How to Clean Pinworms From Pillows

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Things You'll Need

  • Pinworm medication

  • Laundry detergent

Pinworm eggs survive in bedding for weeks at room temperature.
Credit: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

Pinworms, tiny white worms that live in the human digestive tract, cause severe itching when they lay microscopic eggs on the skin surrounding the anus. These persistent parasites spread easily among people in close contact. Even after treating the worms with medication, eggs may remain on bedding, such as pillows, sheets and blankets. Pinworms and their eggs cannot survive very high temperatures, so the hot water of a washing machine is enough to kill them and sanitize the bedding.

Step 1

Treat every member of your household with a two-dose pinworm medication. Give the second dose two weeks after the first.

Step 2

Remove the pillows and all other bedding from any bed used by an infected person. Take the pillow cases off of the pillows.

Step 3

Read the care tag on the pillow for specific cleaning instructions. If the tag says "Dry clean only," take it to a professional dry cleaner. Do not put the pillow in the washing machine; this will damage it. Do not wash silk or wool pillows in the washing machine. Some memory foam and feather pillows are also not machine-washable.

Step 4

Put the pillows, pillow cases and other bedding into the washing machine.

Step 5

Add 1 cup of laundry detergent to the machine. Run the washing machine on the heavy load cycle using the hottest water setting available.

Step 6

Dry the pillows and other bedding in the dryer at the highest possible temperature.

Tip

If the pillows are too big to fit in the washing machine, wash them in your bathtub instead. Turn the heat up as high as possible, add laundry soap and let the pillows soak in the tub for a few minutes to kill pinworm eggs. When the water cools enough for you to comfortably touch it, wash the pillows by hand.

Trim your fingernails, and encourage other household members to do the same. Pinworm eggs collect underneath fingernails when an infected person scratches his skin.

Practice cleanliness to avoid spreading pinworms. Wash your hands and avoid scratching the infected area. Vacuum carpets and floors frequently.

Warning

If you suspect you have pinworms, do not delay in seeking treatment. Pinworms are very contagious, and they can infect everyone in your home quickly.

references & resources

Melissa King

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.