Silverfish In Bathroom Remedy – Elimination Methods That Work

Silverfish can be unwelcome guests, particularly in bathroom environments where moisture and starch-based products attract them.

The bathroom provides an ideal habitat due to the high humidity levels.

But the presence of silverfish can be both a nuisance and an indication of larger issues.

In this guide, you’ll find how to get rid of silverfish in the bathroom by using both natural and chemical methods.

The silverfish remedies that you’re about to find out not only remove silverfish but also prevent them from coming back.

Key Takeaways

  • Moisture and starch in the bathroom attract silverfish.
  • Silverfish in the bathroom hide in the cracks and gaps on walls, ceiling, and underneath bathroom fixtures like sinks and bathtubs.
  • Using boric acid, diatomaceous earth, and pyrethrin-based sprays kills silverfish.
  • Managing bathroom humidity and sealing entry points are vital steps.
  • Routine cleaning helps minimize food sources and deter infestations.

Understanding Silverfish

how to get rid of silverfish in bathroom

Silverfish are wingless insects growing up to ¾ inch in size. They’ve a distinct, metallic appearance and a tapered, fish-like shape.

Shiny scales cover their bodies. They have two long antennae at their head and three long bristles at their rear.

Silverfish are nocturnal creatures. Many people notice silverfish in the bathroom at night when these creatures come out of hiding looking for food.

Silverfish lay their eggs in dark, hidden places.

Each female can lay a few eggs daily, up to a hundred throughout her lifetime, which hatch within three weeks to two months.

The offspring, or nymphs, resemble miniature adults and can take anywhere from three months to three years to mature, depending on environmental conditions.

Moisture is essential for their survival, as their bodies require a high humidity level to function.

Why Are Silverfish In My Bathroom

A silverfish’s preferred habitat includes dark and moist areas, making common household locations such as bathrooms, basements, attics, and closets ideal for infestation.

Clutter, such as piles of papers or clothes, where they can find carbohydrates to feed on, like sugar, cellulose, or starches attract silverfish.

Their feeding habits can cause damage to wallpapers, books, and clothing.

Bathrooms have prevalent moisture and potential food sources like shampoo and soap residues. That’s why bathrooms attract silverfish.

Identifying a Silverfish Infestation

Recognizing a silverfish infestation early is critical to preventing damage to various household items.

Silverfish Droppings: Small pepper-like droppings are a telltale sign of silverfish activity.

Shed Skins: Look for tiny, pale skins that silverfish have molted.

Yellow Stains: These pests may leave behind yellowish marks as they roam.

Feeding Marks: Irregular holes or notches in paper and clothing are indicative of silverfish feeding habits.

Adult Silverfish: Finding even one silverfish in the bathroom signifies there are more hiding in the dark areas of your bathroom.

Many people ignore these signs of silverfish. But a quick check around humid areas of your bathroom can reveal these signs.

Potential Damage from Silverfish

Silverfish are not dangerous creatures. They don’t bite and they don’t carry any diseases either.

But they bring significant risks to paper products, fabrics, and stored foods.

Books: Silverfish may eat into the glue, causing pages to come loose.

Wallpaper: They can also consume the paste behind your wallpaper, resulting in peeling.

Clothing: Silverfish can create small holes and weaken the fibers of various textiles.

Stored foods: Silverfish feed on foods high on starch and protein. So, they’re common pantry pests, too.

I always recommend assessing stored items and rarely disturbed spaces, as silverfish can cause significant damage over time.

Silverfish Remedies for Bathroom

Denying silverfish food, moisture, hiding places, and eliminating the hiding areas are keys to eliminate and prevent silverfish in the bathroom.

Here’s how you can do it, step-by-step.

Utilizing Natural and Chemical Silverfish Killers

For immediate results, natural killers such as boric acid and diatomaceous earth, or pyrethrin-based chemical compounds can be potent.

I often recommend applying boric acid, which is lethal to silverfish, in areas where they frequent.

However, caution is necessary as boric acid can be harmful if ingested or inhaled by pets and children.

Diatomaceous earth works by damaging the exoskeleton of the silverfish, leading to dehydration. It’s a fine powder applied to crevices and potential entry points.

