If you have discovered silverfish in your bathroom, you might be freaking out about it.
But don’t worry, you’re probably not aware of the 3 simple steps to:
- Get Rid
- And keep Silverfish out of your bathroom for good!
Getting rid of these tiny bugs might seem like an impossible task. In this article we’ll take you through the process of getting your bathroom silverfish-free.
Do I Need To Get Rid of Silverfish ASAP?
Silverfish are, fortunately, not at all threatening to people or pets. They don’t bite or sting and they are not poisonous if ingested.
However, there are a handful of reasons for wanting to remove them from your home.
The first is that some people are allergic to them. Silverfish molt as they grow, and this involves shedding bits of skin and scale onto the floor.
Although very small, this skin can cause an allergic reaction for some people. Instead of having to constantly clean, many prefer to get rid of silverfish entirely.
Another possible explanation for wanting to get rid of them is that they can be quite destructive. They eat paper and fabric, so they threaten books and furnishings and clothes by being in the house.
This may not be a major issue in the bathroom, but you might still want to deal with them quickly.
One or two silverfish aren’t likely to make a difference, but if you have a lot, you will want to get rid of them before they do too much damage.
You may not see silverfish often during the day, as they are nocturnal, but you’re likely to spot them moving around at night.
Silverfish often hang out in the bathroom because it’s damp there, and this dampness appeals to them.
If other areas of your home also have sufficient humidity levels, you may find silverfish relocate there, particularly if they find sources of food. Silverfish love paper and often eat books.
In the bathroom, they may also find bits of dead skin to eat, and there are usually plenty of cracks and crevices for them to hide away in. Bathrooms can have lower footfall than the rest of the house, too.
In short, it’s an ideal habitat – and you’re going to have to change that to deal with silverfish in the bathroom.
Step One: Make The Bathroom Inhospitable
The first thing you need to do to get rid of silverfish in the bathroom is to make the space uncomfortable for them – which involves removing the things that they like and depend on.
The first thing that silverfish like is moisture.
They don’t need a lot, as silverfish can live quite happily in bookcases, etc., but a very dry environment often won’t please them, especially in the long-term, as they need to drink.
Leaky faucets and droplets of accumulated condensation are perfect for them.
It can be quite hard to keep your bathroom dry, but opening the windows after a shower and using a dehumidifier are good starting points.
You can set one up and leave it running all the time, or just turn it on after a shower or bath, depending on how wet the bathroom gets.
You may not want to leave the windows open during the winter, but you should check that they have a vent to let moisture escape, and that this vent is open.
In the summer, you can at least leave the window cracked open. This will help the room to ventilate and reduce condensation and dampness, drying out the walls more effectively after a shower or bath has created steam. This is good for your bathroom as well as for addressing silverfish issues!
A dehumidifier is another great option. If you don’t have one, you can also get moisture absorbing packs, which can be placed in areas that suffer from damp.
However, these are often less effective and will need to be disposed of or dried out (if possible). An electric dehumidifier is often less work and will help keep the room dry.
Buy one with a good rating and make sure that you turn it on regularly, emptying the water container as needed.
You can also use a bathroom fan, and turn the temperature in the house up a little to keep moisture from clinging to the walls and floors.
Wiping down wet areas with a towel will go a long way to keeping the room dry as well. Keep a cloth near the shower and get into the habit of drying it off before you get out.
Next, remove food sources. This might be trickier in a bathroom than, say, a pantry (where you can put food in boxes), but it can still be done.
You should work out what the silverfish are eating if possible, and remove it. In general, they like eating paper, which may include toilet paper.
Try to store toilet rolls elsewhere, out of reach of the critters, or leave them wrapped until they are ready to be used. Alternatively, put them in a sealed box that the silverfish can’t access.
If you store other papers, such as magazines, in your bathroom, you should remove these and throw them away. Don’t replace them until the infestation has been dealt with, or you’re just feeding the silverfish.
Regularly sweeping the floor will help to reduce the dead skin that the silverfish also like to eat.
If you keep your bathroom floor clean and hygienic, you’ll be less likely to find them hanging around in there as there just won’t be much for them to eat. Without food sources, they will quickly move on.
If your bathroom has wallpaper, you should also consider this a source of food – silverfish love paper. If the paper is peeling off, it’s even more likely that silverfish will be munching at it, and possibly even hiding behind it.
You may not want to totally strip off the wallpaper if you have recently redone your bathroom, but bear this in mind as a possible problem, and consider getting rid of it if the silverfish issue persists.
Paper isn’t ideal for bathrooms as it can contribute to moisture problems, absorbing and holding onto condensation.
Finally, fill in cracks if possible. Silverfish need lots of hiding spaces and won’t like environments where they can’t dive into cracks and crevices.
They are very tiny, so it may not be easy to fill enough cracks to get rid of them, but try to get rid of as many holes as you can.
You may be able to fill cracks with a little filler, or replace cracked or broken tiles. Caulk will also work to stop up gaps quickly and easily, so try this out if you’re having trouble.
If possible, watch where the silverfish hide when you startle them, and then fill these spaces in so that they can’t access them.
If they don’t have any safe hideaways, silverfish will quickly move to other locations where they feel less exposed – hopefully outside your home.
Step Two: Use Natural Or Chemical Insect Deterrents
There are lots of ways to get persuade silverfish not to live in your bathroom, and many people prefer to choose either deterrents or traps to get hold of these little bugs.
They are not something you can really catch by hand – unless you are super quick – but there are some very easy ways to trap them, and most of these can be made at home or cost little to buy.
One simply trick involves using newspaper. If you lightly dampen some newspaper, and then set layers of it down on the floor and leave it overnight, you’ll find many silverfish are attracted to the paper and crawl inside.
