Home Remedies for Silverfish

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The common household can fall victim to a wide range of unwanted pests – both large and small. Seeking out damp, cool places in homes, silverfish are slippery quick insects that thrive on eating anything organic, from food crumbs to even toenails. When you’re looking for an alternative to using chemical-based pest control, consider much safer approaches, such as home remedies for silverfish.

sliver fish

What are Silverfish?

Silverfish are insects that prefer to live in damp, cool places and when they enter a household, they often settle in the kitchen, bathroom, or basement. Measuring 1/3 to 3/4 inches long, silverfish possess flat, elongated bodies that taper towards the back end of the body. They are gray to green in color. The diet of a silverfish primarily consists of substances that contain starch, such as cereals, cardboard, starched clothes, and even book bindings [1].

Since silverfish enjoy moist environments, they frequent rooms with water pipes. However, they are extremely skittish around light and run at the first sign of it. Because of this, many homeowners aren’t even aware of their existence.

Silverfish Home Remedies

When battling silverfish in your home, it’s important to stay vigilant in your quest to eradicate the pests, especially since they can live up to a year without food. Make sure to attack all of their potential hiding spots, such as cracks, crevices, inside floor moldings, behind furniture, in closets, and even in the attic. Home remedies for silverfish include:

a) Cucumber:

It is said that an effective repellent for silverfish is cucumber peelings because the scent of the cucumber is not appealing to the insect. Create strips of the vegetable with a knife (and not with a potato peeler). The object is to make thicker pieces of the cucumber. Place two or more strips in your cabinet or closet floors. Once the strips become dry, replace them until your problem is gone.

b) Remove Excess Paper:

Get rid of extra piles of newspaper, magazines, and paper grocery bags to eliminate the number of places that silverfish may hide.

c) Cloves:

Another scent offensive to silverfish is cloves. Use whole cloves for the best results, and place in locations where the insects are found.

d) Spices [2]:

Silverfish are not fond of spices. Create a sachet of aromatic spices, such as bay leaves, sage, or even apple pie spices. Leave sachets on the hooks of your bathroom vanity. Other places to leave sachets include behind the washer. You may also create decorative baskets filled with aromatic scents to place along baseboards.

e) Dehumidify:

Since silverfish are attracted to damp places in your home, reducing the amount of moisture found in the air can help drive away the insects. A couple of suggestions include mending leaky pipes and providing proper ventilation in closed rooms and attics.

f) Wet Newspaper:

For some people, leaving out a wet newspaper overnight has attracted silverfish in their home. When successful, they were able to collect the paper before the silverfish scatter, and then dump the insects inside of a sealed trash bag/can – preferably one that is outside of the home.

g) Mothballs:

Place mothballs where silverfish frequent, as the scent is believed to repulse the insects.

h) Water and Flour:

In a bowl, mix enough white flour and water until you reach the same consistency as pancake batter. Coat a couple of small index cards with the mixture on both sides. Allow them to completely dry before placing the cards in locations where the insects frequent, such as cracks in walls, close to pipes, and around molding. Repeat the process until there is no sign of silverfish.

i) Boric Acid:

If you use boric acid as a household cleaner, the substance offers a way to kill silverfish. Place a small amount of the powder in hard-to-reach places in your home. The silverfish nibble on the boric acid and bring some back to their nests. It is said that entire populations are eradicated in this manner.


[1] http://wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn?s=silverfish
[2] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 311.