How to Keep Silverfish Away (Top Expert Ideas)

Silverfish are small and harmless, but unpleasant to have crawling around your home, especially in the dead of night.

In this article, you will learn a spectrum of techniques that will help you solve your silverfish problem, such as:

  • Dehumidifying
  • De-cluttering
  • Exclusion

... and more!

how to keep silverfish away

Fortunately, silverfish don't pose a direct and serious health hazard to humans. However, their irksome presence can literally mean holes on the pages of your books, clothes, wallpapers, and everything starchy.

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Silverfish Control Solutions

Silverfish are prehistoric insects that have significantly withstood the test of time and have evolved within its species a high tolerance against a spectrum of commonly used chemical insecticides.

However, it doesn't mean that there isn't much you can do to control silverfish infestation.

Read more: Learn more about what attracts silverfish

Here's a video with several methods to get rid of silverfish and keep them away.

Dry Out Your Home

The best way to eliminate excess moisture is through the use of a dehumidifier.

Silverfish are common household pests that thrive in damp places. And in one way or another, your home will produce a significant amount of domestic moisture, which is considered as an open invitation for silverfish. They love high humidity.

This technique works best by placing dehumidifier units in key areas of your home that simultaneously produce and disperse significant amounts of moisture.

Best places to put a dehumidifier:

  • Laundry room
  • Kitchen
  • Basement
  • Bathroom

In order to help your dehumidifier units work more efficiently, make sure that the aforementioned areas are well ventilated, such as a bathroom fan in your shower room.

More importantly, fix all leaky pipes in your home and redo necessary caulking.

De-Clutter Your Home

A house full of clutter provides a perfect breeding ground for small wingless insects that eat just about anything that is starchy.

Organize your books and other types of readable in clean dry shelves. Roll up and dispose of old newspapers immediately instead of just leaving them scattered in your study room. Clear your desk from all types of junk paper.

Check your basement from time to time and get rid of old cardboard boxes. Silverfish feast on these food sources which are most likely to get dumped in the basement.

And last but not the least, initiate a reconnaissance sweep in each bedroom to get rid of dirty laundry at least once a day. Apart from paper, silverfish are more than capable of eating through the hard fibers of your dirty clothes.

Store and Replace

how to keep silverfish away

Silverfish love old things. To keep them at bay, store anything you aren't using. For example, off-season clothing is a birthday cake for silverfish. 

Instead of keeping unused wardrobe in an antique cabinet down in your basement, it's much better to store them in durable plastic bags or containers.

Wallpaper allows for some individuals personalized art in rooms without resorting to a more complex paint job. However, wallpaper also offers a tasty meal to silverfish.

Apart from bookbinding glue and the paper itself, silverfish also target wallpaper paste since it is basically made on modified starch. Old wallpaper is prone to being targeted by silverfish so it's best to replace it with a new one.

Better yet, go for paint.


Silverfish eat anything from dead skin and fallen hair to dead insects and dust. Vacuuming to eliminate silverfish is effective if you vacuum your house at least twice a week.

This technique helps eliminate easy food sources as well as the eggs of the insects which are usually scattered on carpets and baseboards.

It's also recommended to use different nozzle attachments appropriate in vacuuming certain silverfish sweet spots such as gaps along window and door sills as well as holes and cracks along walls and ceilings.

Secure Your Food in Sealed Containers

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According to entomologists and professional pest exterminators, silverfish enjoy high starch foods that are commonly found in our kitchen.

High starch foods that silverfish like are:

  • Cornmeal
  • Flour
  • Oats
  • Cereals
  • Pretzels
  • Crackers
  • Noodles
  • Bread
  • Cookies
  • Rice

Most of the above mentioned foods are often bought in boxes. Transfer these foods in hard and sealed containers to avoid getting contaminated by silverfish. You can either go for plastic containers or glass jars. For example, transfer dry foods like cereal out of cereal boxes and into plastic containers.

Sprinkle Boric Acid or Diatomaceous Earth

Both boric acid and diatomaceous earth (DE) are contact type insecticides. This simply means that both work efficiently once in contact with the targeted insect. 

And since silverfish are nocturnal type scavengers, it's best to sprinkle the powder before bedtime. It is very essential to keep in mind that both boric acid and DE work more efficiently when scattered in places frequented by silverfish. 

Applying these substances along baseboards, under furniture, and underneath your bathtub for a couple of nights in a row will increase the efficiency of the technique. This however should be considered with safety precautions if children and/or pets are present at home.

Read more: Everything you need to know about diatomaceous earth

Set Traps and Seal Up

Basically, there are various types of traps that you can use to kill silverfish inside your house.

how to keep silverfish away

Rolled Up Newspaper Trap

The first is rolled up newspaper, which works best if you happen to have a stash of old newspaper stored in your basement. This is simply done by rolling the newspaper and spraying water on the inside part just enough to dampen the paper. Do this in the evening and dispose trap immediately in the following morning.

Glass Jar Trap

Another DIY trap that is simple yet effective is the glass jar trap. Cover the entire exterior of the glass jar with masking tape which will provide enough traction for the silverfish to successfully climb over.

Place a small piece of bread or cornmeal inside the jar that will attract the insect. The inside portion of the glass jar is too smooth for the trapped insect to climb back out.

Store-bought Traps 

For quick and hassle-free traps, some commercial options are accessible in local stores. These traps come in small packets that can be easily positioned in previously identified silverfish hot spots.


Another way to manage and prevent a silverfish infestation is exclusion. One major reason why silverfish can infiltrate your house is the presence of holes and cracks throughout your property's structure. 

Sealing these entry points with caulk, concrete, and other forms of sealant can help prevent recurrence of silverfish infestation. This can be done during and after clearing your property from both silverfish eggs and adults.

Read more: Keep silverfish away with these top silverfish repellents

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Saying Goodbye to Silverfish

Even though silverfish are harmless to you, they can cause unwanted damage to your unsuspecting belongs.

To keep your home safe from these little pests, try all of the aforementioned methods. For more information about silverfish, you can read articles listed below.

Other Natural Pest Control Guides

Curious about other articles on various natural pest control solutions? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.

Are you still searching for the best silverfish repellents? Then you've come the right place! In this Pest Strategies product[...]

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