Worried about your carpet beetle problem? We understand. Carpet beetles can be a huge nuisance.
The tiny buggers seem to multiply and ravage your precious belongings overnight! Before you know it, your entire house can become infested (and your carpets, clothing, and furniture damaged beyond repair).
But worry not! We’ll explain how to get rid of carpet beetles and avoid this scenario. There are effective natural (and not so natural) ways to eradicate these insects. So, whatever the severity of the carpet beetle invasion, we‘ve got you covered!
Try the tips below, and your house will once again be carpet-beetle-free!
What Are Carpet Beetles?
Carpet beetles are small, winged insects often mistaken for bed bugs. But carpet beetles are smaller, they’re black, brown or colored in blotchy patterns of orange and brown, and unlike bed bugs, they don’t bite.
The only thing they can do to you, besides ruining your carpet, is cause skin rash if you’re allergic to carpet beetle larvae. Looking like short fuzzy worms, larvae have coarse hair on their bodies that may shed and irritate your skin.
These insects are the most destructive in their larval phase, as larvae love making holes in carpets and other fabric in your home.
So, if you don’t get rid of them on time, you’ll have to say goodbye to your natural-fabric possessions like furs, coats, carpets, and other textiles that they’ll chew through with their tiny jaws.
What Do Carpet Beetles Eat?
Adult carpet beetles live outdoors and feed on the nectar and pollen of flowers.
So, if it isn’t hunger, what attracts carpet beetles in your house?
The answer is simple — their need to nest in their larvae’s favorite food sources — fabrics (though if the opportunity arises, they won’t pass on flour, rice, cereals, or even dead skin).
Carpet beetle larvae feed on a variety of things (e.g., crumbs, lint, pet food, milled products, and especially fabrics). So, don’t expect anything made of natural fibers (e.g., wool, cotton, silk, etc.) to be spared.
The only textiles safe from these “baby bugs“ are the ones entirely made of synthetic materials.
Worst of all, switching your carpet for a hardwood floor in your living room won’t save you from this menace. Your home can still get infested with carpet beetles, as they’re able to move on their own and won’t hesitate to crawl all around your home in search of food.
Where Do Carpet Beetles Hide?
Besides carpets and rugs, you can find signs of carpet beetles‘ unwanted presence in curtains, bedding, clothing, upholstered furniture, and similar items.
Check the dark, undisturbed areas such as closets, attics, basements, or smaller spaces like the underside of your furniture (or behind baseboards). You shouldn’t forget to check your book storage and shelves either. Photographs and books are also on these hellish beetles’ menu.
And don’t be surprised if you encounter a carpet beetle in the kitchen. As we already mentioned, they also like eating grains, flour, and spices, so their making a home in your kitchen or pantry shouldn’t come as a surprise.
What Are the Signs of Carpet Beetles‘ Presence?
The telltale sign of a carpet beetle infestation is damage to natural fabrics in your home. So, if you notice bare spots on fluffy rugs or holes that look like they’ve been chewed through, you can be sure that carpet beetles are behind this.
If your eyesight is good enough, you may also notice cast-off larvae skins or larvae crawling around. Unfortunately, carpet beetle eggs are difficult to spot due to their diminutive size.
Why Do I Have Carpet Beetles?
Do you have a habit of leaving doors and windows to your backyard open while the lights inside are still on? To carpet beetles, this is an open invitation! Especially if you have natural, cotton, or wool curtains around.
There are several things that these bugs love most — light, fabrics, dirt, and pollen-producing plants. This means windowsills full of flower beds are the ultimate magnets for these little pests.
Carpet beetles can fly and crawl into your house, penetrating through vents, cracks, and other crevices. Additionally, you could unknowingly be carrying them in on your clothes (even your furry pets can become their ride).
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Naturally
If you suspect that you have a carpet beetle infestation, it’s important to act ASAP to stop them from doing any more damage to your belongings. You can manage a moderate infestation without using chemicals if you start acting immediately.
Here are a few things you can do:
Vacuum or Steam-Clean Your Fabrics
Don’t leave carpets, rugs, or upholstery unkempt, even if you aren’t using them. Carpet beetles are attracted to dirt and debris, so regular vacuuming is a good way to prevent infestation.
Be sure to also vacuum under furniture and in other hard-to-reach places. It’s even better if you have a steam cleaner. This appliance can help you heat-kill the eggs and larvae before they do any real damage.
Wash Fabrics Regularly
How to get rid of carpet beetle larvae the easiest way? Wash their dwelling on a hot cycle.
Natural fabrics are usually more durable than synthetics when it comes to heat resistance, so don’t hesitate to turn up the heat when washing them. Using a hot cycle (120 °F and higher) effectively kills off the carpet beetle offspring.
But, since heat can make some clothes shrink and fade, read the labels carefully first.
And if your fabrics can’t withstand high temperatures, not all is lost. Giving your curtains, bedding, and clothing a regular cold-water wash is also a great way to get rid of carpet beetle larvae.
Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth Over the Affected Areas
Using diatomaceous earth can also help you get rid of carpet beetles in a pet–safe way.
Diatomaceous earth is a white powder made of fossilized remains of algae-like organisms. It works by absorbing the oils and waxy substances from insects‘ exoskeletons, causing them to dehydrate and die.
