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How To Keep Bugs Out of Dresser Drawers

How To Keep Bugs Out Of Dresser Drawers

We dealt with a roach infestation in our attic last year, forcing us to hunt and remove roach eggs from the seasonal clothing we had stored there.

The ordeal encouraged us to take preventive measures to keep our clothing storage areas free from bugs, including our dresser drawers.

Upon doing ample research, we employed various methods to keep insects away from dresser drawers. They have been highly effective so far, with our drawers showing no signs of bug activity.


Routine cleaning, vacuuming, decluttering, properly cleaning clothing before storing, using natural scents, sealing crevices with Diatomaceous earth, and placing drawer liners are some effective ways of keeping bugs out of dresser drawers.

Let’s learn about insects commonly found in dresser drawers, where they hide, what attracts them to drawers, and how to keep bugs away from them.

What Insects Live in Dresser Drawers

What Insects Live In Dresser Drawers

Various bugs find dresser drawers excellent nesting places, often damaging clothing, especially garments made from leather, wool, silk, fur, or feathers.

Identifying what insects are infesting dresser drawers goes a long way in eliminating them. Here are some common pests found in dresser drawers:

  • Bed Bugs: Many people wrongly believe that bed bugs keep themselves to bedding and mattresses. However, they also find dresser drawers perfect environments to thrive.
  • Carpet Beetles: The larvae of these insects feed on natural fibers in clothing, such as feathers, fur, mohair, and wool.
  • Cockroaches: Roaches will gnaw on anything for survival, including clothes, often cutting holes. They can also infest entire households, taking over storage areas, electronics, and any other dark and cozy place, making it difficult to eliminate them.
  • Crickets: Stains in clothing usually attract Crickets that cause damage to clothing as they try to feed from stains.
  • Silverfish: These pests feed on body residue or soil, food stains, and natural fiber in clothing, damaging them in the process.
  • Termites: Although termites don’t feed on clothes, they like their presence, often cutting into clothing and damaging them.
  • Moths: Female moths produce around 100 white eggs or larvae that feed on clothing for weeks, damaging them.

Where Bugs Hide in Dresser Drawers

Where Bugs Hide In Dresser Drawers

Insects take refuge in various nooks and corners in dresser drawers in addition to clothing and other items, especially when they feel threatened.

As a result, eliminating pests in dresser drawers requires a solid understanding of where they might take cover.

  • Border Frames: Smaller insects, such as bed bugs, can easily slip into the gaps in border frames, making them difficult to find and access when repelling.
  • Corners: Many larger insects, such as roaches, like the coziness and protection of dresser corners.
  • Footers: These provide excellent shelter for smaller bugs, including bed bugs. They can stay undetected for prolonged periods, often turning into severe infestations.
  • Clothing: Layers of clothing provide dark, moist, and warm environments bugs thrive. Clothes kept in the same place for long periods, such as seasonal clothing, expensive garments, and clothing with emotional value, often provide the calm environments insects love.
  • Clutter: Some dressers are home to all clutter, creating excellent hiding places for insects.

What Attracts Bugs to Dresser Drawers

What Attracts Bugs To Dresser Drawers

Insects like nesting in dresser drawers since they tick all the boxes in what they call the perfect home.

While some bugs feed on clothes, food stains and body soil on clothes attract many other insects.

Here are the main reasons why bugs take refuge in dresser drawers:

  • Darkness
  • Quietness
  • Warmth
  • Moisture
  • Food

10 Ways To Repel Bugs From Dresser Drawers

Ways To Repel Bugs From Dresser Drawers

Properly maintaining clean dresser drawers can usually keep them free from bugs.

However, repelling bugs which have already started calling dresser drawers their home might take more work, with severe infestations requiring more potent methods or even professional help.

1. Attend to Repairs

Attend To Repairs

Don’t leave any broken frames, cracks, or holes in dresser drawers since bugs can easily find refuge during cleaning. Inspect for such damages and seal them.

Additionally, keep an eye out for rotting wood and immediately have them repaired since rot attracts pests.

2. Monthly Vacuuming

Monthly Vacuuming

Maintaining clean and organized dresser drawers is the easiest way to keep bugs away from them.

Therefore, stick to a proper maintenance routine that includes monthly vacuuming while paying extra attention to nooks and corners where bugs might hide, including border frames, corners, and footers.

3. Monthly Inspections and Airing

Monthly Inspections And Airing

I usually do this as a part of my monthly vacuuming. Remove all the items in the drawers and thoroughly inspect them.