You may find this more effective if you roll up the newspaper and fasten it into a roll with elastic bands so that the silverfish can crawl inside. This will make it easy to pick it up without accidentally dislodging and losing your captured silverfish.
You can then remove the newspaper come morning and toss them back outside to go and find homes elsewhere. This is probably one of the most humane ways to deal with silverfish, and can be very effective.
It’s also easy to do; you can just repeat the step every few nights until you no longer have silverfish inside.
It’s also easy to make a silverfish trap using a glass jar. All you need to do is make it easy for the silverfish to get into the jar from outside, and then drop a bit of damp bread or paper into the jar to attract them.
In the night, the silverfish will be attracted to the food and approach the jar.
You can make the jar easy to climb by wrapping it in masking tape, or by putting a little paper slope up one side. Fold the end of the paper over to keep it from slipping off the edge of the jar.
The silverfish will climb up the paper or up the masking tape and drop into the jar to eat the bread. They will then be unable to climb out again, because the insides of the jar are slippery. Even a short jar will work well for this, since silverfish are so tiny.
You can then relocate the silverfish as you did with the newspaper roll, tossing them outside to find homes elsewhere.
You can also purchase silverfish traps from a store, though these will usually kill the silverfish, so if you are not keen on them getting hurt, this may not be a good idea.
They often contain boric acid or other chemicals, and may not be pet-friendly – check what you’re buying and make sure it’s safe for any animals in your home.
You should aim to position traps near to where the silverfish hide. This will maximize their efficiency.
If you are aiming to catch silverfish and relocate them, make sure you check the traps every day, as silverfish are unlikely to survive inside them for long, and may escape from the newspaper roll.
It’s a good idea to check the next morning so they are in the trap for the minimum amount of time.
If the trap ideas don’t work well for you or you want something that will stop the silverfish from coming back once you’ve got rid of them, let’s talk about deterrents.
You can try to repel silverfish using things that they strongly dislike. This may be hard to do over a wide area, but if you only have silverfish in your bathroom, it could work. There are many potential deterrents you can use.
Silverfish do not like the smell of cedar, so you can sprinkle either cedar shavings or use cedar oil.
The shavings may prove messy to use indoors, but are an option if you can get hold of some easily. Simply spread them around the main areas where the silverfish run and hide.
If shavings aren’t ideal for you, sprinkle a few drops of cedar oil liberally around the areas that the silverfish tend to frequent, and you may find the little critters vanish entirely. They do not like the smell and will probably move elsewhere.
Other essential oils may work, too. Citrus and lavender are good options, as most insects do not like these scents. These oils should be easy to get hold of and any kind of citrus will do.
Alternatively, you can squeeze out lemons and splash some juice around the baseboards, or add sprigs of lavender around the bathroom – they’ll make it smell great to all but your insect guests, and the lavender can look pretty too.
Cinnamon and clove oil are also good deterrents, and some other spices will also do the trick.
If you don’t have the appropriate oil, you can just bundle up little packets of cinnamon and other spices, and leave these bundles around.
Organza gift bags make great holders for these parcels and they can look pretty too. However, you will need to replace them fairly often, as the dampness of the bathroom will saturate the bags and they may start to go moldy.
All of these deterrents will need regular applications, as will store-bought deterrents, if they are to effectively keep silverfish away.
Vacuum up shavings and replace them, reapply essential oil, squeeze more lemon, and cut fresh lavender sprigs to keep them working well.
Note that some essential oils are not safe for pets, so if you have cats or dogs, make absolutely sure you are using ones that are not toxic to them, and keep them away from the oils just as a matter of safety.
Step Three: Kill Silverfish If Necessary
If you want to actively kill the silverfish, that can be done easily as well. You can use natural remedies, such as diatomaceous earth, or you can purchase chemical killers.
Diatomaceous earth has the advantage of being safe to use in the home, and it will not harm people or pets if ingested, but it should not be inhaled. Used a mask while sprinkling it, and try to avoid getting it on your hands, because it will dry your skin out.
This is why it works effectively on insects; it pulls the moisture out of their skins and dries them out.
Silverfish have a waxy coating that protects their bodies, and the sharp diatomaceous earth destroys this coating, meaning they can’t retain moisture.
For the most effective application, sprinkle this around in the evenings. The bugs are most active at night, and will encounter it. You will probably need to do this for several evenings running in order to get a good effect.
Boric acid is another means of killing silverfish, and can also be sprinkled around their hiding spots and around the floor where they tend to run.
However, boric acid may not be so safe if you have other pets, and you should also not inhale it. Both substances can irritate the lungs and are unpleasant.
If you want a liquid means of killing silverfish, go for a chemical spray that contains pyrethrin.
This spray can be squirted along baseboards, into crevices, and over floors, and it will kill the bugs.
However, it shouldn’t be used around pets or small children as it is toxic. Wear a mask and gloves when spraying it, and wash your hands after use. Do not allow children to touch areas where it has been applied.
You are unlikely to find a silverfish infestation so severe that the above techniques will not be enough to handle it, but if you do, there are companies that will deal with silverfish for you.
Usually, the above traps, deterrents, and killing methods will get rid of silverfish sufficiently.
Once you have got rid of the silverfish, you should take steps to prevent them from coming back, or you’ll be back to square one.
The tips in the first step should be followed to make your home inhospitable to the little bugs, and to ensure there is not much to attract them back inside.
If you suffer from repeat infestations of silverfish, you may want to call a professional to try and determine what is attracting them and how they are getting them into the house.
While a few silverfish are harmless and many people are happy to live with them, large amounts can be destructive and frustrating.
See below for more info about silverfish:
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