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Does Washing Clothes Kill Silverfish Eggs? [5 How-To Steps]

To kill silverfish eggs in your clothes, begin by separating clothing by color. Then, wash each separate type of clothing in the hottest water that is safe for the garments. If the garments are dryer-safe, dry them on high heat afterward. Heat will help to kill silverfish eggs. Any clothes that must be dry cleaned should be taken to a dry cleaner that uses PERC for dry cleaning, in order to make sure all the silverfish are killed. Once your clothes are cleaned, store them in a closet with cedar and/or lavender scent repellents. These smells will repel silverfish and keep them from laying eggs on your clothes.

Does washing clothes kill silverfish eggs?

Can Silverfish Infest Clothes?

Silverfish will eat clothes and lay their eggs on clothing. A silverfish infestation can cause holes in clothes because the insects eat through fabric. As a silverfish infestation grows, they will lay more eggs on your clothes. This leads to more silverfish and more damage to your clothes.

  • Silverfish feed on clothes.
  • It is common for silverfish to lay eggs on clothing.
  • Clothing that has been worn before storage is more likely to be infested with silverfish.
  • Clean clothing is less likely to attract silverfish.

Clothing that is dirty or has food residue on it when it is stored is more likely to attract silverfish. So, it’s essential to wash your clothes to kill off silverfish and repel them in the future. Dry-clean-only fabrics should be cleaned and stored promptly after use, to prevent attracting silverfish.

Are Silverfish Eggs Visible?

Silverfish eggs are visible if you look closely. The eggs are 1 millimeter long, oval-shaped, and are usually white or yellowish-brown in color. Often, silverfish eggs are laid in clusters, so they may be visible in groups.

  • In some cases, you can spot silverfish eggs with the naked eye.
  • Silverfish eggs are oval-shaped or round, can be white or yellow-brown, and are 1 millimeter long.
  • Silverfish eggs can be laid in clusters of up to 20 eggs.
  • It is common for silverfish to lay their eggs in hidden folds of clothing, so they can be hard to see.

Just because you can’t see silverfish eggs on your clothing doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Silverfish may lay their eggs in pockets, under collars, or in other folds of clothing. If you’ve spotted silverfish in and around your clothes—or if there are mysterious holes chewed in your clothing—you need to treat your clothing to kill silverfish eggs.

5 Steps to Kill Silverfish Eggs in Clothes

Silverfish infestations are a nuisance and can damage your clothing. Luckily, there are several ways to end a silverfish infestation. To keep your clothing safe from silverfish, follow these steps to clean and protect your clothes.

Separate Your Clothing

Begin by separating clothing into four different piles: lights, darks, delicates, and dry-clean-only. Whites and other light colors should go in the “lights” pile. Dark-colored and black clothing should go in the “darks” pile. Any garments that require a gentle wash cycle should go in the “delicates” pile. Finally, any clothing that is dry-clean-only should be separated from the rest. These garments will be taken to a dry cleaner at a later step.

  • Separate all your clothing into lights, darks, delicates, and dry-clean-only.
  • It’s essential to clean all your clothes to kill all silverfish eggs in your closet.
  • Do not mix the different piles of clothing together when washing or drying.

Do not combine these piles when washing and drying in later steps. Your first load of wash can be lights, followed by darks, and so on. This prevents color bleed and damage to your clothes. You want to kill silverfish eggs without destroying your wardrobe.

Wash on a High Temperature

Wash each type of clothing (except dry-clean-only clothing) in a washing machine at the hottest temperature that is safe for the clothes. Lights and darks are typically safe to wash on your washing machine’s hottest temperature. Delicates may require cooler water. However, hot water is always best because it helps to kill silverfish eggs.

  • Wash each type of clothing at the hottest washing machine setting that is safe for the clothes.
  • Use the strongest wash setting for lights and darks.
  • Delicate garments may require cooler water and/or a more gentle wash cycle than other garments.
  • Use standard laundry detergent—no special soap or bleach is necessary.

Use your preferred detergent when washing clothes to kill silverfish eggs. The heat, soap, and agitation of the water will work to kill the silverfish eggs. There is no need to use bleach or any other more powerful detergents.

