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How To Remove Fleas: Get Rid Of The Fleas From Your Pet And Home Finally

Updated on January 20, 2012

How Exactly Can You Remove Fleas In Your Home?

Having pets in your home you undoubtedly at one point in time have encountered fleas. Once fleas invade your home it is quite a task to remove them. You probably are searching for answers in how to remove fleas. Fleas are stubborn with a life cycle of several weeks to months. They flourish in environments that are warm and moist with their main source of food being blood preferably from the host of either a cat or dog.

To effectively rid fleas from your house you need to understand the complete life cycle of a flea. Fleas have four stages in their life cycle - egg, larva, pupa and adult.

Egg - The eggs of fleas are not sticky and fall off an animal onto the furniture, carpet, bedding and the floorboards of your home. The eggs take anywhere from two days to a few weeks to hatch.

Larva - The larva is semi-transparent white and are about 1/4" in length. They eat the feces of adult fleas along with other debris they find in your house. This stage of a flea's life lasts around 5 to 18 days.

Pupa - This is the stage right before a flea becomes a full adult. The flea will emerge from their cocoon between 3 to 5 days or as long as a year or even longer. They will appear when the time is right. This could be a number of things like from warm heat, from the carbon dioxide of an animal, and high humidity.

Adult - Adult fleas prefer to live on an animal. Their diet consists of blood from their host. The females will lay white, round eggs, up to 50 a day with 500-600 being laid over the course of several months.

There are two main types of fleas -- cat fleas or ctenocephalides felis and dog fleas or ctenocephalides canis with cat fleas being the most common found in households.

Can People Get Fleas?

This is a question you have most likely been wondering. Well, in short no, fleas are not capable of surviving on a human, though there are a couple exceptions such as the human flea or Polex Irritans. Don't worry as these are quite uncommon and seen more out in wildlife.

Fleas can still become a problem in your home even if you do not own any pets. You can carry them in from being outside or another person could bring them in if they were nearby an animal infected with fleas. Without any kind of hosts fleas will turn to the next available source of food - YOU. They will start biting and sucking your blood instead.

How To Remove Fleas

One of the most important steps in cleansing your home of these pests is a thorough deep cleaning. Start with removing all bedding, wash in hot water than vacuum all furniture including carpeting. If you have some type of steam cleaner, use your steam cleaner to sterilize all the floors in your home. It is said that extreme high temperatures will kill any fleas and their eggs. When using steam heat make sure the heat reaches a temperature of at least 130 degrees.

Be attentive and consistent in your cleaning. It is a must to vacuum and steam clean weekly to clean newly hatched eggs.

How To Remove Fleas With Homemade Flea Remedies

Using homemade flea remedies is the smartest route to go with it being safer for you, your family and pets. When removing fleas from your pet and your home you will want to be careful in what products you use. Here are a few alternatives to the traditional means of flea removal.

Using Essential Oils
You can use a mixture of essential oils to make different flea removal and repellent products like rosemary, bergamot, lavendar, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper, geranium, pine cedar, crabapple essence, cinnamon, wormwood, clove, peppermint and pennyroyal. Be careful with pennyroyal as this can be toxic to anyone if they are pregnant including any pets who maybe pregnant.

Take 2 drops of crabapple essence and put in your pet's food bowl.

Homemade Flea Spray
Take 10 to 15 drops of your favorite oil, one that is listed above with 1 to 2 ounces of a mild soap and water. Pour in a spray bottle and spray on your pet.

Homemade Flea Shampoo
Take 6 to 10 drops of any essential oil mixing with 2 ounces of a mild shampoo or soap. Let the shampoo sit in their fur for at least five to ten minutes than rinse out.

Homemade Herbal Flea Powder
Take some dry herbs such as rosemary, fennel, yellow dock, wormwood and eucalyptus crushing in equal parts and apply this mixture to your pets.

Homemade Flea Collar
Take a regular flea collar than add a few drops of either of the oils mentioned on the collar and place around your pet's neck.

A good idea is to use a mild dish detergent to bathe your pet in. The best kind I have found is Dawn dishwashing liquid. Be sure to avoid the eyes and mouth area.

