How to Eliminate a Flea Infestation in Your Home

Three Parts:Treat Your PetsTreat Yourself, Your House and Your Yard With ChemicalsUse Natural Remedies to Eliminate Fleas

If your pet is scratching excessively, losing patches of hair or developing scabs and hot spots, then your pet could have a significant problem with fleas.[1] And if fleas are on your pet, then they're going to be in your house and in your yard--and probably on you. Fortunately, you can take steps using synthetic chemicals and natural products to both protect your pets and rid your home of fleas. Move down to Step 1 to find out how.

Part 1
Treat Your Pets

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    Start with a good bath. Bathe your dog or cat using a gentle shampoo or a citrus-based dish washing liquid. You can also use a commercial flea dip. Fleas don't grasp onto your pet's hair shaft, so they will fall into the water and drown.
    • After the bath, comb your pet with a flea comb. You'll also want to use a flea comb every time your pet is treated for fleas.
    • Ask your groomer to clip your pet's hair or shave it shorter prior to other treatments. That way, the insecticide can reach your pet's skin where the fleas live and can make the flea comb more effective.
    • Talk to your vet about sprays and powders that you can apply to your pet's skin.
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    Treat all your pets using both oral and topical medications. Oral medications like Program and Sentinel should be given along with topical medications like Frontline.
    • Be sure to use the correct dosage made specifically for your pet, as your pet can have a serious reaction to an overdose. Never use dog flea prevention on a cat, as a cat's nervous system can only handle feline flea preventative.
    • Give the flea preventative on the same day that you treat your house and yard for fleas for maximum effectiveness.
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    Wash your pet's bedding as well as any cloth items that have been on the floor. Washing will significantly reduce the number of flea eggs and larvae on the bedding and cloth items and will make your insecticide more effective.
    • The wash cycle will not kill the fleas, but it may eject some of the eggs through the drain. On the other hand, the dry cycle, on normal for over 30 minutes, will kill the eggs and any fleas remaining on the cloth.
    • Do this all at the same time, removing everything at once and wrapping it in tied-up sheets. Keep the clean items wrapped in clean sheets or garbage bags until 12 hours after you've treated your house and your animals to prevent fleas from crawling onto the clean items.
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    Allow your pets to roam freely around your house after you've treated the house and treated your pets. Fleas will smell your pet and will jump onto their fur, and they will be eliminated soon after they bite your pet's skin.
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    Keep your animals inside as much as possible for 30 days. If your animal must go outside, keep it away from long grasses, fallen leaves, gravel areas or sandy patches.
    • If you have a dog and you need to walk the dog, try to stick to pavement for this first month. While your dog or cat is toxic to fleas jumping on them, you are trying to eliminate a nasty infestation, and you don't want to introduce new fleas to your pet when you are trying to kill off the old ones.
    • If possible, keep pets inside during the winter months, especially cats. Quarantining your animals can save you money because after your infestation is eliminated, you don't need to re-treat them unless you notice more fleas.
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    Continue treating your pets with flea preventative every 30 days. If your pet stays inside, then you can probably stop the flea preventative treatments after four months. However, if your pets are going outside, you need to continue the treatments.

Part 2
Treat Yourself, Your House and Your Yard With Chemicals

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    Apply mosquito spray containing DEET to your socks, ankles and the cuffs of your pants every single day to prevent flea bites.
    • If you've treated your pet, the fleas will be killed on contact with its blood. However, you haven't been treated with flea preventative, so your blood will still make a tasty snack. Fleas only need a single blood meal to lay more eggs, so you want to deny them their food.
    • After 30 days, you can probably stop worrying about applying the DEET mosquito repellant to your ankles. If you no longer see fleas jumping around, then you are definitely safe. However, if you still see visible fleas or have bites on your ankles, then continue spraying with mosquito spray.
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    Clean your floors thoroughly. This cleaning should include carpeted surfaces as well as smooth surfaces.
    • Vacuum all carpets, rugs and upholstery. Place one entire complete flea collar (chopped up) in the vacuum bag. Vacuuming not only sucks up fleas, eggs and larvae, but the vibrations from the vacuum cleaner also cause fleas to hatch from their cocoons. Since insecticides can't kill fleas in the pupa stage, getting as many of them to emerge as possible gives you a great chance of killing more fleas. Throw the vacuum bag away in an exterior garbage container after you're done. Follow this up with turning vacuum over and spraying the roller head with a spray lysing agent
    • Mop smooth floors. Use a cleaning agent like Pine-Sol or undiluted apple cider vinegar to cause the fleas to emerge from holes and cracks so that they are more exposed when you spray or fog your house.
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    Purchase flea control spray or fogger, read instructions, and make sure you have enough to completely bomb your entire square footage of every room. You need to make sure that the product kills flea eggs, so look for one of these active ingredients: methoprene, fenoxycarb or pyriproxyfen.
    • Spray your carpets, rugs, furniture, baseboards, along walls and on your pet's bedding. Make sure to follow the directions on the can.
    • Don't miss door edges, corners, floors with cracks and underneath furniture and furniture cushions. Flea larvae love to hide in dark places even if your pet is too large to crawl under your furniture.
    • If you use a fogger, you still need to spray the areas that the fogger can't reach.
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    Treat your yard if your pet spends more than five percent of its time outdoors.
    • Remove debris like fallen leaves, grass clippings or other organic items before treating your yard. Also, mow your lawn before you spray.
    • Make sure to spray all shaded or partially shaded areas. These can include inside dog houses, beneath trees, shrubbery and bushes or beneath your deck or porch.
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    Spray your house again two weeks after the first treatment. Many of the fleas in your house may still be in cocoons, or in the pupal stage, where insecticides can't reach them. Spraying a second time ensures that you'll catch the fleas that were in cocoons during your first spray.

