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How to Kill Fleas in a Home

Two Parts:Treating Your Home for FleasTreating Your Pet for Fleas

Fleas are small, agile insects that live by feeding on the blood of other animals, usually your furry and harmless cat or dog. Fleas can be a real problem when they invade a household and its inhabitants. Here's an outline of the different ways to eradicate fleas in both your house and on your pets.

Part 1
Treating Your Home for Fleas

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    Use botanical dust mixed with a borate powder or boric acid. The easiest way to kill fleas is when they are at their most vulnerable—in the egg and larval stages of their development. An adult flea will live only about a week without blood from its host, while a flea larva can live several months, so it's important to attack the larvae first. This mixture will help prevent a full bloom of fleas.
    • Botanical dusts are perhaps the oldest natural insecticides. Borates are minerals that are used widely as wood preservatives, detergents, and insecticides, acting as stomach poisons to fleas.[1]
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    • Care should be taken not to breathe in the botanical dust and borate mixture. Use a mask when applying the dust mixture in the home.
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    • Dust the carpet, the furniture, the bed, the dog or cat's bed. It's best to do this when you're leaving your house for a good while, say 24 hours. Let the mixture settle for a day. When you come back, vacuum the carpet, the furniture, and wash the sheets on both beds.
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    Fill shallow bowls of water with dish detergent. The water and dish detergent mixture is like a toxic swimming pool for fleas. When they jump into the mixture, they die.
    • Place the water and detergent mixture in a very shallow bowl, low enough to the ground so that the fleas accidentally hop into it. An old frisbee does the job quite well.
    • Place the mixture next to a low-hanging light source, preferably a night-light. The fleas are attracted to the light. Approaching the light, many of them will fall into the mixture, dying in the process.
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    Use a lemon solution in affected areas. Thinly slice one whole lemon and drop it into a pint of water. Bring the water to a boil. Then, let stand overnight for maximum potency. Pour into a spray bottle and spray onto affected areas.
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    Use cedar chips in affected areas. Cedar chips are available in your local pet or home improvement store. Fleas hate the smell of cedar and will do almost anything to avoid it.
    • Make sure your pet isn't allergic to cedar. Many dogs can be allergic to cedar. So while shooing the fleas away is a good thing, making your dog miserable clearly isn't.
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    • Place cedar chips in the corners of rooms, in the dog pen or bed, and under furniture.
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    • Place cedar chips in a cotton cloth underneath your pillow and, if possible, in your bedding. This will ensure that your bed remains pest-free. Plus, it will make your bed smell nice and fresh.
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    Spread salt over the surface of your carpet. Salt is a desiccant, meaning it saps the moisture from things and dries them out. When a salt crystal attaches itself to a flea, it will cause chafing and scraping on the flea, essentially bleeding the flea to death as it walks.
    • Use very fine-grained salt for this. The finer the better; you want it to be small enough to attach itself to the flea.
    • After 7-10 days, vacuum the salted area very thoroughly, making sure to pick up all the salt and flea carcasses from the carpet area. Repeat the process one or two more times.
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    • When you're done vacuuming, discard the old vacuum bag and replace it with a new one.
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    Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum. Vacuum over any affected areas, including high-traffic areas where the pets usually roam. Most fleas will not be able to survive a good tornado of a vacuum!
    • People often go for high-powered, super-suction vacuums, but the average vacuum should do the trick perfectly.[2]
    • Place moth flakes down on the carpet or (inside the vacuum bag) and vacuum them up. This will help kill any fleas you vacuum up!
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    • Always discard the vacuum bag after you vacuum. This will help discourage re-infestation.
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    Purchase flea traps. Flea traps work in much the same way as the lighted detergent water combo (above) works. Fleas are attracted to the heat and the brightness of the light, and fall into the trap.
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    Spray floors and bedding with an Insect Growth Regulator (IGR). IGRs, such as Nylar, stop the fleas from developing, thereby breaking the reproduction cycle. This is a blessing when attempting to bring large infestations under control. The most economical method is to buy a concentrate and mix according to the directions that come with the product. Typically, the application will need to be applied twice, at a minimum—about three and a half weeks apart. Often it is advantageous to spray the areas of the house frequented by your pets on a monthly basis during flea season.
    • IGRs are not poisonous to mammals. This makes IGRs a good option around a house that has kids or small animals such as hamsters, reptiles, or fish.

