Fortunately, you can eliminate a flea infestation and stop it from returning without having to call a professional.
The key is to use a variety of flea killers and preventatives and to be consistent with the treatment of your pets and home.
Treating Fleas on Pets
Get a flea shampoo that contains rosemary, eucalyptus, or citrus oil.
These natural ingredients are particularly effective at treating fleas, and they won’t irritate your pet.
You can look for a shampoo with these ingredients in-store.
Or you can ask your vet if they have a natural shampoo they recommend.
Try to steer clear of shampoos that are made with insecticides, such as pyrethrins, since they can cause skin irritation for you and your pet.
- Make sure you clear any flea shampoos with your vet first since some can actually be toxic to your pet. Shampoos containing cedar or tea tree oil, for example, are harmful to cats.
Wash your pet starting with the head and moving downwards.
When fleas sense water, they immediately seek cover in dry, hard-to-reach places.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to at least wet, if not clean, your pet’s ears, rectum, eye cavity, and neck before getting its entire body wet.
To make sure you get all of the fleas, lather up your pet for at least 15 minutes before rinsing it off.
- As you’re rinsing off your pet, part its fur so you can rinse away any dead fleas or eggs.
- Read the product’s packaging carefully before you get started. Some shampoos require multiple applications during one bathing period.
- How frequently you wash your pet with flea shampoo will depend on whether or not the infestation returns, your pet’s breed and age, and your vet’s recommendations.
Apply an apple cider vinegar spray to your pet for a natural flea preventative.
Once you’ve killed the fleas on your pet with a flea shampoo.
You’ll want to use preventative measures to stop them from coming back.
If you want to avoid using over-the-counter flea products that contain potentially irritating chemicals, apple cider vinegar can work by deterring fleas with its strong, unpleasant smell.
Just mix equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar in a spray bottle.
Then, spray your pet with the mixture, taking care to avoid its eyes, nose, and ears.
- You can apply the apple cider vinegar spray whenever you notice fleas on your dog or before it goes outside.
Try brushing your pet with lemon juice for another natural preventative.
If you dislike the smell of apple cider vinegar, you can help deter fleas from clinging to your pet with lemon juice instead.
Like apple cider vinegar, fleas don’t like the smell and taste of lemon juice.
So they’ll be less likely to bother your pet.
Just dip your pet’s comb or brush in lemon juice before you brush it.
You can reapply the lemon juice daily or whenever you’d normally brush your pet.
- Keep in mind that you’ll need to routinely apply the lemon juice to your pet since it doesn’t actually kill fleas.
Apply an over-the-counter or prescription product for maximum effectiveness.
This could be a flea-collar, a spot-on, or oral medication.
Products that are sold over-the-counter can be a hit or miss, so you may want to go with a prescription-strength treatment suggested by your vet to suit your pet’s particular needs.
Make sure you follow the instructions carefully for any direct application product that you choose.
- Collars that contain only an IGR usually aren’t strong enough to keep fleas at bay.
- Spot-on products are less likely to cause irritation and can be more effective over time.
Removing Fleas from Your Home
Wash all of your bedding to kill any fleas on it.
Gather together all of your bed sheets, pillowcases, rugs, and throws.
Toss them into your washing machine in batches in a warm or hot setting.
Then, transfer them to the dryer on a hot setting and dry them completely.
To be extra safe, you may want to repeat the washing process.
- Make sure you wash and dry all of your pet’s bedding as well.
- Even if the care tags say to wash the bedding in cold water, you’ll still need to use heat since it’s necessary for killing fleas and their eggs.
- If the bedding is not salvageable, or if it’s filled with dirt, dander, or flea eggs, throw it away and replace it.
Vacuum all of the floors in your home to remove any fleas and eggs.
While your bedding is being washed, work your way through each room in your home with a vacuum.
Go over all your floors, whether they’re carpeted, tiled, or hardwood.
You should also use your vacuum attachments to reach into small corners and spaces.
- Before you start vacuuming, pick up any loose items on the floor so they don’t get in your way.
- As you move from room to room, take the vacuum bag or canister outside and empty it into a trashcan.
