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22 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Silverfish

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22 Natural Ways to Get Rid of Silverfish

You’ve probably seen them before. Silverfish are pests you’ll find in many homes and libraries around the world [1].

While they generally do not cause harm to people, silverfish are not the kind of pest you’d want to ignore. They are attracted to moisture and can damage books, clothing, wallpaper, and other belongings.

Many people are unsure of how to get rid of them. But fret not; we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll share some of our best tips for naturally keeping silverfish away.

Here’s how to get rid of silverfish naturally:

1. DIY Silverfish Trap

You can make your very own DIY silverfish trap with just a few simple items. You’ll need a glass jar, some starchy food, and tape.

Place some starchy food, such as flour, dried cereals, or pet food, in a glass jar.

Next, wrap the outside of the jar with tape. This will allow them to climb into the jar. However, they won’t have the ability to get out because their feet won’t stick to the glass.

2. Moist Rolled-Up Newspaper

Dampen an old newspaper and roll it up. Silverfish will find their way into the wet, rolled-up newspaper and make their home there.

Now check it after a few days. To exterminate any silverfish that have found their way in, place the newspaper in an airtight container and discard everything.

3. Sticky Traps

The use of sticky traps is an old-fashioned way of eliminating many insect pests, including these ones. All you need to do is set up sticky traps around where you think the silverfish are hiding.

You can also make a homemade sticky trap by using petroleum jelly on a piece of cardboard or an index card. Next, place it where they might crawl. Silverfish will run across the traps and get stuck on them.

4. Eliminate Food Sources

If you want to prevent these critters from coming around, one of the best things you can do is starve them.

Since silverfish love munching on starchy food and dried goods, it is important to properly store foods like cereals and flour.

They also like to eat glue, fabrics, pet food, and even wallpaper, so store them away and declutter as much as possible.

5. Eliminate Humidity

Humidity is the perfect environment for silverfish to thrive and lay their eggs. That’s why controlling moisture and humidity levels in your home should be a priority if you want to get rid of these pests.

Start by making sure that your home is properly ventilated. Open windows and doors regularly to allow airflow.

You could also invest in a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture from the air. This is especially needed for areas such as kitchens, basements, or bathrooms where there are often high humidity levels.

If you have an attic, be sure to check for any leaks or water damage and fix them immediately. Check all pipes, hoses, and any other sources of moisture and make sure they are properly sealed.

Finally, reduce clutter in your home, as it can often trap moisture, providing a perfect breeding ground for silverfish.

6. Seal Cracks

Another very important step in getting rid of silverfish is to seal up your home so that they have no way to get in. That means checking for cracks or spaces around windows and doors, and if you find any, caulking or using sealants to fill them in.

You can also put door sweeps on the base of every exterior door and use weather stripping around windows. It’s also important to check places like basements, attics, and crawl spaces, as these are likely spots where these critters can sneak in.

7. Cucumber Peels

Cucumber peels are an easy, natural silverfish removal remedy.

All you have to do is take a few cucumber peels and place them in the spots that silverfish tend to frequent, such as corners of rooms and near plumbing fixtures.

The scent of the cucumber will repel the silverfish, and they’ll remove themselves from your quarters.

8. Cedarwood Oil

Cedarwood essential oil is a repellent for silverfish. It’s effective, and it’s also non-toxic, making it a safe choice to use around your family and pets.

To use cedarwood oil for silverfish, make a spray by mixing 10 drops in 4 ounces of water. Typically, you’ll want to lightly mist the areas where you think the pests may hide.

You can also soak cotton balls in cedar oil and place them near any potential hiding spots.

It’s important to remember that cedar oil is a repellent, not an exterminator. Therefore, it won’t kill silverfish but will help keep them away.

For best results, try setting up multiple cedar oil traps around your home and replacing them every few weeks.

9. Cloves

Cloves contain a component called eugenol, which deters silverfish.

To use this remedy, place whole cloves in areas where the pests are found. This should help repel them.

10. Salt

Spread a thin layer of salt all over the areas where you’ve seen silverfish or where they’re likely to hang out.

Salt attracts these insects, but if they eat it, they will become dehydrated and eventually die. Salt can also absorb water and humidity in the surrounding area.