Dry on High Heat

After washing, dry your clothing thoroughly in a dryer. Just like washing, use the highest heat setting that is safe for the clothing. Like most insects, silverfish are killed by high temperatures. If any silverfish eggs survived the wash cycle, the dryer will kill them.

  • Use a dryer to dry your clothes—set it to the highest heat that is safe for the clothing type.
  • The high heat of the dryer will kill any silverfish eggs that survived the wash.
  • If clothes are damp after drying, run a second dryer cycle to make sure they are heated enough to kill the silverfish eggs.

In many cases, dryers are better for killing silverfish eggs than the washing machine. If you want to be extra sure that the silverfish eggs are heated and the larva inside is killed, run a second dryer cycle to heat your clothes. 30–45 minutes of exposure to high heat in a dryer will kill silverfish eggs.

Dry Clean Specialty Clothes

Any dry-clean-only clothes must be professionally laundered to kill silverfish eggs. Choose a dry cleaner that uses PERC (pronounced like “perk”) to clean the clothes. This chemical compound is strong enough to kill silverfish eggs easily. In some cases, insect eggs may survive “organic dry cleaning” processes.

  • Take your clothing to a dry cleaner that uses PERC. This chemical will kill silverfish eggs.
  • Organic dry cleaning methods are not guaranteed to kill silverfish eggs.
  • Since silverfish are more likely to infest dry-clean-only clothes, make sure all of these garments are dry-cleaned.

Silverfish are more likely to infest silk, wool, and other dry-clean-only clothing. This is because this clothing is cleaned less often. Food residue, or even the natural oils from your skin, can draw silverfish to these garments. So, preserve your best clothing by making certain it is dry cleaned quickly after use.

Use Silverfish Repellents in Your Closet

Silverfish are naturally driven away by the scents of cedar and lavender. Once you’ve washed your clothing to kill off the silverfish eggs, add some silverfish repellents to your storage area. You can place lavender sachets in drawers, pockets, and on closet shelves. You can also hang cedar blocks among your clothes to ward off silverfish.

  • Silverfish will be repelled from your clothing by lavender and cedar scents.
  • These lavender sachets can be used in drawers and closets to drive away silverfish.
  • Hang these cedar blocks among your clothes to drive off silverfish.
  • Using silverfish repellents will prevent them from laying eggs on your clothes.
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Because silverfish are repelled by natural scents, using these repellents means silverfish won’t lay eggs on your clothing in the future. Lavender and cedar are also strong enough to prevent adult silverfish from eating your clothes. So, you won’t have to worry about silverfish eggs or clothing damage going forward.

Will Silverfish Eat Clean Clothes?

Silverfish will sometimes eat clean clothes, especially those that have been treated with starch. The starch on the clothing smells like food to silverfish, so they will chew holes in your clothing in order to consume the starch. In other cases, silverfish rarely eat clean clothes.

  • Silverfish are more likely to eat clean clothes if they have been treated with starch.
  • Clothing that is dirty or has food residue is much more likely to attract hungry silverfish.
  • Clean, unstarched clothing is not likely to be eaten by silverfish.

It is very common for silverfish to eat clothes that have been stained with food. Food that smells starchy or sugary attracts silverfish. So, dirty clothes are more likely to cause a silverfish infestation. By cleaning your clothes regularly and avoiding the use of starch, you can lower the risk of silverfish eating your clothes.

Does the Dryer Kill Silverfish Eggs?

Washing and drying clothes can kill silverfish eggs and help end a silverfish infestation. In order to get rid of silverfish in your closet for good, follow these steps:

  • Separate your clothes into lights, darks, delicates, and dry-clean-only.
  • Wash lights, darks, and delicates in a washing machine on the highest temperature that is safe for the clothing type.
  • Dry your clothing on the highest heat that is safe for the clothes.
  • Have all dry-clean-only clothes professionally laundered by a dry cleaner that uses PERC.
  • Store your clothing with lavender and cedar scent repellents to prevent silverfish from laying eggs on your clothing again.

This simple 5-step system will destroy silverfish eggs, remove all silverfish residue from your clothing, and prevent silverfish from returning. Within just a few hours your closet will be a no-silverfish zone.

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