Carpet beetles are some of the most common household pests on the face of the planet. Those who have already encountered them, particularly the young, hairy ones called “larvae'”, know very well how destructive they can get. Sadly, not a lot of people are aware that, just like many other common household pests, they can invade cars, too.
Getting rid of carpet beetles in a car is easier than removing carpet beetles in a home, and it’s due to the tiny space. Vacuuming, steaming and applying boric acid and essential oils are the steps. Parking under the sun works, too. Keeping the car clean and using synthetic items are a must.
While carpet beetles in your car won’t drink your blood while you are driving around, they can leave itchy, red marks on exposed areas of your body.
Those creepy crawlers can also damage things inside your car that are made of natural fibers and contain animal products, such as wool carpets and leather car seat covers.
The Start of an Infestation
Why do I have carpet beetles in my car? If you have always thought that only homes can have a carpet beetle infestation, then this pressing question may be on your mind right now.
It is during carpet beetle season, which happens right where spring and summer meet, when you have an increased risk of your car being invaded by carpet beetles.
However, it can take place at any other time of the year, too. This is true especially if you live where these pests are quite common, such as in the northern states of the US.
For an infestation to start, all it takes is one pregnant female adult carpet beetle ending up inside your car, such as by flying through a window that’s accidentally left open.
Refrain from assuming that one female adult carpet beetle isn’t capable of starting an infestation. If truth be told, that’s all it takes for an infestation to take place in a home or, in this case, a car.
When it comes to a carpet beetle-related matter, there are a couple of important things that you need to know:
- A carpet beetle infestation consists of larvae carpet beetles, not adult ones.
- A female adult carpet beetle that’s pregnant can lay up to 100 eggs in just one sitting.
Once the eggs are laid inside your car, it will only take 10 to 20 days for them to hatch.
And once those baby carpet beetles are hatched from the eggs, they will immediately start to devour anything and everything in your car that they can munch on, from those wool carpets to those genuine leather car seat covers!
For as long as those carpet beetles are young, which can last anywhere from nine months to a couple of years, the interiors of your cars are in grave danger.
And if you and your passengers are sensitive to the hairs covering the bodies of larvae carpet beetles, those itchy, red marks will keep on appearing.
In some instances, someone who gets in the car may end up with eye irritation, digestive distress, and shortness of breath, which requires a trip to the emergency room ASAP.
Here’s How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles in The Car
Dealing with carpet beetles in a car is just like exterminating carpet beetles in a home — you will have to take pretty much the same steps.
The good news is that it is easier and quicker to eliminate carpet beetles in a car. It’s because a car is smaller than a house. Also, the number of hiding places available for those pests is quite limited.
This is why it is rare for the help of professional exterminators to be necessitated in putting a car infestation to an end. Most of the time, it can be dealt with via the DIY route.
Here’s how to get rid of carpet beetles in car…
Launder Car Mats in Hot Water
The moment that you confirm the fact that carpet beetles are feasting on the interiors of your car, it’s important that you spring into action right away to keep them from causing a lot of damage.
Immediately, wash carpets, rugs and car seat covers out of fabric in hot water.
Do you have pillows and stuffed toys in your car? Then make sure that you wash them in hot water, too.
Something that’s stuffed and has a hole or tear could be harboring some larvae carpet beetles inside, so it’s a good idea to dispose of them right away.
Larvae carpet beetles do not like coming into contact with hot water because it will kill them instantly.
Although it is usually more than enough that you wash them in hot water, using laundry detergent can help see to it that none of those hairy critters will make it out alive.
Take note that young carpet beetles primarily eat items that are out of natural fibers. Unfortunately, most of those items should not be washed in hot water as they will shrink and lose their shape.
Before you wash anything in your car in hot water, check the label first.
Sprinkle Boric Acid
Getting your hands on a carpet beetle insecticide is trouble-free. That’s because the product is readily available at the local hardware or home improvement store.
Unfortunately, a lot of them contain questionable ingredients. It is a horrible idea to spend hours in your car with residual chemicals, some of which could be toxic.
This is when the benefit of using an all-natural insecticide comes in. When it comes to dealing with larvae carpet beetles in a car, you can put your trust in boric acid.
