How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles: A Step by Step Guide

If you have a carpet beetle infestation, don’t panic. These little pests are destructive and annoying, but they are relatively easy to get rid of.

If you take the advice on this page and follow all of the steps, you will soon be on your way to answering that all important question: how to get rid of carpet beetles?

What are Carpet Beetles?

how to get rid of carpet beetles

An Adult Carpet Beetle

Carpet beetles are small pests that cause damage by eating your carpets, clothing, upholstery and just about anything that they come into contact with.

Carpet beetles feed on organic materials such as animal and human hair, plants, and any materials made from animals such as wool, silk, leather and fur.

Adult carpet beetles do not cause damage by feeding, this is done when they are in the larval stage.  Larvae prefer to feed in quiet, dark places which makes it harder to spot them.

Types of Carpet Beetles

There are 3 main types of carpet beetles –

Varied and furniture carpet beetles are smaller than black carpet beetles. Black carpet beetles are the most common and widespread, and are also the most destructive.

Can Carpet Beetles Fly?

Carpet beetles can fly. This makes it very easy for them to enter your house through an open window or door. They are attracted to colorful flowers and plants that may be around your house, this brings them close so that they can easily enter your home.

How Do I know if I have Carpet Beetles?

Carpet Beetle Larva

Carpet Beetle Larva

Carpet beetles are destructive little creatures. You will know if you have carpet beetles because your clothing and other fabrics will have holes in them. Carpet beetles tend to eat large areas of fabric which creates large holes and makes them easier to spot, unlike other pests such as moths that eat smaller, more spread out holes.

Fecal pellets and shed skins from the larvae are also sure signs that you have a carpet beetle infestation.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Step 1: Identify the Source

The most likely places for carpet beetles to be are in closets, insulation, walls, drawers, attics and other hidden away places. This is because the carpet beetle likes to feed in dark, secluded places and does not like to be disturbed. Couches, carpets, rugs and large pieces of furniture are also ideal places for the insects to feed.

If there is a large concentration of the pests in one area of your home, along with a high number of shed skins and fecal pellets, this is a good indication that you have found the source of the infestation and can now set about getting rid of the destructive pests.

Step 2: Remove the Carpet Beetles

Once you have verified that you have an infestation of carpet beetles and have identified the source, the next step is to remove them from your home. There are a number of ways to do this, which are outlined below. Please not that if you follow the first two steps properly you will not usually need to use a chemical treatment to get rid of carpet beetles.

Vacuum Every Carpet

shark navigator lift away professionalThe first and most important stage of pest removal is to vacuum every surface in your home. This removes the beetles completely, and also removes the larvae and eggs. Pay special attention to the area that you believe is the source of the infestation, but don’t neglect the rest of the surfaces.

Any upholstered furniture should also be vacuumed, along with any fabric surfaces that cannot be washed in a washing machine.

You should vacuum every day. You should really try to vacuum several times a day as this will ensure that you get all the little creatures that keep appearing. As they prefer to feed in quiet, dark places this means it can be hard to reach them all, so vacuum as much as possible.

A vacuum that enables you to get into every small and hidden area of your house is recommended. Read my Shark Navigator Lift Away review for an example of a vacuum that is best for stairs and small spaces.

Wash all Fabrics

All fabrics that have not been stored in airtight containers should be washed in hot, soapy water. This includes clothes, bedding, towels, throws and any other fabrics that can fit into your washing machine.

For items that cannot fit into a washing machine, such as carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture, a steam cleaner can be used or you can hire a professional to do it for you.

Carpet Beetle Treatments

If you followed the above steps, after about a week you should hopefully be rid of your carpet beetle infestation. However if you can still see the signs of the unwanted pests then you may need to use a specialised treatment.

Boric acidborax boric acid is a recommended treatment as it kills almost any insect, while being completely harmless to humans. You simply spread it all around the affected area and then vacuum it up after a short time. As Boric acid can cause bleaching, you have to be careful that you don’t bleach your fabrics. It is recommended that you leave the powder on your carpet for no more than two hours.

If you have dark fabrics and don’t want to risk the bleaching effect that can be caused by Boric acid, you can use a more traditional chemical insecticide. Try to choose one that specifically mentions carpet beetles, however anything with chlorpyrifos, bendiocarb, or allethrin will be the most effective.

As with all chemicals, always take the necessary precautions when applying insecticide to an infested area. Don’t use it in a small confined space, open windows where possible and wear gloves and safety glasses.

Step 3: Preventing Carpet Beetles

Once you manage to rid your home of carpet beetles, you definitely don’t want the pesky insects to return. Luckily there are a few things you can do that will decrease the chance of an infestation reoccurring.

Buy Synthetic Materials

One of the easiest ways to prevent carpet beetles from invading your home is to fill it with synthetic products. This means no wool, leather, fur, feathers or any other organic materials. As carpet beetles exclusively eat organic products, this is the best way to prevent carpet beetles.

Regularly Clean your Home

It seems obvious, but regularly vacuuming and steam cleaning the fabrics in your home is an essential step in the prevention of carpet beetles, and any other similar pest for that matter.

Human and animal hair and skin are the perfect meal for a hungry carpet beetle and if you remove it from your environment, they will be forced to look elsewhere for their next meal.

Close Doors and Windows

Open doors and windows are a free ticket into your home for carpet beetles and other pests. Try to keep them closed as much as possible. If keeping your doors and windows closed is not an option, for example if you live in a warm climate, install window and door screens and regularly inspect them for any signs of damage.

Do you Need Professional Help?

If you have followed all the steps above and you still have a carpet beetle infestation, it may be time to call in an expert. The carpet beetle can be a resilient beast, especially the eggs, and sometimes a pest control professional will be needed to finish the job.

How to get rid of carpet beetles is a popular question as a lot of people seem to have this problem, but the solution needn’t be hard to find. If you have followed the steps on this page you will hopefully be in a position to liberate your flooring and other fabric surfaces from the scurrying creepy-crawly that is the carpet beetle.

Your quest to do away with these destructive insects by whatever method necessary will be a short and painless one, and you will be able to go back to a carpet beetle free environment forever!


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