Part 3
Use Natural Remedies to Eliminate Fleas

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    Keep your home as cold as possible when you are not around. Fleas don't survive well in cold environments. Keeping your house as cold as possible while you are not there will force the fleas to migrate to your pets, where they will die.
    • Purchase an electronic programmable thermostat that can turn your heat down or off while you are at work or asleep.
    • Leave windows wide open while you are out of the house whenever possible.
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    Place covers on your furniture after you treat your house. Doing this will keep fleas from hiding inside your cushions, under pillows or under throw blankets.
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    Rub your pets' fur with citrus. Squeeze the juice out of an orange or a lemon and rub the rind over your pets' fur. Your pet will smell great, and your pet won't be harmed if it licks the citrus juices and oils from its fur.
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    Use natural predators in your yard. You can purchase "beneficial nematodes" from a pet shop, a gardener's supply store or a store that focuses on organic lawn care. Beneficial nematodes consume flea larvae, which prevents the next generation of fleas from invading your home. Don't worry--these aren't the nematodes that can cause your pet to have heartworms.[2]
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    Use simple table salt. Sprinkle table salt liberally on carpets. Fleas will die within a few days. Three days later, vacuum the carpets. Three weeks later reapply salt and vacuum again in three more days. Works like a charm and is safe for your fur babies!
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    Use apple cider vinegar. Add one teaspoon of vinegar for every four cups of water in the dog's water bowl. As your dog drinks the water, the vinegar gets into his/her system and make his/her blood taste bad to the fleas. It will take 2-3 bowls of water before you start to notice a difference; but it works great once the vinegar gets into the dog's system.


  • Dogs with thick and/or curly hair might do better with oral flea medicine, because medicine applied to their skin will not spread as far.
  • Always work with your vet on a major flea infestation. Your vet will give you detailed instructions and will tell you the best products to use to treat your pet, your home and your yard.
  • Apply generous amounts of menthol spirit to your ankles before entering the house. This will discourage the fleas from biting your lower leg area and feet.


  • Some dog products contain permethrin which can cause seizures and death for cats. Only use dog medicine for dogs.
  • If you pet does go into a seizure from the wrong dose of flea preventative, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • If your pet has pale gums, is listless and has a cold body, then the fleas could be causing significant blood loss, or a potentially fatal condition called parasitic anemia. This is especially dangerous for small animals, puppies or kittens and should be handled by your vet as soon as possible.
  • Don't bother with Frontline or other products containing fipronil as fleas seem to have developed a resistance to this chemical.
  • Using an oral treatment such as Capstar (contains Nitenpyram) kills adult fleas on your pet within 30 minutes of ingestion. You can then follow up with a spot-on treatment.

Things You'll Need

  • Shampoo or citrus-based dishwashing liquid
  • Flea dip
  • Insecticide for the house and yard bombs and/or sprays
  • Spray or powder
  • Flea comb
  • Oral and topical flea medications
  • Clean sheets and/or garbage bags
  • Mosquito repellant with DEET
  • Vacuum cleaner and bags
  • Flea collar(s)
  • Mop and household cleaner
  • Flea spray or fogger
  • Furniture covers
  • Brewer's yeast
  • Garlic (for dogs, not cats)
  • Orange or lemon with the juice squeezed out
  • Beneficial nematodes
  • Apple cider vinegar

Article Info

Categories: Pets and Animals