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How To Kill Fleas In A Carpet

Updated on December 7, 2011

How To Kill Fleas In Carpet Naturally

Fleas live three out of their four stage life-cycles virtually invisible to the naked eye, making them difficult to take out before they're a pest-control issue. Fleas may present a health hazard, not only because they can transmit anything from Flea bite dermatitis to tapeworms , but unfortunately also due to the fact that may commercial solutions are potentially unsafe for your pets (more on this later).

In this article I have tried to present the facts in a no-nonsense manner, so that killing fleas in your carpet becomes a straight-forward affair and not an ongoing what if! Learn how to patiently and thoroughly cleanse your carpet (which presents a perfect breeding ground for fleas) with both synthetic and natural methods.

Flea Symptoms In Pets

Some common Flea related pet symptoms.

  • Itching.
  • Rashes (particularly at the joints, you may notice that the rash slowly increases over time).
  • Bumps that bleed when scratched.
  • Hives, (also known as Urticaria) characterized by redness and itchy bumps on the skin.

In many cases the act of scratching (it can be quite severe) can lead to secondary skin infections.

Flea Health Hazards

Fleas carry a number of diseases that can affect both humans and pets (they feed on us both -- but prefer to live on cats and dogs). A single flea can bite up to 350 times a day, leading to an almost incessant itch (so keep a lookout for constant scratching). The major risks associated with flea infestations are:

  • Flea bite dermatitis.
  • Tapeworms.
  • Murine typhus.
  • The bubonic plague.

In addition to this, because fleas feed on the blood of their victims, small pets may become prone to anemia. For more information regarding pet symptoms please consult the text capsule to the right.

Embrace him or... erase him!
Embrace him or... erase him!

Flea Carpet Killing Methods

The first thing you'll want to take of a priori, is to make sure your pet is protected from fleas as well. Now killing fleas is remarkably difficult and will require a healthy dose of persistence. Not only are the fleas themselves becoming immune to many commercial sprays and poisons, their complex life-cycle means that unless they are fully developed larvae or pupae, they can be relatively un-killable. Repetition is key. Here are a number of ways you could effectively approach the problem:

  • Vacuum cleaning your carpet is a good first step. But probably not for the reason you think! Believe it or not, you won't simply be sucking them up, what happens is that the vibrations caused by the vacuum cleaning will cause the fleas to be tricked into believing there is a readily available food source. They will either be sucked up, killed by your successive actions or bite into your now-protected pet.
  • Add a little flea powder or salt to the carpet. Other common options include flea sprays and foggers (flea bombs). Apply your agent of choice onto the carpet and wait at least 24 hours (or refer to the instruction manual, though in almost all cases a day should be plenty).
  • Repeat the vacuum cleaning process to pick up as much of the residue as possible. Although your best option will involve steam cleaning because the water may well drown the remaining fleas. Adding a growth inhibitor to the concoction will ensure developing fleas won't mature.

Diatomaceous earth is both cheap and effective, killing not only fleas but a veritable host of parasites and pests.
Diatomaceous earth is both cheap and effective, killing not only fleas but a veritable host of parasites and pests.

Natural, Homemade Flea Killing Methods

Not everyone will be comfortable spraying their homes with pesticide, thankfully know that there are some effective (though not always as potentially effective) treatments that involve natural agents.

  • Food grade Diatomaceous earth - Dusting your carpet with this will kill fleas, but remain harmless to humans. It is a natural and very cheap solution (I must resist the inevitable dirt cheap quip here).
  • Salt - Another harmless and efficient agent to sprinkle on the carpet.
  • Lavender Oil - I have not tried this myself.

Remember that heat may serve as bait to draw the fleas out from their comfortable nesting places. Don some white socks and strut around the carpet manically and check if any try to jump on your ankles and bite you.

Are Flea Collars Safe?

Kutu demonstrating her flea collar. Know the risks involved in using one!
Kutu demonstrating her flea collar. Know the risks involved in using one! | Source

Many people advocate the use of flea collars to treat and kill fleas, but bear in mind that many vets are recommending not using them because they can make your pet very sick!