11. Borax

Borax is an effective silverfish killer. All you have to do is sprinkle some in the areas where silverfish activity has been noticed.

The borax will attract the pests, and they’ll crawl through it. They will be poisoned after ingesting the substance while attempting to clean their legs.

For consistent use, dissolve a small amount of borax in a cup of warm water, then spray it around the affected area. It will get the job done when it dries out.

In addition to eliminating silverfish, borax can also be used to kill other household pests, such as cockroaches and ants.

12. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is another of nature’s natural silverfish repellents. Silverfish don’t like the smell of cinnamon, so you can use it to drive them away.

To use cinnamon as a repellent, sprinkle the powder in any area of the house where silverfish may be present. You can also place some cinnamon sticks in the affected areas.

13. Eliminate Clutter in Home

Silverfish feed primarily on starchy materials, but they can also eat other items such as paper, cardboard, book bindings, and glue. To prevent the critters from taking up residence in your home, you’ll want to reduce clutter.

Try to keep bookshelves tidy and organized, making sure books are kept tightly closed.

You should also look around for any other materials, such as cereal boxes, old clothes, and newspapers, that may have collected dust over the years. These items should be thrown away so as not to provide any additional hiding spots for silverfish insects.

14. Citrus Peel

Citrus peels are known to be a great natural repellent for these creepy crawlies, as they dislike the smell of citrus peels.

Just take some orange or lemon peels and place them in areas where you think silverfish are likely to visit, like drawers, bookshelves, and other storage areas. Replace the peels regularly.

15. Remove Clutter From Around the Outside of the House

Silverfish thrive in dark, damp places during the day, which means that any kind of clutter or debris around the outside of your house is both a perfect habitat and a free ride inside.

So take action and clean up any mess, such as leaves and twigs. This will help keep silverfish out as well as make your house look better!

16. Seal Dry Food in Airtight Containers

One of the most effective ways to keep silverfish at bay is to limit their access to food.

The critters love to munch on dry goods like cereals, pasta, and rolled oats and will take advantage of any small openings they find to reach those treats.

So, keeping dry food tightly sealed away will eliminate most silverfish food sources.

17. Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Sprinkle the DE powder along entry points, such as cracks, crevices, and other places to treat silverfish.

The powder works by destroying the pests’ outer coating, causing them to dry out and die. In addition, you can also use it as a barrier around areas where you might find silverfish bugs crawling around.

18. Natural Predators

Silverfish have a number of natural predators, including spiders, centipedes, and even earwigs.

If you have a silverfish infestation, allowing these predators to remain in your home can help keep silverfish numbers down.

19. Vinegar

Silverfish, like many other insects, cannot tolerate the smell of vinegar, so spraying it around your house will keep them away. Be sure to spray in all the corners and cracks where they like to hide.

20. Baking Soda

Baking soda is an effective bug killer that is versatile. It is also one of the most cost-effective ways to control silverfish.

You can kill silverfish using baking soda by adding enough to a bowl with a little water and some honey. Combine all the ingredients to make a smooth paste.

Place the paste on several pieces of cardboard. After the silverfish eat the mixture, they will become dehydrated to the point of death. This works well in places that are difficult to reach, such as bookshelves.

Baking soda also works as a poison for other insects, such as ants.

21. Essential Oils

This is another effective way to repel silverfish. You can use essential oils such as cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, clove, or citronella oil to make a repellent spray.

For the recipe, mix 15 to 20 drops of oil of your choice in a cup of water. Spray this homemade silverfish spray in the potential hiding spots.

You can also spray it in areas where those silver bugs, as some people call them, might be entering your home. The smell will deter them.

22. Wash Clothes in Hot Water

Washing and drying clothes at high temperatures can kill silverfish and silverfish eggs. Just make sure it is safe to wash the material in hot water.


If you have a silverfish problem, it’s important to figure out where they’re coming from so you can cut off those entry points.

There are also plenty of natural solutions to eliminate them if they are already present. Try a few of these methods and see which ones work best for you.

Picture via commons.wikimedia.org

Sasha Brown

Sasha Brown is a blogger and lover of all things natural.

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