If you’ve found yourself on this page, we hardly need to explain to you who fleas are. They are small, dark bugs excellent at jumping and painfully biting who deliver a lot of trouble for many people and their pets. Here you'll know how to get rid of fleas. There are different ways and products to get rid of fleas in a house and yard.
They won’t leave your house if you don’t drive them out, so you’ll have to take serious measures in order to get rid of fleas.
Well, we’ll going to honestly warn you: You’ll need a lot of time and effort. But it is surely worth it. We’ll tell you how to get rid of fleas quickly, effectively, without expensive exterminators, and once and for all.
Table of Contents:
- Where Do Fleas Come From?
- 5 Compulsory Steps of Getting Rid of Fleas in Your House
- How to Get Rid of Fleas in the Carpet?
- Homemade flea killers
- How to Get Rid of Fleas on Humans?
- How to Get Rid of Fleas in the Yard?
- How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally
- Flea Control Tips: How to Prevent Flea Infestation
In order to eliminate them effectively, you have to know where fleas come from and thus you’ll be able to identify the main reasons and sources of fleas in your house.
- Home pets (cats and dogs) bring fleas from the outside.
- Your street clothing and shoes (it far easier to bring some flea eggs along with the dirt on the soles of your shoes or clothing than you think).
- Neighbors’ fleas or bed bugs won’t have a hard time crawling to your house from their home.
- A basement or an attic can be infested with rats who have rat fleasIf fleas happily live and breed at your house, then it is possible that they have been there for a long time. For example, the previous owners of your house might not have completely eliminated them, or there a colony of fleas in your backyard already existed, and has recently moved in to your house.
As you can see, fleas can appear absolutely everywhere, so you need to eliminate the causes of their possible appearance step-by-step. The most obvious step is to first make sure that your house is not infested with pests and that you do not need to get rid of rats. You should also check whether your neighbors have any fleas.
After that, you can start! Choose a day during the weekend and begin eliminating fleas. You have already understood that you’ll have to clean out all of the rooms, haven’t you? This is the first and most essential step when getting rid of house fleas. So, you’ll have to:
- Wash your bed sheets, blankets, curtains, all of your pet's bedding, toys, pillows and blankets. It’s even better to dry clean them. This measure will also help identify the bed bugs, which are more visible on the mattress and upholstery. Wash everything at a temperature of at least 50 degrees Celsius (the higher, the better as the fleas are very tenacious).
- Clean the carpets and furniture. Did you know that most often fleas bite your legs? That happens because most fleas live and breed in the carpets - which you walk over daily - and on the furniture where you sit, so you have to ensure they are always clean. Pay special attention to front door mats if you have any. Also, do not forget to vacuum the bathroom mat as well. Once you’ve finished, put the contents of the vacuum cleaner in a sealed plastic bag and throw in the trash immediately, so that the nimble fleas won’t have time to come back.
- Wash the floors. We hope that you do this regularly without our reminder but it is useful to repeat it again: Fleas scatter their eggs around, that’s why the floors in the house also require frequent cleaning. Do not neglect the corners, skirting boards and the areas under cabinets and other furniture.
- Throw things away. If you find that your mattress is full of dirt, dead bugs and eggs of different origin, you'd better throw it in the trash, because you won’t be able to clean it properly by yourself. Of course, you can use the professional service for that, but trust us, you can to get rid of fleas in the house on your own and buy a new mattress with the money saved. ☺
- Wash your street shoes. As we have already mentioned, your street shoes can be a great “transporter” of flea eggs into your house. It is therefore necessary to wash everything you’ve lately worn outside in order to prevent further infestation.
Attention! Mind that if fleas infested your cat or dog, then your house will be permanently occupied by these insects until you kill them all. You can choose from a variety of means of controlling the fleas at your disposal, from auxiliary tools such as special brushes to powerful long-acting flea drops. Using the same products for cats and dogs can be dangerous for their health, so we have covered them separately in our following reviews:
What is the best way to get rid of fleas?
After the complete clean-up, it’s high time to use some serious “weapons” such as home flea control products. The list of such items for killing fleas can be very long. The main types of such products are traps, sprays and bombs (foggers).
Helpful tip: Fleas are put off by the smell of many aggressive chemicals and chemical compound products, such glue, paint, cement and putty. So it might as well be a good time for carrying out some repair works!
Fleas prefer to live in carpets, where they can hide in the fur and where there are always someone’s delicious feet. If you take a magnifying glass, you’ll be able to see some adult species on brighter carpets and some scattered eggs and flea larvae on the darker ones. However, we do not recommend you to waste precious time and stare at the carpet with a magnifying glass, and instead we advise you to immediately begin eliminating the fleas. These insects multiply rapidly, so every day is at stake.