Part 2
Treating Your Pet for Fleas

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    Clean your pet regularly. Washing your pet will help kill the fleas that are living on it. There may be a host of other fleas in various stages of their life cycle waiting to hop onto your pet, so be sure to use this method with other preventative measures, such as vacuuming, borate mixes, and cedar chips.
    • Prepare your dog for the bath by applying the flea soap near the dog's ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and butt. When fleas feel water, they immediately look for safe places on the dog to hide out, such as around the neck, on the head, and near the anus. Do this before you get the dog wet.
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    • After you've applied the soap to the dog's vulnerable areas, get the dog wet and lather the whole body up. Let the solution stand for at least ten minutes, working in the soap as much as possible. Comb out the dead fleas when dried.
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    • If your dog doesn't react well to flea soap, try acquiring soap that has eucalyptus, tea tree oil, or cedar oil in it. Fleas don't like the oils of these trees, so use them to your benefit.
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    Use a flea product on your cat or dog. Flea products, such as Advantage or Frontline, are spot-treatments that are applied to pets monthly.
    • Usually, these spot-treatments are dropped directly onto the skin of your pet, usually between the shoulder blades and at several spots down the spine. The treatment will then work its way through the skin (integumentary system).
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    Rotate the skin treatments and always use them in tandem with an IGR (insect growth regulator). This will prevent flea adaption to the treatments. You may find that the use of some of the standard flea treatments are ineffective because the local flea population has adapted to a particular treatment (including the chemicals in flea collars). In this case, switch among other treatments and use an insect growth regulator (IGR) such as Nylar. The use of an IGR will not allow propagation of succeeding generations and will prevent, in large measure, adaptation to the treatments.
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    Administer Capstar initially to rid your pet of a flea infestation quickly. Capstar is given orally and takes effect within several hours. For some reason the Capstar causes fleas bite in their death throes. Washing the animal to rid it of the dying fleas may help relieve the associated itching.
    • Some cats may become hyperactive, vocalize more, or show panting. If this happens, try cutting the recommended dose, but you may have to discontinue use of Capstar with sensitive cats.
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    Add deterrents to the pet's meal. Since fleas feed on the blood of animals, you can treat fleas by manipulating what your pet eats.
    • There are oral tablets that you can give your pet. These tablets attack the flea’s nervous system via the bloodstream and tissue of your dog or cat. While they kill all the fleas feeding on your pet, they do not prevent fleas.
    • Mix vinegar into their water. Don't try this with cats, as their pH is much more sensitive than dogs'. Mix a tablespoon of apple-cider vinegar into the dog's water bowl, or bathe the animal using water and vinegar.


  • When searching for fleas, you may also find something called "flea dirt." It's black and coarse and if you put it on a moistened towel, it will turn red. Flea dirt is the blood that fleas expel as waste from their bodies. It's a good indication of where they've been.
  • Buy a flea collar for inserting it inside the vacuum cleaner bag. Cut it into inch long pieces and save them in a baggie. Put one piece in a new vacuum cleaner bag. This will kill any fleas that survive being vacuumed off the floor, furniture, etc.
  • Before giving your pet a flea bath, wash your hands and arms (up to the elbow) with the pet's flea shampoo. This will prevent fleas from jumping on you during the bath, biting you, and then re-infecting the pet. Take a shower immediately after washing your pet because some flea shampoos can cause irritation when left on human skin for prolonged periods of time. Lavender or Rosemary-mint products (shampoo & body wash) are good flea repellents as well.
  • Cover or relocate your pets to a safe area when bombing the house. Always read the label as some Are harmful to small animals, fish, birds etc.
  • Avoid leaving salt in your rug for too long. Salt is hygroscopic and will absorb moisture and become distributed throughout the carpet fibers. It is best not to use salt in homes where the air conditioner is not running continuously.
  • Because of the long flea life cycle, two or three treatment spaced three weeks apart are often needed to completely rid your home of a flea infestation.
  • Be sparing with the use of insecticides. Use in well-ventilated areas and wear gloves. If possible, seek natural alternatives and try to keep bedding clean. Repeated exposure to insecticides can be harmful to pet and human health.
  • When you give your dog/cat flea medicine, the fleas tend to jump on humans, as mentioned earlier. However, it is extremely important to take a bath and get rid of any signs of fleas before they reproduce.
  • If you have a mild dose of fleas, put large white sheets or an old shower curtain on the ground around you & put on white jeans so you can see them jumping on your clothes or skin.
  • Get a very wide strong white masking tape & double wrap it round your hand so you have the sticky side on the outside & trap them with the tape by just slapping them with your taped hand when you see them jump on you or the white sheet on the ground & they will stick.
  • They are hard to kill so you will need to squash them once you have them in the tape.
  • Place a bucket/bowl of water (you can also add a bit of soap) near where you get attacked by the fleas a lot. Pick them off of you and toss them in here. The soap(bubbles)/water will trap and drown them.
  • Buy those sticky fly strips to catch fleas, they work great.


  • Get out of the house when you are bombing the infected areas.

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