The toxic chemicals they house can lead from anything to burns and skin irritations to nervous system problems and even death. My advice would be to go with an all natural solution and triple-check the manual for any chemicals and research them thoroughly.

Just a warning!

And on this happy note, the article is concluded. I hope you found it of use in your quest to kill fleas in the carpet. Please remember that a single pass of the aforementioned methods will probably not solve the problem. You will need to constantly vacuum the carpet for some time to live flea-free!


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    • profile image

      Bonnie Gray 

      2 years ago

      I agree, regular table salt sprinkled on your floors and carpets, left for a day or so and then vacuumed up really helps. Also, I bathe my long-haired dogs in blue Dawn dish detergent, lather well and rinse. And yes, Dawn can dry out the skin, just add some conditioner before rinsing thoroughly. Good luck, fleas are the worst!

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      2 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Fleas are fairly bullet proof, although most of the flea powders or sprays work, but are hazardous to use with pets or babies around.

      These days I use a steam cleaner (obviously not on the pet !) which kills both the fleas and their eggs. Take care to avoid scalding your hands or damaging delicate varnishes.

      kind regards Peter

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I used a mixture of salt, diatomaceous earth, and borax together... then didn't let company in for two weeks... worked great...

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      So reading the article & all the wonderful bits of feedback I must inform everyone of my experience. As far as salt goes... I took a freezer ziplock bag & combed 10(+) fleas off my cats & placed them in the ziplock bag and added a half an ounce of salt to the baggies and then pushed all the visible air out of the Bag and zipped it up. I waited several days to see if the salt affected the live fleas and nothing happened. The fleas were just as active as ever. The salt never killed them. I am not sure how it affects the other three stages of life that the fleas live before they are visible to the eye.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      I am currently suffering with fleas fory pom and 2 cats. Gave her a Dawn dish soap bath today, put the Frontline on and tonight I will salt the carpet with what salt I have. Watch out stores, Im coming for more tomorrow.

    • profile image

      Vera Wamback 

      3 years ago

      thank you, James, for an excellent post on flea removal. I was looking exactly for something like this!! I've managed to remove the fleas from my pup but I still find bites on my skin in the mornings. I've started to read on the subject, because it seems a simple visit to the veterinarian didn't solve my problem. I learned about diatomaceous earth here: and then stumbled upon your post, which is just perfect- gives me direct instructions to follow. I'll do the carpet flea removal tonight, hope it works

    • profile image

      Rita Jean Signore 

      3 years ago

      I never heard of using salt,but I'm going to try it.

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Love the idea of salt and/or powder after vacuuming. It's so easy to do and if it works, it will be perfect!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have used DE the last few days to no avail. I am going to try salt in the carpet instead.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I just want to say I am very new to weblog and hotnsely liked this web site. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your website . You really have beneficial well written articles. Thanks a bunch for revealing your web-site.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Wooohooo...finally thank you soooo much!!!!! Live in a pet friendly apt but we own no pets....not the animals faults at all...howevrr, the fleas are a real pain in the ashbass!!!

    • Specialk3749 profile image

      Karen Metz 

      6 years ago from Michigan

      I use Diatomaceous earth and it works great! When I think that my dogs have been exposed, I even dust them with it. It doesn't take much and a little goes a long way. It is so much safer than the chemical stuff avaialable nowadays. Thanks for a great hub!

    • teacher stories profile image

      teacher stories 

      6 years ago from San Diego

      great tips, thanks

    • afriqnet profile image

      Joe Njenga 

      6 years ago from Nairobi Kenya


      I enjoyed reading your Hub. Your hub has very useful information on getting rid of fleas in carpet. Thank you for sharing.

    • Free2writ3 profile image


      6 years ago from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania

      I hate fleas. I try not to kill them at times but its hard. Thanks for posting this.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      This is good information. I have never heard of Food Grade DE, but will consider it the next time I'm faced with flea infestation. I have discovered hard wood floors are a better choice for pet owners leaving fleas without a breeding ground. I only have two rooms left carpeted for this reason. I use Frontline Plus for my two small dogs. It works the best of any flea treatments I have used, but it is wise to from time to time alternate it with other good products like Advantage, because they become immune to the product. Both are highly recommended by vets. Other pet owners I know have had good results using Dawn Dish soap for bathing their pets to reduce flea problems. Voted up.

