How to get rid of earwigs – 5 quick ways to banish them from the house

Wondering how to get rid of earwigs and why they're indoors? These expert tips will keep this creepy crawly away for good

Earwigs on a bright and colorful flower
(Image credit: GettyImages)

If you're looking for advice on how to get rid of earwigs, it's likely that you've had a sighting of the pincher bug, as they're also known, in your home. However, before you look for a solution to the problem, it's important to know that while the sight of earwigs might make the hairs on the back of your neck bristle, they are completely harmless to humans. 

That said, though, if you find earwigs a nuisance, there are easy cleaning tips and prevention methods to help you get rid of this pest for good. Here, pest experts advise how to get rid of earwigs, indoors and out.

How to get rid of earwigs – effective tips for quick success  

Earwigs on a bright and colorful flower

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Whether it’s a good idea to banish earwigs isn’t as clear cut as the question of getting rid of fruit flies. John Melchior from Kapture Pest Control (opens in new tab) urges you to pause and decide whether you want to get rid of earwigs from your home. While this may seem like an easy answer, he explains that the creature does come with its benefits, especially if you're looking to preserve your best indoor plants

'I tell my clients that a single earwig sighting in the home isn't necessarily a reason to panic. These bugs are beneficial in some ways,' he says. 'They eat other insects that feed on plants in the house or garden and nestle inside some perennial flowers to munch on dead bugs and pollen. If you see an earwig in the house, it could have ridden in on some cut flowers.'

If you decide you want to get rid of the earwigs in your home, the following five tips should lead to quick success. 

1. Vacuum all earwig activity  

According to Megan Wede from Done Right Pest Solutions (opens in new tab), the process begins with your vacuum cleaner. She recommends inspecting all affected areas before identifying the earwigs and vacuuming up all visible activity.

'Next, you'll want to shake down items. Earwigs like to hide, and they can hide in the strangest of items, household items, and outdoor furniture items. Shake these items out to dislodge any harboring earwigs. Vacuum those earwigs up too,' she instructs. 

2. Use a soap and water solution  

An alternative to vacuuming is a simple soap and water solution that is favored by Truly Nolen (opens in new tab)'s Technical Manager, Mike Duncan. He recommends using making a homemade bug spray with the two ingredients before spraying the liquid on the affected areas. 

Earwigs on a bright and colorful flower

(Image credit: GettyImages)

3. Apply boric acid to infested cracks 

Truly Nolen's Technical Manager, Mike Duncan suggests that boric acid is equally as powerful in your fight against earwigs. He recommends carefully applying the acid to any cracks where you notice pest activity. 'Earwigs will hide in cracks and crevices where there is high moisture. Often, this can be in kitchen and bathroom areas or in gaps at the baseboards,' he adds. 

4. Eliminate excess moisture

After removing the earwigs, Megan Wede from Done Right Pest Solutions suggests eliminating moist areas around your home to prevent any from returning. 

'Earwigs love damp areas, so if you've ever had a pipe leak in a wall void, this is a perfect condition for earwig populations to grow,' she says. Be on the lookout for any warping or bulging siding, as it means there has been water damage within that wall. Be sure to remove that source of harborage condition.'

5. Set up a dehumidifier

While investing in a new dehumidifier may not eliminate existing earwigs, it will improve the chance of them not returning. 

'If you set up a dehumidifier, it will dry up some of the moisture, which should help create unfavorable conditions for earwigs and silverfish within your home,' says Megan Wede from Done Right Pest Solutions. So, if you're looking for an excuse to pick up one of the best dehumidifiers on the market, this expert has given you full permission. 

Earwigs on a bright and colorful flower

(Image credit: Alamy)

How to get rid of earwigs naturally?

Like many other insects, earwigs don't like strong scents and you can harness this knowledge in the same way you might in getting rid of mosquitoes and deterring wasps. You can use the following to help keep them away:

  • White vinegar
  • Peppermint oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Rosemary oil
  • Clove oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemon
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon

What causes lots of earwigs?

It is important to note that most earwigs prefer to thrive outside. However, they are occasionally tempted by moisture inside a home. 

'An earwig's habitat is preferably on the exterior of the house. Their food sources include decaying plant and animal matter. They live in damp areas and tend to hide during the daytime under leaf and mulch material around a home,' Truly Nolen's Technical Manager, Mike Duncan. 

'If they are invading the interior of the home, it generally means that the environment has changed. This could be the high temperatures and low rainfall or too much rain that drives them inward.'

Why do I suddenly have earwigs in my house?

Earwigs will come into your house looking for food and shelter. Usually they like to eat rotting vegetation, with many living in plants and flowers, doing a useful job. If they are coming inside, it may be that conditions outside are unfavorable – perhaps it is very dry and hot – and that conditions inside are more inviting.

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.