Another good idea that involves the use of dish detergent is placing a bright lamp on the floor, than putting a container of water with couple drops of dish liquid detergent in it next to the lamp. The heat from the lamp will attract the fleas thus making them want to jump into the water.

A good homemade flea remedy for the home is using a combination of diatomaceous earth with borax and salt. Mix together 1 1/2 lbs of the diatomaceous earth along with 1 1/2 lbs of natural borax with a cup of salt. The diatomaceous earth will work because it is made of very small particles that consist of sharp spines. These spines will prick the fleas resulting in them being killed. The borax and salt work together by absorbing any moisture making your home a much less desirable place for the fleas. Remember that fleas need to live in warm and moist places.

Sprinkle this mixture all throughout your house on carpets and any hard to reach places. Let this sit for a couple of days than vacuum. if you prefer not having your floors drenched with this than you can choose to put the the mixture into your vacuum bag than proceed to clean your floors.

Now keep in mind this will not kill any unhatched flea eggs and will need to be repeated until all the fleas have gone through their life cycle and all eggs have been hatched.

One note on the diatomaceous earth do NOT use pool grade as this is dangerous and can cause silicosis. You should only purchase this in a lawn and garden store and check the labels too.

My Experience In Removing Fleas

Our house had become infested with fleas after one of my cats had ran outside. When one cat became infested than the other two was short behind. It was a nightmare to say the least. It seemed that every day I was finding fleas and becoming a human snack for them it felt with numerous bites all up and down my ankles. I became so agitated from the bites that I began wearing my husband's long socks to cover up my legs. I was nearly eight months pregnant as well which made matters worse.

With the impending birth of my son, it was imperative that I do something to get rid of these fleas once and for all.

So money after money I spent on numerous products to solve this flea problem from flea bombs to flea powders, sprays, dips and shampoos for the cats, but to no avail the fleas seemed to be resistant.

Having three cats proved to be a challenge in removing all the fleas from my home. After months of trying everything imaginable, frustration set in and I reluctantly decided to find new homes for my three cats. I just couldn't take a chance on my new baby being bit by a flea.

A couple weeks after the cats left my house, I did notice less fleas jumping around in the house. After some time passed there were less and less fleas. During this time though I was still vigilant on deep cleaning to remove any eggs that may have been laid.

If it wasn't for my baby I would have kept on with the flea treatment, but time was running out and my due date was approaching steadily. Having said that after this ordeal, I did learn a great deal on how to remove fleas. The key being persistence and consistency in the flea treatment you use.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      It's possible also that if you've been battling fleas for a long time that they are now in carpeting, bedding, etc. I can understand your frustration if your cat had a bad reaction, and I remember having once seen a cat that had no fur in a small spot where people normally apply the medicine. I'm not a vet, so I don't know what factors go into whether a pet is going to have such reactions. If the fleas have gotten into other places in the house and the stronger dermal treatments don't work or cause a bad reaction, the milder form (permethrin), still transdermal, I mentioned before takes a longer time to work, and might take long enough that you don't think it's working at all--three or four days as opposed to one or two days with the stronger medications. Since permethrin is a different, much milder and naturally produced ingredient, it might be safer for your cat.

      In general, if you find something that works through your cat's system instead of having to spray it on their fur, any areas of the house that have fleas will gradually be rid of them because as soon as they get to your cat's skin they die before laying eggs. A few generations of fleas might hatch from carpet or bedding and be visible on your cat, but as long as your cat is treated the fleas will land on the cat and die. It may be a week or two, or even more, before you see satisfactory results.

      Good luck--keep up the good work!

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      I totally agree that all people should check out what they are using on their pets, children or otherwise.

      Sounds like you were very unlucky, and won a kind of 'Negative Lottery' when your cat was so badly effected. Of course it could possibly have been a dodgy batch as well, or one that had been contaminated by faulty packaging etc. Most drugs we use on ourselves or on our pets are dangerous in large enough quantities, but the reason it is so rare for bad reactions to take place is because the quantities of each drug is so tiny per dosage. I have heard of problems when people have dosed their cat or dog twice within a very short period of time, e.g. when Husband gives a treatment, forgets to tell Wife, and a week later she gives one too. This is another possible reason some people may have had bad experiences. Really a minimum of three weeks between treatments is essential (not saying this was something you did by the way).

