They are the absolute worst! They hitchhike home on your unsuspecting dog or cat, and the next thing you know, you have an infestation of fleas in your home. These nasty creatures are not only a nuisance to your fur baby, but they can also infiltrate your home via carpets, furniture, bedding, and even your walls. Before shelling out the big bucks for an exterminator, try these at-home "treatments" first.
1. First and most importantly, get your pet immediately started on flea medication, not the type you find at the dollar store; invest in some good flea medication from your veterinarian and be consistent with it. If needed, give your pet a bath with some Dawn dish detergent (making sure to keep the soap out of your pet's eyes) to get the majority of fleas off your pet, and then once your pet’s hair coat is completely dry, apply your flea medication (if using topical). There are also Seresto collars and oral (by mouth) flea products that are on the market. If you have any questions, ask your veterinarian.
2. Vacuum, vacuum, and vacuum some more. Usually, by the time you see fleas in your home, the problem is already well under way. You will want to vacuum all carpets, mattresses, and furniture. Yes, that means taking the cushions off the couch. If you suspect an area is a high infestation area, sprinkle baking soda, diatomaceous earth (food grade), or salt onto the area. Then use a scrub brush to get it down into the carpet fibers. This is a good idea to do in any and all areas where your pets sleep.
It should be noted that while diatomaceous earth works very well at getting rid of fleas, a mask should be worn when applying it. It’s a superfine, non-toxic powder that damages or scratches the hard shells of fleas, dehydrating them and causing their death. Leave the DE (diatomaceous earth), baking soda, or salt in place for around 48 hours, then vacuum. Remember to use a mask when working with DE, which means when applying or vacuuming up, you shouldn’t breathe it in.
Ideally, you should use a vacuum with bags, so once you are done, you can immediately toss out the bag. If you have a bagless vacuum, then you will need to empty the canister into a garbage bag and dispose of it immediately. Then clean your vacuum container with hot, soapy water.
After you have vacuumed your floors, it’s recommended to steam clean them with high heat and soap to kill off any fleas you may have missed.
3. Wash all your bedding and your pet's bedding immediately. Grab everything and get it washed; this includes, but is not limited to, your blankets, bed linens, pillows, couch covers, curtains, throw blankets, and obviously Fido’s bed. If your cat sleeps in your clean laundry, then you better wash that again too.
Ideally, hot water with a strong soap will help rid your lines of fleas (and keep you out of the clean laundry!).
4. Using dish soap, create your own flea trap! This is best used at night because fleas are nocturnal insects. It’s really very simple to make. Take some Dawn dish soap and mix it with some water. Leave the bowls out around the home where you think the most flea activity is. The fleas and other bugs will be drawn to the solution and drown. Make sure to replenish nightly for the best results.
5. Make your own DIY herbal spray or lemon spray. The recipes:
DIY herbal spray: In a spray bottle, add 2 liters of white distilled vinegar, 1 liter of water, 250 ml of lemon juice (bottled is fine), and 125 ml of witch hazel.
Lemon Spray: Simple: add 1 thinly sliced lemon to 1 pint of water and boil. Allow to sit overnight and pour into your spray bottle the next morning.
Being very generous with the spray(s), apply over freshly vacuumed or washed carpets, pet bedding, or anywhere else these crafty creatures are hiding. Apply the solution until the area is damp to the touch.
You may want to do a "test spray" first before saturating your home.
6. Rosemary planted around the foundation of your home can help deter fleas. They hate the smell. You could also grind up some rosemary and spread it around your home and on the carpets. I love the smell of rosemary, but it’s not everyone's cup of tea. You could also make a rosemary infusion by boiling fresh rosemary in water. You can use this infusion to spray around the home; this may prevent the population in your home from gaining momentum and spreading.
7. Plant some flea-deterrent outdoor plants. Chrysanthemums, fragrant lavender, spearmint, and pennyroyal are four good flea-deterrent plants. These will not rid your lawn or exterior of fleas, but they will assist in prevention.
8. Add cedar chips to your exterior, especially where your pets hang out. If you are dealing with fleas in your exterior environment, installing cedar chips will help. Getting rid of debris in the yard and keeping a well-groomed yard with cedar chips as mulch will remove the hiding spots for fleas and make for a more enjoyable yard.
If you are still having issues with fleas, it’s now time to call out the big guns to assist with remedying the situation. Fleas are not only uncomfortable for your pet, but if they get out of hand they become a problem the whole house hold will need to deal with. It’s best to immediately stay on top of the issues with fleas and keep your pets on flea and tick control. This is the best way to promote a happy, healthy home!
References Adapted By:
Staff Writer (2022, Dec 15), How to Get Rid of Fleas [Blog post] Retrieved from: https://thehabitat.com/home/how-to-get-rid-of-fleas/
How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally in 6 Easy Steps. (2023, January 17). The Spruce. https://www.thespruce.com/homemade-flea-repellent-1388143
14 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Fleas | Say YES to SES. (n.d.). 14 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Fleas | Say YES to SES. https://www.summitenvironmentalsolutions.com/about-us/blog/14-ways-to-get-rid-of-fleas-home-remedies