- Alternative & Natural Medicine
4 Natural Home Remedies for Fleas
What Are Fleas?
Fleas are tiny, wingless insects that suck blood from mammals and birds. There are thousands of flea species worldwide, but common ones include human, dog, and cat fleas. Fleas have hard, flat bodies that can withstand great pressure, making these pests difficult to kill. They also have long hind legs, which allow them to jump easily. Jumping is how fleas travel from one host, whether human or animal, to the next. The flea's diet mainly consists of fresh blood, which they must consume to reproduce. They can live for a few years, maximum, and females can lay several thousand eggs in her lifespan. Fleas are incredibly small, so they are difficult to identify with your bare eyes. In any case, it's essential to identify the signs of flea infestation in your home, on your pets, etc. before it becomes out of control.
Signs of Flea Infestation
According to ORKIN, you may be able to see fleas moving between hairs on you or your pets' head. You may also witness fleas jumping on your furniture, carpet, or drapes. However, more common signs of fleas are hair loss on the hind quarters of pets and red patches on skin due to scratching. A human or animal that has fleas will experience intense scratching. If a person has fleas, they may have small red bites on their body, as well. These bites can get very sore, and it's important to treat them before they become infected. If you ever get suspicious that you, your pets, or your home has fleas, treat the problem immediately to halt the infestation and prevent future infestations.
Never wait to treat fleas on you or your pets. If you have fleas in your home, realize that you may have fleas yourself. Fleas can migrate very quickly (they jump) and can move from room to room very easily. Drs. Foster & Smith recommend eliminating fleas from your indoor environment first, then removing fleas from your outdoor environment. Once you have completed those two steps, focus on treating the fleas on your pets. Lastly, keep young fleas from developing. Controlling fleas is often an ongoing process that request extensive preventative measures. Below, discover four home remedies for eliminating fleas in your home.
Baking soda can be used in many ways, including for flea control. It works a lot like Diatomaceous earth in that it penetrates the fleas' exoskeleton and dehydrates them until they die. Unlike DE, however, baking soda is not harmful for pets and humans to inhale. It's also extremely affordable and doubles as a deodorizing agent. You can use baking soda indoors and outdoors; simply sprinkle a thick, even layer on your carpet, drapes, rugs, furniture, etc. Work the baking soda into the fibers of the fabric to reach the fleas, larvae, and eggs. Let the baking soda set for a few hours, then vacuum it up along with the dead fleas. You may need to perform this several times to thoroughly treat an infestation.
Ordinary table salt is another useful product for killing fleas in your home and on pets. It works very similar to baking soda in that it dehydrates fleas. Salt is very safe, as well, and there are no side effects to using it for flea control. A little tip to make salt more effective at killing fleas is to grind it down very finely using a coffee grinder. Finely ground salt actually sticks to fleas better, so they will die faster through dehydration. Apply an even layer of the ground table salt to the flea-infested surfaces, working it into the fibers of the material. Wait a few hours for it to work, then sweep up the remains. You may need to repeat this a few times, depending on the severity of the flea infestation.
Although commonly known as a natural laundry booster, Borax can also be used to control fleas. It's made up of sodium borate, which dehydrates fleas on contact. Borax is safe to use around the home, but it has not been tested around pets. I don't recommend apply Borax to your pet. It works just like salt and baking soda; even application to the infected area and then vacuuming is all that's needed. I suggest wearing a dusk mask when applying Borax because I'm not sure how safe sodium borate is to inhale.
Washing & Drying
Simply washing and drying certain flea-infested items is very effective and safe. Clothing, small rugs, pillowcases, towels, drapery, and pet bedding & clothing can be treated this way. Make sure the items can be washed and dried in machines, however, to avoid damaging them or your machines. Following the care instructions for each item. Any detergent works fine, that is not the important part because washing alone may not completely kill fleas. Drying, however, will! Put the dryer on the hottest heat setting. A hot dryer will kill fleas, guaranteed.
Flea Control: Home Remedy to Get Rid of Fleas
Natural Flea Prevention Tips
- Vacuum frequently
- Wash pets often using a flea control shampoo
- Wash and DRY pet bedding and clothing often
- Make a natural flea spray to repel fleas
- Keep you home clean
- Keep your yard and outdoor areas maintained