February 12, 2024
How To Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home (2024)
If you’re a pet owner, there’s a high probability that you’ll end up dealing with fleas at some point. Flea bites cause severe itching on animals and people and can even cause serious skin diseases like flea allergy dermatitis. Even if you don’t have pets, you could still be susceptible to a flea infestation in your home.
Learning how to get rid of fleas for good will help ensure that both you and your pets are comfortable in the home.
How To Rid Your Home of Fleas (6 Easy Tips)
I’ve spent a number of years dealing with fleas. Having two outdoor cats and a dog can bring a lot of fleas into the home if you don’t know how to handle them. Take a look at the six methods below and see which works best for you:
Use a Pet-Safe Flea Spray
The first step is to address fleas at the source. You want to get them off your pets before tackling the house. Using a pet-safe flea spray is a great first option because it’s gentle and you don’t have to worry about exposing your pets to harmful chemicals.
Make sure to look for specific formulas based on age, weight, and animal type. Read the instructions and pay attention to any specific guidelines.
Once you’re ready to spray them down, try to do it outside because a lot of the fleas will die on contact and this will help with cleanup later.
Hold the spray bottle safely away from your pet, typically 8-12 inches away, and spray the product onto your pet's fur. Start from the neck and work your way down, carefully avoiding the eyes, nose, and mouth. Be thorough but avoid saturating your pet's coat.
I recommend products from Frontline, Adams, and Vet’s Best. These are generally high-quality and veterinarian-approved options that contain all-natural formulas that are safe around kids and pets.
Wash All Furnishings
While this can be a grueling task for some, it’s a surefire way to eliminate fleas in the home. Remove all removable fabrics from your couches, beds, pet bedding, and windows.
Sort out each fabric by its washability to ensure you don’t ruin or damage anything and be sure to wash everything in water of at least 130°F. Fleas, larvae, and eggs cannot survive at this temperature so you need to ensure the water is nice and hot.
Use a quality laundry detergent and run a full cycle. Avoid overcrowding the washing machine to ensure thorough cleaning.
Once everything is washed, do not hang the furnishings outside. Instead, use a dryer, if possible. This will act as another level of heat that will help kill any remaining eggs. If you absolutely cannot use a dryer, you can hang the furnishings in direct sunlight to dry out the fleas.
Now, you likely have some non-removable furnishings such as upholstered chairs, mattresses, and pet bedding. Vacuum all upholstered furniture, paying close attention to seams, crevices, and corners. Use a brush attachment to agitate the fabric and loosen flea eggs or larvae.
Once everything is clean and dry you can reassemble it and put it back where it belongs.
● Be sure to check on the sides of couches and chairs and peel back all non-removable fabric and check the cracks.
● Don’t forget about throw pillows.
● Make sure to check outdoor upholstered furniture as well. You can be leading fleas into your home from this furniture.
Steam Clean Carpets
Fleas love hanging out in plush carpeting but even if you only have area rugs, fleas can still find their home between the fibers.
Start by vacuuming the entire carpet to remove anything loose and do not dump the bag or tray inside your indoor garbage. Take it out and shake it outside.
You must use a steam cleaner and fill it with hot water according to the instructions. You can rent a steam cleaner from most hardware stores and supermarkets if you don't own one. Do not assume that vacuuming the carpet is enough. It’s not.
Attach the appropriate nozzle or attachment to the steam cleaner for carpet cleaning. A wide nozzle or a carpet wand is typically used for this purpose.
Start steam cleaning by working in small sections and moving very slowly to allow the steam to penetrate deep into the carpet. Remember that temperature is everything when it comes to killing fleas.
If you locate an area you believe is heavily infected, stop moving the steam cleaner and leave it there for a few seconds. Make sure to ventilate the area well to prevent mold and mildew.
After steam cleaning the entire carpet, allow it to dry thoroughly. Open windows or use fans to promote airflow and aid in the drying process.
● Make sure to focus on “problem” areas like baseboards, under furniture, and in carpeted corners.
● Empty all contaminated water outside and as far away from your home as possible to prevent re-infestation.
Use Baking Soda
Baking soda works at killing fleas for two reasons.
1. It dries them out and absorbs all of their moisture, which kills them.
2. It is abrasive enough for their small bodies, pulling them out of fibers and making it easier to suck them up in a vacuum.
If regular vacuuming and steam cleaning don’t work, this can be an alternative to help the situation. Sprinkle plenty of baking soda around the infested areas and use a rough bristled brush to really drive the baking soda down into the upholstery.
Let the baking soda sit for at least 24 hours to absorb all the moisture and cause the fleas to die. Once this time has passed, vacuum the area and steam clean it again.
Dispose of everything outside and as far away from your home as possible.
Try a Oral or Topical Prescription
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends recommends using prescription-grade formulas to get rid of fleas. A quick call to your veterinarian will provide exactly what you need to eliminate the fleas and prevent them from returning.
Popular flea medications like Revolution will spread quickly when topically applied and can kill fleas in as little as seven hours. It’s recommended that you apply these monthly if your pets go outside on a regular basis.
Oral prescriptions are another option. These work by infecting the fleas as they bite your pet. I only recommend using this option if the first one doesn’t work. The result will be fleas falling off your pets into your home and it doesn’t kill the eggs and larvae so it never truly eliminates the problem.