Obtained from nature in the form of borax, boric acid can kill carpet beetles in a couple of ways.
First, it poisons them when they accidentally ingest it, such as when snacking on items with boric acid.
Second, it dehydrates them when they come into contact with them, such as when crawling on surfaces with boric acid sprinkled on them.
After sprinkling boric acid on carpets, seats, and other potential feeding and hiding places, wait for about two hours to pass before vacuuming your car, which is the next tip.
By the way, aside from boric acid, you may also use diatomaceous earth. Some people swear that baking soda is effective, too.
However, because its dehydrating property is not as impressive as those of boric acid and diatomaceous earth, it may fail to provide the expected results in no time.
Clean With Bagged Vacuums
Whether you have sprinkled boric acid or not, vacuuming is an effective home remedy for carpet beetles in homes and cars. It sucks larvae carpet beetles and carpet beetle eggs out of their feeding and hiding places.
Picking up young carpet beetles bare-handedly is a no-no. This is especially true if you tend to end up with a rash that itches and burns upon coming into contact with them.
The larvae hairs are the ones responsible for it. You may also have the same reaction when you come into contact with their blood — never pick up squashed baby carpet beetles!
When vacuuming your car, make sure that you do not miss any nook and cranny. Use a small nozzle or attachment that will allow you to carry it out without much trouble.
Always remember that, when not eating, larvae carpet beetles like to sleep where they cannot be disturbed. This is why you should thoroughly vacuum all seams, corners and openings found inside your car.
Vacuuming is best followed with steam cleaning, which we will talk about next.
Use Steam Cleaners for Carpet Beetles
Earlier, it was mentioned that washing carpets, car seat covers, and others in hot water will kill carpet beetles. Sadly, not everything in your car can be taken out or stashed in the washing machine.
It’s a good thing that there is an alternative to washing all sorts of stuff in your car in hot water. It’s none other than steam cleaning.
Today’s commercially available steam cleaners can generate steam with temperatures of 150°F to 300°F. That’s more than enough since larvae carpet beetles will die at 120°F.
Because it is recommended to vacuum and steam clean when dealing with larvae carpet beetles in a car or home, getting your hands on a portable vacuum and steam cleaner in one can offer convenience like no other.
Here are some of the best steam cleaners to get rid of carpet beetles in your car.
Bissell 3624 Professional Portable Cleaner
According to the maker, the Bissell 3624 portable unit is its most powerful spot and stain cleaner to date.
While it is primarily being marketed for keeping carpets clean and germ-free, the product is also designed for stairs, upholsteries, and car interiors, which is why it can be used for ridding your car of pesky carpet beetles.
The 13-pound canister part is compact and lightweight for your various car interior cleaning and sanitizing needs. While corded, the cord is long enough to let you carry out your carpet beetle-zapping needs with freedom.
Steam cleaning should not require frequent refills and reheats, thanks to the Bissell 3624’s large water tank, which can hold up to 3/4 gallon of water.
The included six-inch and three-inch attachments enable the unit to be versatile enough to be used indoors and outdoors, and for various surfaces and furnishings.
- Compact and lightweight
- Comes with a couple of attachments
- Massive water tank for continuous steam cleaning
Vapamore MR-50 Wet-Dry Steam Cleaner and Vacuum
If you don’t want any canister getting in your way of exterminating carpet beetles in your car, consider getting your hands on this unit.
The Vapamore MR-50 is one of the most compact vacuum and steam cleaner in one out there. It boasts of a handheld design that enables you to remove debris and eliminate stains without restraints.
One of the nicest things about the product is that it can produce steam with temperatures of up to 210°F, which is more than enough to kill carpet beetles on contact.
Unfortunately, the water tank can only hold only 10 ounces of water, which means that you may have to take frequent refills and reheats, especially if you are trying to deal with a massive carpet beetle infestation in your car.
But that’s something to expect in a handheld device that combines suctioning and steaming power.
- Lightweight and canister-free
- Ships with two different attachments
- Comes with a dust collection filter
Vapamore MR-75 Amico Handheld Steamer
Here’s another tool from Vapamore that can help eliminate carpet beetles from your car: the MR-75.
