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Essential Oils To Get Rid of Silverfish? Most Effective Oils

A silverfish moving along the floor next to the baseboard.

Chemicals should always be the last resort for getting rid of silverfish because they can harm people, pets, and the environment.

There are several natural options available, as well as traps that don’t involve pesticides.

Can you use essential oils to get rid of silverfish? Essential oils are a great way to repel silverfish. They might not kill them, but they will do a pretty good job of keeping them away from the area. You can make a DIY spray or sachets to place in areas you don’t want them.

Essential oils have tons of uses. Let’s take a look at how you can use them to fight off silverfish.

Are Essential Oils Effective?

Essential oils have been used for centuries for a variety of purposes, including aromatherapy, preserving food, and repelling insects.

Oils are derived from plants and are generally considered to be safe, but some precautionary measures should be taken since oils that haven’t been diluted can irritate the skin or cause poisoning if they’re ingested.

Many essential oils are considered to be effective as pesticides, and some of them can stunt an insect’s growth, inhibit reproduction rate, and kill the ones that consume the oil.

However, there haven’t been enough studies to determine whether or not essential oils and the plants they come from can replace other less-natural methods of repelling.

There’s some promising research that Cryptomeria japonica, or the Japanese cedar, is a great way to repel silverfish.

In this study, both small and large amounts of Japanese cedar oil repelled silverfish, but it didn’t kill them.

As with every study, there are many variables that might change the outcome if you try the same thing in your home. 

Overall, it’s uncertain whether or not essential oils are truly effective as pesticides, but in many cases, they have been shown to work pretty well.

If you’re looking for a natural solution, essential oils are at least worth trying.

(If you’re a bit skeptical, that’s okay; head on over to our article “How To Get Rid of Silverfish” for other options to banish these bugs from your residence.)

Essential Oils That Repel Silverfish

The following oils have been used to repel silverfish with a pretty good success rate.

Many oils repel silverfish because of the smell. If the scent is strong enough, the silverfish will stay far away from them.

  • Basil.
  • Cedarwood
  • Cinnamon.
  • Clove.
  • Japanese cedar.
  • Lavender.
  • Lemon.
  • Lime.
  • Orange.
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary.
  • Taiwan cypress.
  • Tea Tree.

It should be noted that one study of the essential oil from the Taiwan cypress tree showed that it quite effectively killed silverfish.

The oil was sprayed in the air of homes, and silverfish were dead within eight hours.

However, this tree species is endangered due to rapid harvesting since it’s so popular to use in Taiwanese buildings, so you may not be able to find and purchase the oil anywhere.

How to Use Oils as Repellent

Essential oils are often too potent to use on their own and should be diluted before they’re used. Using dried leaves instead of the oils is also an option.


Making a spray is an efficient, effective way to use essential oils and dilute them at the same time. 

Carrier oils, such as jojoba, sweet almond, or olive oil, are most frequently used to dilute the oils.

You can also use vinegar because the acids it contains mixes well with the oils.

Vinegar is better to use if you’re making a spray because it’s easier to spray out of the bottle.

Many people don’t like to use vinegar as the carrier because it smells so strong. Essential oils might not be able to overcome the vinegar scent.

The spray you make should be pretty potent but not so strong that it irritates you or smells bad. Choose one of the recommended oils that you enjoy the scent of to repel silverfish.

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The basic recipe for essential oil spray is:

  • ¼ cup white vinegar.
  • ½ cup water.
  • 35 drops of essential oils.

You can choose whichever essential oils you want, and you can use more than one. 

A recommended mix is ten drops of cedarwood, cinnamon, and orange oils and five drops of lemon oil. Feel free to change this recipe to your liking.

Tip: Use dark glass spray bottles, like these, as essential oils are not compatible with all types of plastic.

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The spray should be applied daily for at least two weeks in areas where silverfish are usually found.

This can be in bathrooms, living rooms, attics, basements, closets, and kitchens. 

