How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in Carpets, Furniture and More

Discovering carpet beetles in your home can be unsettling, but understanding what they are and recognizing the signs of a carpet beetle infestation is the first step to repelling and getting rid of carpet beetles, so you can reclaim your space.

In this article, we'll delve into the world of carpet beetles, exploring their habits and appearance while providing invaluable insights into identifying potential issues.

Learn effective strategies on how to get rid of carpet beetles, and ultimately how to safeguard your home and belongings from more.

What is a Carpet Beetle?

Carpet beetles are small, common household pests belonging to the family Dermestidae. There are several species of carpet beetles, but the most prevalent ones include the varied carpet beetle (Anthrenus verbasci) and the black carpet beetle (Attagenus unicolor). These beetles are named for their tendency to infest carpets and other household items made of natural fibers.

Adult carpet beetles are small, oval-shaped insects typically ranging in size from 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch in length. They often have colorful patterns on their backs, which can vary depending on the species.

The larvae of carpet beetles are elongated, slightly fuzzy, and range in color from light brown to almost black, depending on their age and species.

close up of a varied carpet beetle on carpet fibers

Carpet beetles are attracted to materials such as wool, fur, feathers, silk, and other organic matter, which serve as both food sources and breeding sites for their larvae.

They can infest carpets, rugs, upholstery, clothing, bedding, stored food products, and other items made of natural fibers. Carpet beetle larvae feed on these materials, causing damage such as irregular holes or patches.

While adult carpet beetles primarily feed on pollen and nectar from flowers, their larvae are the ones responsible for causing damage to household items.

Carpet beetle infestations can be challenging to eradicate once established, so early detection and intervention are crucial for effective control.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

When using any method to kill carpet beetles, it's important to also identify the cause of carpet beetle infestation to prevent future problems.

There are various methods to get rid of carpet beetles, such as:

  1. Vacuum Often
  2. Steam Clean Carpets and Upholstery
  3. Machine Wash Infested Clothes and Fabrics in Hot Water
  4. Freeze Infested Fabrics
  5. Dispose of Infested Materials Properly
  6. Seal the Exterior Cracks into Your Home
  7. Use Natural Repellents
  8. Use Boric Acid
  9. Use Diatomaceous Earth
  10. Use Pesticides
  11. Call a Pest Control Company or Exterminator

Read on to discover how to do each one properly and safely.

person pulling back a white vacuum on their white carpeted living room

Vacuum Often to Eliminate Carpet Beetles

Vacuuming is an important step in getting rid of carpet beetles, as it helps remove adult beetles, larvae, eggs, and food sources from infested areas. While vacuuming alone may not completely eliminate a carpet beetle infestation, it can significantly reduce their numbers and disrupt their lifecycle.

Cleanliness is the best way to prevent or eliminate carpet beetle infestations, so vacuum your carpets and floors often, paying special attention to the infested areas.

Some additional tips for using vacuuming to get rid of carpet beetles, are:

  • Use a vacuum cleaner with strong suction power and a HEPA filter, if possible, to ensure thorough removal of beetles, larvae, and eggs.
  • Vacuum all areas where carpet beetles may be hiding, including carpets, rugs, upholstery, curtains, baseboards, and corners.
  • Pay special attention to areas where pets or humans spend a lot of time, as well as dark, secluded spaces where carpet beetles are likely to breed.
  • Vacuum regularly, ideally once or twice a week, to prevent carpet beetles from establishing a significant presence in your home.

While vacuuming is an effective component of carpet beetle control, it's often necessary to combine it with other methods below to fully eradicate the infestation.

Steam Clean Carpets and Upholstery to Remove Carpet Beetles

Next, steam clean the carpet and your upholstery to get rid of all adult and larvae carpet beetles.

If you don't have the equipment, hire the best home or carpet cleaning company that uses the hot water extraction method to clean carpets.

Zerorez® removes dirt, dust, and grime in your carpet's deep surfaces that carpet beetles and larvae love to eat. It also subjects them to high cleaning temperatures.

Consider having a full home cleaning service to give them zero chance of returning.

