Roundworm eggs typically live in soil that’s contaminated with fecal matter from animals or humans. However, they can end up on your carpet in different ways. Your pet may be playing outside in the dirt and get back in the house with contaminated soil containing roundworm eggs. Or you might be doing garden work in your yard and get some eggs from the soil on your clothes that may end up on your carpet.
Roundworm eggs need a host (human body or animal body) to hatch and survive as they cannot hatch on your carpet. However, they are resistant to several conditions and can live in the carpet for several months even up to 3 years. In moist conditions like soil, they can survive even longer. If adult roundworms got onto your carpet, they would not survive. Your biggest concern would be the eggs.
What Are Roundworms?
Roundworms (also known as nematodes) are large, white-colored, parasitic intestinal worms. Their appearance is similar to cooked spaghetti. These parasites commonly affect humans, dogs, cats, and other animals. Although roundworms exist worldwide, they are more rampant in tropical and subtropical regions. They enter the body through direct body contact or the mouth.
Roundworms live, feed, and reproduce in the human intestines and can survive in the body for months or years. Usually, people don’t get any symptoms of roundworms for a long time unless they have a large number of worms. Symptoms include nausea, wheezing, vomiting, and abdominal pain. They are most visible in the stool and can range in length from a few millimeters to a whopping 2 meters.
How Long Do Roundworm Eggs Live on Surfaces?
Roundworm eggs are some of the longest surviving pathogens. These eggs are resistant to various environmental conditions and can survive for up to 1 to 3 years, waiting for a host where they will hatch and grow into worms.
When they are shed from your pet’s feces, they are not infective until after about a month. These infective larvae will live a long time. Roundworm eggs can cling to surfaces like bedding, toys, doorknobs, kitchen counters, clothing, furniture, and faucets for several months. They are invisible to the naked eye.
What Kills Roundworm Eggs?
Regularly cleaning your house is great for preventing infections and even keeping grown worms out but this won’t permanently deal with roundworm eggs. The National Center for Biotechnology Information published a study indicating that various commercial disinfectants (no matter their concentration) are ineffective in killing roundworm eggs or significantly affecting their larval development.
The only way to kill these highly resistant eggs is by extreme heat in three forms:
Before you use a propane torch, get in touch with the fire department in your area for safety guidelines as it is potentially dangerous. It’s suitable for outdoor areas where you may have removed your pet’s feces or noticed an infestation of worms.
Using a steam cleaner on your carpet, curtains and furniture will instantly kill the roundworm eggs. Remember to vacuum before and after, then dispose of the waste immediately.
· Hot Boiling Water
Boiling water will kill the roundworm eggs on your kitchen surfaces, the floor, bathtubs, and other areas within the home where it’s safe to pour hot water.
How Do I Clean My House of Roundworms?
You’ve already established that your pet has roundworms and now they are on treatment but your house is infected too and needs a thorough cleaning. Here’s how to clean your house of roundworms to keep you and your family from getting infected, and your pets reinfected.
- First, remember that you can get infected by inhaling roundworm eggs or through your skin. Protect yourself from head to toe with a full body overall, N95 face mask, disposable gloves, and rubber boots.
- Remove your pet’s feces as soon as it defecates. If you have a cat, keep the litter box sanitized at all times and clean the litter pans and surrounding area with diluted bleach.
- Spray the dried feces with a bit of water to limit the possibility of inhaling dust with roundworm eggs.
- Check your attic or other areas with exposed insulation. If a rodent or raccoon pooped in the area, spray it lightly with water to limit dust inhalation and dispose of the poop. Remove the contaminated insulation and place it in a garbage bag for disposal.
- Take whatever tools like a scraper that you used to remove the feces and boil them. This way, you’re sure to kill any roundworm eggs on them and disinfect the tools.
- Disinfect your floors and kill any roundworm eggs by pouring boiling water. Take care not to burn yourself.
- Vacuum your carpets, then steam clean them to kill the roundworm eggs. Once the carpets dry, keep your pets in a separate room, then sprinkle some salt on the carpet. Let it sit for a few days then vacuum. Dispose of all the waste immediately.
How Long Can Roundworms Live in Soil?
Roundworms are typically transmitted through infected soil. The soil gets contaminated with infected human or animal feces. The roundworms and their eggs then get into the soil. These worms thrive in soil because its moist environment is conducive to their survival, allowing them to live in soil for 2 to 3 years.
Most roundworm-infested parts of a lawn are damp and located under tree shades and other types of vegetation creating the perfect home for them. Research has shown that roundworms are highly sensitive to ultraviolet rays. This means that areas on your lawn directly exposed to the sun will be affected, interfering with the worm’s life cycle.
Can You Get Roundworms From Your Dog Licking You?
You may have heard the expression that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s. Well, not really. As a dog mom or dad, it’s not surprising that your pooch will show you love by licking your face. While that’s a sweet gesture, your dog’s mouth hosts lots of bacteria and can transfer it to you. However, roundworms aren’t typically transferred through saliva.