Pyrethrin sprays, derived from chrysanthemum flowers, can knock down and kill silverfish on contact.

Boric Acid: Sprinkle it in dark, moist areas in the bathroom where silverfish live.

Diatomaceous Earth: Apply thinly around bathroom edges.

Pyrethrin Spray: Use in well-ventilated areas to target visible pests.

Cleaning and Decluttering

In addressing a silverfish problem in the bathroom, I focus on meticulous cleaning and strategic decluttering to remove the pests’ food sources and habitat.

Through these efforts, I can significantly reduce their presence.

Routine Domestic Hygiene

When I tackle silverfish, I start with regular cleaning, as these pests thrive in dusty environments.

I make it a point to dust all surfaces frequently, paying close attention to corners, cracks, and crevices.

Mopping the floors with a disinfectant cleaner is a must, as I aim to not just clean visible dirt but also eliminate potential silverfish eggs.

It’s essential to note that moisture is a silverfish magnet, so I always dry the space thoroughly after cleaning, especially around the sink, bathtub, and toilet.

  • Dust shelves and fixtures regularly.
  • Mop with disinfectant.
  • Dry all wet areas thoroughly.

Minimizing Clutter

Next, I reduce clutter to limit silverfish hiding spots.

Items like old newspapers, books, and cardboard boxes are ideal for silverfish to nest and breed.

Therefore, I sort through my belongings and discard what I no longer need, especially paper goods.

For essential documents or reading materials, I store them in airtight containers or, better yet, digitize them to eliminate paper usage wherever possible.

This proactive approach not only makes my space look and feel better but also deters silverfish by removing their preferred habitats.

  • Discard unnecessary paper items.
  • Store important documents in airtight containers.
  • Aim for a paperless environment when possible.

Food Source Elimination

Silverfish are attracted to various food sources in the bathroom, often those rich in starches and cellulose.

My advice is to meticulously eliminate these sources to deter them effectively.

Secure Food Storage

I always ensure to store dry foods in airtight sealed containers.

This not only keeps food fresh but also prevents the aroma from attracting silverfish to the bathroom.

It’s critical to remember that pet food is also a target, so I store it similarly in sealed containers to eliminate open invitations for these pests.

Remove Paper and Fabric Attractants

I’ve found that removing excess paper and fabric from the bathroom is crucial. The starch present in them draws silverfish.

It’s important to keep things like cardboard boxes, books, and extra toilet paper out of the bathroom since they provide the perfect feast for silverfish.

When it comes to clothes and upholstery, I ensure to regularly clean and vacuum these items. This minimizes the build-up of enticing cellulose for silverfish to feed on.

Removing Moisture Sources

Ventilation Improvements

The first step I take in drying out the bathroom is improving ventilation.

Silverfish are attracted to humidity, so increasing air circulation is key.

I ensure that my bathroom has an exhaust fan and it’s running during and after I shower.

This helps to move damp air out and bring dry air in, effectively reducing the excess moisture that silverfish love.

For added measure, I sometimes keep a window open for a short while if the weather permits, further aiding in ventilation and reducing humidity.

Using Dehumidifiers

Another tactic I employ is the use of a dehumidifier.

This device is excellent for absorbing excess moisture, making the environment less inviting for pests.

I strategically place a dehumidifier in my bathroom, especially in known damp areas.

This keeps the space consistently dry, making it inhospitable for silverfish.

I recommend using a hygrometer to monitor the bathroom’s humidity levels.

I aim to maintain humidity less than 50% in my bathroom as this makes the bathroom unattractive to silverfish and many other bathroom bugs.

Sealing Entry Points

When targeting silverfish infestations, I always focus on denying them access by sealing potential entry points. This preventative measure is crucial because even with the best repellents, if these pests can enter freely, they’ll keep coming back.

Caulking Cracks and Openings

I begin by thoroughly examining my bathroom for cracks and openings that might serve as entryways for silverfish.

Common problem areas include gaps around baseboards, plumbing fixtures, and inside bathroom cabinets.

Once I identify these areas, I use a caulk gun to apply a caulking sealant, effectively closing these small openings.

