Home Remedies for Carpet Beetles

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Setting up shop in warehouses, homes, museums, and other places where food exists, carpet beetles are part of the family of beetles known as dermestids. For example, the state of California deals with three species of carpet beetles that wreak havoc on fabrics, carpets, furs, stored foods, and preserved specimens. In households, home remedies for carpet beetles can help prevent and address infestations that can significantly damage clothing, bedding, rugs, and other items.

What are Carpet Beetles?

Carpet beetles are common pests that not only gravitate towards fabric, but are also found in food products. Their small size allows them to easily find their way into homes and businesses. They come in from the outdoors – usually entering by way of screen doors and windows.

The different kinds of carpet beetles include Black, Varied, Common, and Furniture [1]. Carpet beetle larvae are easy to detect because they are hairy with a striped tan and white color. The back of the insect usually has tall bristles (or hairs). It is the larvae that use fabric as its source of food. When a carpet beetle reaches the adult stage, they range from 1/8″ up to 3/16″ in length. Some are black and oblong, while others have different color patterns and a more oval shape.

Carpet Beetle Home Remedies

At the first sign of an infestation, it is important to quickly react if you want to save your wardrobe, furnishings, and fabric décor. To get rid of these unwanted pests, consider the following home remedies for carpet beetles:

a) Vacuum Cleaner:

Vacuuming and steam cleaning your carpets and furniture on a regular basis will help cut down on the population of carpet beetles in your home by removing pet fur, human hair, and dust.

b) Inspect Flowers [2]:

Sometimes, carpet beetles enter the home because you have unknowingly brought them in with a fresh bouquet of flowers. Adult carpet beetles eat pollen and nectar instead of the fabric during their younger days. Flowers that tempt their taste buds include crape myrtle, spiraea, buckwheat, and other plants that produce a lot of pollen.

c) Dryer:

Place items with signs of carpet beetles in your dryer on the high heat setting for at least 30 minutes.

d) Plastic:

Reduce the risk of attracting carpet beetles by storing your clothes and starches in plastic.

e) Lighting in Closets:

Carpet beetles feed in the dark so a closet that receives a little sunlight or has built-in lighting will seem less attractive to the pest.

f) Clean Furnishings:

It is important to regularly and thoroughly clean furnishings in your home, including draperies, rugs, and upholstered furniture.

g) Clean Your Fabrics:

Carpet beetles are attracted to food and perspiration stains found on fabrics. Protect your belongings by keeping them clean.

h) Synthetic Materials:

Carpet beetles only eat organic materials, so if you have a room that you’d like to protect, fill it with furniture, carpets, rugs, and interior fabrics made out of synthetic fabrics and materials.

i) Routine Cleaning:

Prevent and eradicate a carpet beetle infestation by cleaning on a routine basis. The beetle enjoys a diet of animal and human hair. They also feed on dust bunnies that collect on floors.

j) Cedar Chests:

A new cedar chest contains an oil that has the ability to kill small carpet beetle larvae. However, the oil does not do so well on larger specimens. It is suggested to store clothing and other belongings in the chest for protection. Keep in mind that as the cedar ages, it will lose the power of the oil over time.

k) Boric Acid:

The reason why boric acid is a popular method of killing insects is because it is effective without posing a problem to humans. The substance is actually a naturally occurring compound. Dusting places you don’t want a carpet beetle to enter can keep the pest away.

l) Clothing Inspections:

During the fall and spring, go over clothing and your storage spaces to make sure you haven’t suffered an infestation.

m) Seal Broken Screens:

Make it a habit to check your windows and air ducts for holes or tears in screens to cut down on entry points for carpet beetles.

n) Mothballs [3]:

When storing clothing in a container, place mothballs inside to protect from carpet beetles.

o) Hot, Soapy Water:

If you find carpet beetles have attacked your favorite clothing, wash fabrics in hot, soapy water to get rid of the pests, larva, and their eggs.

p) Toss Out Items:

Sometimes, it is necessary to throw out certain items that have been affected by carpet beetles. If clothing can be salvaged, dry cleaning may help.


[1] http://www.bugclinic.com/carpet_beetle.htm
[2] http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn7436.html
[3] http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1005.html



    I have been facing this problem since I have started my shop. It severely damage cloths and bedding. I have tried Boric Acid and Moth Balls, but all ended with futile result. Please advice???

  • Rebecca Long

    Try diatomaceous earth and sprinkle here and there, especially around the base boards or edges of a room. If that doesn’t work the only pesticide that is safe for humans,pets, and is non staining is ortho max home defense. No I am not a rep or anything. I am just a person in the same boat with a baby, dog, and both are very sensitive to anything and everything.

  • Lee James

    For clothing and bedding: Put it in the freezer. The larvae are killed 100%. Traps with 8 1/2″x 11″ paper coated with tangle foot will draw the adult. Precious items can be then stored in plastic bags. Launder. Use home dry cleaning kits for pillows. Wash floors and walls with Ivory Soap with a drip of mint extract. Soaps plug the breathing holes or spiracles of the bug. Mint is a repellant. Vinegar used to clean surfaces like windows, walls, screens, floors will remove soap, wax and other build-ups and also repel the beetle. Dilute to the lowest level that will clean well. Mint or lavender extract added to soaps will naturally repel while rose and daisy flowers attract the beetle. Tangle foot traps with the flowers can be used as natural traps in dark areas in closets and under the furniture. . Experiment with different flowers to attract the beetles. to traps. I hope this helps