Fleas are parasites which are commonly found in animals’ body, and house cats and dogs are the most susceptible animals to this parasite. In houses—whether ones with or without pets, fleas are usually easy to spot. They are tiny, but visible, rather than microscopic. In most households, fleas are residing in beds and feed on human’s blood while they are sleeping. This can be a big nuisance when house members or pets are allergic to flea saliva. Flea bites, hence, may cause severely itchy blisters all over the skin. Hence, thorough monitoring against fleas is important, and prevention, as well as removal, needs to be performed immediately inside the house with and without flea infestation.
Why do I have fleas in the house?
Sometimes, people are shocked to find out they are having the tiny critters all over the house walls and foundations. With pets around the house, this might not be that surprising. But there are many homeowners who do not keep any pets, yet still, find some critters inside the house. Possible ways of getting fleas around your house could be:
- Fleas are mostly hitch-hiking in pets’ skin when they are wandering around outside to play around, and your cats or dogs are going to bring these little critters in.
- Adult fleas lay eggs frequently, and these eggs remain inside the place where they are laid in for a long period. Unhatched eggs will remain in house foundations and other crawl spaces and are going to hatch when triggered by movement, body warmth, and CO2 resulted from breath. This explains how some homeowners without pets are having a flea infestation in their house.
How to kill fleas?
This might be the most frequently asked question when coming to flea infestation, apart from how they can possibly encounter our houses. In fact, there are various remedies and ingredients which can be used for getting rid of fleas by killing them.
The vacuum cleaner is your number-one weapon to combat fleas in the house. Regular vacuuming may kill not only adult fleas, but also their pupae, larvae, and eggs. Vacuuming susceptible areas once a day for two to four weeks will be helpful in killing the entire flea population. But, make sure you remove the vacuum bag properly after vacuuming these tiny critters. Otherwise, they are going to multiply and get out of the cleaner to re-infest the house.
A steamer is also a beneficial instrument in killing infesting fleas in the house. This weapon is specifically useful to use with beds and furniture, as it is able to kill fleas infesting small folds and cloth pores. Similar to a vacuum cleaner, steamer also kills adult fleas, pupae, larvae, and its eggs. Fleas are dehydrated and exposed to high temperature resulted by the steamer, which is essential in thorough extermination.
- Hot water
Besides heat, hot water also kills fleas. This method is useful when fleas are infesting some washable items, such as bed sheets, pillows, blankets, curtains, and clothes. Washing these items regularly do not only kill existing fleas, but also preventing them from re-infesting.
- Soapy water
Soapy water is not going to kill fleas when used for washing them. However, this can be an effective treatment for killing fleas when used as traps. Concentrated dish soap is one of the most effective ingredients which can be mixed with water or other liquid to eliminate flea population.
Direct sunlight in a hot, sunny day is also another method you need to consider when trying to find a method of flea killing. Exposing fleas to direct sunlight is going to eliminate the adult fleas and its eggs. To do this, put infested objects under direct sunlight on a hot day for one to two hours. You also need to expose infested pets for 15 minutes to get rid of fleas infesting their bodies.
To fight and kill fleas, pesticides are known to be effective. However, no matter what kind of pesticide you decide to use, it will still have some side effects. Hence, these toxic ingredients should be applied wisely and not excessively. There are ready-to-use pesticides which can be used not only around the house but also on your pets to eliminate fleas effectively.
How to kill fleas in the house
Using above remedies, you will be able to minimize flea infestation around the house, especially in indoor spots. Below are elaborated methods of killing fleas in the house.
If you have pets in the house, treat your pets as well.
This is important because fleas often find that pet’s fur as a beneficial hiding spot. To treat your pets and kill infesting fleas, you can do these treatments:
- Bath cats and dogs with anti-flea shampoo, which contains substances which discourage its population and kill them.
- Add some drops of apple cider vinegar to warm water you use for bathing the pets.
- Add some crushed garlic to pet’s bathing water. Wet the pets and let the garlic water mixture sit for 5 minutes before shampooing.
- Comb the fur using a fine flea comb, which is able to remove flea eggs and adults which reside in pets’ fur.
- Expose the pets to direct morning sunlight every day for 15 minutes. Make sure you don’t expose cats and dogs to afternoon sunlight since it may trigger dehydration.
- For daily treatment, spray a mixture of 250 mL water and few drops of lemon juice to flea-infested dogs. Spray the mixture directly or rub it into their fur. However, this might not be recommended for cats, which are allergic to lemons.
- Killing fleas in infested house pets can also be done internally. Coconut oil or apple cider vinegar is an effective treatment which can be fed by these pets to discourage fleas by changing the way their blood taste. Add a teaspoon of coconut oil or apple cider vinegar to your dogs or cats daily diet to repel fleas.
Do good housekeeping
Good housekeeping is going to eliminate possible flea hiding spots, as these tiny critters often hide in bedding items and other fabric and furry items. Deep clean the house regularly and do these advise treatments to make sure fleas are killed.
