8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

Learn how to get rid of pesky insects in our detailed instructions.
Phyllis McMahon
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Last updated: August 07, 2023
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Carpet beetles are tiny, oval-shaped insects with black to brownish-orange coloring. Because these insects are drawn to light, they can enter your home through doors, windows, and small crevices. Carpet beetles are common household pests that can cause considerable damage to carpets, clothing, upholstery, and other fabrics made from natural fibers such as wool or silk. Adult carpet beetles are nocturnal and fly away at the first sign of danger, which makes them difficult to catch with traps or pesticides. However, you can use several simple methods to eliminate these bugs.

If you have an infestation in your home or office, it’s time to take action against these little creatures. This article will teach you how to get rid of carpet beetles safely and effectively so they can come back and ruin your carpets and clothes or mess up your nice new furniture.

Types of Carpet Beetles

Carpet beetles are considered a pest, as they can cause stains and allergic reactions in their larvae form. There are four common types of carpet beetles found in homes:

  • The varied carpet beetle
  • The black carpet beetle
  • The furniture carpet beetle
  • The fur carpet beetle

They vary in color and size, most being about an inch long. This family of insects is known for its ability to thrive on organic materials such as hair and dander collected on upholstery. Let’s have a look at each type.

Varied Carpet Beetle

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

The varied carpet beetle is usually brown or reddish-brown but sometimes light gray or yellowish. It feeds on wool, animal hides, and dead animals. Female varieties lay between 30 and 300 eggs during their lifetime. Some eggs will hatch after two weeks, while others may take six months to hatch. The larva stage lasts three months, where it will feed on items around the house before maturing into an adult beetle.

Black Carpet Beetle

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

The black carpet beetle is generally dark brown, though it may also be tan or black. These insects prefer to feed on natural fibers such as wool and silk. Females lay 10 to 40 eggs daily and usually hatch within 18 days.

Fur Carpet Beetle

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

The fur carpet beetle resembles the varied carpet beetle, except that it prefers feeding on hairs from domestic pets instead of natural fibers like other varieties do. Adults tend to be small, measuring less than half an inch in length.

The Furniture Carpet

These species of beetle prefer feeding on plant matter and dust mites. Adults average 2/3 inches in length and come in shades of orange or red. Its larvae survive best when the temperature is between 45°F (7°C) and 85°F (29°C).

How to Identify a Carpet Beetle Infestation

If you see some small beetles crossing your floor, be sure they are carpet beetles, not ladybugs or other bugs. This is because carpet beetles have hairs on their back, whereas ladybugs have none. Below are a few signs that you have a carpet beetle infestation:

  • Wool clothes, blankets, and carpets with bare areas.
  • Skins of larvae found beneath carpets, around furniture, or among pet hair and lint.
  • Areas of baldness in fur coats or taxidermied animals.
  • Tiny black or brown droppings around the base of your furniture or beneath your furniture.

You can also tell that you have a carpet beetle infestation by seeing small piles of dust. This is because carpet beetles feed on tiny bits of wool and hair. When they do, they leave behind little tufts of cotton fiber in their wake.

What Causes Carpet Beetle Infestation?

These are one of the most frequent pests in carpets and fabric. But, unfortunately, they love clothes, especially wool sweaters. They can be brought into the home on new clothing and upholstery items or infest items that have not been properly dried before being put away. New clothing and upholstery items bring in larvae and eggs that hatch and feed on organic materials like food crumbs, skin cells, lint, hair, and pet dander.

Keeping your clothes clean and vacuuming often will help prevent this infestation. Infested items that haven’t been properly dried before being put away: It’s important to dry all fabrics completely after cleaning them, or you’ll risk bringing those eggs into your home. You may want to shake your clothes, towels, and blankets outside before drying them indoors. And if they’re heavily soiled with pet urine or vomit, soak them first in water mixed with detergent and vinegar.

How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles: Steps

Remove all adult insects, larvae, and eggs to eliminate a carpet beetle infestation. You can accomplish this with several DIY approaches. Let’s have a look at each of these methods:

1. Insecticide

To kill the larva or eggs, use insecticides that contain pyrethrins or pyrethroids. These should be applied following the manufacturer’s instructions on the label. They work by paralyzing and killing the insect. But, they are not very effective against beetles already in their pupal stage, which is when they turn into adults.

2. Diatomaceous Earth

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

Diatomaceous earth powder can also be very effective when sprinkled over carpets. Unlike other treatments, it can also be used during the pupal stage to eradicate any existing carpet beetles effectively. Repeat treatments every four weeks to make sure you get rid of them completely.

