How to Clean Pinworms From Pillows

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.

Mints on pillow
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Pinworm eggs survive in bedding for weeks at room temperature.

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.