Nobody wants worms in their house, whether those wriggly runts are black or blue. But before we explore ways to get rid of black worms in the bathroom, we need clarification. In this article, we’re learning all about black worms, the infant stage of drain flies.
Don’t confuse them with California Blackworms, invertebrates that live in muddy swamps or shallow water and are commonly used for lab experiments. What we’re interested in are black drain worms. Our goal is to eliminate the worms before they grow into fecund flies.
How to Get Rid of small black worms in bathroom
1. Confirm They’re Black Worms
When you’re looking for solutions to your black worm blues, you may feel frustrated because such few sources refer to them as black worms. You’ll see them described as drain fly larvae, drain worms, or sink/drain/moth/sewer flies. They’re the mid-point between eggs and flies.
Differentiating these flies from other household flies can therefore be important. They look a lot like fruit flies or gnats, but they have fuzzy, hairy bodies with white spots on their wings. If you happen to smash one, it may leave a powdery substance on your fingers or the wall.
Drain fly larvae are small, rarely longer than 10mm or 1/8th of an inch. They look like black (or dark brown) earthworms and have no eyes or legs. Their anatomy is simple, with a breathing tube, and within a week or three, they cocoon into pupa then emerge as flies.
2. Boil and Batter Them
In some homes, cleanliness is an obsession. You’ll find residents wiping down surfaces and spritzing Lysol a few times an hour. But even if you’re not a neat freak, getting rid of black worms might require this kind of attention (though at a smaller and less stringent scale).
It’s a good idea to dry any sinks when they’re not in use. Yes, it seems finicky – after all, sinks have faucets so it’s natural for them to get wet. But those droplets can invite drain flies and worms, so after washing your hands or brushing your teeth, rinse the sink and wipe it dry.
Then, two or three times a day, pour a gallon of boiling water down the sink. It will keep the trap wet and flush away any black worms, drain flies, or insect eggs. You can add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to the hot water, but you’ll need an extra application to rinse the soap.
3. Cover their Entry Point
In the dark ages, people believed rats (and worms) spontaneously grew out of garbage. We didn’t understand that trash attracts these pests and that they breed next to this food source. All we knew was one day, there was no rubbish in that spot. Then people started dumping.
Eventually, there was a big pile of refuse and suddenly, worms and rats crawled out of the crud. We feel the same about black worms in the bathroom. They seemed to just apparate! In reality though, black worms hatch from the eggs of drain flies that were laid under the sink.
So the quickest way to get rid of black worms in the bathroom is to cover the drain. That way, the eggs can’t hatch and the worms can’t crawl up into the tub. You can cover the drain with a stopper, a plastic cap, a makeshift Tupperware lid, or even temporarily with a plunger.
4. Smother the Eggs
As we’ve mentioned, drain flies lay their eggs inside the drain. Usually, the trap beneath your sink stays full of water. The water forms a scent barrier that stops sewer smells from rising into your bathroom. But that water trap is sometimes coated with biofilm and muck.
So the drain flies will deposit their hatchlings in the scum that accumulates above the waterline. In this context, you have two main ways to get rid of black worms in the bathroom. One, stop the drain flies from getting down there in the first place. That way, they can’t lay eggs.
Two, keep the eggs safely below the surface so they don’t hatch. And even if they do, they can’t access the rest of the bathroom so they’ll eventually die. Pouring baking powder and vinegar down the drain will absorb unwanted smells, unblock clogs, and kill all the worms.
5. Buy a DIY Kit
Thanks to search engines, solutions to tons of household problems are only a click away. Like this convenient way to get rid of black worms in the bathroom. It’s a comprehensive system developed by DoMyOwn.Com. The kit contains a bug spray, an enzyme killer, and glue traps.
You’ll start by setting up the sticky traps to find out exactly how bad your drain fly infestation is. Reset the trap after every black worm treatment to see how effective it is by comparing how many flies or worms are still hanging around your bathroom (or kitchen) drain.
Spray the aerosol can to get rid of any grown drain flies and prevent them from breeding further. Next, pour the enzyme gel down the drain to kill any flies, worms, or eggs. For routine maintenance, you can pour your black worm gel down the sink every month or so.
6. Bleach Them Out
Ideally, chlorine bleach is a last resort for bathroom bug control. This is because bleach has lots of side effects. But it’s also quite an effective way to get rid of black worms in the bathroom. The quickest trick is to pour bleach down the drain, but wear goggles and gloves.
You’ll also want to keep the bathroom well ventilated while you apply the bleach, so all windows and doors should be open and the fan should be at its highest setting. A safer alternative is to use an oxygen-based bleach instead. Something like hydrogen peroxide.
But a safer, greener option is to try undiluted vinegar. Any white vinegar will do, but you could also try ACV (apple cider vinegar) or a commercial vinegar substitute. These fluids kill bacteria and cut off the food supply for your black worms and the drain flies they grow into.
7. Salt the Idle Sinks
You might think black worms and drain flies can only survive in active bathrooms. But they thrice better in unused ones because the water in the P-trap, U-trap, or toilet tank becomes stagnant. The traps might even dry out since they’re not being flushed or refreshed regularly.
To avoid this mess, pay attention to guest bathrooms and toilets that are rarely used. Run the taps and/or flush the toilets once a week. This ensures the traps have fresh, clean water in them at all times. You can also pour salt and/or vinegar inside the tank or down the drain.
