What are they?
Silverfish are tiny light grey and blue wingless insects that can grow to ½ inches long. Found anywhere humidity levels are high, they thrive in cool, dark, damp locations like attics, closets, baseboards, and bathroom fixtures. Silverfish do eat clothes, and they love to nestle into your warm bulky textiles as much as you do.
What do silverfish eat?
Silverfish feast on a diet of starch, sugar, and protein making linen, cotton, viscose, rayon and silk prime targets. Never store items starched—always wash before tucking previously-starched fabrics into your drawers or closet. Keep in mind that our sweat contains proteins, so putting worn garments away is also a no-go.
What's the damage?
Silverfish gnaw at the surface of textiles, leaving garments with a shaved appearance. Other signs of damage include irregular holes and small yellow silverfish stains.
How to protect clothes from silverfish?
When it comes to preventing silverfish holes in clothes, proper storage is key. First, always wash your garments before putting them away with the right fabric-specific detergent. (You can even wash silk and handwash wool without dry cleaning with our guides.) These insects are attracted to perspiration, perfume, and body oils, so not washing your clothing is like inviting them to a delicious dinner!
After washing, make sure your storage area is completely clean and dry. We love wiping closets and storage areas often with our high-powered home cleanser, Scented Vinegar. For long-term storage, it’s a good idea to wrap storage boxes in nylon netting to prevent silverfish from entering. There is no protein in nylon, which makes it indigestible to silverfish. Avoid cardboard, paper, and plastic storage. Silverfish love snacking on paper and cardboard, especially those with glueing, and plastic encourages mold-inducing moisture buildup.
Does washing clothes kill silverfish eggs?
Washing and drying your clothing at high temperatures will help kill silverfish and silverfish eggs in your clothes. (Avoid washing delicate fibers like silk, woolens, and delicate synthetics with hot water and always air dry.)
Remember, what smells sweet to you is toxic to them.
Cedar and lavender emit a smell that is noxious to silverfish, and will prevent them from eating your clothes. These aromas act as a natural moth and bug repellent. Try adding Lavender Pouch to your garment storage to drive them away, and spritz items often with our Wool & Cashmere Spray, which has a cedar-based scent.
What is the silverfish removal process like?
Silverfish can't withstand freezing temperatures. To get rid of silverfish in your wardrobe, and closet isolate the affected garments immediately, then freeze them for 72 hours in plastic storage bags or containers. After, wash with the appropriate fabric specific detergent to get rid of silverfish residue.