How To Get Rid of Fleas?
Fleas are tiny wingless insects. These pests attach themselves to mammals and survive by sucking their blood. Household pets like cats, dogs, and rabbits can get infected with fleas.
Finding a flea leeching my cat’s blood is my biggest peeve. If you have a cat, dog, or even a rabbit, then you understand my pain.
- What You Should Do To Get Rid of Fleas?
- Step 1: Finding A Source
- Step 2: Getting Rid of Fleas
- Step 3: Prevention
Fleas are attracted to our furry friends like bees to honey; they are not just annoying but a great danger to the health of your pet, yourself, and your family.
They carry pathogens of dangerous diseases such as marine typhus, flea allergy dermatitis, and cat scratch disease, etc.
Killing off one flea won’t make a difference. Fleas multiply at an alarming rate; a female flea starts laying eggs 24 – 36 hours after taking a blood meal.
That is not all! It can lay up to 50 eggs in one day. This means that if you have found one flea hopping on your carpet, then there are hundreds more nearby.
It’s like hydra; you cut off one head, two more grow in its place.
What You Should Do to Get Rid of Fleas?
If your house has become infested with fleas, then you should follow three simple steps to get rid of them permanently.
Step 1: Find The Source
How did your house get infested with fleas? There can be several ways:
Source of Fleas in the Pet-Owner’s Home
Mammalian pets like cats, dogs, and rabbits are the most common source of flea infestation. Fleas breed in moist and damp places like bushes, foliage, or the shade under the tree. When your cat, dog or rabbit are out playing in the yard, fleas jump off the ground and into their fur.
Sources of Fleas for Homes with No Pets
You don’t have pets, but you have got a flea infestation in your home. Don’t look for supernatural reasons, there is an explanation.
- Did you agree to watch your friend’s dog while they were away on vacation? The dog could have had fleas which infested your home.
- Someone may have given you an old ‘family heirloom’ carpet or rug, which was infested with fleas.
- Wildlife like raccoons and ferrets can bring flea infestation into your home
- You moved into a new house which was infested with fleas
You get the idea. Fleas are persistent pests, and they will wait in dark and damp until a suitable host becomes available. It is crucial to get rid of them immediately.
BTW, do you think dog barking as any correlation with flea infestation, let me know the in the comments, i’d love to have your thoughts on this. I know everybody has different experience so it’d be valuable for our readers to know.
Step 2: Get Rid of Fleas
Getting rid of fleas is easier said than done, but it can be done in three ways:
- Get Rid of Fleas through Natural Remedies
- Get Rid of Fleas through Commercial Products
- Call Pest Control
Let’s look at them one by one.
1. Natural Remedies which Actually Work
I know you are thinking ‘Not another useless DIY,’ but wait! Hear me out. These home remedies are tried and tested. They are backed by science and do actually work!
They will rid your home of the blood-sucking pests while saving you from the harmful side-effects of chemicals in commercial products. Trust me, there is a method to this madness.
Home Remedies to Remove Fleas from Pets
1. Give your Pet a Bath with Dishwashing Liquid
Giving your pet a bath with dishwashing liquid is a relatively safe and easy way to get rid of fleas. Dishwashing liquid has surfactants which change the surface tension of water, to make the water light enough for insects to drown.
Secondly, the chemical components of the dishwashing liquid erode the exoskeleton of the fleas, killing them instantly.
The amount of dishwashing liquid depends on the size of your pet, for a cat or a small dog 2 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid are enough whereas a large dog may need 4-5 tablespoons of dishwashing liquid.
Mix the appropriate amount of dishwashing liquid with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Apple cider vinegar and lemon juice are both natural ingredients which are known for their anti-bacterial properties. They are not harmful to your pet, and they increase the probability of killing fleas.
Now, add 1 teaspoon of essential oils like peppermint oil to the mixture. The dishwashing soap is harsher than the average pet shampoo, it can cause your pet’s skin to become dry. Adding essential oil to the mixture ensures that your pet’s skin remains moisturized.
How to Give the Bath?
You can administer this remedy in two ways. Firstly, you can wet your pet and lather them with the mixture, massage the mixture into their fur thoroughly and leave it for 3-5 mins, then rinse with lukewarm water and dry your pet.
A second method is to mix the home-made medicine with some water and it into an aerosol bottle. Spray your pet’s fur thoroughly with the mixture and massage it gently. Leave it to 25-30 mins and then give your pet a bath.
Does it Work?
Like a charm! I have used this on my cat multiple times. It does not have any harmful effects on your pet, and it removes the fleas and their eggs.
Just don’t give your pet a bath with dishwashing liquid regularly. It can be damaging for their skin.
Why Normal Soap Does Not Work?