Unfold clothing and let them catch fresh air before carefully placing them back in the drawers.

Take more time inspecting clothing that contains cotton, wool, silk, and leather that bugs feed on. Placing them in sealed plastic bags is also a wise choice.

Washing and drying unworn clothes in high heat once every three months is also an excellent way to keep pests away from them.

4. Avoid Clutter

Avoid Clutter

Drawers are often home to things that don’t belong anywhere else. However, such easy fixes can cause much trouble later if insects start breeding among the clutter.

Declutter the drawers, using sealed bags or plastic containers to store accessories.

Having nicely organized dresser drawers also make finding things and monthly cleaning quicker.

5. Don’t Store Dirty Clothes

Don't Store Dirty Clothes

Some pests are attracted to food sources in dresser drawers, such as food stains and body soil in dirty clothes.

Carefully inspect clothing, including the pockets, before storing them.

Avoid storing any clothes with food stains, dead skin, or sweat.

Thoroughly wash and dry clothes that look or smell dirty before storing them in the drawers.

6. Avoid Cardboard

Avoid Cardboard

Many pests feed on cellulose, often found in paper products, including cardboard.

As a result, avoid using cardboard boxes to store clothes and items in dressers, drawers, and closets.

Instead, use airtight plastic containers and bags to store clothes.

7. Use Pest-Repelling Scents

Use Pest-Repelling Scents

I prefer using natural pest repellants, especially around clothes.

Fortunately, there are many natural scents that insects find repulsive.

I used various methods to fill dresser drawers with fragrances to repel pests.

One of the easiest ways is by wiping the surfaces of the drawers with a cloth soaked in a pest-repelling mixture.

Spraying different concoctions or placing cotton balls soaked in fragrances also works.

I also found chips and blocks of various scents, emitting bug-deterring smells over long periods.



Combine equal amounts of Apple Cider Vinegar or White Vinegar with water to create a mixture that repels many bugs, roaches, bed bugs, and spiders.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

Many essential oils, including cedar, citronella, lavender, pennyroyal, and peppermint, help repel insects from dresser drawers.

Combine 5 to 10 drops of essential oil with water before applying them to the dresser drawers.


Essential oils can sometimes stain clothing. Therefore, please place them in sealed plastic bags in a drawer treated with essential oils.



Many insects find the smell of cinnamon repulsive.

Cinnamon sticks in dresser drawers can prevent bed bugs, carpet beetles, roaches, and silverfish.

Dried Herbs

Dried Herbs

Plant matter from herbs such as cedar, citronella, lavender, pennyroyal, and spearmint emit strong scents that repel bugs away from dresser drawers.

8. Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (DE)

Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth (De)

DE is a natural substance with incredible pest-repellant qualities.

Sprinkle Diatomaceous earth around the corners of drawers and inside any cracks and gaps to eliminate any bugs hiding in them.

9. Place Drawer Liners

Place Drawer Liners

Bug-repelling drawer liners can effectively keep bugs away from dresser drawers.

Although commercially available, I made my pest-repellant drawer liners by combining lining paper and citronella oil.

The smell of the essential oil wears off in a few months, requiring reapplication by brushing oil along the edges and into the corners of each drawer.

10. Get Professional Help

Get Professional Help

Addressing severe bug infestations beyond the average person’s control requires professional help from pest exterminators.

Do not hesitate to contact a pest control service for expert help, especially if the infestation has run deep or is associated with difficult pests such as bed bugs and termites.


Having successfully dealt with a roach infestation that almost destroyed our seasonal clothing last year, we wanted to take preventive measures in all our clothing storage areas, including the dresser drawers.

We used many methods, from routine maintenance, regular inspections, and various natural bug-repellants, to effectively keep insects out of our dresser drawers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Can I Put in My Dresser Drawers To Keep Bugs Out?

Placing cotton balls soaked in essential oils such as cedar, citronella, lavender, pennyroyal, and peppermint, placing cinnamon sticks, sprinkling Diatomaceous earth, and using cedar or lavender chips or blocks are some excellent ways of keeping bugs out of dresser drawers.

What Can I Spray on Wood To Keep Bugs Away?

Diluting vinegar or essential oils such as cedar, citronella, lavender, pennyroyal, and peppermint with water and spraying the mixture on wood can keep bugs away from the furniture.

What Scents Will Keep Bugs Away?

Penetrating scents of vinegar, cinnamon, peppers, garlic, or essential oils, including citronella, eucalyptus, catnip, clove, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, lavender, pennyroyal, and geranium, keep bugs away.

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