Have you ever noticed small black worms lingering around your shower drain? If you have, you’ll know how disgusting the sight of them can be.
These worms are the larvae of drain flies and will collect around still water, as long as they have a food supply. Unfortunately, the larvae can feed off of most organic substances.
It’s important to note that these worms are lethal, and they won’t make you sick either.
Even so, the larvae and drain flies can be repulsive, and may even cause damage to your plumbing later.
If you do notice these worms in your shower, it’s best to deal with them as soon as you can.
We’ll cover how to get rid of the larvae in this article, as well as the reasons why they may collect in your bathroom, and if they are dangerous to humans.
Why Are Black Worms Around My Shower Drain?
Black worms will collect around your shower drain if there is stagnant water and a food supply.
The same conditions also let mold form, so you may notice mold and black worms together in your bathroom.
These small worms thrive near stationary water, which your shower drain is full of.
The drain is also full of organic materials, like hair, dead skin, and slime, which the worms love to feed on.
The worms will travel to areas where they can survive the best. The shower, especially the drain, is an example of these locations.
The Worms Aren’t Worms
The larvae from drain flies do look like worms. They behave, move, and squirm just in the same way that worms do.
The larvae can measure from 4mm to 10mm, so they are very small. If there are only one or two worms, you might not notice them, at first.
However, if the worms start to collect and grow in population, you’ll notice them moving around the drain. The larval phase can last as much as 24 days, so they can be present for a while.
The larvae are a problem, but they’re also a sign of other issues within your drain.
Drain flies will lay eggs within your drain, as this lets them collect near the organic food matter inside it.
In most cases, you won’t notice any drain flies until they are fully grown and have started to fly around the drain.
It’s best to act once you first notice the larvae, as this may mean that there are many more living in your shower drain.
Why Do The Worms Live In The Drain?
Every living organism needs water to survive, and drain flies are no exception.
Your drain has many areas where stagnant water can collect, which is ideal for the flies and their larvae.
If the shower is used regularly, the water inside the drain will keep replenishing.
As mentioned before, the shower drain has organic matter inside. This can range from mold to the hair and dead skin that we shed in the shower.
This, along with the water sources, makes the drain an ideal environment for drain flies and their larvae to thrive.
It’s important to note that the best setting for these insects is stagnant water, not still water.
This is why there is a greater chance of noticing drain flies after the shower hasn’t been used for a while, like if you went on vacation or have other bathrooms that aren’t used often.
While the drain isn’t used, the water inside the shower drain’s P-trap can rest.
Any mold and slime around this area will continue to develop. This acts as a food and water supply for drain flies.
How To Know If The Worms Are Present
You’ll know if the drain fly larvae are present, as you’ll be able to see them. Despite this, the worms won’t always move out of the drain into your shower.
You might notice drain flies in your bathroom, but it might be harder to find the small worms that haven’t come out of the drain.
There’s a large chance that you have drain fly larvae if you notice the flies in your bathroom. You can use the duct tape test below to check if worms are living in your drain.
Here are the steps to follow:
Begin by using duct tape to seal the drain cover. The sticky part of the tape should peek through the open areas of your drain screen.
Place the cover screen on your drain and leave overnight.
The next day, take the drain cover off of the drain and examine the tape.
If drain fly larvae are living in the shower drain, you’ll notice that small worms have stuck to the tape.
Are Drain Worms Unsafe?
Drain flies and drain worms might be unpleasant, but they aren’t harmful.
However, having a lot of them living in your shower increases your risk of bacteria exposure. Drain flies and their larvae consume organic matter, like sewage.
Sewage shouldn’t be present in your drain, but the flies can collect in other areas.
For instance, if you use a septic tank system, drain flies may assemble inside. They will also be attracted to any soil near your home which contains sewage.
Drain larvae and the flies they come from shouldn’t make you ill, but their presence may increase the chance of bacteria forming on your face, hands, and body.
How To Eliminate Small Black Worms In The Shower
The best way to get rid of drain flies and their larvae is to remove stagnant water sources and organic matter build-up.
However, this isn’t a possibility, as we all need our showers regularly.
One way of eliminating the worms is with chemicals. If you prefer, you can choose natural remedies, which may involve kitchen ingredients or substances in your garage.
These might be preferable for some as you might not want to expose yourself to potent chemicals.
Naturally, if you have a bad epidemic, chemicals may be the better option. These will perform fast and efficiently.
Chemicals may become harmful if you’re using them daily, but you should see results in one use.
If you need to use the chemicals more than this, you may have a larger problem on your hands that needs professional attention.
We’ll cover some good ways of removing black worms in your shower below.
Make Sure They Are Black Worms
Before you start to get rid of the worms, it’s important to make sure that these black worms are drain fly larvae, not household flies.
The drain flies themselves will look like gnats or fruit flies, but their bodies should be fuzzy with white dots on the winds.
If you squash one, it will leave a powder-like residue on the surface.
The worms, or drain fly larvae, will be small, no longer than ten millimeters.
These will resemble dark brown or black earthworms and shouldn’t have any legs or eyes. The worms will cocoon after one to three weeks, then will come out of the cocoon as flies.
Boiling Water Method
If you notice black worms in your shower drain, you will have to attend to the area more than you normally would when cleaning.
Try to dry any sinks that aren’t being used. This might seem like a lot of work, as sinks are designed to get wet.
