Silverfish and Clothing

silverfish illustration

Where to Find Silverfish Infestations

Silverfish prefer dark, damp areas with plenty of clutter to use as protection. They prefer to infest areas such as:

  • Attics
  • Basements
  • Closets

The pests often inhabit above areas near food sources in and around:

  • Cardboard boxes
  • Stacks of books or clothes
  • Under cabinets

Do Silverfish Eat Clothes?

Silverfish will feed on clothing, but they primarily prefer items that contain starches. These pests can feed on:

  • Book bindings
  • Cotton
  • Dry pantry goods
  • Glue
  • Linen
  • Leather
  • Paper
  • Plant or animal based fabrics
  • Silk
  • Sugar
  • Textiles

Clothing Damage

As silverfish eat clothing, damage appears as a series of small, irregularly shaped holes. One result of feeding includes the growth of fungi that can discolor fabric.


Here are some tips for homeowners who wish to prevent silverfish infestations:

  • Keep a clean home: Issues with silverfish and clothes may begin with a lack of cleaning around sinks, basements, and other areas providing protection and being prone to moisture. Clutter in attics and closets also gives these pests a place to hide.
  • Be on the lookout for infestation: Examine any boxes or bags containing papers or old clothing.
  • Seal target items in storage containers: Those concerned that that these pests will eat clothing in storage can put these items in plastic containers.


If homeowners discover silverfish eating clothes or spot holes in garments, an infestation is underway. Since these insects breed rapidly, residents should take action. Contact Orkin to remove the pests and prevent silverfish damage to clothing, books or important papers.