Q:Our new foster cat brought ringworm into the house, and now most of us—cats and humans—have it, too. Our veterinarian prescribed medication and a special shampoo and dip for the cats, and she instructed us to clean the house well. We’re vacuuming daily. Should we also rent a carpet shampooer?
A:Despite its name, ringworm isn’t a worm at all, but a fungal infection. Most cats with ringworm have patchy hair loss, but a carrier’s coat can appear normal.
Ringworm spores persist in the environment, making eradication difficult. So a successful outcome requires treatment of all pets and scrupulous cleaning of the home.
To kill ringworm spores, clean and disinfect solid surfaces. Launder bedding and other fabric, small area rugs and soft articles. Vacuum upholstered furniture and drapes, and discard the vacuum cleaner bag. Press duct tape to furniture to remove any hair the vacuum missed.
Clean hardwood and tile floors with a damp, disposable cloth, such as a Swiffer pad. Avoid brooms, which are difficult to decontaminate.
Carpeting should be vacuumed to remove all hair and cleaned to eliminate the ringworm spores. A recent study compared commercial hot water extraction cleaning to carpet shampooing once or twice, with or without a 10-minute pre-treatment with disinfectant.
Commercial hot water extraction, sometimes called steam cleaning, worked best. Shampooing once was least effective. Pre-treating with disinfectant helped but frequently discolored the carpet.
Replace all furnace filters, which trap ringworm spores, so it isn’t necessary to clean your air ducts.
Your job will be easier if you restrict your cats to a room you can clean quickly, such as a bathroom, until your veterinarian confirms that the ringworm is gone.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her email@example.com.
Do I need to clean my house if I have ringworm? ›
Ringworm spores persist in the environment, making eradication difficult. So a successful outcome requires treatment of all pets and scrupulous cleaning of the home. To kill ringworm spores, clean and disinfect solid surfaces. Launder bedding and other fabric, small area rugs and soft articles.How do I clean my house to get rid of ringworm? ›
mechanical removal of all hair and debris via vacuuming, sweeping (Swiffers recommended over brooms) and mechanical washing of the surfaces with detergent and water. It is important to thoroughly rinse surfaces as some detergent residue can inactivate disinfecting agents.How often should you clean your house with ringworm? ›
Cleaning and disinfection of the environment should be repeated at least once every 4-6 weeks (the more often, the better) until all affected animals and people have eliminated the fungal infection.How do I clean my house after ringworm on my dog? ›
Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the home when a pet has ringworm is called environmental decontamination and is a two-step process. Wipe, sweep, and/or vacuum the surface then thoroughly wash the surface until visibly clean of pet hair. Remove any excess water before Step 2.Do I need to wash my sheets everyday if I have ringworm? ›
Because ringworm is highly contagious, you should wash your sheets daily to get rid of the infection faster. Fungal spores can transfer to your sheets and comforter.How long can ringworm live on bedsheets? ›
The fungus can survive on contaminated objects for long periods of time, sometimes up to 18 months.Does Lysol clean ringworm? ›
Home remedies for ringworm
Your home may require treatment as well. The ringworm fungus can live on surfaces for months. Disinfectant sprays like Lysol® or bleach can remove the fungus.
Don't walk barefoot in areas like locker rooms or public showers. Clip your fingernails and toenails short and keep them clean. Change your socks and underwear at least once a day. Don't share clothing, towels, sheets, or other personal items with someone who has ringworm.How do you clean a couch after ringworm? ›
Use Lysol disinfectant spray heavily on anything that can't be washed (furniture, cat trees, etc.) Frequently vacuum to rid the house of infected hairs and skin cells.What laundry detergent kills fungus? ›
Eradicil is a non-biological liquid laundry sanitiser and detergent that contains three disinfectants and antifungals.
How long can ringworm live on carpet? ›
"The fungal spores may remain dormant on combs, brushes, food bowls, furniture, bedding, carpet, or other environmental surfaces for up to 18 months."What kills ringworm spores on furniture? ›
Bleach diluted 1:10 will kill 80 percent of fungal spores with one application and any surface that can be bleached, should be bleached.How do you know when ringworm is no longer contagious in dogs? ›
How long will my dog be contagious? Infected pets remain contagious for about three weeks if aggressive treatment is used. The ringworm infection will last longer and remain contagious for an extended time if only minimal measures are taken or if you are not compliant with the prescribed approach.What disinfectant kills ringworm spores? ›
Effective disinfectants include Accel/Rescue® (Accelerated hydrogen peroxide 1:16), Accel® TB (hydrogen peroxide 0.5%.), Enilconazole, bleach diluted 1:32 with prolonged contact time (at least 10 minutes), 2% Potassium Peroxymonosulfate, Formula 409® (quaternary ammonium 0.3%), and Clorox Clean-Up® (sodium hypochlorite ...Can you vacuum up ringworm spores? ›
To clean and disinfect the environment, the most important component is removal of debris. A Swiffer® and vacuum should be utilized to remove organic debris.Does ringworm stay on blankets? ›
Anyone can get ringworm. The fungi that cause this infection can live on skin, surfaces, and on household items such as clothing, towels, and bedding.Can ringworm live on pillows? ›
Ringworm spreads through direct contact with infected skin or fungal spores. The spores can live on fabrics, including clothing, couch cushions, bedding, and other porous surfaces. They also thrive in damp environments, such as public showers and locker rooms.Can I use the same towel with ringworm? ›
People can get ringworm after contact with someone who has the infection. To avoid spreading the infection, people with ringworm shouldn't share clothing, towels, combs, or other personal items with other people.Can ringworm live in your house? ›
It's called “ringworm” because it can cause a circular rash (shaped like a ring) that is usually red and itchy. Anyone can get ringworm. The fungi that cause this infection can live on skin, surfaces, and on household items such as clothing, towels, and bedding.Can ringworm live on a couch? ›
The fungi that cause tinea infections can survive on items such as furniture, hairbrushes, clothing and towels, and can be spread through contact with these items.
Do you have to quarantine with ringworm? ›
No. However, they should be excluded from certain activities that are likely to expose others to the fungus, such as using communal swimming pools or showers, sharing towels, sharing gym equipment or wrestling. Children receiving treatment for ringworm of the scalp may attend school once they start taking medication.