Up close image of two silverfish

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in the Home: Natural Solutions

Do you have silverfish in your home? If so, you’re not alone. Silverfish are common pests that can be difficult to get rid of. In this blog post, we will discuss all-natural ways to get rid of silverfish. We will also provide tips on how to prevent them from coming back.

Silverfish prefer humid areas like bathrooms and basements where there is plenty of moisture for them to feed on, but they can also be found in other parts of the house such as closets or behind furniture where they hide during the day while waiting until nightfall when it’s safe to come out again.

Silverfish feed mostly at night when humans aren’t around so if you see one crawling across your wall during daylight hours then chances are good that there are more hiding nearby!

What Are Silverfish?

Silverfish are tiny, nocturnal insects that can become a problem in the home. Their name is derived from their silvery grey color and fishlike movement, owing to their tapered tails and antennae. They move quickly, so they outrun predators frequently, and prefer to hide in dark locations.

Silverfish (also known as “fishmoths”) are about 1/2 inch long with scaly skin and range from pale silver (young ones) to dark silvery-blue (old ones). They have an exoskeleton, two antennae on their heads, and three prongs on their tails.

Silverfish are prolific breeders. Each female may lay between 2 and 20 eggs each day, with the young emerging as adults in a month. In other words, one male and one female silverfish can produce thousands of offspring in a season.

Where Can You Find Silverfish In The Home?

Silverfish like moist, dark, and damp places, much like other household pests. You will also be helping to eliminate other insects in your house by preventing and eradicating silverfish.

Here are some of the areas you might find silverfish:

  • Bathrooms (near bathtubs, showers, sinks)
  • Underneath sinks and plumbing
  • Laundry rooms
  • The basement
  • Crawlspaces
  • Garage
  • Attic
  • Inside closets

Steps To Naturally Get Rid Of Silverfish

As with any form of natural pest control, you need to be diligent to get rid of silverfish in your home. A thorough cleanup may help reduce their numbers, but some will find hiding spots in your home. With consistent effort over several weeks, you’ll eliminate those silverfish naturally, too.

1. Take Out The Garbage

The fewer hiding places silverfish have, the less likely they are to infest your home. Trash old papers and periodicals, remove dry foods from cardboard boxes to jars, and get rid of paper bags or empty boxes that have piled up over time.

2. Vacuum Thoroughly & Often

Vacuuming removes crumbs and other silverfish food sources. It will also remove the silverfish’s eggs, which are difficult to spot. After using your crevice attachment on baseboards, vacuum soft furnishings, and then finish with a thorough floor cleaning.

(Clean your vacuum thoroughly when you’re finished to get rid of any insect eggs that you might have picked up with the vacuum.)

3. Set DIY Silverfish Traps

At the bottom, fill a tall glass jar with bread and wrap it with masking tape so that insects may get a foothold. The silverfish will enter to consume the starch-rich bread, but they will be unable to crawl out since the surface is slippery. You can also use sticky traps to catch them. Replace the traps every three to four days for two weeks or more.

4. Use Diatomaceous Earth

Silica from fossilized diatoms forms the non-toxic powder that is used in this product. It’s effective against silverfish and a variety of other pests. Most significantly, when used correctly, it’s non-toxic to people and pets.

Sprinkle lightly around your baseboards, behind appliances, and beneath sinks to use diatomaceous earth for natural home pest control. When insects walk through it, the diatomaceous earth shreds their exoskeletons and intestines, preventing them from feeding and rapidly dehydrating. (Purchase diatomaceous earth here or at your local garden center.)

Ways To Keep Silverfish Out Of Your Home

Repairing damp issues might help keep silverfish away in the long run. That means caulking leaking pipes, increasing ventilation (such as extractor fans in bathrooms), and using dehumidifiers. Periodically opening windows is also advised.

Since silverfish feed on dust and debris, vacuuming carpets, removing clutter such as periodicals and papers, and dusting on a regular basis can help keep them at bay. Ensure that dry foods like pasta, beans, and cereal are kept in airtight containers.

1. Use Essential Oils That Bother Silverfish

Silverfish are repelled by citrus smells, cinnamon, and lavender. Essential oils in these fragrances provide a fantastic silverfish deterrent. Make your own all-purpose cleaner with these ingredients and test it out. Spray it around the kitchen and bathroom drawers and under sinks.

  • Citrus and cinnamon should be avoided around pets since they may be extremely sensitive.

2. Make Homemade Pest Control Sachets

Silverfish dislike the following scents: cedar, cloves, and bay leaves. Collect sachets from pharmacies or health food stores and fill them with cedar shavings or these spices. To keep pests out of your storage spaces, place the sachets in closets and cabinets and behind books on shelves.

You may have heard that placing cucumber peels around your home will keep silverfish away, but you should know that doing so may attract other pests such as mice.

3. Caulk & Seal

In the summer, silverfish will seek out a cool, damp place in your home. Look for cracks around your windows and beneath doors to keep them out. Seal any holes you discover with caulk or weatherstripping.

4. Control The Humidity In Your Home

Silverfish, like many other household pests, thrive in a moist environment. They are happiest in a humidity level of 75 to 90 percent, which is why you’ll frequently find them in basement or utility closets, bathrooms, and under sinks. They love damp areas.

Use a dehumidifier to maintain your house’s humidity levels between 30 and 50%, which will help you keep silverfish at bay. To collect extra moisture, tuck open boxes of chalk in damp locations like beneath sinks or the laundry room once a month. Replace them every month.

5. Control The Temperature

The temperature range for this species is 71-90°F (22-33° C). They become sluggish at temperatures below 60°F (16°C), and they die when frozen.

Of course, you don’t want your home’s temperatures to drop too low since burst pipes may result, but combining the other methods to get rid of silverfish with a lower thermostat setting can help you quickly eliminate an infestation.

6. Keep Your Home Clean

Silverfish can survive for up to 8 years in your house if you store perishables correctly and seal all entries. Though they prefer starchy meals, they will also eat paper, dead skin cells, and other debris. To totally eliminate them, use a weekly cleaning regimen that includes washing bedding, dusting, and vacuuming thoroughly.


Silverfish are fairly harmless, but they can become a huge nuisance if you don’t take steps to keep them out of your home. I’ve found the most success using diatomaceous earth to eliminate silverfish and following these steps for ongoing prevention.

If silverfish have already established themselves in your home, try sprinkling diatomaceous earth around your baseboards. This powdery substance kills insects by drying up their insides. Though it may take some time, you can get rid of silverfish in your home without resorting to harsh chemicals or expensive exterminators.

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