The respiratory systems of insects are resistant to oxygen deprivation, this means that insects don’t easily drown in water. Moreover, fleas have a waxy exoskeleton which repels water, allowing them to flail on the surface of the water and escape. The eggs of the fleas also remain safe from water unless they are completely dislodged from the fur.
Simple soap or shampoo do not have surfactants, which means that the insects don’t drown. Unlike dishwashing liquid, regular shampoo or soap is also unable to have any effect on the waxy exoskeleton of fleas.
2. DIY Natural Flea-Repellant Sprays
Another effective home remedy is to make your own flea-repellant sprays with natural ingredients. These sprays are easy to use, they kill the stray flea before it has a chance to germinate, and they don’t harm your pet.
Personally, I have tried Apple Cider Vinegar and herb spray to keep the fleas away from my cat.
Apple Cider Vinegar Spray
Mix Apple Cider Vinegar and Warm water in a 3:2 combination. Pour mixture into a spray bottle and spray it on your pet. Pay close attention to the fur behind their ears, their belly, and under their arms. After a few mins, comb your pet with a flea comb. This will remove the dead insects from your pet’s fur.
Not pretty but necessary.
Rosemary is a natural flea-repellant. To reap its benefits, mix 5-6 drops of concentrated rosemary oil in 4 ounces of water and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray on to your pet and leave for 10-15 mins. Comb afterward.
Alternatively, you can add 5-6 drops of rosemary oil into your pet shampoo. It will keep the stray flea away. The spray is more effective for a medium-sized infestation.
3. Use A Flea Comb
Use a flea comb to groom your pet at least once a week. Flea combs are effective in catching any stray flea and removing dead fleas after a bath or spray.
Home Remedies to Remove Fleas from Your Home
It is not sufficient to kill fleas from your pet’s body. If you don’t remove them from your home, flea eggs hidden in carpets, bedding, and mattresses will hatch and attach themselves to your pet again. It is absolutely necessary to clean your pet and your house at the same time to get rid of fleas.
You can disinfect your home of fleas by doing the following things:
1. Wash everything You Can
When fleas have come inside your home through pets, then it is likely that the pet has spread them all over the house. Pay special attention to clothing, bedding, and carpets in the areas where the pet is more likely to go.
Wash your clothes, bedding, and carpets with warm water. You can add store-bought disinfectant with the detergent to be thorough.
For items which cannot be washed in the washing machine, use the same sprays you used on your pet. Things like sofas, chairs, and mattresses can be cleaned by spraying them with the apple cider vinegar spray.
2. Use Vacuum Cleaner
Vacuuming your home regularly is an excellent way to get rid of fleas. The vacuum cleaner sucks the fleas and their eggs away.
3. Use Salt and baking Soda
Baking soda and salt are effective ingredients for killing fleas. They are natural dehydrating agents, they kill adult fleas as well as their larvae.
You should mix salt and baking soda and sprinkle it on your carpet or any other affected area. Rub it in with a hard brush and leave it overnight. The next day, use a vacuum cleaner to clean the carpet.
4. Use Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
Diatomaceous Earth is a fine powder comprised of particles of fossilized algae and diatoms. Like baking soda and salt, it is also a dehydrating agent. You should sprinkle DE over areas which are infested with fleas and leave it for 48 hours. DE is not harmful to humans, and it is safe to sprinkle it indoors. Vacuum after two days.
If you are a pet owner, then you should repeat these cleaning steps regularly. Fleas are bound to get attached to your pet; it is better to clean your pet and house regularly to catch the straggling flea rather than to have a full-blown infestation.
2. Commercial Remedies for Flea Control
Home remedies work, but they take time. If the flea infestation has spread to multiple areas of your house, then you may need stronger chemicals to disinfect your pet and your home.
Many commercial products are available for this purpose, which can be divided into seven broad categories:
Flea collars release medicine onto your pet’s fur and skin, this medicine is lethal for fleas, they die instantly after coming into contact with it. Many different types and designs of flea collars are available; the most effective ones are collars such as the Seresto flea and tick control collar and Rolf Club.
These collars are made up of an innovative polymer matrix. The medicine which kills fleas is embedded inside the matrix, making it safer to use. These collars provide eight months of protection from fleas.
Flea traps are devices which lure fleas into a trap, making it easy to get rid of them. Flea traps have two components: a built-in heating source which attracts the fleas, and an adhesive strip which traps the bug. Some traps also have chemicals which kill the insects on the spot.
They are a relatively safe way of killing fleas, but their effectiveness is limited. Flea traps can only be useful to kill fleas in a small area or as a temporary solution. Different variations of flea traps are available in the market; they can be adhesive or ‘glue’ traps, insecticide traps, chemical-free traps, and electric traps.
Flea Control Powders
Flea Powders are products which are aimed at killing fleas and preventing their regrowth. Flea Powders contain chemicals which kill adult fleas. They also include insect growth regulator (IGR), which prevents flea eggs, larvae, and pupae from maturing into adult fleas.
