Silverfish in your own home are annoying. Although they are usually not harmful to health, most of those affected find them disgusting. In addition, silverfish, as they are properly called, are a sign of wetness and excessive humidity. The insects are quite easy to fight. However, if the cause of the moisture is not identified and eliminated, they will keep coming back. In the following text you will find out how to proceed in the event of an infestation of silverfish in the bathroom and kitchen and what should be done. Inform yourself!


  • Belongs to the order of Pisces
  • There are about 330 species worldwide, five of them in Central Europe
  • Exist about 200 million years
  • Silver gray streamlined insect
  • Body length about 1 cm
  • 6 legs and 5 feelers
  • Very shy of light, usually only emerges in complete darkness, nocturnal
  • Can live up to 8 years and be adults after 4 months
  • If you see silverfish during the day, they have usually multiplied and there are no longer enough places to hide
  • They stay mainly in dark cracks and joints, like behind baseboards and skirting boards or loose wallpaper
  • They prefer warmth and high humidity, which is why silverfish are often found in bathrooms and kitchens
  • 20 to 30°C and a humidity of 80 to 90 percent are ideal
  • Have a preference for carbohydrates such as sugar and starches
  • They also like glue, book covers, photos, hair, dander and dust mites

Fight silverfish

Silverfish do not pose a health hazard. They are harmless, even useful, because they eat dust mites, but they are disgusting. Silverfish are not disease carriers and do not need to be combated from a medical point of view. Nevertheless, nobody wants them in the apartment, not even the biggest animal lover. Silverfish are fairly easy to deal with, but simply getting rid of them is usually useless. There is a reason why the insects show up and it has to be found. Only when this cause is eliminated, you have permanent peace from the unwelcome subtenants.

Tip: Silverfish infestation can indicate a moisture problem and associated mold growth. This should be investigated, especially if there are many silverfish frolicking about.

Causes of silverfish infestation

Silverfish are mobile animals. They live wherever they find favorable living conditions. In order to colonize an ideal dwelling, they sometimes travel great distances. They get into our houses and apartments through windows and doors, but can also get in through drains and crevices. When they find enough food, colonies form. High temperatures and a humidity of 80 to 90 percent are ideal for this. For a long time, poor hygiene was considered the cause of silverfish.

  • In houses and apartments there are good conditions for silverfish
  • Plenty of food is available as the insects devour textiles, food, dust mites and mold
  • Humans also like temperatures above 20°C
  • In bathrooms, basements and poorly ventilated bedrooms, the humidity is sufficiently high for the silverfish
  • Old buildings without thermal insulation or new buildings that are too well insulated are ideal
  • It is also good if there are many cracks, for example between floorboards or tiles.

Silverfish hiding places

Silverfish are rarely seen during the day. There they hide and wait for darkness. You have to find these hiding places. If the light is suddenly switched on in the dark, the insects scurry away. Most of the time, they quickly go to their hiding place. If possible, try to observe where they disappear to.

  • Behind loose baseboards
  • In dark gaps, for example between tiles, when the grout has broken out
  • Behind loose wallpaper
  • in the drain

Eliminate construction defects

Silverfish are considered good indicators of structural deficiencies. Moisture damage in the building fabric and the resulting mold growth are often the cause. You should get to the bottom of the problem and fix it if possible. Insulation is often necessary. Old buildings in particular still need to be retrofitted. With new buildings it is more likely that they are too well insulated and the moisture cannot escape. But after a few months and intensive airing, this will go away. Then the silverfish usually disappear on their own.

A building surveyor can identify moisture and mold and help you identify the cause of the silverfish infestation.

  • Eliminate cracks and open joints
  • Fasten loose wallpaper correctly
  • Seal cracks and gaps with silicone
  • Seal leaky windows
  • Seal leaky roofs
  • Insulate basements (walls) if they are damp
Tip: Anyone who buys or sells a property should make sure that there is no silverfish infestation, or at least not a serious one. Big problems can arise from this.

