How to Get Rid of Silverfish | 10 Easy & Effective Ways


Just because they are named silverfish doesn’t mean we are talking about fishes. Instead, they are the small critters that infest your homes and create the ultimate chaos. They are named so because of the silver outer coating and their sideways movements, mimicking that of a fish. So, if you are likely looking into constructive ways to get rid of these small bugs from your home before they multiple and infest, you have come to the right place. 

Also read: How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy? | 6 Effective & Safe Methods

Here, we will discuss how to get rid of silverfish and also some extra precautions that you can take to prevent them from returning to your home.

Why Do Silverfish Infest Homes?

You’d think that bugs will like nature and the freedom of being able to breathe in fresh air any time they want. However, that isn’t always the case. There are several causes behind a severe silverfish infestation, and we are here to help clarify them all for you.

1. Get Plenty Food

Bread Crumbs
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The first and likely the most common reason why silverfish likes infesting your home is the consistent supply of food they get. Crumbs and food particles are always found here and there in our home, especially in the form of polysaccharides that these small bugs munch on. Besides the staple food, these elements are also found in household items like wood, furniture, and even glue.

2. Plenty of Places to Hide 

Another reason you could have a silverfish infestation is that they get many places to hide in. These hideaways are amazing to store the eggs and the white and yellow bulbs in abundance, which is another reason why you will often find these small creatures taking up more space than you’d likely consider.

3. Moisture

Warmth and humidity is a thing every bug or insect is attracted to. So, when it comes to infesting your home, it isn’t even a question that they are doing it to feel warm and safe in the environment. 

4. Thrive & Grow

While there are chances of not surviving in the wild for long, silverfishes tend to grow and thrive when they infest homes. Reports even suggest that they can live up to 8 years in homes. They also can reproduce very quickly, which is another alarming situation.

List Of Ways To Get Rid Of Silverfish

Now that you know the causes behind a silverfish infestation, it is time we move on to the ways of removal. If you wonder how to get rid of silverfish from your home, we have your back. Most of these home remedies are effective in eliminating all the bugs. However, if nothing works and their infestation is beyond control, the safest bet is to contact a professional exterminator.

1. Bait with Starchy Food

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The first and most effective way to get rid of these pests is by luring them in with some starchy foods. Since they tend to gravitate towards such food items, you can place them in a glass container with an open lid. Cover the outside of the container and the lid with some glue tape to catch the bugs that come in for their food. This way, you can trap as many as possible and then change the tape with new ones the next day. Keep doing this for a few days for effective results.

2. Keep a Rolled Newspaper

As we said in a previous section, silverfish bugs consistently look for hiding places and burrows to crawl into and lay eggs and thrive in. Rolled-up newspaper is hands down the best option for that. You can keep it in the area that shows the maximum infestation and keep the newspaper there for a few days. Once done, it is better to remove the newspaper and replace it with a new one for the next few days.

3. Buy Commercial Sticky Traps

If the staple starch sticky trap doesn’t work out for you, go to the nearest convenience store and pick out a commercial sticky trap. These are amazing in terms of the results they provide, and you will never regret getting them at all. They come predone with the trap inside. All you have to do is open the package and place it in a spot in the house where you see the maximum number of silverfishes flying around.

4. Try Chemical Poison

Before proceeding, keep in mind that the silverfish poison is highly toxic. So, if you have children or pets at home, we wouldn’t recommend you opt for this at all. However, if you are in an all-adults home, try getting your hands on the silverfish poison and spray it around the spots where the infestation is maximum. This should do the trick in a minute and kill the excess bugs around. Make sure that you clean the floors and walls thoroughly once you are done.

5. Use Dried Bay Leaves

Bay Leaves
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Although folklore, the dried bay leaves trick does work like magic. The essential oils in the dried bay leaves have a very strong and repulsive smell that the bugs like silverfishes can stand. If you sprinkle out the dried bay leaves in the trigger points around the home, the chances are that you will be able to get rid of the silverfishes quicker than you expect.

6. Cedar Shavings

Another constructive home remedy that can repel the silverfish infestation at home is cedar shavings. Like bay leaves, even cedar has a very strong smell to it due to the essential oils. The wood-like smell can easily drive away from the unwanted bugs away from your home in a quicker way than you’d generally imagine. However, the process is quite messy because the shavings can get into carpets and under the furniture. So, you need to vacuum frequently after that.

7. Citrus Fruits

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Citrus more or less works for everything, especially when it comes to insects. Much like humans practically love and enjoy the smell of citrus, the same isn’t the case with silverfish. If you want to make a potent citrus spray at home instead of needing to buy it, we’d recommend that you mix lemon juice with some water and then spray it around.

The same goes out for cinnamon too. Although the smell is quite strong for some individuals, it is unbearable for insects.

8. Cucumber

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Funny enough, silverfish also have an aversion to cucumber peels and the smell of cucumber. So, another way you can go around with eliminating the silverfish infestation from your home is by putting the peels away in the corners of the home where you see the maximum infestation. Just make sure you collect the peels in a day or two and replace them with fresh ones.

9. Salt


Like polysaccharides, silverfishes are also attracted to salt and will get lured in when you spray some around. However, like sugar, salt worsens their body, making them dry and eventually killing them in the process. So, spray some salt here and there and ensure that you focus on cleaning up the areas too. Also, the salt will reduce the dampness in the areas.

10. Try Boric Acid

Boric Acid

Last on the list is boric acid. This is a stronger chemical, so if you have a kid or pet around, we wouldn’t recommend doing this at all. Ensure that you focus on spraying the dry boric acid powder around the maximum infestation areas and clean the areas thoroughly once the cleaning is done. This is to ensure that there are no risks of chemical poisoning happening around. 

If you have been looking for ways to get rid of silverfish from your home, we hope this article gives you all the inputs you need to know. Just focus more on prevention because the moment you can prevent reproduction and spread, it becomes easier for you to tackle further spread. Also, keep in mind that if none of these home remedies work, your best bet is to contact a professional exterminator to analyze and eventually eliminate all the silverfishes.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Aphids? | 12 Effective Methods

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Silverfishes Fatal for Health?

Although not fatal, the infestation of silverfish in the home can result in many complications, including the risks of food poisoning and other issues. Also, they reproduce very quickly, which is another alarming situation you need to avoid.

What Smells Do Silverfish Hate The Most?

When it comes to typical smells, you can eliminate silverfishes with strong smells like lavender, citrus, and cinnamon. The essential oils in them are too strong and can drive away from the small bugs for good.

How to Prevent Silverfish from Returning?

If you are tired of the silverfish infestation even after clearing them time and time, we’d recommend that you fix the damp places in your home. Dampness and humidity are two of the major contributing factors, so it isn’t a question that you need to fix the issues first.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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