However, if your pooch has been rummaging through dirt or a litter box, it may carry around some roundworm eggs and if you touch your dog’s mouth then go ahead to eat something without washing your hands, you’ll get the roundworms. So, saliva itself may not transmit the worms but you still have to take precautions.
Can I Get Worms From My Dog Sleeping in My Bed?
Dog parents love to snuggle with their pooch during the night, but it’s not as safe as it looks. Your dog could come into the bed with roundworm eggs on its fur and spread them all over your beddings. During the night you may put your hands in your mouth or nose and if those microscopic eggs are on your fingers, you’ll ingest them and get infected.
Also, if your infected dog poops in your bed, you’re at a huge risk of getting worms. You could ensure that you wash your beddings every day and try to keep your hands out of your nose, mouth, and eyes but it’s much easier to just let your pooch sleep in their bed.
How Likely is it To Get Roundworms From a Dog?
You can likely get roundworms from your dog. As they say, a dog is a man’s best friend meaning that at home you’re in the close company of your dog most of the time, cuddling, feeding, and sleeping, and so on. Several risk factors could expose you to roundworms. For example, when your infected dog poops and you don’t clean it immediately or use gloves and wash your hands.
Dogs love going for walks and playing outside making them susceptible to picking up roundworms from contaminated soil and harboring roundworm eggs in their fur. While petting your dog, you can easily inhale the eggs as they get into the air. Caring for dogs requires taking lots of precautions to avoid getting infected.
Can I Get Worms From My Cat Sleeping in My Bed?
Cats are naturally clean animals with a knack for personal hygiene but this doesn’t exempt them from carrying worms around. If your cat is not exclusively an indoor feline, the risk is higher for them to spread the infection. When they’re playing outside in contaminated soil, bits of it might stick to their paws when they come back into the house and your bed.
Also, litter boxes are dirty places possibly with infected feces. If you’re not keen on sanitizing the box and area around it, an infestation could occur. Remember that roundworm eggs stick to all sorts of surfaces including bed sheets. Soon enough, you may get infected by inhaling the eggs or putting your hands in your mouth without washing them.
What Temperature Kills Roundworm Eggs?
Roundworm eggs have a thick, four-layer shell that makes them highly resistant to high and low temperatures. However, they do have a thermal death point. Although they can survive for over a year at 40°C, they can die within minutes in temperatures above 60°C. Their thermal death point is 62°C or 142°F. For humans, this temperature is terminally hot and you wouldn’t survive without protective clothing.
The boiling point of water is typically 100°C, that’s why it’s recommended to use for killing roundworm eggs on floors, decks, and patios. Reliable steam cleaners for carpets and sofas generally have a temperature of 113°C or 245° F which is perfect for killing roundworm eggs. A propane torch’s maximum temperature is a scorching 2000°C or 3600°F.
Does Sunlight Kill Roundworm Eggs?
There’s no scientific evidence to prove that the ultraviolet rays from the sun can kill roundworm eggs. If human beings cannot survive under the kind of heat that can kill roundworm eggs (above 60°C), then these eggs can’t die by sunlight. However, sunlight can kill mature roundworms in your yard especially during the hot months. It may take several weeks of direct exposure to the sun for the roundworms to die.
You can help make the process faster with a few simple actions. First, you have to clear the infected area in your yard of vegetation so that it’s exposed. Then lay a clear plastic canvas/tarp over the soil. Place bricks or rocks at the edges to weigh the canvas down. The heat will bake through the canvas onto the soil and, after about a month of consistent sunny days, the roundworms will start dying.
Can Tapeworm Eggs Live in Carpet?
Tapeworms are flat and segmented intestinal parasites that look like a ribbon or tape-measure and grow up to about 30ft. They survive in the intestines of animals and humans by attaching to the intestinal wall with a hook-like mouth part. Tapeworm eggs mostly get into your carpet through your pets. First, a flea larva will ingest the tapeworm eggs, then your dog will swallow the flea as it bites.
The worm will hatch and release its segments, which look like grains of rice, and are packed with eggs. They will come out in your dog’s poop and irritate its anus. When this happens, they tend to scoot or drag their anus across the carpet leaving the egg-packed segments there. When the segment sac breaks, it releases the tapeworm eggs onto the carpet where they can live for several weeks before becoming ineffective.
Roundworm eggs can live in your carpet for several months, even years. The best way to deal with them is through preventive methods like having your children wash their hands whenever they come inside from playing and stopping your pets from digging and eating dirt. However, this may not always be possible and the risk will always be there.
Your vet may be able to advise on other effective preventive measures. Do your best to keep your pet’s litter box clean at all times, their beddings sanitized, and consistently vacuum and steam your house. It’s a small price to pay for keeping you, your family, and your pets safe. Otherwise, you risk contracting serious conditions like pneumonia, diarrhea, intestinal obstruction, and vomiting.