Keep Outdoor Areas Well Maintained
Regular maintenance, such as mowing the lawn, trimming shrubs, and removing leaf litter, reduces the potential hiding spots and breeding grounds for fleas. Fleas thrive in tall grass, dense vegetation, and moist areas, so keeping these areas well-maintained minimizes their presence.
Pay attention to where your pets hang out when they’re outside. We all know that our dogs love running through tall grass, but this can be a hazard if we’re trying to prevent fleas and ticks.
If you absolutely cannot prevent your dogs and cats from exploring, the key is to follow many of the previous steps about medicating them. If you use proper flea medication, you shouldn’t have to worry about where they go because the medication will keep fleas away from them.
Our Top Recommended Flea Products
Natural Ways To Rid Your Home of Fleas
You have fleas in your home, and you can’t stand the thought of using medical-grade insecticides on your dog and cat; that’s understandable. But you want to know how to get rid of fleas. Here are some options:
Diatomaceous Earth is a highly abrasive and non-toxic substance that is used in all-natural pest control. It’s made with fossilized remains of aquatic organisms called diatoms. They have sharp edges that damage the flea's body and cause them to die.
Unlike chemical pesticides, it does not contain harmful chemicals or leave toxic residues. However, it's important to use food-grade diatomaceous earth, as other forms may have added chemicals that can be harmful.
Strong scents like lemon, rosemary, and lavender can all repel fleas because they don’t like the smell. You can use natural lemon juice or concentrated lemon juice. You should use hot water but ensure it’s not so hot that it burns your pet.
Apply the spray evenly across your pet's body and be sure to focus on areas like the belly, tail, and neck where fleas tend to latch on.
Remember that this is unlikely to kill the fleas but will simply repel them so you’ll want to do it outside and still follow all the necessary precautions for killing fleas inside your home.
While it may not kill them, it can interrupt the flea life cycle which is important for flea prevention.
Other gentle solutions are:
- Flea shampoo
- Flea collars
- Hot, soapy water
- Dish soap
- Essential oils
How To Prevent Fleas From Coming Back
If you’ve followed all the steps so far, there are three main things I believe you need to do to prevent the fleas from ever coming back.
1. Eliminate them at the source. Make sure you’re treating your pets with flea medication or a natural method on a regular basis if they go outside.
2. Clean your yard. Do not provide an area where fleas can thrive. Remove all debris piles, trim your grass down, and consider using a flea control spray on the yard.
3. Disinfect the house. Your pets are clean, your yard is clean, now you need to make sure there are no fleas left indoors. Use the methods outlined previously in this guide to banish them for good.
How To Identify Fleas
Fleas are very small. It can be difficult to tell them apart from other small bugs like mites, ticks, or bed bugs. Here’s how you can distinguish a flea from other small insects.
Fleas: These ovular flightless insects are about a tenth of an inch long and are multiple shades of brown. They travel by using powerful hind legs that allow them to leap up to 50 times their body length. Fleas are most prevalent in the summer and in warmer, humid climates. They live by consuming blood from other living creatures and prefer other mammals to humans.
Mites: These arthropods are tiny and have an unsegmented body. Most mites have four pairs of legs for eight total and appear velvety. Mites live in various habitats, including in soil, on plants, or as parasites feeding on other animals. Mites are often not visible to the naked eye, but their presence can be identified by the skin rash they cause, known as scabies.
Ticks: In the same order (Parasitiformes) and subclass (Acari) as mites, ticks are external parasites that live by feeding on the blood of mammals and birds. As adults, ticks are pear-shaped or ovular and are roughly the size of a sesame seed. Ticks are the carriers of at least 12 known diseases that affect humans and animals.
Bed bugs: The common bed bug is less than a quarter-inch long and cannot fly or jump. They’re reddish-brown in color and have flat, seed-shaped bodies, and are found most often in beds, upholstered furniture, and blankets. Bed bugs survive by feeding on human blood. They aren’t exclusively nocturnal by nature but do feed primarily on humans — often without detection — at night.
Signs You Have a Flea Infestation
There are two ways you can search for signs of a flea problem. First, check your pets. Are they scratching a lot? Do you notice hair loss? Do they have red bumps or rashes from chewing on themselves?
If so, you likely have a flea problem.
Also, take a look at your home. Do you notice flea dirt? It looks like tiny-brown specks that resemble black pepper. This is feces or digested blood, and you may also notice it in your dog's fur.
Use a flea comb to see if you can find these specks. Fleas can also jump onto furniture and bedding if your pets spend much time in these areas. Be sure to check your dog’s bed to look for signs of fleas.
Additional Flea How-To Guides
DIY Vs. Professional Flea Pest Control
There are a number of ways in this guide to get rid of fleas, but sometimes, the problem can become too much for you to handle. If you’re watching your pets suffer from fleas in your home, it’s time to call in the professionals.
Click below to see our best pest control companies that can help you get rid of fleas for good.
So, What’s the Best Way To Get Rid of Fleas?
Clean your pets, clean your home, and clean your yard. Those are the three simplest and most effective ways to get rid of fleas and prevent them from coming back.
Of course, learning how to get rid of fleas isn’t that simple. That’s where professional pest control comes in. If you’re struggling with fleas in your home, be sure to contact a professional today to make your life and your pet’s lives easier.
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