Here’s a quick list of the steps I take:

  • Inspect: Closely check all corners and crevices.
  • Clean: Remove any dirt or old caulk for better adhesion.
  • Apply Caulk: Use silicone-based caulk for wet areas.

Ensure that you smoothly apply the caulk, and it covers the entire crack.

Repairing and Sealing Windows

Silverfish also find their way in through window frames, which can be less obvious as points of entry.

Windows in the bathroom might have small fissures or may not close properly due to wear and tear.

To correct this, I check the windows for any damage and:

Fix the Seals: Replace any worn-out weather stripping.

Caulk the Perimeter: Apply caulk around the window frame both inside and out.

By taking the time to seal these specific areas, I make my bathroom less inviting to silverfish and prevent their return, maintaining a pest-free environment.

Natural Repellents

I’ve found that strong scents of vinegar, cinnamon, cedar oil, and essential oils like lavender and citrus repel silverfish.

A simple method is to use cotton balls soaked in these oils and place them in strategic areas.

Dried bay leaves also serve as a deterrent due to their pungent scent.

Another natural repellent that works well is cedarwood essential oil; its smell is offensive to silverfish, which helps to keep them away.

Cinnamon: Scatter sticks or powder in drawers and cabinets.

Essential Oils: Apply a few drops on cotton balls and distribute them throughout the bathroom.

Bay Leaves: Place all the leaves in corners and under bathroom fixtures.

Cedar Oil: Use in a diffuser or mix with water in a spray bottle for easier application.

I always remind homeowners to ensure that whatever method they choose is safe for their household and that they follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using any chemical products.

But there’s a catch. Essential oils can impact some people negatively. Read the instructions and consult a physician before handling essential oils.

Trapping and Monitoring

No pest removal method is complete if you are not monitoring the area for a re-infestation.

When tackling a silverfish infestation, I focus on trapping and monitoring as a crucial step to proactively get onto the offensive.

It helps to get rid of them by repeating the above steps before the situation gets beyond control.

Sticky traps and baits allow me to keep an eye on the return of silverfish.

Using Sticky Traps

I start by strategically placing sticky traps in areas where silverfish are likely to travel.

These traps consist of a sticky board that prevents them from escaping once they step onto the surface.

For optimal results, I ensure the traps line the edges of bathroom walls and near potential entry points.

It’s best to check these traps regularly, which helps me monitor the infestation and determine if it’s increasing or decreasing.

Baiting Silverfish

I’ve found that baiting silverfish is an effective method to attract and trap them.

A simple yet effective bait is using a glass jar lined with tape to provide traction for the silverfish to climb.

Inside the jar, I place bait such as bread or flour at the bottom to lure them in.

However, I also give the jars interior a coating of cooking oil or Vaseline so that silverfish slip back inside the jar while trying to crawl out.

This homemade trap allows me to catch them without the use of harmful chemicals.

It’s important to replace the bait periodically and clean the jar between uses to maintain the trap’s effectiveness.

Many folks keep newspaper rolls with food inside them to draw silverfish into the rolls. But I found this method ineffective because silverfish can easily crawl out of the rolls.

Professional Pest Control

My first line of defense to prevent silverfish infestations is to take proactive steps to make my bathroom less attractive to them.

In my experience, tackling a silverfish problem can sometimes be beyond my own capabilities, particularly when infestations are severe.

That’s when I turn to professional pest control experts who can apply more effective treatments and preventive strategies.

When to Call an Exterminator

I call an exterminator when I notice the signs of a significant silverfish infestation in my bathroom that I cannot manage myself.

This includes finding multiple silverfish regularly or spotting damage to bathroom items such as wallpaper, books, or textiles.

Pest control professionals assess the situation thoroughly, often identifying the extent of the infestation more accurately than I can.

They then deploy a range of strategies, such as traps, chemical treatments, or even non-toxic methods, to resolve the silverfish problem.


You’ll need a multifaceted approach of both chemicals and natural alternatives to get rid of silverfish in the bathroom.

Reducing the humidity in your bathroom is essential, as these pests thrive in damp conditions.

You can achieve this by improving ventilation, repairing leaks, and keeping surfaces dry.

Besides moisture control, it’s important to seal cracks and crevices to prevent their entry and regularly clean to minimize food sources that may attract them.

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