Clean the carpet with a vacuum cleaner. This is the first and most important step which will help to assess the problem and sometimes even eliminate most of the fleas’ eggs and larvae. After cleaning dispose of the contents of the container in a thick plastic bag and throw it directly into the garbage outside. (Not in the garbage bin inside the home!)
Use flea carpet powder. You should then apply special flea control products. Various flea sprays and flea powders, both industrial and homemade liquid ones, are most suitable for exterminating the fleas in the carpet. Such products are:
- Diatomaceous Earth. This is an insecticide powder that is safe for humans and pets. According to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (Arizona), it is nevertheless fatal not only for fleas, but also for "anything with an exoskeleton. This means insects (anything with six legs) and non-insect arthropods (eight or more legs)."
DE should be scattered on the carpet, which is quite messy as the air rises in a cloud of dust from the powder. In order to avoid this you can use a special duster tool, such as Pest Pistol Mini Duster. The next day you should vacuum the carpet and repeat the whole procedure until you completely exterminate the fleas.
Price of Diatomaceous Earth: ~$25
- Insect Growth Regulator. This is a rather powerful type of control products, which is supposed to be dissolved in a strict proportion in water and then sprayed on the carpet. Sometimes they come in the form of complete spray. As its name suggests, these types of sprays inhibit the multiplication of fleas, usually for several months.
For example, the popular Precor IGR Insect Growth Regulator is said to "kill flea eggs and larvae for 7 months," i.e. until you wash the carpet with a shampoo or clean it with a steam generator. Note that it won’t be effective against adult fleas so use other measures to exterminate them.
Also read: Top-7 Flea Killers: Sprays, Traps, Foggers
- Killer Sprays (insecticides). Such sprays kill when they come in contact with the insect and usually have a wide range of "victims," including bed bugs, fleas, spiders, and others. We recommend using proven products such as Hot Shot Bedbug and Flea Home Insect Killer for ~$9.97. This item is designed to kill both eggs and adult species.
- Pets Flea Shampoos. Insecticidal shampoos for cats and dogs are effective enough to completely rid the fleas from the carpet. Treat the pet according to the instructions, leave it on for a while, and then clean the carpet while combing it. We recommend you to use some versatile products like Adams Plus Flea & Tick Shampoo in order not to harm your house pets’ health.
- Dissolve 100 ml of kerosene in a bucket of water and spray this devilish mixture over carpet, leave the room and let it act. Some wet cleaning is recommended afterwards in order to remove any dead fleas from the carpet. Caution: Kerosene is flammable, so use safety gloves, don’t smell it and don’t smoke when you are near it!
- Dissolve some borax in some warm water and treat the carpet with this solution. You can also use it as is, as you would use Diatomaceous Earth. Finish your work by vacuuming the carpet after a few hours. Borax powder is more harmful than the DE and thus it is not recommended to use it if there are children or pregnant women around. However, it still shows excellent results in terms of eliminating and dehydrating fleas.
- Mix some salt and baking soda in an equal proportion (add about 2-3 tablespoons of each) and carefully rub it into the carpet, then leave for the night and vacuum it.
- Mix some alcohol and water in a spray and follow the abovementioned steps.
With the knowledge that the fleas are repelled by smell of garlic, you can prepare a homemade repellent for your carpet: Mix some brewer's yeast and garlic mush and apply the mixture on the carpet. This recipe is not for the faint hearted, for the smell of garlic will be very evident. Give it some time to work, though - clean the carpet from organic residues and flea eggs a few hours later, and you will be able to see the effect.
Final tip: If you see that you have tried everything, and that there is no salvation for your carpet as the fleas continue to inhabit it, roll it up tightly and throw it in the garbage. It’s better to buy a new one rather than waste your time and effort on trying to revive the old one.
We come across this question so often that we’ve finally decided to answer it. Fleas do not live on humans. Humans have lice or other insects. It would be more correct to say that a human can be subject to flea bites, but fleas do not inhabit their victims (be it a person, a cat or a dog) constantly. They get enough blood after the bite and then they jump off. The life cycle of the flea does not involve its constant dwelling on the body of the victim, and their larvae develop outside the warm-blooded body as the insects usually lay their eggs at a high speed everywhere around themselves.
So you should get rid of fleas on cat or dog and around your house.
Remember that the flea bites are an important signal of the future increase of their amount at your place, because according to the National Park Service US, "Females deposit eggs in groups of 1 to 18 on the host after a blood meal." That’s why you shouldn’t neglect the issue and proceed to exterminating the fleas immediately after the first bite.
If you decide that you have been bitten by fleas, you should ensure that it was them and not mosquitoes or bed bugs, and then consider proper treatment of bites. Our review "Flea Bites on Humans: How to Identify and Treat" will help you cope with this task.
