How to get rid of carpet beetles using apple cider vinegar, boric acid and diatomaceous earth

Concerned about how to get rid of carpet beetles? We've got the lowdown on the best ways to control this creepy pest with boric acid, diatomaceous earth and fog.

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If you're trying to figure out how to get rid of carpet beetles, you've come to the right place.

You'll probably not notice their presence but they usually hitch rides on bunches of flowers, clothing, pet's fur or just fly through your open windows. Once they've well and truly settled in, they'll set up their new home to lay their eggs. Larvae will hatch and start wreaking havoc on your rugs, carpet, upholstery and sometimes your favorite threads too – nothing made from organic matter is safe.

Not sure these are the right pests you're suffering with? Check our how to identify bugs guide to find the wrong 'uns in question.

Home improvement guru, Bob Vila has more on the noble carpet beetle:

'In the adult stage, these creepy culprits are less than ¼ inch long and either black or a combination of tan, white, and black. They tend to congregate around windows and doorways—so check these areas if you suspect an infestation.'

'While irksome, the adult carpet beetles are harmless; only in the larva stage are they a threat to natural fibers. The tiny worm-like larvae favor dark areas like closets and behind baseboards, and they’re difficult to spot with the naked eye.' 

So without further ado, we'll get right to the best ways to rid yourself of these pesky household pests. 

child walking on clean grey carpet

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Deep clean your home

When working out how to get rid of carpet beetles, you should first give your home a a spring clean by following the steps below: 

  • Give your home a thorough vacuuming which will remove carpet beetles and larvae from your carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture. Don't forget to throw the bag away in the outdoor trash can. Consider steam cleaning to really give your home a good going over. 
  • Washing all your clothes and sheets on a hot cycle with detergent is recommended, even if the carpet beetles haven't been in contact with them. They are stubborn little critters so a hot, soapy wash should sort them out.  
  • If you've identified holes in your jumpers, you'll be wanting to throw them out anyway but it's important to toss any infested fabrics in the outdoor trash because if you keep them you can't truly eliminate the infestation. 

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Kill carpet beetles with apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a myriad of amazing benefits, and it turns out it's also great natural way to get rid of everything from flies to carpet beetles. 

A good way to treat large areas of carpet is to first give it a vacuum and then dab vinegar on a large cloth and dilute with some water and apply to problem areas. This will not only kill them but also repel them from coming back as they loathe the acidity of ACP.

You can also make a very simple vinegar spray to use on harder to reach places, like closets and under furniture. 

Simply pour the vinegar into an empty spray bottle, mix with a little water and mist the vinegar onto the larvae.

Use natural boric acid to get rid of carpet beetles

Boric acid can be used as a poison and comes in a powder form which can be sprinkled on to carpets and comb into the fibers. Wait for a couple of hours and vacuum it up.

You can also make a boric acid spray to use in hard to reach areas. Here's how:

Warning: Boric acid has a bleaching effect, so avoid using it on dark materials. Keep away from pets and small humans. 

  • Add 1 tbsp of boric acid to 2 cups of hot water to a spray bottle.
  • Stir until the powder fully dissolves. 
  • Spritz your curtains, upholstery, skirting boards, and dark nooks where carpet beetle larvae choose to hang out.

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Use diatomaceous earth to dry out carpet beetles

Working as a natural desiccant, diatomaceous earth comes in powder form and works by drying out the insects. Like boric acid above, sprinkle over the areas where you've seen infestations and vacuum up after a few hours. You can also place this in the back of cupboards and other hard to reach areas. 

Warning: Make sure you buy food grade diatomaceous earth which makes it safe for humans and pets. Always make sure you wear a dust mask to make sure you don't inhale the small particles.

Catch carpet beetles in pheromone traps

Pheromone or hormone traps is a great option if you're starting to feel outnumbered by these little creeps. They work by luring the beetle with a specific pheromone (make sure you buy carpet beetle pheromone traps) and trap them with a sticky glue. 

They work best if placed around entry points and in confined areas where you've seen the beetles hanging around. Make sure you check the traps once or twice a week.

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Eliminate carpet beetles with an insecticide

You can combat any active larvae by spraying your carpets, upholstery and rugs with a ready-made insecticide, like Zero In Carpet Beetle and Moth Spray

This should really only be used for spot treatments and not sprayed everywhere so we would recommend this if you've first identified the carpet beetle problem areas. Spray around edges of carpets and rugs, closet shelving and any hard to reach nooks and crannies. 

Warning: Read the safety precautions carefully before using. Always use gloves and protective clothing when using these products. As always, keep small humans and pets away.

Get rid of them once and for all with an insect fogger

If you're still finding the odd adult carpet beetle straggler in your home, even after you've fought the good fight and won,  a good go-to is the insect fogger. 

It works pretty much as described; the fogger will set off an pesticidal smoke to kill any bugs pottering about your home. 

Warning: Make sure you, your children and your pets are well clear of the area while the product does its thing and wait at least 3 hours before going back in to the newly treated room. We'd also advise turning off all your smoke alarms.


Rentokil Insect Killer Foggers (Pack of 2), £10.10, Amazon

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How to repel carpet beetles for good

So you've got the carpet beetles evicted but what's stopping them from coming back? Prevention is much better than the cure so here's what you should do to keep those critters barred for life.

1. Vacuum and clean regularly

It's a no-brainer but keeping your home clean is one of the key ways to control a carpet beetle infestation, as dust bunnies, pet hair and lint are a few of the carpet beetles' favorite go-to snacks.

More specifically, vacuuming your carpets well at least fortnightly, washing your clothes regularly and clearing up stains and spillages quickly will avoid a repeat visit.

If your vacuum's packed it in and you're on the lookout for a a great replacement, check out our tried-and-tested guide to the best vacuums on the market. 

2. Store your clothes and sheets in containers

Taking their favorite foods away from carpet beetles will avoid their re-entry and that includes out of season clothes and sheets. Invest in quality vacuum pack bags or plastic containers to store clothes that won't be used for a while. 

When you want to take them out of storage to wear again, wash, dry clean or air them well before wearing. 

You can also use garment bags in your wardrobes for things you are still wearing and try cedar hangers/balls to deter them further.

3. Repair any entry points

Limiting the carpet beetles' entry into your home is arguably one of the best ways to repel them for good. Check for any cracks, crevices or holes and fill them in with caulk or wire wool.

If you have your windows open a lot, it's worth looking into bug screens and if you already have them installed, check them regularly for damage and patch up accordingly.