    • umbertoobrian profile image


      6 years ago from Speedway, Indiana

      Great Hub. We had a major flea problem a year ago and used every method we knew to use. There are some awesome suggestions here. I hope I don't need them but with a dog and a cat in the house and the well wooded yard, it is only a matter of time before the problem pops up again.

      Food Grade Diatomacious Earth for purchase is easy to find online - just type it in your search engine.

      Voted up - enthusiastically

    • frogyfish profile image


      6 years ago from Central United States of America

      Many years ago after an irritating infusion of fleas in our living room carpet, I got rid of them using baking soda and borax. We had tried foggers and sprays to little avail. Someone told me of using the above two chemicals, mixed about half and half, dry, and sprinkled heavily on the carpet, lighter on any stuffed furniture. I left it for two or maybe three days before vacuuming, which did require several times to remove the powder. And no more fleas! It is supposed to dehydrate both the adults and eggs.

    • wendi_w profile image


      6 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you for this informative hub. My cats have fleas again this year and I am losing my mind! I have never heard of salt or the dirt but will be trying it today! I hate the flea bombs and toxins but in the past felt I had no choice

    • danidaydreamer profile image


      6 years ago from Nashville, TN

      I have a Great Pyrenese that is suffering from the fleas this season who love his white fur. Thanks for the advice. We have mostly hardwood floors but he prefers to stay on the rug in the living room when he's laying down and they have become infested with fleas. I'm going to try the salt remedy right away. I've bought all kinds of in store products but the chemicals really worry me. I tried a solution that you rub into their fur once a week and it made him really sick so I've been struggling to find alternatives. Great Hub!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the idea of salt, my daughter has two dogs that the fleas love, will pass this onto her.

    • Peter Geekie profile image

      Peter Geekie 

      6 years ago from Sittingbourne

      Dear thooghun

      Thank you for a very useful article to eradicate these nasty little bugs. However, please excuse me for mentioning but please do not use lavender or any essential oil on carpets or rugs if you have cats in the house. It is extremely toxic to them and there is a serious risk it will bring about kidney failure and possible death. My apologies again but it is an important issue.

      Kind regards Peter

    • Haballa profile image

      Andrew Aballa 

      6 years ago from Kisumu, Kenya

      There is an easier way to eradicate fleas in a home. I use a simple flea trap when trapping fleas. When used over time, it will clear the bugs. Do this. Get a broad base shallow trough that is preferrable white in colour. Make sure that the trough is no deeper than 20cm. Fleas can only jump up to a height of 20 cm. Add water to the trough and break the surface tension by adding drops of a detergent solution. Find a barrier that can shield the water. An old fan cover or wire netting will do. This is particularly the case if you have pets such as cats that may drink the water. Find a source of light that emits heat. A lantern will do. Simply place or hang the lantern on top of the water and let it do the hard work. Simply place these set up in all infested rooms, preferably at night a see how many fleas you will kill every night. For better results, you can add a vibrating motor on the ground next to the trap. As the fleas are attracted, they will jump into the water and drown. Repeat this every night until you clear the infestation. I use this setup every time I am researching on fleas and the results are always great. You can also combine this methods with the others originally stated in this hub.

      Brilliant hub.....

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Yes, what kind of salt do we use? Great question... Should it contain iodine? And about that salt water spray someone else mentioned? That would be awesome, considering I just begged the universe for an all natural spray that's safe for my one year old. I'm trying it...

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I'm fighting the battle. Going to try the salt! Thanks for the ideas.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      6 years ago from Alabama

      i have 3 dogs and I continually vacuum. This is a great hub to turn to in times of flea trouble.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


      We have the flea infestation! We have never had fleas ever before...and now we cant seem to get rid of them. I saw you mentioned diotomacious earth is good (food grade) but doesn't that get into the lungs and cause problems? And also salt was mentioned - which kind? I did try to put a natural flea killer on the dogs but it does not kill the eggs and I am seeing many more fleas now, so I am going to put Advantix on them (yes we get ticks too)and hopefully that will protect them! Im not a fan of chemicals but we HAVE to do something! I also heard of Fleabusters powder to put on the rugs...anyone have any experience with that?