For tips on exactly where you’re likely to find silverfish and how to prevent them, read “How Do You Prevent Silverfish.”

If the spray doesn’t seem to be effective, try changing out the oils and how many drops you use of each kind.

Don’t stray too far away from thirty-five total drops though, because you don’t need to make the mixture too potent.


Sachets are perfect for areas you don’t want to get wet with a DIY spray.

They’re dry and highly fragrant, which is perfect for keeping your books, clothing, and other favorite silverfish meals safe from these hungry pests.

To make a sachet, you’ll need:

  • Sachet bag (find them here on Amazon).
  • Dried herbs.
  • Dried spices.
  • Essential oil (optional).

Place the dried herbs and spices in the sachet bag. Place a few drops of essential oil inside to make it extra potent.

You can hang the sachets from hangers or hooks or place them on shelves near where the silverfish like to congregate.

You can also put one on the floor in the corner of the room if that’s where silverfish often are seen. (Read this to find out why you have them in the first place.)

A cloth sachet bag is recommended, but you can choose the mesh style if you’d prefer.

If you choose the mesh bag, you might not want to add essential oil because of the possibility of it leaking through.

The cloth bag will absorb it and prevent it from ruining any surfaces.

Similar to the spray, you can use whichever ingredients you like the scent of as long as it’s recommended to use for silverfish.

Any of the essential oils in their dried plant form will work. Many of the herbs and spices can be used from your spice rack, like basil, cloves, or rosemary.

Depending on what you put in them, sachets can be quite potent. Make sure you like the scent of it before you put it in the room.

They’ll last longer than a spray, so they can be an efficient option.

Other Natural Ways to Get Rid of Silverfish

Essential oils work especially well when combined with other natural options for getting rid of silverfish.

The essential oils act as a repellent, but you can use other methods to trap or kill them.

(Are they dangerous to have in your home? Find the answer here.)

Cedar Rings

Cedar rings can be hung in closets to keep silverfish off of your clothing.

If you use these along with a sachet bag, the scents will be twice as powerful for the silverfish.

Cedar rings aren’t potent to human noses, so the only scent you’ll be able to detect is the sachet or spray you’re using. 

Cedar Sense rings are a great option to choose because they’re small and come with many per pack.

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Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a powder made from fossilized algae that’s mined from the ground.

It isn’t harmful to humans, but the powder cuts through the silverfish’s exoskeleton and eventually dehydrates them and causes them to die. 

You can place this around the baseboards or on surfaces where silverfish usually walk across.

If the essential oils fail to repel a few of them, the diatomaceous earth will kill them.

This bag by HARRIS is a good choice because it comes with a handy duster that will make it easier to apply.

Non-Insecticidal Traps

There are many sticky traps available on the market that trap silverfish with adhesive and don’t use any chemicals, so they’re perfectly safe to use in the home.

We cover more trapping methods for both indoor and outdoor applications as well as basic guidelines to follow to prevent more silverfish from invading your home here, but for now, let’s look at two highly effective options.

The GreenWay Spider & Silverfish Trap is easy to use and will last for a few months or until it fills up with bugs.

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You can also make a DIY jar trap.

You can use a glass jar and wrap double-sided tape on the outside. Place some water and flour inside the jar.

The silverfish will be able to crawl up the taped side to get the bait, but they won’t be able to crawl out of the interior glass surface.

Traps are good to use in addition to essential oils so they can catch the strays that aren’t bothered by the oils.

Using bleach isn’t the answer for everyone and isn’t exactly a trap, but it can have fairly good success rates. We explain how to use this method in this article.

Final Thoughts

Essential oils are known to be effective against silverfish as a home remedy, although there isn’t definite scientific evidence that confirms this to be true.

However, it’s worth trying if you want to avoid using chemicals.

Sachets and sprays are a good way to use essential oils as repellents against silverfish. They’ll also leave your home smelling wonderful. 

Don’t miss our entire collection of silverfish articles to find answers to common questions and learn all about other tips on deterring and eliminating silverfish from your home.