usually well aerated.

Eliminate all food sources by keeping the dishes clean and dry all the time, clearing clogged drains, keeping the washing areas dry, and covering all open pits. You may also consider repairing all cracks on your walls and floors to eliminate hiding places.

Silverfish in closets

Closets provide some of the best hiding places for silverfish as they are usually dark and moist due to congestion.

When one notices a silverfish infestation, it is critical to look into the closet keenly. Eliminating silverfish from the closet entails simple tasks like washing all the clothes and hanging them out in the sun to dry before keeping them in the closet.

To get rid of silverfish in closets, always ensure that the contents are not damp. Keep the doors open for aeration and remove any wet materials in them. The closet must not also be allowed to gather moisture.

Cleaning the closet at intervals and spraying repellents with fragrances like citrus or lavender can also help repel silverfish, plus other bugs like moths.

How to keep silverfish from coming back

Silverfish are attracted to dark hidden areas that are moist. Additionally, food sources rich in proteins and carbohydrates around that area will encourage them to breed and multiply. They can survive without food for 12 months, but without moisture, they will die.

Preventing re-infestation entails removing all the favorable conditions that favor silverfish continued stay. The best and most recommended option would be to create unfavorable environmental conditions.

The first approach includes eliminating moisture in all moisture-prone areas. In the case of bathrooms and kitchens, consider wiping off all the water from all the surfaces and leaving them dry after use. That way, silverfish may not find it easy to chew into the wooden surfaces and may also not consider such places for their stay.

As has been noted before, silverfish may also prefer damp clothing. Therefore, do not keep clothes for too long in one place. Also, washing dirty clothes as soon as possible would help eliminate the most favorable conditions for silverfish.

Careful dusting of dry cracks and crevices with diatomaceous earth and appropriate equipment is an option. The use of fine granular baits such as Niban® – FG or Dekko Silverfish Paks (20% boric acid) may be used. Always follow pesticide label directions.

University of Florida

Does seeing one silverfish mean an infestation?

While one silverfish may not mean an infestation, it may signify that they are already breeding somewhere around you. It will be wrong to assume that a single silverfish can live alone.

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In most cases, they often live in colonies. Colonies often comprise hundreds of big and small silverfish. Their populations are difficult to control because one female can lay at least 100 eggs in her lifetime.

Females lay eggs continuously after reaching the adult stage and may lay over 100 eggs during her life. Eggs are deposited singly or in small groups in cracks and crevices and hatch in 3 to weeks. Silverfish develop from egg to young to adult within 4 to 6 weeks and continue to molt throughout their life. Immature stages appear similar to adults except they are about 1/20 of an inch long when they first hatch and whitish in color.

Texas A&M Agriculture Extension publication

Therefore, start elimination when you see one because the insects are usually hard to spot since they prefer hiding in the dark. On sighting may mean that they are looking for areas to settle.


It is critical to note the reasons why silverfish may invade a home before establishing ways of removing them. In doing so, one can easily know whatever attracts silverfish to their homes. For example, silverfish in bathrooms cannot go away if it is never kept dry after use. It will e a safe habitat or those pests to thrive in.

The most obvious answer for such an insect invasion is the availability of food and hiding areas. The first thing one would want to do is establish what kind of food silverfish eat, then know what places they prefer to hide.

They strive on cardboard surfaces and cracks, eat common office glue, and the wooden parts of most furniture.

They hide in crevices and cracks on walls and under sinks. Silverfish can live up to 8 years with a proper food supply and a good hiding place.

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