However, small water droplets can attract drain flies and their larvae.
Once you have finished brushing your teeth, cleaning your face, or washing your hands, rinse the sink with clean water, then dry it with a cloth or paper towel.
The boiling water method is simple, as all you need to do is pour a gallon of fresh boiling water down your drain. Perform this action two or three times daily.
This will flush any drain flies, larvae, or eggs down away.
If you prefer, you can add a little dish soap to the hot water, but you’ll need to pour another gallon of water afterward to wash the soapy residue away.
Block The Entrance
Black worms may seem like they just appear out of nowhere, but they actually hatch from drain fly eggs under the sink.
The best way to eliminate these worms is by blocking the drain. This prevents the eggs from hatching and stops the worms from moving up the drain into the shower.
You can block the drain with a plastic cap, stopper, or even a DIY Tupperware piece. You can also use a plunger to temporarily cover the entrance.
Stifle The Drain Fly Eggs
The trap underneath your sink tends to remain full of water.
This water will create a seal that prevents sewer odors from entering the bathroom. However, this water seal can become coated with grime and biofilm.
When this occurs, the drain flies will lay their eggs in the residue that builds up on top of the waterline.
In this case, there are two ways of eliminating the worms from your shower.
The first is to primarily prevent the drain flies from entering this area. This will make it impossible for the flies to lay their hatchlings.
The second is to keep the eggs under the surface so they cannot hatch.
Even if they do emerge, the larvae are fixed and won’t be able to move into the bathroom, so they will ultimately perish.
You can do this by pouring vinegar and baking soda down the drain.
This will kill the larvae, but it will also remove any blockages and remove unwanted odors.
Chlorine bleach is effective, but it should be considered as a last resort to eliminate bathroom insects.
Many side effects are related to bleach, so you should always use caution when performing this method.
All you have to do is pour bleach down your shower drain, but make sure that you wear gloves and goggles.
Make sure that the bathroom is well-ventilated when you use the bleach, as this will prevent you from inhaling the fumes.
Open all of the doors and windows. If the bathroom is small, place a fan in the room and set it to its highest level.
A safer substitute is to swap chlorine bleach for an oxygen-based bleach product, such as hydrogen peroxide.
If you don’t want to use chemicals, you can try undiluted vinegar.
You can use any type of white vinegar, but commercial vinegar and apple cider vinegar may work too.
These liquids will remove the bacteria and organic matter, eliminating the food supply that the drain flies and their larvae feed on.
Apply Salt On The Sinks
You might believe that drain flies and black worms can only live in regularly used bathrooms, but this isn’t the case.
They do better in unused bathrooms as the water in the U-trap, toilet tank, or P-trap is left alone, becoming stagnant.
These pipe components may also dry out as they aren’t refreshed frequently.
You can prevent this from occurring by attending to toilets and guest bathrooms that aren’t used regularly. Flush the toilets and run the taps once weekly.
This makes sure that the traps have clean, fresh water inside them. You can also pour vinegar and salt down the drain or inside the tank.
Vinegar and salt have sterile properties that can kill bacteria and germs.
These cleansing substances will prevent drain flies and their larvae from inhabiting and growing in your drains.
As mentioned above, baking soda and vinegar work well to eliminate black worms in your shower.
We’ve covered why the worms and the flies they originate from are lured into your drains. For this reason, using bait may be helpful.
You can bait the drain fly larvae by mixing a few ingredients together.
Other than vinegar and baking soda, you should use dish soap and regular table sugar. The sugar will emit a sweet odor that will attract the worms.
The dish soap will produce a film in the drain that will trap the flies and the worms. The vinegar and baking soda will react, creating an effervescent foam.
This will kill any present drain flies and black worms, as well as their organic food supply.
The salt, soapy foam, and fizzing reaction will effectively remove any germs, bacteria, unhatched drain fly eggs, and pathogens inside your drain.
Keep The Bathroom Dry
If you haven’t installed fans in your bathroom, you should consider doing so if you notice drain worms in the bathroom.
The larvae and flies are attracted to wet areas. This may be the leaky faucet or the steamy shower that’s used regularly in the day.
Wiping your sinks and walls dry will prevent stagnant water pools and watermarks from forming. You can also install a timed fan that will turn on automatically when you take a shower or a bath.
This will extract any excess water vapor and moisture. Air conditioners and dehumidifiers can also help to keep the bathroom dry.
If you don’t want to use electronic appliances or fans, always open the windows and doors when you use the bathroom.
Do this between ten to thirty minutes. Remember to remove any towels, bath mats, or curtains and let them air dry.
This will prevent the bathroom from becoming damp, musty, or stuffy.
Unblock The Drain
Bathroom drain blockages might be obvious, but there may be occasions where they might be hard to spot.
If your drain is blocked, the debris inside the drain acts as the perfect environment for drain flies, their larvae, and other bugs.
There are several effective ways to unclog your drain or sink. You can use a plastic drain snake, plunger, or metal wire.
You can also use a vinegar and baking soda solution to clear the drain, or opt for a drain screen to catch hair while you shower.
The Bottom Line
Black worms in the shower are the larvae from drain flies.
These aren’t dangerous for humans, but they are unpleasant to look at and will make your bathroom look dirty.
You can try the methods above to get rid of them.
Whether you choose drain cleaning chemicals or natural recipes, make sure that you keep your drains and pipes clean to prevent them from coming back.