Ventilate properly

If silverfish live in the house or apartment, it does not mean that you are unclean. Rather, it is a clear sign that the humidity is too high. In most accommodations, the humidity tends to be too low, but it can also be too high, especially in old, poorly insulated houses and in new ones that are too well insulated and poorly or poorly ventilated. This in turn encourages mold growth. If structural defects have been eliminated, ventilation must be carried out regularly. Ventilate well two to three times a day. Windows should be properly opened, not just tilted, for at least 10 minutes. Cross ventilation is not bad either, if windows and doors are open on opposite sides and the air can blow through properly. Draft is the quickest way to

Do not dry laundry in closed rooms

Of course, it is generally better to let laundry dry in the fresh air. That is not always possible. Not every house has a corresponding garden or drying room. Sometimes you have no choice but to dry your laundry indoors. However, this should generally only be done in rooms that can be well ventilated and never in windowless rooms. The humidity there is much too high and the air cannot dry either.

  • Indoor pools are often inhabited by silverfish.
  • The moist air cannot escape
  • Mold grows quickly
  • The living conditions are ideal for silverfish
  • Leave the door open as often as possible
  • Do not hang damp bath towels and bath mats in the room

Prevent silverfish

There are some very simple things that can be done against the insects. Cleanliness is first and foremost the be-all and end-all. Having the insects in the house does not mean that you are dirty, a few hairs and dander are enough to feed silverfish. If you have discovered any, you have to pay meticulous attention to cleanliness so that the little animals are deprived of their food base. There are also some home remedies against the troublemakers. The trade offers sticky traps that bring help quickly. However, if you have children or pets, you must be careful with them.

Absolute cleanliness
If silverfish cannot find anything to eat, they cannot exist. The infested room must therefore be kept absolutely clean. Daily vacuuming and mopping will help combat it. Hair and anything that can be eaten must be removed before dark.

  • Vacuum and mop daily
  • Clear drains of hair and the like
  • Add vinegar cleaner or lemon extract to the cleaning water, the insects don’t like the smell
  • Pack food in tightly sealable containers
  • Food must not be accessible.

Sticky traps Sticky
traps are inexpensive and often efficient means of controlling silverfish. In the traps, which work on the basis of glue, feeding attractants or sex scents are used. They lure the insects into the traps. However, I have also read about many negative experiences with the traps. They would bring nothing. The only thing that helps here is to try again, as is often the case. There are different providers. You just have to try it out until you find something helpful.

sprays Bug sprays also help. One should spray directly into the hiding places and along the edges. However, insecticides should be used with caution. The substances they contain are often not only harmful to insects. Such resources are often used far too laxly.

Home remedies for silverfish

You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to get rid of insects. It can also be done with very simple means. Wet wipes are a good alternative to sticky traps and the like and are also completely safe for children.

  • Coat cardboard strips with honey. The silverfish like it, but stick to it
  • Lay out a damp cotton cloth and, if possible, top with some grated potatoes. In the morning you can fold up the rag and shake it out in the open, along with the insects.
  • Sprinkle a mixture of borax and sugar in a ratio of 1:1
  • Mix the baking powder and sugar and sprinkle into the cracks. Sugar is an attractant and baking soda kills
  • The scent of sal ammoniac drives silverfish away, but they just move on to the next room until the smell dissipates. It doesn’t really help. In addition, ammonia is not harmless.
  • Diatomaceous earth, a fine sharp-edged lime dust from microscopic plankton organisms. The dust slits open the silverfish’s shell, causing them to dry out. Diatomaceous earth must not be inhaled. Wear gloves and face mask!!! Pest controllers like to work with the agent and should be left to them to deal with it.

Predators – Common catchy tune and spiders

Also important:

  • Do not leave pet food out at night
  • No groceries, of course
  • Ventilate the bathroom well after showering and bathing
  • Clean bathroom before bed (remove hair, etc.)
  • Ventilate the bedroom properly in the mornings and evenings
  • Do not dry laundry indoors

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is more suitable for controlling silverfish, home remedies or chemical agents?
You should always be careful with chemicals. The chemical club does not always have to be used immediately. Unfortunately, far too often it is resorted to without thinking about the ingredients and what they can do. I would definitely try the home remedies first. They are harmless and much, much cheaper. It may take a little longer to fix the problem, but it’s a better way for the environment, your family + pets, and your wallet.

Silverfish in the bathtub are not uncommon. Can the insects get into the sink or tub through the siphon?
Silverfish cannot swim, let alone dive. They look for moisture in the bathtub or sink and get in quite easily. They can’t get out because they can’t climb the smooth walls. You are trapped.

How do you get silverfish out of old infested books?
You have to kill them. You can do this by putting the book in a plastic bag and sealing it tightly. Then it goes in the freezer for a few days.

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