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How to Get Rid of Mattress Worms: [STEP BY STEP GUIDE]

How to Get Rid of Mattress Worms: [STEP BY STEP GUIDE]

If you have an old and unclean mattress, the chances are that some strangers have been accompanying you in your sleep! Sounds creepy, right? Well, we have been talking about bed worm infestations. These worms do not cause any disease in general but they can cause a lot of sleep discomfort. Therefore, it is important to get rid of them before they can replicate and create more nuisance.

To get rid of mattress worms you must first declutter your space. Next, use baking soda and remove all visible bugs using a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment. Use heat (steam or exposure to direct sunlight) to kill all worms, including their larvae and eggs. You may also use essential oils like cedarwood, tea tree, or peppermint to keep worms away.

Mattresses are a great breeding ground for worms to feed, lay their eggs, and develop into larvae. To check the population of worms and reduce the future risk of infestation, it is important to clean them regularly and apply some simple preventive measures. Read this step-by-step guide to learn more about bed bug mattress forms and how to get rid of them.

mattress king

Why Does My Mattress Have Worms?

If you have spotted black, white, or brown colored creatures on your bed, your mattress and bedding are infested with worms. When insects like moths, fleas, carpet beetles, pinworms, and flies visit your room, they may lay their eggs in your living space. These eggs are usually laid on wool, synthetic materials, linen, mattress, and other areas. When these eggs hatch, tiny larvae emerge and crawl in through the mattress. So, the colored bugs you see on your bed aren't really worms but larvae. If left unchecked, these larvae go through a full life cycle (a process known as metamorphosis) and develop into pupae and then adult worms.

The worms are attracted to all sorts of organic debris, including sweat, feathers, body oils, spilled drinks, sebum, fur, leather, paper, lint, and body fluids. Some of the other sources include house plants, dirty pets, etc.

Different Types Of Mattress Worms

The most common bed bug mattress worms are described below:

Flea Infestation Mattress Worms

When fleas enter the room, they may lay their eggs, which then turn into tiny bed bugs that crawl into the mattress and cause trouble. Larvae of fleas do not bite, however, their adult form can cause small, colored discoloration on the skin. Flea worms have a whitish body with pale hairs and are ~2-5 mm long.

Carpet Beetle Infestation Mattress Worms

Carpet beetle larvae are about the size of 4-5mm and they are the most common types of bugs found in dwellings. These black-colored larvae feed on hair, leather, wool, silk, lint, dead insects, and many other living and non-living things. There are different types of carpet beetles, including furniture carpet beetles and black carpet beetles and they can live for 5 months to 2 years.

Clothes Moth Infestation Mattress Worms

Cloth moth larvae love feeding on old fabric that has been stored for a long time. Fabrics that are moist and stained by body fluids, or have food particles on them, or linen that was not washed properly before storage tend to have these moths. They are shiny, creamy-white with a brown head and are ½ an inch long each. Baby worms may be completely brown. The larvae stage can typically last for 2 weeks to 2 ½ years. These larvae also form webbing on clothes, especially on silk fabrics.

Pinworms On Mattress

Pinworms are one of the most fearful bug infestations. They are thin and white-colored worms, nearly ¼ to ½ inches long. Pinworms travel from the mattress to the soft folds of the anal area of the sleeper. Here the worms lay their eggs. This can lead to itching around the affected area, irritability, restlessness, and even stomach pain and nausea. Pinworms can infect within a few hours, and they can survive for 2 to 3 weeks. If you have these symptoms, seek a doctor's help. When infected by pinworms, both you and your family members would need to be treated with antibiotics.

How To Get Rid Of Mattress Worms

Cleanliness is the key to getting rid of any sort of pest infestation. Before the larvae develop into adults or the eggs hatch, follow this step-by-step guide to easily get rid of mattress worms:

     1. Declutter Your Space

Decluttering your space would reduce about half of the infestation right away. If you haven't cleared your space for a long time, it is time to remove all the accumulated garbage and dirt.

If you spot cream or white-colored worms on your mattress, they are most likely to be maggots. These maggots can be easily removed by getting rid of rotting matter such as garbage and leftover food articles.

In this step, just do a general cleaning of the room and sanitize everything around the vicinity of the mattress.

    2. Vacuum Cleaning

Next, use a vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to eliminate visible worms from the mattress. Vacuum the mattress from top to bottom and across and make sure you do not miss out on any area. The cleaner sucks up most of the dirt, debris, critters, and worms. However, do remember that vacuum cleaning may not completely remove all types of living organisms from your mattress, therefore you may still need to wash it and follow the next steps.

   3. Sprinkle Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural agent that can check the growth of worms and other bugs on your mattress. Sprinkle ½ inch layer of baking soda all over the mattress and let it sit for about 24 hours. Vacuum clean again.

   4. Use Heat

Heat is the best killer for worms, including their eggs and larvae. Use a steamer at a temperature of ~130 degrees Fahrenheit (or 54℃) and run it across your mattress. You can also let your mattress expose to direct sunlight. The sun's UV rays or heat are natural killers of worms and other germs.

Do note that some mattresses do not recommend the use of direct heat on them. Therefore, make sure to check the manufacturer's guidelines carefully before you use this method.

Linens should be run in a dryer on high heat. Once the drying cycle is over, wash them further in a normal cycle (preferably at a high temperature) to remove all the dirt and debris.

bedroom colors

   5. Spritz Some Essential Oil

While using a pesticide spray is an easy method to get rid of infestations, you can try using natural methods such as the use of essential oils. An essential oil releases volatile compounds that make the worms uncomfortable thriving in that environment. As a result, they will eventually either get killed or move away from the mattress. Some of the best essential oils that keep bugs and worms away are tea tree, rosemary, peppermint, cedarwood, and eucalyptus.

Use a spray bottle or directly pour a few drops of essential oil into cracks or hidden caches and allow them to soak in for about 24 hours. Include places like the bedframe and headboard. Using essential oils will also leave a pleasant smell.


Once you have removed the existing worm infestations, it is important to take some additional steps so that you reduce the chances of future adult infestations. Clean regularly, wash the sheets and pillowcases, close windows at night, and do not accumulate food leftovers in your sleeping space. If you have an uncontrolled infestation of bed bugs, you may have to call a pest controller for effective control or consider replacing the mattress. Use a mattress topper to reduce the chances of future pest infestation into the mattress.