There are two kinds of flea control powders; Non-toxic and Toxic. Non-Toxic powders can be sprinkled on your pet whereas toxic ones can only be sprinkled on non-living things infested with fleas like carpets. While non-toxic options are available, most Flea powders are dangerous to humans, and they should be used carefully and in limited quantity.
Flea Powders are useful for treating an extensive infestation of fleas in your home and pets. They not only kill the adult but prevent fleas from multiplying by stopping their life cycle.
Aerosol sprays contain liquid insecticides combined with insect growth regulators (IGRs) and active ingredients which kill adult fleas on contact and stop their eggs, larvae, and pupae from maturing. Flea Sprays are preferable to powders because they are easier and safer to use.
Like powders, sprays contain chemicals which can be harmful to humans. It is best to use them while wearing protective gear and keep away from the area for at least 3-4 hours. Nowadays, natural flea sprays are also available, which claim to be non-toxic.
One very effective product for getting rid of fleas is Sterifab insecticide and disinfectant.
Flea Sprays for pets are also available in the market, made up of similar but less harsh chemicals. You can spray your pet with the spray, leave it on for 30 mins to an hour and then rinse it off. Flea sprays kill insects inside your pet immediately. They are effective for controlling and preventing an extensive flea infestation in your home.
Spot-On Flea Treatment
Spot-on flea treatments are insecticides in the form of a gel or liquid which are applied directly on to your pet’s skin. They include active neurotoxins such as deltamethrin, imidacloprid, permethrin, and selamectin, etc. The neurotoxins are lethal to adult fleas and their larvae.
Spon on flea treatments are spreadable, the medicine quickly dissolves on to your pet’s skin and provides quick relief from fleas. It is a valuable innovation which kills fleas in your pet’s fur within a day and prevents them from recurring for over four weeks. It is easy to administer and it can be used to cure a large-scale infestation of fleas in your pet.
Flea Floggers or Flea Bombs are products which release a toxic mist that kills insects on contact. Flea bombs contain insecticides such as Cypermethrin, Methroprene, Nylar, and Permethrin, etc. They effectively kill fleas and prevent their larvae from maturing.
Flea powder, sprays, and bombs all contain the same ingredients, but the method of using them is different from each other. Just like powders and sprays, flea bombs can also treat an area infested with fleas. It should be used with caution as it contains chemicals which are harmful to pets and humans.
Flea Tablets are oral insecticides for pets. They treat, prevent, and control flea infestations in cats, dogs, and rabbits, among other animals. There are different kinds of flea tables; some aim to kill adult fleas while some are targeted towards killing flea eggs and larvae.
They successfully kill fleas within one day and prevent regrowth for 3-6 weeks after administration.
The trick is getting your cat to eat the tablet, believe me, I have had to think of some creative ways!
3. Call Pest Control
Have you tried everything in the natural and commercial DIY handbook? Are fleas still making your life miserable? Then it is time to call the professionals.
Pest Control companies are professionals who will rid your house of pest infestation and make it livable again. Personally, I prefer to pay a little extra and call them instead of using commercial products myself. Here is why?
Let the Experts handle the chemicals
More than 90% of industrial products use insecticides, pesticides, and IGRs, among other chemical ingredients. These ingredients are harmful to your health as well as the health of your pet. If it is necessary to use chemical products, I will suggest that you get your house fumigated by expert pest controllers.
The experts know a safe way of using chemicals and ensuring that the chemicals have a minimum, if any side-effects on you, your family, and your pets.
Save Time, Money and your Mental Health
Trying DIY techniques requires time, money, and patience. People who are working 8-hour days, do not have the time to disinfect their own houses, scrub floors with salt and baking soda, or wait to catch fleas in traps.
I will go mad if I keep wondering about the disgusting insects crawling around in my house. So, save your sanity and call a good pest control company today!
Step 3: Prevention
Finally, we have arrived at the last step!
You must have heard the saying, “prevention is better than a cure,” it is absolutely correct! After you have disinfected your pet and your home, it is time to invest in prevention.
Let’s discuss some steps which can prevent fleas from finding your home again. My top tips for preventing a flea infestation from plaguing your house again are:
- Use natural prevention techniques such as planting plants which repel fleas.
- Clean your pet and your home regularly. Disinfect your house using natural ingredients like lemon, apple cider vinegar, salt, and baking soda.
- Groom your pets regularly; give them regular baths and comb their fur
- Make sure to send your pets to sitters with clean homes
- If you live in an area where fleas are more likely to exist, then give your pets vet-prescribed medication every three months.
- Take care of your yard; fleas are most likely to breed in the shady areas in your yards. Get it disinfected and maintain its upkeep.
These are all the treatments I could think of to get rid of fleas. Do you have any other treatment? Tell us about it!