Both salt and vinegar have antiseptic qualities that can destroy germs and bacteria. In the process, these cleansing ingredients will prevent black worms and drain flies from settling and increasing. After all, their life cycle from egg to worm to fly is only two to three weeks!
8. Bait ‘em ‘n Switch ‘em
By now, you know vinegar and baking soda are excellent ways to get rid of black worms in the bathroom. You also know why these worms (and the flies they’ll eventually grow into) are attracted to your bathroom drains. So if you want to catch and kill them, bait can be helpful.
To bait your black worm trap, you just need to add a few ingredients to your cleansing concoction. Besides the usual baking soda and vinegar, you can add some table sugar and dishwashing soap. The sugar releases a sickly-sweet scent that attracts the bugs’ attention.
The soap forms a film that stops the worms and flies from escaping. The fizzing reaction kills any existing black worms and drain flies while dissolving their food source. That salt, foam, and sizzle will eliminate any bacteria, pathogens, germs, and unhatched eggs down there.
9. Dry Everything Out
If you don’t already have fans installed, consider it. It’s the most effective way to get rid of black worms in the bathroom. Remember, they’re attracted to moist spaces, whether it’s the constantly dripping faucet or that steamy high-traffic shower that runs multiple times a day.
We’ve mentioned that you should wipe the walls and sinks to avoid watermarks and stagnant pools. But you can use a timed fan that automatically kicks in after every bath or shower. It will draw out any excess moisture or water vapor. You can also use a dehumidifier or AC.
If you don’t have fans or electronic devices, remember to open all the doors and windows for ten minutes to half an hour every time you use the bathroom. Take out any towels, curtains, or drapes and let them air dry to avoid the bathroom getting damp, dank, stuffy, or musty.
10. Invest in Enzyme Cleaners
You might think green cleaning products are a trend best left for environmentalists and vegans. After all, your trusty bleach handles everything right? Well, black worms are themed-point of mature drain flies and their eggs. So even if you don’t see them, they’re still there.
So it helps to have an enzyme cleaner in the house at all times. It will eat up the eggs, pupa, worms, and everything between. Yes, you can wipe down all the bathroom surfaces with chlorine bleach to destroy any traces of bathroom black worms. But an enzyme spray is best.
Examples include Flo-Zyme, Green Gobbler, Bio-Clean, and Bio-Fresh. You can also concoct homemade enzyme cleaners by fermenting fruit peels and citrus rinds in a vacuum-sealed bottle. These DIY products can get smelly though, so label, brew and use them with care.
11. Unclog Your Sinks
Sometimes, the blockage in your bathroom drain is obvious. Other times, you can’t spot it as easily because it’s draining slowly but isn’t completely clogged. But in both cases, the debris in your drain is creating the perfect nest for black worms, drain flies, and other nasty critters.
Try the most common tricks to unclog your bathroom sink or drain. These include plunging, using a plastic drain snake or metal wire, triggering a reaction with baking soda or caustic soda plus vinegar, installing a drain screen to catch matted hair, or bleaching the drain.
By clearing up any unseen blockages, you make your bathroom less attractive to black worms and drain flies. You’ll also get rid of any eggs, worms (larvae), or pupa that may be hanging out in your P-traps. Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a helpful tip too. Sprinkle it around the sink.
12. Clean Out the Trap
As we’ve noted, black worms are larvae that hatch from drain fly eggs laid on the waterline of your U-trap or P-trap. So it can be helpful to attack the trap directly as a way to get rid of black worms. This is fairly easy if the worms are crawling up and out of the bathroom sink.
You can easily scoot under the sink with a bucket, unscrew the trap, and release the contents. Once you’re done, clean the trap with warm soapy water and a pipe brush. Rinse it clean and disinfect the trap to finish off any eggs or drain fly traces that you might have overlooked.
Finally, refill the trap with clean water and screw it back into place. But if the black worms are wriggling around a bathtub drain or shower tray, it’s not as feasible to dismantle the trap. You may need a plumber or a contractor to take everything apart and access the pipes below.
13. Buy Them a Drink
You can’t drown black worms or drain flies. But you might notice the worms sticking their tips out of the water if you open the tap. They do this to breathe, which is why you may see more of them after heavy rain. They come up for air when their pipes, sewers, drains overflow.
You might also spot black worms under neglected buckets, product packs, or shampoo bottles in the bathroom. While hot water might scald them out of commission, a cold drink can be just as effective. Particularly if it’s a syrupy, fizzy, and corrosive drink like Coca-Cola.
Pouring a can down the drain will kill any black worms down there. Follow up with white vinegar to kill germs, and finally, boiling water to rinse off any leftover sugar. After all, that sticky soda pop residue can easily attract other pests that view it as an ideal food source.
Beat Those Black Worms!
Black worms (and their resulting drain flies) aren’t harmful to humans. But they’re icky to look at, psychologically disturbing, and they make your bathroom feel filthy. Besides, nobody likes them! So here are a few effective ways to get rid of black worms in the bathroom:
- Cover the drain to keep flies out.
- Flush it clean to destroy germs and eggs.
- Disinfect the trap to stop further breeding.
What’s your best tip to get rid of black worms in the bathroom? Tell us in the comments!