Does washing clothes kill silverfish eggs?

If you are dealing with a silverfish infestation in your home, one of the things you are probably wondering is how to effectively kill these little insects and their eggs.

Adult silverfish tend to be reasonably easy to kill, but the eggs can be a major challenge, because they are often too small to spot, and they might be hidden anywhere.

Washing clothes fortunately will kill silverfish eggs. However, it is a good idea to wash them at a high temperature to ensure that you kill the eggs effectively, or you may find that some survive.

Most probably won’t, but it’s better to be sure than to have to re-treat your home and re-wash everything when the eggs hatch.

We are going to look at:

  • What do silverfish egg look like?
  • Will washing clothes in plain water be enough?
  • What detergents effectively kill silverfish eggs?
  • Do silverfish lay their eggs in clothes?
  • How else can you kill silverfish eggs?

What Do Silverfish Egg Look Like?

First things first: you need to know whether there are eggs to try to kill. To do that, you require being able to identify a silverfish egg. So, what does one look like?

A silverfish egg is usually oval, and it won’t measure more than about one mm — so you may have a hard time spotting one. The eggs are normally white when they have just been laid, but they will turn yellow as time passes.

Eggs usually take between twenty and sixty days to hatch, depending on the conditions. They are often laid in clusters of up to twenty, which might help you to spot them, especially on dark fabrics.

That said, even in clusters, they are very subtle, so you will probably only notice them if you are already aware that you have a silverfish problem in your home.

Will Washing Clothes Kill Silverfish Eggs?

The most effective way to get rid of silverfish eggs in clothing is to wash the clothes. You will probably find it very hard to remove them in any other way because they are so tiny, you won’t be able to see them.

Even if you do find and remove some eggs, there may be more that you can’t see, so it’s best to simply put clothes in the laundry if you think that silverfish eggs have been laid in them.

Put the clothes in the drum of the machine, add some detergent, and switch them onto the hottest wash that the fabric will tolerate.

This will ensure that the silverfish eggs are destroyed, and your clothing is safe. Remember, silverfish will eat fabric and can also leave yellow stains on it, so you really don’t want them breeding in your clothes.

They will make holes or shave the fabric away, especially if it is made of natural fibers.

Make sure you wash clothing promptly so that you prevent any eggs from hatching, breaking the cycle, and getting rid of infestations effectively.

You may want to wash clothes repeatedly every two weeks or so, ensuring that no eggs get the opportunity to hatch.

Can You Use Plain Water?

If you don’t want to use detergent in your washing machine, that should be fine. The rapid motion, agitation, and heat should still be sufficient to reliably kill off silverfish eggs, even if you don’t add a drop of soap to the mixture.

However, it is a good idea to make sure that the water is hot, as this will more reliably kill the eggs than just depending on the machine’s agitation.

In theory, silverfish eggs might survive being spun, and while this isn’t likely, it is best to use hot water to be sure of killing them all.

Once the machine has finished, you can simply hang the laundry up to dry, and it should be free from all pest eggs.

What Detergent Should You Choose?

If you do choose to use a detergent, you might be wondering which one is best.

Whatever you use normally should be fine, since you aren’t relying upon it to kill the silverfish eggs. Just wash the clothes as normal, without worrying about the choice of detergent. Any brand should do the trick.

If your clothing has been stained by the silverfish, you may want to treat it with a stain remover before putting it in the washing machine.

Are There Likely To Be Silverfish Eggs In Clothes?

Of course, if you can’t see silverfish eggs on your clothes, you may be wondering how likely it is that they are actually there.

Rather than washing clothes unnecessarily or wasting time hunting for tiny eggs, let’s find out whether silverfish generally lay their eggs in clothing or not.

On the whole, silverfish like to put their eggs in dark, undisturbed places. They tend to get to the very back of cracks and crevices, out of easy reach of humans, so that their eggs will be difficult to destroy via vacuuming or bug sprays.

However, silverfish frequently do lay their eggs in clothes. This is most likely to happen if the clothes have been left in a laundry basket for a while, particularly in a damp or darkroom.

If you keep laundry in your basement or bathroom, it is very likely to attract any silverfish that are there, because it is a ready source of food for their young when they hatch.

Dirty clothes are even more likely to attract silverfish, because worn clothing will probably have small amounts of food on it.

Small splashes of sugar or starch will present a particularly appealing food source to these insects, and once they have inhabited the laundry basket, it is easy for them to lay eggs in it.

Clean clothes that are kept in a closet or drawers are less likely to attract silverfish, as they need some moisture around.

If you regularly disturb, empty, or move your laundry basket, it is also less likely to appeal to silverfish. However, bear in mind that even clean clothing may draw in these insects because they will eat the fibers.

By emptying your basket frequently, you should keep clothing safe from silverfish, but it is better to relocate your laundry basket if you find that you have these pests in your basement or bathroom.

Even slightly damp clothing will be inviting to them, and then you may end up with eggs in your clothes. Make sure you move laundry out of the area once it is clean and dry, and put it away in your closet.

Will They Lay More Eggs In My Clothes?

If you still have adult silverfish in your home, they will not be deterred from laying in your clothes by the clothes being clean.

Overall, they might be slightly less attracted to the fabric because it won’t have any food smells on it, but they will still happily lay eggs there if the opportunity presents itself.

Remember, silverfish like damp and dark spots, so as long as you are putting clean laundry away somewhere dry, it should not be too attractive to them.

However, to properly deal with a silverfish infestation, you need to make sure that you tackle the adults as well as the eggs, or they will simply keep laying more.

Unless you can get rid of the adults, you will never win a battle against the eggs.

There are many solutions to try against silverfish adults, or you can call a pest control company if you are really struggling to get rid of the insects.

What Else Kills Silverfish Eggs?

You might be wondering what else you can do to kill silverfish eggs. If they are in clothing, putting the clothes in the wash is the best solution because it is both easy and cheap.

However, if the silverfish eggs are elsewhere, or you want a different option, what can you do?

Boric acid is an effective way to kill both adult silverfish and their eggs. You can sprinkle this around, and it should kill all silverfish that come into contact with it.

Unfortunately, however, if silverfish have tucked their eggs into crevices, it can be difficult to get at them with this powder.

If you do use boric acid, make sure that you keep any pets or young children away from it. Wear a face mask and do not inhale the substance into your lungs.

Another alternative is pesticide sprays. Most of these will kill off silverfish eggs effectively if you can get the spray to touch the eggs.

Again, the issue is that eggs may be tucked away, and you might not even know they are there. Try spraying into cracks and crevices; you might kill some eggs this way, although you probably won’t get all of them.


Silverfish eggs are killed by being laundered, yes. If you place infected clothing into a washing machine and then wash it on a reasonably high setting, the heat and agitation will kill off the eggs and ensure that they never hatch.

Alright, that’s it for this article, here are a few hand-selected articles that you might also find interesting reads:

Are Silverfish Dangerous? 7 Things to Know

How to Get Rid of Silverfish in Bathroom – In 3 EASY Steps

Extreme Cases of Silverfish Damage

Steve Foster

Mad about bugs and wanting to publish as many articles as I can to help educate people about these amazing beautiful creatures! For more info check out my about page

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