How to Get Rid of Centipedes in Drains and in Your Bathroom

  • Written By: Phil Hawes
  • Time to read: 7 min.
centipede next to plughole

Centipedes one of the worst things to find in your sink or bathroom, and they can give you a real fright. Despite the great job they perform as a pest killer, you probably still want to get rid of them.

The best way to rid yourself of house centipedes is to eradicate their food and water supply. Often this means combatting other existing pest infestations. Exterminating these pests themselves can be done with natural household ingredients and organic compounds such as diatomaceous earth. Often, though, centipedes are beneficial to a home’s pest defense.

If you want to find out more about how to really get rid of centipedes in your drains, then please read on.

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Do centipedes come up through drains?

Contrary to what many think, centipedes rarely enter a home via the plumbing system. When you see them coming through your plug holes, it normally because they have been attracted to them due to the moisture present. This means centipedes are entering your home via other means.

Centipedes are attracted to the moist environment that can be found in your kitchen, bathroom, and any other parts of your home. They also will enter a house via cracks or gaps in windowsills. The best way to stop this is by making sure there’s no moisture for them to benefit from inside your property.

This being said, when there is damage to your plumbing system, centipedes and other pests such as cockroaches, can gain access to your home via the drains. It is rare but possible.

You may also find that once the centipedes gain access to your bathroom or kitchen pipes that they live there taking advantage of the abundant moisture.

Why am I finding centipedes in my bathroom?

Bathrooms offer centipedes an ideal habitat as these rooms are usually very humid. Having an exoskeleton, centipedes and other similar bugs need access to moisture to avoid drying out and dying. This is something Diatomaceous Earth exploits. Denying water and food is the most effective way to eradicate these types of pests.

Another reason you may very well find centipedes in your bathroom is that in addition to water, they may have a natural food supply. Other pests, such as cockroaches and ants, also seek out water to survive.

Centipedes are carnivorous and eat other bugs and insects. They also scavenge for other food sources, including leftover scraps in your kitchen or yard.

Centipedes inject venom through their mandibles into prey to paralyze them before they eat it whole; that same poison can be dangerous if the centipede bites you! That’s why I recommend wearing gloves when handling these beasts, just to be safe.

How do you get rid of centipedes in the bathroom?

The best way to eradicate centipedes from your bathroom is to remove the water that is attracting them. Leaks, cracks, and puddles of water are the main things that will increase the centipede population in your bathroom. Removing the access to water will also discourage other pests, which are the food source for centipedes too.

There are two main angles of attack here, repelling centipedes and making the bathroom environment hostile to them.

Remove all standing water in your bathroom. This includes anything from sinks and basins to bathtubs and toilets (but only if you are going out of town of course).

Use a towel or mop to soak up any condensation on the wall, floor, ceiling, etc., which can attract centipedes as well. If you have a dishwasher that leaks (which is common), it is important to fix it. If not, keep a bowl or pot in the dishwasher and periodically add water so that it never dries out.

This will prevent centipedes from coming into your home as well!

Work on fixing any leaks around pipes where they meet up with the ground outside of your house too. This can be done yourself if you can get access to the pipes or call in a plumber.

What home remedy kills centipedes?

For centipedes that have actually taken up residence in your drains, the best home remedy is to use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. This mixture is then applied directly down the drains and dislodges any pests, especially centipedes that are living there.

Take 1 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of baking soda, pour the baking soda down first and then follow it with the vinegar. if you have a plug, cover the drain up for a more effective reaction.

Basically what happens is the baking soda and the vinegar react to produce carbon dioxide. Although centipedes don’t have lungs like humans, they do need oxygen to live. Carbon dioxide is a gas that can’t be absorbed by the centipede and so they suffocate.

After you have let this mixture sit for about half an hour, pour boiling water down your drain to flush out any remaining pests or their eggs. Bleach can be used too, but it’s not as environmentally friendly.

What smell do centipedes hate?

As with many other pests, centipedes have an aversion to the smell of peppermint, eucalyptus, and cayenne pepper. Using essential oils is more effective for peppermint and eucalyptus but a powder works just fine for cayenne pepper.

Peppermint Essential Oil

One of the easiest methods for getting rid of centipedes is using peppermint oil. The smell alone will put them off and if they come into contact with it, that will burn them too!

Link to Amazon for prices and availability

To combat centipedes in your bathroom, I use a dropper feeding peppermint oil onto these key places such as drains, entryways, and any cracks and crevices.

I mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with water in a spray bottle and spritz the mixture where I need it. This is essential for other soft places like your sofa or bedding, don’t take any chances!

Peppermint oil and leaves not only smell great but also repel centipedes and all manner of other pests.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

One of the healthiest and cheapest ways to get rid of centipede infestation is a mixture of eucalyptus essential oil.

Buy: Eucalyptus Oil from Amazon. Clarifying Aromatherapy Scent, Steam Distilled, 100% Pure, Vegan, 4 Fl Oz (1 Count)

I pour this oil into my essential oil diffuser and let it fill the air with an invigorating scent. It actually goes well with peppermint, for added protection.

Eucalyptus is useful because it has medicinal properties. It’s antimicrobial, antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and decongestant which means it’s a natural air purifier that also kills germs in the home.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper is very irritating for arthropods like centipedes and they will always try to avoid it. This is great for inside your home, around the corners. You can also use this to sprinkle outside along the exterior window ledges and near drain pipes.

Note: If you have pet rodents, avoid using peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils as smells can upset them. Peppermint is in fact effective for driving mice out of homes.

Will centipedes crawl on your bed?

Centipedes are very good at climbing all types of materials and can be attracted to the dark humid folds of a bed. However, it’s not a natural environment for them and will soon move on unless there is an ample food source, such as bed bugs. More often than not, they have been transported to your bed accidentally.

For even more information on this question, please read my full article on this here with ways of stopping it from ever happening.

Do centipedes stay in one room?

As with all pests, centipedes will only stay in one location as long as it has ample food and water supplies and provides an ideal living environment. Once one of these factors is removed, they are likely to seek out new territory. Taking steps to deter them from moving around your home is essential as soon as you discover their presence.

If you take steps to remove any food scraps, which are likely attracting the centipede’s prey (ants, cockroaches, silverfish, and other centipedes) then you will soon find that they don’t hang out in that room anymore.

Of course, you’d want to do this throughout your home to avoid them just relocating.

What kills centipedes quickly?

There are two very natural ways to quickly kill centipedes in around your home, diatomaceous earth and chickens.

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring material that comes from the fossilized remains of plants. As an insecticide, it actually leads to bugs dehydrating as it damages their hard exoskeletons and makes maintaining moisture impossible. You can use this safely around the home with kids and pets present.

Using Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth

(Diatomaceous Earth: link to this product on Amazon)

Centipedes must come into contact with the diatomaceous earth for it to work, so be quite liberal with your application. Sprinkle it over the areas that centipedes have been seen and leave it around your drains overnight, both inside and out.

If you have a yard and a centipede infestation, then chickens are the best way to target them. These critters love these anthropods and you’ll get free eggs out of it too! Having a couple of chickens pecking around will help stop centipedes actually getting into your home, but it won’t help with those already inside.

Should you kill house centipede?

Centipedes actually pose very little threat to humans and are staunch allies in the fight against other pests. Their presence in your home usually indicates another pest infestation, and killing them can exacerbate that situation. Therefore, it’s often best to target the source of the centipedes rather than killing them directly.

That being said, these things are very creepy and if they have opened your eyes to a wider issue within your home there is no reason why you can’t kill them. Just be sure to actively address the other pest issues at the same time.

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