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ohio

      There might be a very, very small percent of the people who had such reactions give one to their cat meant for a dog, but I believe that is a small percentage.With myself I did read the label and it clearly said for cats.

      And like i commented before the list of ingredients in these products are quite dangerous. With anything it is up to each individual pet owner what they feel is best for their pet. I think everyone should do their own due diligence before using any product whatever that might be

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      There will always be the odd occasion when an animal reacts badly, much like we might react to a drug we find out we are allergic to such as penicillin. The good news is that when you work in a Vets practice for as long as I did you literally see thousands of cats and dogs every year, and I can honestly say the only time I ever saw a cat have a bad reaction to a 'commercial spot on treatment' was when the daft owner had used a spot on designed for dogs on her cat, which nearly proved fatal to two of her cats because one cuddled up to the other and picked up the treatment on its own coat. They both ended up having fits and on drips for several days, but luckily survived the ordeal. I never ever saw any other cat or dog have a bad reaction to a spot on, so it must be phenomenally rare.

      My own cats are in amazingly great condition, glossy coats, muscular, active and healthy, and the only treatment I use on them is Frontline, mostly because it stops ticks for a good part of the month too, and we live in an area full of fields and an abundance of ticks. Of course in certain countries these can carry Lyme disease, which is another risk as well as the tapeworm from the fleas.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ohio

      I personally had a bad experience using commercial products with my cat nearly dying and I've read numerous articles stating the dangers of frontline and other similar products. For those interested read this article to see what is exactly in them

      I can see now why my cat reacted the way she did

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Well the homemade ones are worse I am afraid, I saw people's cats etc all the time in the vets that people had used garlic sprays etc on, and they all had fleas. When you put things on your cats like essential oils you are moving into dangerous territories, as cats wash themselves frequently, and if they ingest these oils they risk all sorts of toxic poisoning, possibly even ingesting substances that can result in major kidney and liver problems. Don't forget fleas carry tapeworms, and you risk these spreading to your family also if you don't use the proper treatments.

      Flea collars don't work well because they rely on the fleas heading up to the neck area of the cat or dog, when many fleas lurk around the base of the tail, the 'armpits' etc.

      Frontline Spot On, Frontline Combo and Advocate are the most effective (first one is available on Amazon without prescription too).

      Don't bother with the tablets and supermarket branded flea treatments either, these barely work at all.

      Hope this helps some of you guys, at least I am able to still put my veterinary experience to some good use :)

    • MissDoolittle profile image


      6 years ago from Sussex, UK

      I tend to use branded products but with a dog, 3 cats and 4 rabbits the difficulty is a) the price and b) keeping them away long enough. I may well start making some of those homemade flea treatments because the branded ones really are rubbish.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ohio

      I can't remember the particular product I used before. It was a fairly popular name brand. It was the kind where you put a few drops behind their neck. It didn't seem to do a thing for her. I've also tried flea collars and they never seem to do anything. I do plan on getting another cat when my baby gets older. Right now he's four months old.

    • mistyhorizon2003 profile image

      Cindy Lawson 

      6 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

      Frontline or Advocate are the best methods. Homemade flea killers are not effective enough, if at all! I speak as someone who has worked in two vets surgeries for some lengths of time and whose best friend is a fully qualified head vets nurse.

    • profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Ohio

      That's good that you mention side effects with the some flea treatments. I actually had one of my cats who I treated previously before and she had the most terrible reaction. I actually got scared seeing her laying limp almost all day. I'm not sure what exactly in the treatment reacted with her but her body didn't take to it at all. I was so thankful though when the next day she was back to her old self.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have found the spot flea killers to work for my three dogs and 1 cat. Well known brands are Frontline and Revolution. They come in a small tube in different sizes according to the weight of the dog. Follow the directions and you should be fine, though a few pets can get side effects. They do get expensive, but I have found success with only using them when I see fleas and not necessarily every month during the season. You fight have to use it for two or three months in a row if the infestation is bad in your house or it's a heavy flea season.

      If you can't find Revolution or Frontline, there is also Bio-spot, which is milder and takes a few days longer to kill the fleas, but is cheaper. The active ingredient is permethrins, which are derived from chrysanthemum, and they are similar to insecticidal soaps known to organic gardeners.


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