Carpet beetles sneak into your home unexpectedly, worming their way through open windows and doors, attaching themselves to clothing, or even passing through on your pets. These pesky intruders cause distress in any residence, laying abundant larvae that wreak havoc on your interior. While they're harmless to humans, carpet beetle larvae can destroy carpets, upholstery, furniture, blankets, and clothing. If you suspect an invasion, try to say goodbye to your uninvited guests fast.
As simple as it seems, this is a suitable first step in eliminating carpet beetles. Since these pests target your flooring, upholstery, and clothing, thoroughly vacuum any spaces where you've spotted them, going over each area twice so you don't miss a speck. With furniture, make sure you effectively vacuum the space underneath and around any corners, moving the piece out of the way if possible. Follow by steam cleaning to penetrate deeper into surfaces; high heat and moisture target tiny eggs while killing off existing beetles and their larvae. If the infestation is small, a thorough vacuum and steam clean could be all it takes to eradicate them.
Since carpet beetles can burrow into linens or attach themselves to clothing, launder anything you consider at risk. Using your washing machine's hottest setting, wash linens, blankets, towels, clothing, and pillows. Pair a heavy-duty detergent with a bug-eliminating laundry additive, and for the items that can handle the dryer, tumble dry on high. Separate unwashed items from the clean ones until you've finished every load; if you don't feel comfortable returning them to the closet just yet, wrap them in garbage bags or bins and store them in a safe spot for a few days.
Carpet beetles love to hide in frustrating locations, such as the crevices of your couch, underneath your chairs, or between the curtain folds. For upholstery that isn't safe for washing or dry cleaning, you can mix your own cleaning solution by combining two cups of hot water with one tablespoon of dish soap and one tablespoon of vinegar. Use a cloth to wipe down from top to bottom, ensuring you get between any crevices or stitching. You can add this same mixture to a large spray bottle to handle more hard-to-reach areas, but wipe them down as thoroughly as possible. For couches and chairs, it's best to remove any cushions and vacuum the entire structure before cleaning.
While larvae are the most damaging threat to your home, female carpet beetles will continue laying eggs if they're not eliminated. Put an end to any existing adults and prevent the lifecycle from repeating itself with a flying insect fogger. This treatment, also known as bug bombing, disperses an insecticide mist through an entire room, blanketing surfaces so that stray carpet beetles have nowhere to hide. You'll need to stay out of the treated room for a few hours, but it's well worth the sacrifice, and you can play it safe by dispersing additional fog around potential entryways. Follow all safety instructions to ensure that your property is protected, that any necessary items are covered properly, and that all household members are kept away for the specified amount of time.
Easy to find at the pharmacy, boric acid is harmless to humans but acts as a poison to pests, effectively eliminating carpet beetles at every stage of their life cycle. Sprinkle the powder across carpet and upholstery, as well as the base of any entryways. For additional coverage, sprinkle it underneath furniture, in corners, and over curtains or other hanging fabrics. If you're having trouble reaching an area, mix two tablespoons of boric acid with one liter of hot water to create a potent spray.
With so many high-grade insecticides on the market, it's easier to stop an infestation in its tracks. Treat your home with a residual insecticide spray with chemicals that remain effective long after they're sprayed. Search "professional" sprays, or "best sprays for carpet beetles," and you'll find the top options for your situation, whether you've spotted a few small pests in your closet or are dealing with a larger-scale problem. Thoroughly treat any affected areas, especially carpets, rugs, upholstery, closets, and any entryways where carpet bugs could work their way in. Of course, follow any applicable safety instructions and keep pets, children, and other household residents away from the affected area while the treatment's in place.
Diatomaceous earth is an all-natural carpet beetle remover. Made from sedimentary rock, it's sold as a crumbled powder ideal for spreading throughout the home, and you can increase its utility by mixing it with water for a DIY insect remover spray. Diatomaceous earth directly targets beetle larvae by dehydrating them, so there's little chance they'll come back. Sprinkle the powder on carpets, rugs, furniture, entryways, and in cabinets, corners, and closets to target any larvae that might have attached to your clothing. While diatomaceous earth is harmless to humans and pets, wear a mask if you're applying it to large areas to avoid inhaling too much dust, and keep the pets outside til you're done.
Once they're established inside, carpet beetles tend to work their way around your home, making their favorite spots difficult to pin down. For extra security, use sticky trips made specifically for beetles, and disperse them wherever you see fit. If you've spotted pests in multiple areas and can't pinpoint where they're coming from, or notice them still sneaking up after a treatment, then traps are a terrific way to discover the areas where they hide. Once you've figured it out, you know exactly which space to target with another round of vacuuming, washing, and treatments. Since traps only work on adults, they're most effective when paired with insecticides.
Once you've targeted the larger, more important areas, concentrate on more minuscule ones where you've noticed carpet beetles cropping up. If you've spotted an abundant supply around your living room couch, for instance, use an insecticide to carefully spot treat the corners, creases, and cushions. A combination of treatments leaves these pesky invaders with no space to hide, especially when it's repeated over a week or two.
While it's usually a last resort, carpet beetles are tough to get rid of. Since they breed rapidly and can hide just about anywhere, even the most effective DIY treatments might miss a few tough intruders. If you've followed all of the above steps, tried your hand at multiple insecticides, and still notice carpet beetles invading your residence, leave it to the pros. Not only will your exterminator wipe out existing populations, but they will also target tiny larvae and eggs, seal off any entryways, and even check back to ensure that they're gone for good.