worms in toilet

Worms in Toilet: Here's What's Going On

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By 1-800 Plumber +Air

September 13, 2022

Worms are probably one of the last things you expect to ever see in your toilet, so it can be pretty shocking when it happens to you.

While there is always a chance that worms in the toilet could be related to a personal health issue, there are other reasons why these creepy crawlers appear in your bathroom. Worms in your toilet could be a major red flag for plumbing problems.

Today, the 1-800-Plumber +Air team is breaking down the "how," "why," and "what to do" when it comes to worms in a toilet. If you want to tackle the issue immediately, you can contact us now, and we will schedule a visit. But in the meantime, keep reading to learn more about what it means when worms are in a toilet.

How to Identify Worms in Toilet

Surprisingly, there are several different varieties of worms that can end up going for a swim in your toilet. In general, it's not hard to notice the worms, but it can get a little trickier to identify what type of worms they are. However, the worm type can be a useful indicator of your plumbing problem.

Here are the most common worm varieties that appear in this unusual phenomenon and why.

Bloodworms in My Toilet

Despite their somewhat spooky name, bloodworms are an extremely common household pest. Their name was inspired by their bright red color, which is caused by the hemoglobin in their bodies.

You might have bloodworms in a toilet if they are:

  • A vivid shade of red

  • Thin

  • Around a few inches in length

Bloodworms can occur near any source of water in and around your home, including toilets, sinks, and bathtubs. In particular, they prefer stagnant water with a steady supply of organic matter - so you can see why a toilet bowl makes the perfect home.

How Do I Get Rid of Bloodworms in My Toilet?

Bloodworms are most likely to show up in toilets that are rarely used. Luckily, figuring out how to get rid of bloodworms in a toilet is simple:

  1. Remove any visible bloodworms from the toilet.

  2. Thoroughly clean the toilet with a high-quality cleaning product.

Because the cleaning process eliminates any edible organic material for the worms, they will no longer see the toilet as an attractive place to live.

Earthworms in My Toilet

Most of us are accustomed to seeing earthworms outside in the garden, but how do they end up in a toilet?

If you aren't familiar with earthworms, their key characteristics include:

  • A long body

  • Brown

  • Segments that resemble "stripes" on the body

When these underground dwellers find their way into your toilet, it could indicate a crack in your sewer pipe. A cracked pipe allows worms and other foreign bodies to access your home's plumbing. Because earthworms absorb oxygen through their skin, they can stay alive in toilet water as long as oxygen is available.

How Do I Get Rid of Earthworms in My Toilet?

If there are earthworms in your toilet, getting rid of them isn't the focus. Rather, you need to pinpoint exactly how they are getting into the plumbing, to begin with. Contacting a plumbing professional for a full inspection is a good start.

Horsehair Worms in my Toilet

Horsehair worms typically get into a toilet via an insect, such as a cockroach or cricket. When these insects consume horsehair worm eggs, they unintentionally become host to parasitic creatures. Eventually, the worms burrow out of the host insect's gut to find water to continue their lifecycle.

Horsehair worms are harmless to humans and can usually be recognized by these characteristics:

  • Extremely thin, long bodies (4 inches or longer)

  • Black

  • Often clumped together in a knotted ball shape

How Do I Get Rid of Horsehair Worms in My Toilet?

Horsehair worms in a toilet are less common than other worm types, and they usually aren't a sign of a major problem. If you encounter them, it will probably be as the seasons turn colder and insects seek warmth inside your home.

To get rid of and prevent horsehair worms in toilets:

  1. Remove any horsehair worms and clean the toilet thoroughly.

  2. Properly seal your home to keep insects out.

Tiny Black Worms or Larvae in My Toilet

Small black worms in toilets are usually the larvae of drain flies, which live off of an unappetizing combination of decaying matter and sewage. Their preferred diet makes a toilet a perfect living environment. Adult female drain flies lay a large number of eggs at a time, which is why you may see a significant number of worms in your toilet.

These worms are:

  • Very small (no longer than 4 to 10mm)

  • Black

  • Can have a dark stripe on their back

How Do I Get Rid of Drain Fly Larvae in My Toilet?

To get rid of drain fly larvae, you'll need to take away their food source:

  1. Thoroughly clean the toilet using a scrubbing brush and a deep-penetrating toilet bowl cleaner. Be sure to eliminate all the buildup and grime that attract the larvae.

  2. As you clean, scour the interior of the toilet bowl, the underside of its rim, and the toilet tank.

  3. Stay on top of the issue by regularly cleaning your toilets.

If the issue persists, contacting a plumber is your next step.

Trust 1-800 Plumber + Air With Your Plumbing Needs

Flush away toilet problems with help from skilled professionals at 1-800-Plumber + Air. Our extensive plumbing services include repair, installation, inspection, and maintenance, so you can take a proactive approach to keep your home in proper working order. And because all of our plumbing professionals are highly experienced and well-trained, you can be confident that they are equipped to handle even the most unusual of issues - including worms.

Featured Image: Millenius / Shutterstock


Contact 1-800 Plumber + Air by calling 1-800-PLUMBER 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for help with your plumbing issues.