Pinworms are white parasitic worms found in the intestinal tract of humans. They’re the main cause of enterobiasis, itchiness around the anus, and other conditions. Pinworms lay eggs around the anus at night when the affected individual, mostly a child, is asleep.
The eggs are usually sticky and can adhere to carpets, blankets, couches, upholstery, and other materials. And since they’re highly contagious, the risk of infection is high.
If someone is infected with pinworms in your household, likely, the worm’s eggs are already on your couches, beddings, and carpet. You need to get rid of them to prevent infection to other members of the family.
And you might have asked yourself, “Will steam cleaning kill pinworm eggs?” We answer this question and educate you more on pinworms and how to kill them.
Will Steam Cleaning Kill Pinworm Eggs?
Yes, steam cleaning will do away with pinworm eggs using high heat. Pinworm eggs will not survive when steamed at around 100°F.
About Pinworms And Enterobiasis
Pinworms, also known as threadworms, are tiny worms that live in the human gut. They’re about 1/2 to 1/4 inches long and lay up to 10,000 eggs around the anus. They cause the most common worm infection in the United States, enterobiasis.
The infection doesn’t call for urgent treatment but it’s necessary to treat it to avoid itchiness, restlessness, and sometimes, weight loss and loss of appetite to mention a few symptoms.
While people of all ages can contract pinworms, it’s common in children. Pinworm eggs can be easily transferred to the fingers when people touch infected surfaces, inhale, or get deposited into food from the air.
The eggs can stay on surfaces for as long as two weeks on surfaces under room temperature. That’s why you need to clean them using high heat.
How To Detect Pinworm Eggs in Your House
If you suspect pinworm eggs in your household, you want to know where they live so that you can start steaming them. You also want to be sure that you’re dealing with the right worms.
The first step towards discovering their existence is performing the tape test on your child/children. Here is how to do it:
- Take a piece of transparent cellophane and wrap it around your fingers with the adhesive layer facing outside.
- Press the sticky tape around your child’s anus when s/he wakes up in the morning.
- If present, the eggs should be clearly visible on the adhesive part of the tape
- Keep the adhesive and eggs inside a wrapped bag.
- Repeat the test the following morning.
- Carry the bag in step 4 above to your doctor to examine the eggs under a microscope.
- The doctor will conclude if these are indeed pinworm eggs or anything else.
If the test above turns positive, you’ll know that the eggs may also be on your couches, carpet, bed sheets, and other surfaces. That means you need to get rid of them to prevent further infection.
You also need to treat your child or the infected person. But first, let’s see how to steam clean pinworms from your house below:
How To Steam Clean Pinworms
If you’re ready to steam clean your house for pinworms but are wondering how to do it correctly, here you go:
Step 1: Prepare the Machine
Fill your steam cleaner with distilled water and let it heat up to 130°F after plugging it in. Test it by pulling the trigger until you see that steam has started coming out from the nozzle. You can attach a steam mop pad to the head of the machine if appropriate.
Step 2: Steam All Affected Areas
Start steaming all the affected areas carefully in a pattern. All the eggs will die at around 100°F, but you have to ensure that steam penetrates all the sections of the surface that you’re dealing with. So, do it slowly but carefully. Always ensure that you’re steaming only surfaces that can bear the heat.
Step 3: Vacuum the Steamed Surfaces
Steam kills bacteria, loosens dirt, and in this case, kills all the pinworm eggs and pinworms on the surface. However, it doesn’t get rid of them from these surfaces. That’s why you need to vacuum so that all the debris is sucked up. If possible, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
How To Prevent Pinworms From Coming Back
1. Regularly Wash Your Hands
Ensure that everyone in the household washes their hands regularly to alleviate the risk of infection. Wash your hands after conducting the tape test, before eating, and after coming in contact with your infected child. Use lots of soap and wash all surfaces of the hand. Also, keep your nails short.
2. Handle Underwear And Linens Carefully
It’s important to handle your affected child/children’s underwear carefully because pinworm eggs are likely deposited on them. Don’t keep such underwear with others, and whenever washing them, use hot water.
Use a sealed plastic bag to keep them until washing time. Consider using disposable gloves when handling them. Also, remember not to shake any clothes that have come in contact with the affected person and avoid reusing towels.
3. Shower in The Morning
When your child wakes up in the morning, let him/her take a shower to wash off all pinworm eggs and prevent the risk of spreading to others or hatching. Avoid a bath because the eggs can still remain in the water and spread back to the body.
4. Don’t Scratch
Advise your child or the affected person not to scratch the anal area. Trim the nails to help reduce the surface area for pinworm egg contact. Warn your children from inserting their hands into their mouths.
5. Seek Medical Care
Consider seeking medical care when itching persists beyond one week, or when you notice pinworms outside the body. This is often a severe case that needs medical attention. The doctor will administer anti-parasitic drugs like pyrantel pamorase, albendazole, and the like. S/he may also advise on the best way to control the situation.
The Bottom Line
It’s now clear that steam cleaning kills pinworm eggs at only 100°F. The method is environment-friendly, simple, and cheap because it only uses distilled water.
Use the steps we’ve described above to clean your house for surefire results. Also, use our prevention measures and you’ll see the difference. Good luck!