When it comes to household pests, there is one in particular that can give pet owners nightmares– fleas.
Fleas are definitely a nuisance, as they can cause itchy sensations and even lead to an infection. Anemia is a clear symptom of fleas in a severely infested pet.
Not just pets, if infestations are heavy or other hosts are not available, they can invade a household and its inhabitants.
Thus, it is important to stop the infestation as soon as possible.
There are many over-the-counter and prescription flea treatment products in the market. Using these products can help combat infestation.
But it is important to bear in mind that such products commonly have side effects, ranging from mild to severe reactions, not to mention the expense of such treatments.
There are many natural flea control remedies that can safely be used on pets and around the home.
Here are the top 10 ways to get rid of fleas from your house, dogs and cats.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective natural remedy to control a flea infestation in pets. It will not kill the fleas, but they dislike both the smell and taste, so they avoid hosts that smell like apple cider vinegar.
Plus, it is nontoxic to dogs and cats.
- Mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water in a spray bottle. If you want, you can add 2 or 3 drops of lavender or cedar oil to the mixture. Spray your pet with this solution. Be careful to avoid spraying it in your pet’s eyes, ears and nose. Repeat daily.
- Use the same homemade solution and spray it generously on your baseboards, windowsills, wooden floors, furniture, carpets and other places where you may suspect fleas. Do it daily, as needed.
2. Liquid Dish Soap
You can also use liquid dish soap to treat a flea infestation on your pets and around the house as it helps destroy the fleas’ exoskeleton. It is particularly good for young puppies and kittens.
- Give a bath to your pet with a solution of warm water and mild dish soap instead of your pet’s shampoo. Let your pet soak in the bath for 5 to 10 minutes. The fleas will simoly fall off when you will rinse your pet. Do this a few times a week for 1 or 2 weeks.
- Another option is to fill a large bowl with a few cups of hot water and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of mild dish soap. Dip a flea comb in the solution and use it to comb your pet’s fur. Dip the comb in the solution again as needed while you work through combing your pet. Do this once daily, as needed.
- If your house is infested, fill a few shallow bowls with hot water and put a few drops of liquid dish soap in them to make the water sudsy. Put the bowls in different rooms of your house and place a table lamp over it. Fleas are attracted to the warmth of the lamp and jump in the water. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, so that the fleas cannot get out. Repeat as needed.
Salt is a nonchemical, nontoxic ingredient that can be used safely indoors to combat fleas. It is even safe for pets. As salt is hygroscopic, it attracts moisture and fleas do not like moist places.
Plus, the salt acts as a dehydration agent, which helps dry out the fleas’ bodies, ultimately leading to their death.
- Sprinkle highly refined salt lightly but evenly over your carpets, wooden floors and other possible infested areas.
- Allow it to sit or 12 to 48 hours, then vacuum thoroughly.
- Do this regularly for at least 1 week.
Note: As salt can attract moisture, this treatment may not be suitable for very hot or humid conditions.
Lemon is another natural and effective flea remedy. It can get rid of any existing fleas and kill the eggs that may have been laid.
- Slice 1 to 2 lemons in thin slices.
- Place the slices into a pan of water and bring it to a boil.
- Turn off the heat and let the solution steep overnight.
- Strain the solution and pour it into a spray bottle.
- Spray the solution on your pet to dampen its fur, and be careful to avoid the eyes, ears and nose.
- Comb thoroughly using a flea comb.
- Repeat as needed.
You can even spray it onto areas where you suspect fleas hang out.
5. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous earth, commonly known as DE, can help combat a flea infestation in your home. The sharp particles of DE can penetrate the fleas’ thin, waxy outer coating, which in turn causes them to dehydrate and die of water deficiency.
As it is food-grade, it is safe for humans and animals.
- First, sweep and vacuum areas in your house where you think fleas could be present. Now, sprinkle a layer of DE powder on the infested areas. Allow the DE to sit for about 12 hours, then vacuum again. Repeat the process once a week for 2 or 3 weeks.
- DE can also be used to control a flea infestation in your garden, where they breed and multiply. However, you need to use it when the weather outside is dry. Sprinkle the powder generously in your yard, a few times a week.
Note: Wear a dust mask when applying the product, as breathing it in can irritate the lungs.
Borax is another effective natural insecticide. It works by desiccating (drying out) the fleas, larvae, pupae and eggs, which ultimately kills them.