3. Boric Acid

To kill the larvae and eggs, sprinkle the boric acid powder over carpets. Allow it to sit for about three hours before vacuuming it. It will take about two weeks for this treatment to fully take effect. Apply it once every two months to keep your carpets free from beetles. Combine 1 tablespoon of borax with 2 cups of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Cover stains with the solution and let dry overnight. Brush the residue off with a broom after it has dried.

4. Vinegar

Pour white vinegar over carpets and allow it to sit for 30 minutes before vacuuming it up. Use half a cup of distilled white vinegar per gallon of hot water. If you detect carpet beetles creeping around your clothes, wash them with vinegar and water to eliminate any eggs and larvae.

5. Flying Insect Fogger

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

You can use a fogger to fumigate your home, including rooms containing carpeting. However, a word of caution never operates without thoroughly reading the instructions. Otherwise, it could cause extensive damage to furniture and walls because it forces liquid chemicals under furniture cushions and inside wall cracks where bugs like to hide.

6. Vacuuming and Steam Cleaning

Vacuuming adult beetles is essential in getting rid of carpet beetles. You can use a steam cleaner to kill carpet beetle larvae and eggs, but it might be necessary to repeat treatments over several days to make this very effective.

How To Get Rid of Them Naturally and Pet Safe

If you don’t buy into the idea of using insecticides or foggers in the home to get rid of carpet beetles, there are some natural and pet-safe ways to go about it.

7. Cedar Oil

Take a cedar oil-soaked cloth and sprinkle it over the carpet. When the beetles come out of hiding, they will walk across the slippery surface and die. Keep reapplying this treatment until all insects are gone.

8. Essential Oils

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

Place a few drops of tea tree, peppermint, or lavender essential oils on cotton balls and place them in areas where you have seen carpet beetles. They should be tucked into corners and crevices. Tea trees, peppermint, and lavender essential oils will repel these pesky pests away from your home while keeping your family safe from harmful chemicals.

How to Prevent Carpet Beetles from Returning

There are many ways you can prevent carpet beetles from returning after an infestation, though some may be more cost-effective than others.

  • Seal obvious cracks and crevices

If you have cracks in your walls, seal them with caulk so that the carpet beetle larva cannot find a way in.

  • Vacuum your home often

8 Ways to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles Permanentely & Pet Save

Carpet beetles like to lay their eggs on carpets because they need sustenance to grow. So you should vacuum once a week. There will be less debris for the larva to feed on, which means it will die before maturing into an adult beetle.

  • Keep food sealed in airtight containers

Carpet beetles love dark corners and places where food is stored. So keeping these areas as tidy as possible will reduce the likelihood of an infestation.

  • Keep bird nests away

Bird nests are perfect places for larvas to live and develop. Therefore, it would be wise to keep any potential bird nesting sites far away from your home (such as trees, porch railings, and attics) so that the birds do not have access to carpet beetles when building their nest.


Is the carpet beetle problem dangerous?

No, but it can be a nuisance. The carpet beetles are not insects that carry disease, but they will feed on natural fibers such as wool and cotton. They also do not reproduce indoors, so their population will remain stable if they have no food source.

How long does it take to get rid of carpet beetles?

Getting rid of carpet beetles should only take a few days. But, if you have found more than 10 larvae or adults after a week, you need to contact an exterminator. But, you will not have to hire one if you follow the tips we’ve highlighted here.

How many carpet beetles is an infestation?

An infestation generally starts with one larva living in an unprotected area for about three months. However, eggs will start appearing at six weeks old when it grows into adulthood. This could quickly multiply because carpets often have high humidity levels that provide ideal conditions for breeding–you may find hundreds within just a few months.

Do carpet beetles live in beds?

Yes, sometimes. If you have had a mattress stored in an unheated basement or garage during the winter, then there’s a chance that carpet beetles made it inside your bedding! When this happens, you’ll want to clean and dry your bedding before using it again–the sooner, the better.

Final Thoughts

Getting rid of carpet beetles can be a huge job if you don’t know how. Nevertheless, some methods can help keep them at bay, and others will have your home or office pest-free for good. One way is using a vacuum cleaner to suck up the larvae, eggs, and adults when you see them crawling on the floor. Vacuuming should always be done at least once per week, ideally more often, depending on where you live, because it’s hard to eliminate some carpet beetles without professional help. You can also use insecticides in high-traffic areas like next to doors where they enter from outside. Take the time to go through each section above, find out what is best for you, and make a plan today.


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