As we have mentioned earlier, house fleas may appear if they have already settled in your backyard. As you know, dealing with nature is more difficult than controlling your own personal "climate" in the house, but is still possible. Your primary goal is to destroy fleas outside so that neither you nor your pets could accidentally bring them home.
So, in order to get rid of fleas in the yard, you need to be persistent:
- First, get rid of rats outside, if you have any. Rats are carriers of rat fleas that tend to settle first in the yard and then in the house.
- Regularly wash your porch and front stairs and sprinkle them with some DE. You can also spray your front door with citronella oil or rosemary.
- Clean your dog’s and cat’s litter outdoors as often as possible.
- Make your own handmade flea traps for the yard. To do this, you will need a round bowl, some soap (or dishwashing detergent) and some water. Pour soapy water in the bowl and put it in a place inhabited by fleas. They will get trapped and drown. Replace these traps every day so that the mosquitoes won’t breed in this standing water.
- Use special flea killer sprays for lawns, trees, shrubs, flowers and outdoor surfaces, but make sure you carefully examine the active components they contain. You’d better not use popular flea killer spray for the yard Adams Plus Flea & Tick Yard Spray and Cutter Backyard Bug Control if you have a cat, since they contain pyrethroids and permethrins, and the cats are generally sensitive to these chemicals. According to BBC, cats can even die if permethrin-based products designed for the dogs are applied on them. That’s why we do not recommend using such sprays inside the house, on the porch or in the yard, if you have a cat.
It is important to take a complex approach to the issue of getting rid of fleas in the yard, because a single measure won’t be able to solve the problem. Fleas multiply rapidly and won’t leave your house and yard until you eliminate them.
Organic methods of getting rid of fleas have been used for over 100 years. Many of them are effective enough to compete with industrial chemicals and are suitable for getting rid of the insects both indoors and outdoors. Here are some of these treatments:
- Extreme cold/heat - Fleas like moderate warmth, and extreme temperature fluctuations are lethal for them. Therefore, it is important to wash everything that is contaminated at a temperature of 50 degrees and over, and, if possible, to take out the carpet/furniture/mattress and leave them under the sunlight. Cold can be used similarly: If the outside temperature is below zero, take everything you need outside and let the nature do its job.
- Wormwood - This plant has been regarded as a powerful flea repellent for many years. You can plant it in your backyard or simply sprinkle it generously on the floor and carpets in the house. Its smell is truly bitter, but many people actually like it.
- Pine and cedar cuttings - A strong smell of these trees can also repel fleas. You can make lovely handmade pillows stuffed with these cuttings for your dog and street furniture, and the fleas will flee.
- Lemon juice can be mixed with water (cut a single lemon and mix it with 0.5 liters of water) and spray this cocktail on furniture, floors and any other surface.
- Essential oils of citronella, rosemary, tea tree, mint and citrus fruit - Many insect repellents contain these oils not in vain, as they can also scare away the fleas. But do not wallow in using them indoors, as the excessive concentration of these oils in the air can trigger headaches, and some of the oils, such as tea tree oil are dangerous for cats.
It is easier to prevent flea infestation than to get rid of these blood-sucking insects. Preventive methods are fairly simple and only demand that you have the following qualities:
- Clean your house more often, vacuum the carpets, floors and furniture, maintain clean porch.
- Do not enter the house while wearing dirty shoes, wash your last season shoes and do not store them dirty.
- Wash your pets’ paws and inspect their fur after taking them for a walk. Replace their flea collars regularly.
- Don’t caress street animals, they might share some of their fleas with you.
- Don’t visit dirty, desolated places as you can also bring fleas’ eggs or adult species from there.
- When camping, make sure you wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants in order to avoid getting flea bites on your legs and ankles (fleas rarely bite the upper body since they can’t reach it). Use repellents which have a high concentration of DEET, such as Repel 100 Insect Repellent Pump Spray for ~$7.97.
- Control the rodents and bats in the house, as they are potential flea carriers.
- Be wary of the things and furniture bought on garage sales, fairs and second-hand markets, as they can be infested with fleas.
- Mow your lawn and take care of the garden. Plant some natural repellents, such as garlic, citronella, lemongrass, tansy, tarragon and thus reduce the likelihood of fleas’ appearance in your backyard.
- If your neighbors have flea infestation, don’t waste any time and begin using such safe products as Diatomaceous Earth for protecting your house in order to prevent a sudden invasion of these nasty insects.
As you can see, you can get rid of fleas on your own, without an exterminator if you know some basic elimination methods and a couple of tricks. Be persistent and the fleas won’t have a choice but to leave your house forever.