- Vacuum your carpets and other areas that have a major flea problem.
- Wear a mask and sprinkle borax powder on your carpets and the other areas.
- Allow it to sit for at least 6 to 8 hours.
- Again, thoroughly vacuum your carpets and other areas where you used borax.
You can also spread borax generously on the lawn area surrounding your home.
Note: Borax is not safe for pets. Also, you need to be very careful when using it for fleas, especially if there are young children in your household.
7. Neem (Indian Lilac)
Neem, also known as Indian lilac, is another natural ingredient that can help control a flea infestation in your house as well as on your dogs. Felines are sensitive to neem, so do not use it on your cats.
It is the odor of neem that helps repel unwanted pests. Both the leaf and oil of neem can be used.
- Put a handful of neem leaves in 4 cups of hot water. Let it sit overnight. The next morning, grind the leaves in the water. Strain it by first pouring the mixture through a cheese cloth and then through a filter paper. Pour the solution in a spray bottle and spray it on your dogs. You can also spray it on bedding and floor. Repeat often.
- Another option is to mix 12 drops of therapeutic grade neem oil in a small 1-ounce spray bottle. Spray this solution as mentioned above. You can also soak your dog’s collar in this solution for several hours, allow it to dry and then put it on your dog.
- Dilute neem oil with water or almond oil in a ratio of 1:10. Place the solution on your palms and gently rub it through your dog’s fur.
- You can also add a little bit of neem oil into pet shampoo (½ ounce neem oil per 8 ounces of shampoo) and use it to bathe your dogs.
Rosemary works as a natural flea treatment. Fleas are not fond of rosemary.
- Add 2 cups of fresh rosemary sprigs to a large pan of water.
- Bring the water to a boil and let it simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Strain the liquid and discard the leaves.
- Mix the solution into 1 gallon of warm water and allow it to cool down a bit.
- Saturate your dogs with this water and allow them to air dry.
- Repeat again, if necessary.
Grow rosemary in your garden to keep fleas out your garden and house. Just like rosemary, you can use lavender to fight a flea infestation.
Note: Rosemary treatment is not suitable for cats.
9. Cedar Wood Chips
To control and prevent fleas from infesting your yard, cedar wood chips are the best solution. Fleas hate the smell of cedar wood chips. Plus, they are all-natural and are not harmful for nearby plants or your pets.
- Purchase cedar wood chips from the market. Spread them over the affected areas in your yard, as well as under the porch, dog bedding and outdoor furniture.
- You can even place cedar chips in a cotton cloth and place it in the dog bed to keep it pest-free.
10. Wash Your Pet’s Belongings
As fleas enter your house via your pets, it is important to keep a close eye on your pets and their belongings. In fact, always check your pets for fleas before bringing them in the house.
- Use hot water to wash lived-in areas and other items used by your pet.
- Wash your pet’s clothes and bedding in the washing machine using hot water and dry them under the sun.
- It is also important to wash and clean anything that your pet likes to regularly lie or sleep on.
- If some of your pet’s items are not salvageable or extremely dirty, it’s best to throw them out and purchase new ones.
- As soon as you notice your dog or cat scratching a lot, take it as a warning sign before your house is heavily infested.
- Your vacuum cleaner is your #1 weapon in the war against fleas. Vacuum every suspected area in your house and be sure to empty the vacuum bag immediately.
- You can give your pet a bath with a flea shampoo. Always choose a flea shampoo carefully after consulting your vet.
- Some people have even reported success in getting rid of fleas from pets with garlic. However, as garlic can be toxic to pets, it is important to consult a vet before trying it.
- Brewer’s yeast supplement can also be given to pets, but under the guidance of your vet.
- Frequently comb your pet’s fur using a fine-toothed comb specifically designed to remove fleas.
- As fleas thrive in moist places, avoid overwatering your lawn, which will create a flea-friendly breeding ground.
- Prune foliage and trim grass in your garden or backyard to expose flea larvae to sunlight.
- Plant flea-repelling plants in your garden, like lavender, rosemary, penny royal, and chrysanthemum.
- Use a dehumidifier in your room. Fleas require higher relative humidity and cannot survive for long without it.
- You can also buy sticky flea pads and electronic traps.
- In case of heavy flea infestation, get professional help.