To get rid of carpet beetles, simply sprinkle the powder around, wait for a few weeks to work, and then vacuum it up.
Downside — It may take weeks of re-applying to get the results you want and get rid of all the insects.
Tumble Dry and Iron Your Clothes
Now that you know that heat is the weak spot of larvae, you can use it against them. Your dryer can be a carpet beetle-killing machine if used on a high-heat cycle. Ironing is a good option too, but not for every natural material (e.g., bamboo).
So, if carpet beetles made their home on your precious bamboo sheets, it’s better to steam-iron them to avoid damaging the fabric.
Use a Lint Roller
A lint roller can help remove any carpet beetle larvae from your clothing, furniture, and other fabrics. Be sure to roll over the affected area several times to make sure you remove all the larvae.
How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanently
If you’re looking for a more permanent solution for a huge carpet beetle problem, you may need to consider using chemicals. Commercial insecticides and some household chemicals can do the trick, but you have to be careful when applying them if you have children and/or pets.
Powdered Boric Acid
Boric acid is a common ingredient of over-the-counter pest control products, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that it’s often used as an insecticide on its own.
To get rid of carpet beetles using boric acid, simply sprinkle powdered boric acid around the perimeter of your room (or wherever you’ve spotted carpet beetles), vacuum it up after a few hours, and voila! You’re carpet-beetle-free!
This is an excellent method to get rid of carpet beetles in your mattress and blankets. Just bear in mind that boric acid can have a bleaching effect on dark-colored fabrics.
Make a Borax Solution
Borax is another powdered substance derived from boron. It can be found in the laundry aisle of most stores. To make a borax solution, simply mix one cup of borax with one gallon of water.
Then, use a spray bottle to apply the solution to any areas where you’ve seen carpet beetles, and voila! You’ll see this will help you get rid of carpet beetles off the wall and other surfaces in no time.
The cheapest way to kill carpet beetles is to use baking soda. Baking soda powder works the same way as boric acid powder and eliminates the beetles upon contact.
To get rid of these annoying bugs, simply sprinkle baking soda over the affected areas, wait for a couple of hours for it to work, vacuum it up, and that’s it!
Use Naphthalene Balls
Placing naphthalene balls in the fabric is an effective and effortless way to repel moths and other insects, but unfortunately, it’s also toxic.
If there are no house pets around, place a few naphthalene balls in an open container in the affected area. You can also put them in a muslin bag and place them in your closet or drawers.
Naphthalene balls will eliminate a lot more than just carpet beetles. So, you can say goodbye to all kinds of other creepy crawlers.
Hire a Pest Control Professional
If you’re struggling to find the right method to get rid of carpet beetles (or you’re wondering how to get rid of black carpet beetles forever), you can always hire a pest control professional.
Professionals offer a more permanent solution, as they usually use an insecticide capable of killing both the beetles and larvae in no time.
Tip — If you have a serious infestation, you may need to have your home treated multiple times.
How to Prevent Carpet Beetles From Bugging You Ever Again
There’s just one thing you need to do to prevent carpet beetle infestation — keep your home and car clean.
It can be difficult to get rid of carpet beetles in a car because of tight and hard-to-reach spaces. So, your best bet is to repel these critters from it. For this, you can use scented oils (e.g., lavender, peppermint, cedar, clove, or neem oil).
Carpet beetles are attracted to clutter and dirt, so keeping your home clean is an important thing that prevents them from taking up residence there. Make sure to dust and vacuum regularly, and declutter your home to make it as uninviting to carpet beetles as possible.
You should also avoid storing fabrics in dark, unkempt areas that remain undisturbed for longer periods of time. Wash your clothes regularly, and make your pets have a bath frequently during hot weather.
These simple tips can get you rid of carpenter beetles for good. With a little effort, you can enjoy a clean and beetle-free home. So, wait no more and show these little buggers who’s the boss!
Where do carpet beetles come from?
Carpet beetles live on pollen-producing flowers but can easily find their way into your home.
They can invade your house through windows, doors, vents, and chimneys. They also fit through tiny cracks and crevices. What’s more, you and your pet could get them inside without even knowing — by giving them a ride on your clothing/fur.
Are carpet beetles harmful?
Carpet beetles aren’t harmful to humans or animals. However, they can cause a lot of damage to your home if left unchecked. They’ll eat away at carpets, clothing, and furniture. They can also damage other household items such as books and photographs.
Do carpet beetles fly?
Yes, carpet beetles can fly. However, they aren’t strong fliers and will often rest on surfaces before taking off again. This makes them easy to spot if you know what you’re looking for. But they don’t have to fly in to infest your house. They can crawl in through openings and cracks.
Does baking soda kill carpet beetles?
Yes, baking soda powder effectively dehydrates carpet beetles and larvae, killing them instantly. Simply sprinkle it on the affected area, vacuum it up after a few hours, and you’re done! Baking soda is also an affordable way to prevent infestation in the first place.
Does the dryer kill carpet beetles?
If you put the infested fabric on the highest heat cycle setting in a dryer for an hour, the heat will definitely kill carpet beetles and their eggs.
However, this method won’t get all the beetles hiding around your house. So, if you have a lot of carpet beetles in your home, it’s a good idea to use other methods too.
And if the infestation is beyond what you can handle on your own, consult with a professional on how to get rid of carpet beetles or hire them to do the job.