How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles

Tips for getting rid of carpet beetles and carpet beetle larvae before they wreak havoc on your home.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
carpet beetle, anthrenus verbasci

90061454

Photo by: Getty/John Downer

Getty/John Downer

Despite their name, carpet beetles (anthrenus verbasci) live and thrive happily outdoors on plants and feed on nectar. They tend to make their way indoors by following light sources, climbing the exterior walls of a home until they find an opening such as a vent or a window. You might even accidentally bring them indoors when you’re carrying items that have been sitting in the sun all day, like laundry from the clothes line or the shoes you kicked off by the back door.

Once carpet beetles are indoors, they’re trapped. They don’t carry disease, but they are fast breeders and voracious eaters.

Carpet beetle larvae are drawn to all fabrics and textiles, quickly and swiftly making your home, their home. Much in the way that clothes moths will destroy natural fibers, carpet beetles will find food sources and disperse throughout a dwelling to consume nutrients until they’re fully-grown adult beetles. Once they’re grown, the cycle starts again.

Learning how to get rid of carpet beetles begins with learning how to identify them. Once you know what to look for, you can manage an infestation and deter future infestations around your home.

How to Identify a Carpet Beetle and its Larvae

Adult carpet beetles are drawn to light. If you spot an adult carpet beetle, it’s likely going to be on the surface of your furniture or in a brightly lit area.

Fully-grown beetles are round or oval in shape and small in size (less than 1/8”). They appear scaled with hard wings. While many carpet beetles are shades of mottled browns and creams, some species are also solid brown or black.

Carpet beetle eggs are harder to spot, but they are white, oval and less than a millimeter in size. Eggs are commonly laid on furs, woolen fabric and in carpet fibers.

From the eggs come larvae, which are elongated, measuring between 1/8” and 1/4” in length. They’re small, have legs and will slowly crawl, but they do not prefer the same brightly lit environments as adult carpet beetles. Larvae are the most destructive, feasting not only on carpets and natural fibers but also on protein-rich foods. They’re harder to spot because they will be the same color as the food they’re eating. You may find them on fur or feathers, on taxidermied animals, on wool or in pantry areas infesting open pet food bags.

How to Spot an Infestation

It’s easy to overlook a carpet beetle infestation until it’s too late. Eggs and larvae are tiny and hard to see, especially between the fibers of a thick carpet or area rug. Your first indication of an infestation may be an uneven nap in a rug or small holes in cushions or upholstery. Larger holes or a large distressed area on a carpet indicate that many larvae moved through an area.

Once you notice signs of damage, take a closer look. Inspect between carpet fibers. Check window sills, curtains and furnishings exposed daily to sunlight. Look for adult beetles as well as larvae, and more closely for eggs.

If you see a couple of adult beetles, you may have caught the issue before it’s an infestation. If you find them in several areas of your home or see significant damage caused by larvae, it’s time to learn how to get rid of the carpet beetles once and for all.

Natural Solutions for Getting Rid of Carpet Beetles

It is possible to get rid of carpet beetles naturally, especially if you only have a mild infestation. Start any method by thoroughly vacuuming the rugs and furniture to capture what you can the easy way. You should also launder any items near an infestation. At minimum, run items through the dryer on high-heat for 15 minutes to kill eggs and larvae.

To treat an infestation on a larger surface, such as on furniture and carpets, these organic pest control methods can usually get the job done:

1. Steam Clean

Steaming is a really safe way to treat many fabrics and furnishings in the home, and it also kills eggs and larvae on contact. Running a hand steamer over surfaces is not only good for managing an infestation but also for proactively preventing a future issue.

2. Mist Essential Oils or Vinegar

A few drops of peppermint and clove oils mixed into a spray bottle with water can be misted in areas that you suspect contain carpet beetles or larvae. This will act as a deterrent.

Similarly, carpet beetles don’t like the smell of vinegar, so it can easily be mixed 1:1 with water and misted into areas you believe are affected.

3. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

Food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) is an easy, natural solution for tough pest infestations. Anything that crawls through the powder will die.