      Thanks a bunch!!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Im having a fleas prblem,i just move in this apartment.hoping salt was a big sulution...thnks thooghun...

    • inevitablesecrets profile image


      6 years ago from California

      Thanks, this was a great time of year to read this! :)

    • Cyndi10 profile image

      Cynthia B Turner 

      6 years ago from Georgia

      Rebecca is so right, it is the season. Thank you so much for providing this information. Well written and easy to follow. If my doggy gets fleas, I'll pull this out. Thanks.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 

      6 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Thanks for the natural flea killing ideas, It is the season!

    • Jenna Pope profile image

      Jenna Pope 

      6 years ago from Southern California

      Very good solutions. I had never hear of using salt or DE. Think that I will try one of them. Voted up.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Great information. I've never heard of the salt. I've heard of the DE, though, and plan to get some for my dog, cats, and carpet! I hate vacuuming, though. Guess I'll have to suck it up (literally--LOL) and just do it. Thanks for the great article. Voted up and more!

    • profile image

      melissa smith 

      6 years ago

      would salt water work, like as a spray for the carpet??

    • CASE1WORKER profile image


      6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      I did not realise the shake up that the vacumn would make would shake the fleas up- just like brushing your cat interupts the flea cycle- thank you- We have not got them yet but have had them every summer so I am taking no chances this year- the boys have been on a treatment plan since January but I was worried about the carpets

    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      6 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Great, informative hub. We had a flea infestation a few years ago and it was a nightmare. The most important thing, we found, was to make our dog uninhabitable for the fleas. We used Revolution. There are varying opinions on the safety for the dog but she seemed to be fine on a longterm basis and she became a "flea killing machine". No flea would go near her. Then we could get rid of the little varmints in our rugs, furniture etc.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      new things learned today. thanks for the information, i didn't thought lavender oil and salt can help get rid of them.

    • sharewhatuknow profile image


      6 years ago from Western Washington

      OMG thoogun, why I never thought about that? Salt. Plain and simple salt. No organism can live in salt. Thank you for that common sense approach.

      I voted up, useful and awesome.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC worries...I was just sayin' about the DE because I'd read that so many times. Just repeating what I'd heard & found out. Voted up on the article, by the way and useful!! This is great!!

    • thooghun profile imageAUTHOR

      James D. Preston 

      7 years ago from Rome, Italy

      cclitgirl, thanks for the feedback. You're point regarding DE is huge, I will amend the article to reflect it. Thanks a lot! :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      7 years ago from Western NC

      I love diatomaceous earth! I use it to treat ear mites, and sprinkle it out on my porch (but not in the garden as it kills all beneficial insects, too...eeek) to help keep out ants and sprinkle on the carpets every so often and vacuum up. Food grade DE is critical...pool grade can kill.

    • Peanutritious profile image

      Tara Carbery 

      7 years ago from Cheshire, UK

      I'm going to try salt on my carpet. Thanks! Voted up. Well written and informative hub.

    • asktheexperts profile image


      7 years ago from St George

      Melting salt doesn't cause any damage to the carpet over time? I grew up near the beach and sand was a horrible issue. Once it gets in the carpet, there's no way of getting it all out. Do you have the same problems with the salt?

    • catsimmons profile image

      Catherine Simmons 

      7 years ago from Mission BC Canada

      Very interesting hub...I'd not heard of using salt, or lavender before..

      Thanks a million

    • Ivorwen profile image


      7 years ago from Hither and Yonder

      I know the salt works! I friend of mine, in Kentucky, had a terrible flea problem and after the fumigators had failed to eradicate the problem multiple times, she bought a large bag of salt and heavily salted every floor in her house. Over the next couple of days, the heat and humidity caused the salt to melt into the flooring, permeating it. This kept the house flea free for the rest of the time they lived there.


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