If you notice some tiny black worms in your bathroom, they’re probably drain fly larvae and are called drain worms. They derive their name from where they live: shower drains and sinks. These worms eventually become adult drain flies (sewer, filter, or moth flies).
Although I keep my bathrooms in top shape, I encountered these wiggly pests in my master bathroom when I moved into my current house. I sought to eliminate them and settled on a few quick solutions. Commercial drain cleaners work well to get rid of drain worms. If you want a chemical-free solution, use a mixture of baking soda and white vinegar to clean your drains and sinks.
You can also use aerosol sprays, insecticides, and fly traps to kill drain worms. If you keep the humidity in your bathroom low, unclog drains, and seal crevices and leaks in the shower, you won’t have to deal with drain worms since they thrive in damp conditions.
The best commercial drain cleaner to help kill drain worms is the Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver. It works in a few minutes and does not damage your pipes and drain like some harsh cleaners do. Always stay safe when using pesticides in the home, as directed by the EPA.
How do I get rid of worms in my shower drain?
Those wiggling worms may pose little danger to you, but they still need to be eliminated. The most effective ways to kill drain worms include the following:
1. Kill the drain flies
First, kill the drain flies using either an aerosol spray or a fly trap to eliminate the source of the drain fly larvae worms in the shower. Most household insecticides kill drain worms.
2. Remove the drain cover
Remove the drain cover with any debris in the drain. This includes fungi, hair, and other solid materials you may find in it. The drain worms feed on these decaying materials.
3. Scrub the drain
Scrub the sides of the drain and the drain cover with a toothbrush and hot water before flushing the drain with more hot water. If you have a clog, unclog the drain with a plunger, hot water, or a mix of white vinegar and baking soda.
4. Replace the drain cover
If it has a screw, use a screwdriver to secure it in place.
5. Kill any remaining worms and drain flies
Set up fly traps or use insecticides to kill any remaining drain flies.
Clean the drain with a commercial drain cleaner if the tiny worms in the shower reappear after a few days. Combine the drain cleaner with hot water for the best results. The drain cleaner should be formulated to remove anything the flies and their larvae may feed on debris, such as soap scum.
Using bleach to kill drain worms
You can also use bleach to kill drain worms as follows:
- Remove the cap from your bleach bottle.
- Pour bleach into the cap to fill it up.
- Pour the cap of bleach into the drain.
You don’t need to rinse it out since it’ll eventually clear up when you take a shower. A cap of bleach is enough to kill the larvae and drain worms in your shower drain. Don’t mix bleach with vinegar for safety purposes since it forms dangerous chlorine gas.
Are drain worms harmful?
Drain worms and their adult stage, the drain flies, don’t bite or transmit diseases from one person or animal to another. However, they pose the risk of contaminating foods, given that they come from dirty places such as toilets, shower drains, compost pits, and other places with germs.
While the worms rarely venture far from the drain or other dirty places, the flies can be found all over the house. They are also known to worsen bronchial asthma in some people. Besides that, the little black worms wiggling around the bathroom just look gross and scary. They thus need to be eliminated.
How do I know I have drain worms?
The first sign of drain worms is drain flies in your home. Given that drain flies come from drain worms, the adults must be coming from somewhere close by. Drain flies are nocturnal flies but may still come out in the day. If you’re observant, you can see them during the day on the walls.
You can also know you have drain worms when you see black larvae worms in the bathroom or sink. These sink worms rarely venture far from their source and will be seen just around the opening of the drain in the shower or sink. You can also see small worms in the bathtub close to the drainage or other places with crevices where they can breed.
If you’re not sure about the presence of drain worms, put sticky tape close to the drain. The worms will stick to it when they crawl on it, and you can easily see them.
What causes drain worms?
Drain worms can be a sign of a clog in the drain or simply a dirty drain with lots of decomposing material that the worms can feed on. Leaking pipes are another source of drain flies since they provide the needed wetness. Still, drain worms only need wet conditions to thrive. They can thus be found in drains, toilets, sinks, and under bottles in the kitchen or shower.
Drain worms are the larvae stage of drain flies. They come about when the drain flies’ eggs hatch in a damp place with organic material that the larvae can feed on when growing. This includes the shower drain, given that it rarely gets dry. The females lay up to 100 eggs, which hatch at the same time.
Drain worms rarely infest areas with moving or hot water. This means that, as long as your drains aren’t dirty and clogged or are used frequently enough, you most likely won’t have to deal with drain worms.
How to prevent drain worms
The best ways I found to keep drain worms away from your house include the following:
1. Clean the bathroom with bleach
Bleach kills the drain worms and their eggs before they hatch. Cleaning your bathroom is the most effective way to deal with drain worms at all stages of their life cycle.
2. Use enzyme cleaners
Since drain worms and flies rely on biological dirt such as dead skin, hair, and soap, an enzyme drain cleaner such as Green Gobbler Drain Clog Dissolver helps dissolve their food. This starves them to death and prevents their breeding. You can also use CLR, DF 5000, or InVade Bio Drain gel to kill drain worms.
3. Reduce the level of humidity
Drain flies and drain worms thrive in wet and moist conditions. Thus, you prevent them by venting the bathroom and using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. If your shower won’t stop running and it keeps the floor wet at all times, tighten or replace the showerhead.
4. Use insecticides
Insecticides such as Diatomaceous Earth (DE) are the best for this purpose since they kill all insects, from drain worms to millipedes, without harming the home or its dwellers.
5. Seal crevices
Crevices in the bathroom caused by damaged caulk or tiles need to be fixed since they end up harboring dirt in wet conditions, in which the drain worms thrive.
With these steps, you can be sure not to see drain worms and drain flies frequenting your bathroom. Learn how to clean the whole shower to avoid drain worms and dirt in general.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes worms in the drain?
Most drain worms come into your home when a female drain fly comes and lays eggs in a damp area of your home. They come through windows, doors, and any other open areas including ventilation holes.
How do I permanently get rid of drain flies?
Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with ½ cup of baking soda and ½ cup of salt then pour it down the drain. Let it sit overnight then flush the drain with hot water the next morning. This kills all drain worms, flies, and the organic materials they feed on.
Why do I suddenly have drain flies?
Once they enter the house through windows, basements and drains, drain worms and flies prefer stagnant or standing water. This can be due to slow or clogged drains, fridge drain pipes, unused toilets, or leaks.