Because it’s a handheld unit that’s compact and lightweight, zapping carpet beetles hiding in various places in your car, including those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, should be trouble-free.
Making it easier for you to reach just about any corner and underside in your car is the lengthy extension hose, which you can attach and detach from the mouth of the steamer.
There are many things about the product that helps make it impress. For instance, it comes with more than ten different attachments.
Because of these inclusions, the Vapamore MR-75 can be used on deinfesting all kinds of parts and surfaces in the interiors of your car. So, in other words, they allow you to carry out a thorough work.
- It weighs 3.5 pounds only.
- Comes with a variety of attachments.
- Heats water in the tank in just four minutes.
Park Under the Sun
In case you don’t have the budget for a handheld vacuum and steam cleaner in one, worry not. That’s because you may simply park your car under the blistering sun — it will work just as effectively!
Will carpet beetles die in a hot car? They certainly will, provided that the car gets hot enough.
According to experts, various surfaces in a car that’s parked in the sun for an hour can reach temperatures ranging from 180°F to 200°F.
Since larvae carpet beetles cannot tolerate temperatures of 120°F and above, leaving your car in the parking lot in the middle of the day for an hour should do the trick.
Unfortunately, this DIY solution may not work if it’s a cloudy day or you live where there’s not a lot of sun.
By the way, before leaving your car under the blistering sun to get rid of carpet beetles, try to remove as much clutter as you can. This helps make sure that all hiding carpet beetles will be exposed to high temperatures.
Apply Essential Oils
Some insecticides for carpet beetles are completely natural, such as certain essential oils.
Yes, the ones that you can use for naturally alleviating headaches, nausea, dizziness, stress, anxiety, insomnia, acne, scars, and wrinkles can also be employed for getting rid of carpet beetles in your car.
There are a handful of essential oils that can be used for the job. However, only two of them tend to impress the most. They are none other than peppermint essential oil and clove essential oil.
To employ any of them, just spray directly on live larvae carpet beetles or potential hiding places. These essential oils can also destroy carpet beetle eggs.
But because genuine ones do not come cheap, you may dilute them with a little distilled water to make them last for a long time.
Are you looking for a cheaper alternative to essential oils? You may spray white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Sadly, this tip on how to get rid of carpet beetles in car can make your vehicle stink!
Keep It Clean
When larvae carpet beetles invade a car, it’s true that they are likely to nibble on items that are out of natural fibers and animal products. However, those are not the only ones that they love to feast on.
Adult carpet beetles only eat pollen and nectar. Larvae carpet beetles, on the other hand, have a more diverse diet.
Other than the carpets, rugs, seat covers and pillows in your car, they also consume lint, loose human and pet hair, scraps of food, books, magazines, and dead insects.
Due to this, the importance of keeping your car clean and free of clutter all the time cannot be stressed enough.
Switch to Synthetics
There is no denying that genuine leather car seat covers can make the interiors of your car look phenomenal and the experience of driving it one of a kind.
Sadly, these premium car seat covers are yummy treats for larvae carpet beetles. It won’t take long before those pests leave them with holes, tears, and rips.
If you want to own a car that’s carpet beetle-proof, it’s a good idea to steer clear of genuine leather car seat covers. If you want the unparalleled look of car seats covered with leather, opt for fake leather car seat covers instead.
Stick to carpets and rugs that are out of synthetic fibers instead of natural ones.
Just Before You Drive Around Town
Homes are not the only ones that carpet beetles can ravage. Cars can also suffer from an infestation if pregnant female adult carpet beetles end up inside them and lay up to 100 eggs.
Once those eggs hatch in 10 to 20 days, the infestation begins right away — those baby carpet beetles will start to eat anything that they can consume.
There are many items inside a car that can provide larvae carpet beetles with sustenance, each one of them can easily end up damaged. They range anywhere from carpets, car seat covers, to magazines.
Fortunately, dealing with carpet beetles in a car is easier than getting rid of carpet beetles in a home. All that needs to be done is to carry out the steps mentioned above.
It is also a good idea to keep your car clean and minimize the use of items out of natural fibers and animal products to keep an infestation from striking all over again.
Photo credit: ©canva.com/witthayaprasongsin
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you.