Zerorez uses Zr™ Water to clean and rinse carpets, which is safe for everyone in your home, including your babies, parents, and pets.

a female technician pulling back a Zerorez Zr Wand and cleaning a white carpet in a living room in order to help get rid of carpet beetles and other pests

Machine Wash Infested Clothes and Fabrics in Hot Water

Extreme temperatures kill carpet beetles. Use a hot water cycle when machine washing infested bedding and clothes.

Hot water terminates hatching by detaching the eggs from your clothes or bedding.

Freeze Infested Fabrics

Conversely, extreme cold can get rid of carpet beetles too!

If you have small items that are infested with carpet beetles, place them in a freezer for several days to kill the beetles and their eggs.

Dispose Infested Materials Correctly

If the damage to your carpet, clothes, or other items is extreme, seal them using a plastic bag before throwing them into the garbage container to stop the carpet beetle infestation.

Seal the Exterior Cracks into Your Home

Sealing exterior cracks and gaps in your home can be an effective preventive measure against carpet beetle infestations. By sealing potential entry points, you can help prevent carpet beetles from entering your home in the first place.

Sealing cracks and gaps can also help reduce the likelihood of attracting carpet beetles by limiting access to potential nesting sites and food sources inside your home.

When sealing exterior cracks and gaps, use appropriate materials such as caulk, weather-stripping, or foam sealant, depending on the size and location of the gaps. Pay attention to areas where utility lines enter your home, gaps around windows and doors, and any other openings that could provide access for pests.

Use Natural Repellents like Essential Oils

While vinegar has some cleaning and disinfecting properties, it does not have specific repellent or insecticidal properties against carpet beetles.

However, some essential oils such as lavender, cedarwood, or eucalyptus are believed to have repellent properties against certain pests. Their effectiveness against carpet beetles may vary.

essential oil dropping from a dropper above an open essential oil bottle, to show that some EOs like lavender, cedarwood, and eucalyptus can help get rid of carpet beetles
Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Use Boric Acid

Boric acid powder can be applied to carpets, rugs, and other infested areas to kill carpet beetles. Pour boric acid into crevices and cracks to keep carpet beetles out.

However, it's important to use caution, especially if you have pets or small children, as boric acid can be toxic if ingested.

Use Diatomaceous Earth

This natural substance, made from fossilized remains of diatoms, can be sprinkled in infested areas to kill carpet beetles by causing dehydration.

Like boric acid, diatomaceous earth should be used with caution around pets and children.

Use Pesticides

Insecticides labeled for carpet beetles can be effective in treating infested areas.

Be sure to follow the instructions carefully and take appropriate safety precautions when using pesticides indoors.

Hire a Professional Pest Control Specialists

Call a professional pest control specialist if all of the above measures have failed or you'd rather have the peace of mind of experts taking care of the problem for you.

Most DIY methods may not be effective if the carpet beetles have infested your home and done massive damage. The exterminators will survey your home to determine the source and level of the infestation.

Their first visit may involve using a strong, professional insecticide. The second visit may involve eliminating the bugs, eggs, and adult carpet beetles.


How Long Does It Take to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles?

The time it takes to get rid of carpet beetles can vary depending on several factors, including the severity of the infestation, the effectiveness of the chosen treatment methods, and the diligence in implementing control measures. In general, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to completely eliminate a carpet beetle infestation.

Here's a general timeline of the process:

  1. Identification and Assessment: Initially, it may take some time to identify the presence of carpet beetles and assess the extent of the infestation. This involves recognizing signs such as damage to fabrics, spotting adult beetles or larvae, and inspecting potential hiding spots.

  2. Treatment: Once the infestation is confirmed, treatment can begin. This may involve a combination of methods such as vacuuming, steam cleaning, applying insecticides, using desiccants like diatomaceous earth, and implementing preventive measures like sealing entry points and storing susceptible items properly.

  3. Monitoring and Follow-Up: After implementing treatment, it's important to monitor the situation regularly to assess the effectiveness of the control measures. Follow-up treatments may be necessary to address any remaining beetles or newly hatched larvae.

  4. Preventive Measures: Even after the immediate infestation is dealt with, ongoing preventive measures are essential to keep carpet beetles at bay. This includes maintaining cleanliness, proper storage of susceptible items, and sealing entry points to prevent re-infestation.