- This lowers the possibility of moving flea eggs or larvae around your home.
- Vacuuming also helps raise the fibers of your carpet, which makes it easier for flea treatments to penetrate deep into your floors.
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on infested surfaces for a natural flea-killer.
Diatomaceous earth is a powder made up of small, crushed rocks, and it can quickly dehydrate and kill fleas and flea larvae when applied to infested surfaces.
To use diatomaceous earth, sprinkle it on surfaces like carpets and floors after vacuuming and washing all of your bedding.
Then, leave it for at least 3 days before vacuuming up the powder.
- You should reapply diatomaceous earth once a week for 30 days to ensure you kill all of the fleas.
- Make sure you use an organic, food-grade diatomaceous earth so it doesn’t contain any unnatural ingredients.
- You can find food-grade diatomaceous earth online or at your local garden center.
Try spraying an insecticide throughout your home if the problem persists.
Choose a product that contains both an insect growth regulator (IGR) to kill off eggs, larvae, and pupae and an adulticide to kill off adult fleas.
Read and follow the package’s instructions carefully before, during, and after application.
You’ll need to remove everyone, including pets, from your home for several hours after the application or until the insecticide has fully dried.
- Commons IGRs are methoprene and pyriproxyfen.
- A common adulticide chemical is a permethrin.
- Insecticides in aerosol form are usually the easiest to apply by hand since they let you target problem areas.
- In general, foggers aren’t very effective since they can’t be targeted and don’t penetrate deep enough into flooring.
Continue to treat your home for several weeks until the fleas subside.
After washing your bedding, vacuuming, and applying flea killers to infested surfaces.
You still might notice fleas in your home as new flea adults hatch and grow.
That’s why it’s important to continue your treatment plan for several weeks by continuing to vacuum regularly and apply natural flea killers like diatomaceous earth.
- If you’re using an insecticide, you may not need to reapply it after the initial application. Always follow the instructions that came with the insecticide, and avoid reapplying it more than recommended.
Getting Rid of Fleas in Your Yard
Focus on treating shaded areas of your yard that your pet frequents.
Fleas thrive in dark, moist environments, and you’ll most likely find them in places where your dog likes to run around, hang out, or rest.
It’s not necessary to treat your whole yard for fleas, especially parts of your yard that get a lot of sun. Fleas don’t do well in dry, sunny areas.
- If you want to test your yard for fleas, try walking through it with white socks on.
- If you see any fleas on your socks, it’s likely that parts of your yard are infested.
Remove any debris in your yard that could trap moisture and provide shade.
Spray your yard with an insecticide to kill any fleas in it.
Look for an insecticide that is designed for outdoor conditions and contains both an adulticide and an insect growth regulator.
Which will prevent flea eggs from hatching and larvae from growing for several months.
Most outdoor formulations can be attached to your hose and then sprayed over infested areas.
You should only need to apply the insecticide to shaded areas that your pet runs through or lies down in, or to dark areas that have a lot of moisture.
Follow the application instructions carefully and repeat the application as necessary.
- You’ll need to stay off of your yard for a set period of time after the application.
- You may need to apply the insecticide when it’s dry outside since water can dilute its effectiveness. If you’re not sure, read the instructions that came with your insecticide.
Call a professional exterminator if you want help applying an insecticide.
If you aren’t comfortable applying pesticides to your yard, consider reaching out to a professional.
Contact your local Better Business Bureau for recommendations.
Before anyone comes out to treat your home, make sure you know what type of treatment you’ll get and how much it will cost.
Use cedar chips in your yard to help prevent fleas from coming back.
Fleas dislike the smell of cedar chips, so incorporating them into your landscaping can work as an extra line of defense.
Try spreading some cedar chips around the shrubs and trees in your yard, or use them along any pathways.
- You can find cedar chips online or at your local garden center or department store.
Cleaning your house regularly will reduce the number of fleas.
If your dog has been playing with other dogs, warn the other pet owners of a potential flea problem.
If they take action to kill off the fleas, then this will prevent them from being spread back and forth.