How To Protect Clothes From Silverfish

Have you ever experienced putting on your favorite clothes for a special day, only to find that there are scrape-like, small holes and yellow stains in them? They are probably devoured by silverfish. We know that this can be annoying so we have researched how you can protect your clothes from them. Here is how:

There are numerous ways to secure your clothes from silverfishes. Here are some of the things you can do to keep them away:

  • Store clothes in an environment that they can't live in
  • Utilize scents that they do not want
  • Clean the storage regularly
  • Put a dehumidifier in your closet
  • Seal any cracks or holes in the cabinet
  • Avoid putting books or wallpapers
  • Wash the clothes
  • Keep the out-of-season clothes away

Want to know what exactly to do with this information? Do not worry because we will discuss each one thoroughly, as well as other most frequently asked questions regarding this topic. If you want to learn more, keep on reading.

Silverfish on a white wall. silverfish on book. peppermint oil in small bottle. woman cleaning closet. How To Protect Clothes From Silverfish

Protecting Clothes From Silverfish

Silverfish are nocturnal pests who hunt for their food at night. That is why you are probably in deep sleep as they bite through the fabrics in your cabinet. Doing these methods can let you rest at ease knowing these little destructors won't be getting any food from your space.

Insect feeding on paper - silverfish. Pest books and newspapers.

Store Clothes Where Silverfish Can't Live

A pest can not survive in an environment that they are not compatible with. Take notes of these points about where silverfish lives:

  • Damp and high humid places
  • Woods containing moisture
  • In between cracks and holes
  • Dark places

Tick the areas that may apply to where you are keeping your clothes. This may be where the annoying pests reside. Also, avoid sticking wallpapers on the inside walls of your closet. This may strengthen the temptation of silverfish to come for your storage.

Peppermint essential oil in a small bottle

Scents Against Silverfish

Silverfish do not like strong or aromatic smells. Below are some of the scents you can add to your cabinet to keep them away. They are effective repellants and can be used to suffocate them:

  • Citrus scents like lemon, lime, citronella, or orange. Citronella is listed in the minimum risk pesticides of the United States Environmental Protection Agency. However, you should be cautious since according to National Pesticide Information Center, it can cause mild irritation to the eyes and the skin if you are exposed too long to its oil.

Check out this citronella oil on Amazon. 

  • Lavender. This flowery scent includes Linalool, a natural anti-pest ingredient that can be found in pesticides. It is harmless to humans and its oil can be used as bug bite relief for the skin.

Check out this lavender oil on Amazon. 

  • Peppermint. Its mint smell contains menthol which is proven to be effective at controlling various pests in and out of a home.

Check out this peppermint oil on Amazon. 

  • Cinnamon. You can use its powder, sticks, or oils to work against silverfish infestation. Its unpleasant smell for the pest is all thanks to a compound called cinnamaldehyde.

Check out this cinnamon oil on Amazon. 

  • Rosemary. This pungent, aromatic herb can disrupt the senses of silverfishes while smelling nice to our noses.

Check out this rosemary oil on Amazon.

  • Borax salt. Insects, including silverfish, can be destroyed upon contact with Borax. This adds a layer of protection that causes the insects stomach pain which results in their death after some time.

How To Use

For citrus scents, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, or rosemary, you can use their essential oils and have them mixed with water in a spraying bottle. Sprinkle the solution religiously on the surfaces where silverfish live or in the areas where they hunt for food. To be effective, you must spray it more than once in-between times, and is preferably done at night.

For Borax salt, combine 2 tablespoons of it with 2 tablespoons of sugar in a jar or a container. Sprinkle the mixture on the areas affected by silverfish. Do not forget to take caution. Wear a face mask and gloves while doing so and keep your pets and children away to avoid any irritant inhalation.

Want to know what can cinnamon repel other than silverfish? Read this: Does Cinnamon Kill Springtails?

Clean The Storage

Silverfish live in dark, humid areas of your home. So, if you have clothes stored in the moist-prone rooms of your house such as the bathroom, basement, your bedroom, it is important to always clean your closet to avoid making it an ideal habitat for them. One way to do this is by vacuuming and wiping the moisture off with a solution and making sure that it is completely dry before storing any cloth.

Avoid using paper-product storage like cardboard because it can attract the silverfish due to the cellulose that it contains, which is digestible by this pest.

Put Dehumidifier On

Since you want your closet to be free from dampness, you can open your windows for ventilation aside from using an electronic dehumidifier.

Seal Any Opening

A silverfish is only half an inch long which means that its body can perfectly fit in the tiny openings of your home. Check the surrounding of your closet as well as the areas near it. If you happen to find a hole, seal it with an adhesive to block any entrance.

Avoid Putting Books

If you are storing your collection of books beside your stack of clothes, you should start moving them somewhere far since silverfishes also love snacking on the starch. Starch is present in your book's glue and pages so they will likely assume that as an invitation to feast on them.

Wash The Clothes

Silverfishes are attracted to the smell of perspiration and perfume that are left on your used clothes. Make sure to always wash and dry your clothes first before hanging or folding them back to your storage. Another, if you hang them under the sun or at a high temperature, even the heat on their eggs can beat them to death.

Keep Out-of-Season Clothes

Instead of piling up all your seasonal clothes in one place, it is best to store all the out-of-season outfits in a properly sealed place. This is important since silverfish can produce 1 to 200 eggs that can hatch within 19 to 32 days.

Imagine if you will just leave those summer dresses untouched until the next sunny season. That's more than enough time for them to reproduce in between the folds of your favorite heat-beater attires.

Silverfish Infestation

Before you try to protect your clothes from silverfish, are you certain that you are going after the right culprit? There are other insects that feast on your clothes namely, termites, crickets, Case-Bearing Clothes Moth, and Carpet Beatle. Here are some more signs that your clothes are chewed by silverfish:

  • Seeing their flat, slender, and metal-colored bodies on the spot. They also have antennas on both ends of their figure that stretch for only 12 to 19 millimeters.
  • Black, tiny, and spherical silverfish droppings.
  • Silverfish molts are their transparent and fragile outer shell.
  • Yellow stains are left on the fabric.
  • Small scrape-like bites on your clothes.

Also suffering from black ants? Read more here: Where Do Black Ants Come From? [Small And Big Species]

How Did They Get In Your Closet?

If your house is being a venue for food-hunting silverfish, that must have meant that something is attracting them to get in. Take a look at the probable reasons why they got inside:

  • It was entered by mistake. There is a high probability that it got stuck at the sole of your shoes and arrived with you when you got home. Or it got stuck in between books, firewoods, etc. Or allowing them to discover the places that contain the food they eat.
  • The closet or storage in your home is damp or has a lot of moisture.
  • There are gaps, holes, or cracks somewhere.

You can always get rid of them through your local professional pest control services to assure that their population will vanish.

Can Silverfish Harm Humans?

Fortunately, silverfish are not considered harmful to humans. Their jaws and teeth are not equipped and not strong enough to bite our skin so they cannot be poisonous. They also do not transmit diseases, but they may carry certain types of germs from outside your house.

silverfish on the sides of a paperback book. How To Protect Clothes From Silverfish


You can protect your clothes from silverfish by doing all the things they hate in order for them to look for other places they can pest on. Just remember to always keep your storage vacuumed and dry to make a sign to them that it is not an area they should sneak into. For extra protection, you can store scents that they hate like lavender, peppermint, etc. which in return can smell sweet to you and your fabrics.