- Vacuum susceptible areas and non-washable items prone to flea infestation, such as beds and upholstered furniture. If you are vacuuming the beds, make sure you reach the folds and corners which may be infested by flea eggs and hatchlings.
- Bedding items should always be washed in high-temperature water. Machine washing the beddings using minimum 55°C water works best in killing adult fleas, as well as the hatchlings and eggs.
- Non-washable items, such as hand-woven carpets, which are also susceptible to infestation should be put under direct sunlight for one to two hours to kill any infesting fleas. You can also use diatomaceous earth and boric acid to do the trick with carpets and rugs. These two ingredients are effective in tearing flea’s exoskeleton and dehydrate them so that they will die eventually. To do this method, follow these directions:
- Unroll suspected carpets and rugs which cannot be machine washed.
- Sprinkle diatomaceous earth or powdered boric acid all over the carpet and rug parts.
- Let it sit for a half an hour. Meanwhile, keep pets and children away from the treated items. Although some food-grade DE and boric acid are not harmful, the flea droppings which may be left on the carpets can cause allergies.
- Vacuum up any left DE and boric acid thoroughly, making sure there is no more left on the treated items.
- Remove the vacuum cleaner bag and dispose of dead fleas immediately.
- If you are sure that fleas are hitch-hiking the pets to be brought into the house, drench the spots your pets often use with a mixture of a bucket of water and 3 tablespoons dish soap. This will kill existing fleas and repel re-infesting ones.
- Mop the floor with the mixture homemade lemon solution. This should be done daily to kill fleas using citric acid contained in the lemon juice. To make the mopping solution, mix a ½ gallon of water with lemon juice extracted from 5 lemon fruits. Use this to mop the entire flooring and drench susceptible crawling spaces.
Eliminate flea breeding environment
In order to lay eggs, adult fleas need a moist environment. If your house is humid, then you are providing a perfect environment for this purpose. Hence, kill hatchlings and flea eggs by turning your dehumidifier or air conditioner on, so that you are able to create drier air and prevent fleas from multiplying in number.
If you find a large infestation of fleas around the house, flea removal can be a devastating thing to perform. However, it is not impossible. To help to kill the entire population, you can combine several working methods. Aside from killing fleas using effective ingredients, you can also build flea traps, which are quite simple and easy, yet can be helpful and practical. Unlike traps for bigger mammals, traps for fleas are rarely found in wide markets. Despite this, you can try making one by yourself, using all instruments you are going to find easily around the house. Here are some ideas you might want to consider:
1. Electric traps
These traps are often store-bought and are made of a small housing which contains a sticky mat. The traps work by attracting fleas using light and warmth and trap them in the sticky mat when they are coming near the light. Some of these electric traps also produce odors which fleas are often attracted to. These products are quite effective to be used for getting rid of fleas foraging in your carpets and other areas of the house.
2. DIY lamp trap
If you cannot find any flea traps in your local hardware stores, you can always consider making one by yourself. To make the trap, you need to gather supplies as below:
- A desk lamp with a bright bulb
- A dish plate
- Few drops of dish soap
To make the trap, here are the directions:
- Fill the dish plate with water to its ¾ part
- Add two or three drops of dish soap and mix it with the water
- Place the dish plate filled with water under the lamp
- Turn on the light overnight
- Fleas will go around the water and then fall into the soapy water and drown
- Replace the water and reuse the same method for next treatment
3. DIY glass trap
Another effective trap to invite fleas and kill them is the see-through glass trap. This simple trap only requires:
- Some see-through glasses or cups
- Dish soap
To make the traps, fill ½ part of the glasses or cups with water and add few drops of dish soap into it. Stir well and place them on some window sills, where adult fleas are usually wandering around to lay their eggs. The light from the glasses will lure and thus, attract the fleas, while the water dish soap solution will trap them without a capability to escape. You can also add bleach to the solution, but do not use this chemical if you are going to put the traps in lower window sills reachable to children and pets. If your pets or children accidentally drink the solution, give them milk to neutralize the effect of dish soap in the solution.
Getting rid of fleas
Once you have managed to kill existing fleas in the house, you might find to find some ways of keeping them at the bay or repel them. To get rid of fleas, perform these helpful acts:
- Minimize the use of non-washable carpets, especially if you keep pets in the house. Instead, use throw rugs which can be washed in hot water frequently.
- Clean and dust every part of the house frequently. Similar to dust mites, fleas attracted to damp fabrics and dusty areas. Vacuum regularly and wipe upholstered furniture and non-washable items with wet cloth three times a week.
- Clean your pets regularly. Have them bathed and dried fully every once a week. Comb the fur using a flea comb to get rid of flea eggs infesting their skin.
- Sprinkle boric acid all over non-washable fabric items and carpets before vacuuming to make sure infesting fleas are killed.
- Trim grasses and bushes in the yard and garden, where your pets are usually playing. Longer grasses and thick bushes can be used as a perfect hiding place for fleas.
- Place a flea collar inside the vacuum bag to avoid fleas from laying eggs and hatching in the bag and eventually re-infesting your house.