It’s best to sprinkle it around baseboards or around the feet of your furniture and leave it uninterrupted for 24-48 hours.

If you need to treat a larger area, like the entire sofa or your carpet, plan to stay off the furnishings so the dust is not transferred or disrupted during the treatment. After 24-48 hours, the DE should be thoroughly vacuumed.

Chemical Options to Try (if Necessary)

Indoor insecticides, including aerosols and sprays, can be used to treat areas where there are signs of damage or around baseboards.

Outdoors, you can take steps to prevent carpet beetles from entering on their own will by sprinkling insect killer granules around the perimeter and at points of entry such as near doorways, windows and vents.

A professional cleaner with heavy-duty cleaners can also be hired to deep clean a home.

More Pest Advice

How to Get Rid of Gnats

Get rid of them and keep them away.

Banish Fruit Flies

Get rid of fruit flies by pouring them a nice glass of wine.

Get Rid of Stink Bugs

Learn natural ways to keep stink bugs at bay.

Preventing a Future Carpet Beetle Infestation

Rest easy and take these steps to deter a carpet beetle infestation around your home:

  • Keep your carpet and floors clean. Carpet beetles and their larvae feast on everything from textiles to dust and dead bugs, so keeping a clean floor can prevent an outbreak.

  • Get in a routine for laundering throw pillows, blankets and curtains (and at the very least, run them through the dryer on high-heat)

  • Place carpet beetle traps in rooms where you’ve had issues before; if there’s any chance that some eggs and larvae survived treatment, you may be able to ward off a future infestation.

  • Check items that you’re bringing in from outdoors, whether it’s a bouquet of flowers cut from the garden (remember, adult carpet beetles eat nectar) or an item placed outdoors to dry in the sun

  • Repair holes in window screens

  • Seal cracks around windows and doors

  • Keep foods in sealed containers

Next Up

How to Get Rid of Silverfish

Find and eliminate sneaky little silverfish in your home, basement or office.

How to Get Rid of Carpenter Bees

These big bees chew holes in your fence, deck and outbuildlings, but they're pollinators. Here's how to manage carpenter bees, along with some reasons why you should consider co-existing with them.

How to Get Rid of Moths

Remove and prevent pantry moths and clothing moths from your home with these simple, effective techniques.

How to Get Rid of Roaches

Here's what to do if your home has cockroaches, plus learn how to prevent these bugs from ever coming back.

How to Get Rid of Fleas in the Home

Nix the itch. Learn how to identify and remove flea infestations from your home and pets.

How to Get Rid of Bugs in the Kitchen

Give bugs the boot with our tips for keeping a clean cooking space.

How to Get Rid of Thrips

Thrips can damage your plants before you even know they’re there. Here’s how to spot thrips on plants and get rid of them.

How to Get Rid of Mice

Mice hanging around in your house is a problem that can rapidly get out of hand. Here’s what you need to know about keeping the mammals of the order Rodentia out of your home.

How to Get Rid of Ladybugs

If they want to come in your home, it's nearly impossible to keep the ladybugs out. Learn the best way to get rid of them.

How to Get Rid of Rats

Here's how to prevent rodents in your home, plus what to do if they've already come to visit.

Go Shopping

Refresh your home with stylish products handpicked by HGTV editors.

On TV

Flip or Flop

6:30am | 5:30c

Flip or Flop

7:30am | 6:30c

Flip or Flop

8:30am | 7:30c

Flip or Flop

9:30am | 8:30c

Flip or Flop

10am | 9c

Flip or Flop

10:30am | 9:30c

Flip or Flop

11am | 10c

Flip or Flop

11:30am | 10:30c

Good Bones

12pm | 11c

Good Bones

1pm | 12c

Good Bones

2pm | 1c

Good Bones

3pm | 2c

Good Bones

4pm | 3c

Good Bones

5pm | 4c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Bargain Block

8pm | 7c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

10:31pm | 9:31c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

House Hunters

11:30pm | 10:30c

Bargain Block

12am | 11c

House Hunters

1am | 12c

House Hunters

1:31am | 12:31c

House Hunters

2:30am | 1:30c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.