Overall, patience and persistence are key when dealing with carpet beetles. By consistently applying effective control measures and staying vigilant, you can gradually reduce and eventually eliminate the infestation from your home. If the infestation is particularly severe or persistent, seeking professional pest control assistance may expedite the process.

How Do You Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in a Car?

Getting rid of carpet beetles in a car can be challenging, but it's essential to act promptly to prevent damage to the vehicle's interior. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you tackle the problem effectively.

  1. Check for Beetles: Look for signs of carpet beetles in your car, like damaged fabric or small bugs.
  2. Remove Infested Items: Take out any clothes or fabrics that might have beetles and seal them in plastic bags.
  3. Vacuum Everywhere: Use a vacuum with attachments to clean all surfaces, especially carpets and seats.
  4. Steam Clean if Possible: Steam cleaning can kill beetles and eggs without chemicals.
  5. Clean Surfaces: Wipe down everything with soapy water or disinfectant wipes.
  6. Check Again and Treat: Look for any remaining beetles and use insecticide if needed.
  7. Prevent Future Problems: Keep your car clean, avoid leaving food inside, and use natural repellents if necessary.
White bedding queen sized bed in a Gold bed frame

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles on Beds and Mattresses

Having bugs in your bed is disturbing for many of us! Plus, carpet beetles and their larvae eating into our beds reduces the value and longevity of our mattresses and bedding.

Here's what to do to remove carpet beetles in beds:

  1. Remove Bedding: Strip the bed of all bedding, including sheets, blankets, pillowcases, and mattress covers.

  2. Wash Bedding: Wash all bedding in hot water (at least 120°F or 49°C) to kill carpet beetles, larvae, and eggs. Use laundry detergent and, if possible, add borax or vinegar to the wash cycle for extra effectiveness.

  3. Dry Bedding: Dry bedding on the hottest setting in the dryer for at least 30 minutes to ensure any remaining beetles or eggs are killed.

  4. Vacuum Mattress: Use a vacuum cleaner with a crevice tool and upholstery attachment to thoroughly vacuum the mattress, paying close attention to seams, folds, and crevices where carpet beetles may hide.

  5. Steam Clean Mattress (Optional): If possible, steam clean the mattress to kill any remaining carpet beetles, larvae, or eggs. Steam cleaning provides heat and moisture, which can effectively eliminate pests without the use of chemicals.

  6. Inspect and Treat Bed Frame: Check the bed frame, including the headboard, footboard, and bed rails, for signs of carpet beetles or larvae. Vacuum and wipe down the bed frame with soapy water or a mild disinfectant to remove any beetles or eggs.

  7. Protect Mattress and Pillows: Consider using mattress and pillow covers designed to prevent dust mites and bed bugs. These covers can also help protect against carpet beetles.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in Furniture

For chairs, couches, ottomans, and other soft furniture, you can follow most of the tips above. But, here are some specific things you can try for addressing carpet beetles in furniture:

  1. Identify and Remove Infested Furniture: Inspect for signs of carpet beetles, then isolate or remove infested furniture.

  2. Vacuum Thoroughly: Use a vacuum with attachments to clean all surfaces, disposing of the bag or emptying the canister outside.

  3. Steam Clean (Optional): If possible, steam clean the upholstered furniture to kill remaining beetles, larvae, and eggs.

If that isn't enough, then you can proceed with insecticides or professional help.

male Zerorez technician smiling as he professionally cleans a white couch in a living room with an upholstery cleaning tool

Effectively eliminating carpet beetles from your home requires a combination of thorough cleaning, targeted treatments, and preventive measures. By promptly identifying and addressing signs of infestation, such as damaged fabrics or the presence of adult beetles and larvae, you can mitigate the risk of further damage to your belongings.

Remember to monitor your home regularly for any signs of reinfestation and consider seeking professional assistance for severe or persistent infestations. With diligence and persistence, you can successfully rid your home of carpet beetles and protect your space and belongings from further harm.

Schedule a professional Zerorez carpet cleaning or upholstery cleaning service and let us help you clean your home thoroughly to avoid pests.

Book a Cleaning with Zerorez Today!