Getting Rid of Silverfish

Category Pest Control
Silverfish are a perennial problem in some regions. Once they get a foothold it can be very difficult to eliminate the infestation. This is a page about getting rid of silverfish.


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Living in Southern CA has many wonderful things, and a few not so wonderful, very irritating things that we learn to deal with. Just like everywhere else I have lived, it comes with regional bugs that are there for no reason. It doesn't matter how often you clean.

You follow all the "rules"; like making sure you aren't bringing home anything in the potatoes except potatoes, sealing all the cracks, no dirty dishes, etc. Still after all of this, there are silverfish. They seem to like paper, not food in my house. They come up through the drain.

I called to ask about these awful little things. The response was they are all over Southern California, and there is nothing a pest control company can do. In my case, I couldn't have harmful poison around, and was hoping they had an answer as to what to do about the few I had seen. I had seen several things that was suppose to work (like cinnamon and cloves). So I put cinnamon powder, as well as the sticks, where the pest company had told me they usually are. This didn't work so I had to find something else.


I read silverfish can't stand clover. I guessed it was worth a try. Besides liking paper, they also like clothes. The only trace I could see was a few little holes. I put clover around all of the baseboards in the closet area and linen closet.

I remembered the whole cloves I had seen put in ham at family reunions. So I got Styrofoam balls from the local craft store. I put the cloves in it like you do in top of a ham or other food. It was easily hung off of the rod where my clothes hang.

I still see one or two a couple times a month. I think they're coming from next door, because it is always in the drain or stove. Other than that, they have disappeared. Putting the clover powder against the wall and baseboard in the closets, I believe worked best.

Getting rid of boxes and paper is something I do also. I wouldn't want anyone to have these pests but mine wasn't ever bad, and ended up being easy to control.


Source: Pest control company told me they like paper and clothes, but not food. A Living Green article had a couple suggestions.

By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

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April 4, 2007

I have a lot of wallpaper in my home and silverfish love the paste! Silverfish also hate cinnamon, mine seem to come down from the attic. I buy that cheap 50 cent a bottle cinnamon and throw it all over my attic. I also sprinkle it in my closets, it's non toxic and makes your house smell good too! If I store books, I cover the books with tissue and sprinkle inside of the box.

By Tracey from Thomasville

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 25, 2019

Tiny yellow spots appear on my clothing. Usually the spots are dotted all over the garment. We live in Florida. The house is old, but has been tented twice in 10 years. I have cedar in the closets and put diatomaceous earth along the edges of the closet floors. I believe that silverfish are destroying all my clothes. If the garment is white, it can usually be bleached, but if a color then it goes in the trash.


This is costing a fortune because whole suits have been ruined. What can dissolve and remove these spots? What is it that these insidious insects are leaving behind? Covering the clothes with a plastic bag does not protect them. I bought a heavy duty cotton clothing bag from the Container Store and it was covered in yellow spots.


March 25, 20190 found this helpful

They eat clothing. Some feces from insects leave yellow spots. Yellow spots can also be caused by sunscreen

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March 27, 20190 found this helpful

That is classic silverfish "residue". I had problems with them several times in my life. The only way to get rid of them is to get rid of their first food supply, which is paper and cardboard and don't give them a comfortable home--they LOVE damp places. This usually worked for me and once when I cleaned out that stuff (no more cardboard boxes to store things and I tossed all the newspaper I used to wrap my not in use breakables--using packing peanuts or plastic grocery bags) and I had to start running the dehumidifier all the time. After these steps in most cases, they vanished.


One very damp summer, I had a bad infestation, which it sounds like you are having, I did have to VERY RELUCTANTLY--because it is expensive and I hate having chemicals in my home--but I had to call in an exterminator. I could not be in the house for a full day afterward because I am so sensitive to chemicals and chemical smells, so be aware of that.

After the big guns killed them all, I kept up with no paper, no cardboard and the dehumidifier all the time and (KNOCK ON WOOD) they have not returned. Its been several years now.

Price around for the best deal for the exterminators. Sometimes there are specials if you schedule online or if you are a senior.

I hope you can find a solution. These are nasty little creatures.

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Suddenly I have an invasion of silverfish. Regular spraying doesn't control the problem. Help please!

By Elizabeth Adamson


July 30, 20120 found this helpful

Have you tired an exterminator?

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July 31, 20120 found this helpful

When we took a box down from out attic we discovered it to be full of silverfish. I immediately put bay leaves in the box and poof no more silverfish.


I then put bay leaves all over the house under beds, dressers, bookcases and I have never seen another silverfish. Good luck.

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August 4, 2011

How do I get rid of silverfish?

By Jessica W. from King, NC


August 6, 20110 found this helpful

Try baking soda. My friend got rid of silverfish in her bathroom by putting baking soda close to her bathroom waterpipes and around the outside bottom of her tub and shower. Silverfish like dampness.

Zita K, Croydon, PA

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December 1, 20120 found this helpful

It's not so much moisture as it is to do with high humidity and then there are some common bristle tails that like warm and dry. They will be originating from the walls and attic space and treating the entry points which is usually the wall / ceiling penetrations with a residual insecticide can help keep them away, though the penetrations can be ceiling fixtures and skylights that can't be easily treated. If you are worried about them breeding in closet and drawers DEKKO makes a silverfish bait that can be found over the web.

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September 5, 2011

How do I get rid of silverfish?

By Beth


October 12, 20110 found this helpful

Bug bombs They have them at Lowe's

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When the weather gets warmer silverfish arrive in my home, usually in the same areas. Is there anything I can do go get rid of them?

By Mary C.


May 10, 20110 found this helpful

My "green guide" suggests placing perfumed soap and a few cloves amongst garments to ward off silverfish or eucalyptus oil wiped inside drawers or epsom salts sprinkled where silverfish are seen. Hope this helps.

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December 29, 2009

How can I get rid of silverfish? The pest control people have not eliminated them, after coming back twice.

By elizabeth from Gold Coast, Australia


January 1, 20100 found this helpful

Silverfish (and any other crawling-bug pests--cockroaches, earwigs, ants, centipedes, etc.) can be safely, efficiently and cost-effectively controlled with diatomaceous earth (available in specialty garden stores). It looks and feels like talcum powder and usually costs less than $10 for a 5 pound bag (a lifetime supply). It is non-toxic to humans and pets since it scratches the outer casing or breathing structure of insects and bugs, causing them to dehydrate. A pest only has to walk through some of it and they are as good as dead! As long as it remains dry, it is effective continuously, forever.

Just apply a thin line of diatomaceous earth along baseboard cracks--or anywhere else pests appear, or dust a specific area. If you know what your particular pest likes to eat, you can also make simple "traps" with a dish of diatomaceous earth and some tasty bait placed where you have the problem. One of the best methods of continuous pest control is to dust the space between your walls or under cabinets.

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October 10, 2017

Silverfish are a pest that needs to be gotten rid of immediately. What is this bug? (silverfish).


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May 22, 2017

Silverfish are a pest that need to be dealt with quickly before they become an infestation. This is a page about silverfish in my bed.

A magnified silverfish on a black background.

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April 27, 2017

Silverfish can be a pervasive pest and should be gotten rid of as soon as possible. This is a page about silverfish in books.

A silverfish insect on a white background.

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