Fleas are a serious nuisance for pet owners. Not only are these parasites extremely bothersome, but they can also cause skin problems, infections, and tapeworms.
The problem is, conventional flea and tick products contain insecticides, which help with controlling insects. While these products are usually effective, there’s a lot of debate as to whether or not they’re truly safe to use.
Some claim that these substances are harmless to pets, while others say they should be completely avoided, especially when there are also children around.
If you like to be cautious and avoid controversial chemicals, you should try the natural approach.
While it might take a little longer, and be a little more work, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your pets and family are protected.
In this post, you’ll learn how to get rid of fleas in the house naturally, and what home remedies actually work. Chances are, you probably already have some of them inside your pantry.
8 Things You Can Do to Get Rid of Fleas in the House Naturally
1. Take Care of Your Dog First
If you don’t already have one, purchase a flea comb.
Prepare one cup of apple cider vinegar and one cup of soapy warm water. Dip the flea comb in the vinegar, and slowly comb through each inch of your dog’s fur, carefully checking for fleas as you go.
The ones you find should come off on the comb, and you can then use the soapy water to drown them. It’s important to remember that fleas can jump, so you want to do this in the bathtub, or even better, outside.
While you’re at it, you can use the comb to spread a little bit of food-grade Diatomaceous Earth throughout your dog’s coat. This is a non-toxic product that damages the fleas’ protective layer and causes them to dry.
You’ll need to apply it daily for about a week or two in case your dog has a flea infestation. However, if he has really dry skin, you should probably use it no more than once or twice per week.
2. Vacuum Everything
This is proven to be an effective way to get rid of fleas, and as a bonus, it gets your house cleaner and is completely chemical-free.
Be prepared that you need to be extremely thorough, getting each and every rug, carpet, piece of furniture, or other areas the fleas might be hiding. Likewise, be sure to give extra attention to your dog’s bedding, and wherever he tends to hang out.
Keep in mind that you’ll have to vacuum on a daily basis until you don’t see fleas anymore.
To make it easier, go for a lightweight, bagless vacuum, so you can use it often and easily carry it anywhere.
If you really want to go above and beyond, consider renting a steam cleaner to treat your carpets and bedding, as the high temperatures will take care of fleas and larvae immediately.
3. Wash All of the Bedding
The combination of hot, soapy water and agitation makes washing machines an effective way to get rid of fleas, flea eggs, and larva.
Aside from your dog’s bedding, and other items that he came into contact with, you should also wash any clothes, blankets, or pillows that have been on the floor, or your dog slept on.
Just be sure to read the labels, and not to use water that’s too hot for the fabric type.
4. Lower the Humidity Level
Another thing you can do is reduce the moisture level in your home. This is usually effective, as fleas, dust mites, and clothes moths can’t survive in dry conditions.
The best way is to use a dehumidifier and set the humidity level below 50%. This will prevent the fleas and larva from thriving, and the eggs from hatching.
5. Grow Plants and Herbs
Similar to essential oils (which I’ll talk about in a bit), some plants will repel fleas and other insects.
You can grow lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, citronella, and chamomile, as they all have insect repellent properties, and can help you keep fleas at bay.
6. Make a Flea Trap
Be aware that flea traps are meant to attract and catch adult fleas, so they won’t help against eggs and larva. That said, it’s a good way to check the scope of the infestation.
There are good products out there, but you can easily, and inexpensively make your own. All you need is some sticky pages, or a soapy water bowl and a lamp.
7. Don’t Forget Your Yard
If your yard is full of fleas, eliminating them inside the house and on your dog is a waste of time.
Fleas love to hide in tall grass, so as a general rule, keep your lawn short and clean. That means no leaves, weeds, or debris either. That way, you’re also exposing them to direct sunlight, which will hurt the flea larva.
Home Remedies for Preventing and Getting Rid of Fleas
Apple Cider Vineֽֽgֽar
While this won’t actually cause harm to the fleas, the strong odor and taste are usually enough to encourage them to move onto the next pet.
Plus, vinegar is rather inexpensive, and can be used in a number of ways:
- Put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into your dog’s water dish a few times a week. This will help prevent future fleas from attaching to him.
- Dilute one cup of vinegar in one gallon of water, and rinse your dog’s body with it after his shower (avoid the face). Don’t worry, the smell will go away.
- Make a solution of half vinegar, half water, and use it to spray down your dog, as well as specific areas in your home whenever necessary.
Lauric acid, which can be found in coconut oil, is known to repel ticks and fleas in a way that’s completely safe and all-natural. On top of that, it’s very beneficial for all kinds of skin conditions.
This means you can use it to help soothe dry, itching skin, as well for making the coat beautiful and shiny.
Simply take a small amount of coconut oil, warm it by rubbing your hands together, and massage your dog from head to toe. You can do this every day until the fleas are gone.
There are a number of essential oils you can use to prevent fleas, or get rid of them altogether.
- Cedar: While cedarwood is safe for humans and pets, it’s quite toxic to insects, fleas included. Dilute it in a carrier oil (coconut oil, for example), and give your dog a proper massage, or use a diffuser to treat each and every room.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus isn’t only a good way to repel fleas, but it can also help with eliminating bad pet odors. Add a few drops to your dog’s shampoo, or use a mixture of eucalyptus and water in a spray bottle to prevent fleas on your furniture and carpets.
- Lavender: Lavender not only repels fleas but also has anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe skin irritations caused by flea bites. Rub the oil directly on your dog to help with any discomfort, or diffuse it to keep the fleas away.
- Lemongrass: Lemongrass is a well-known insect repellent that works great with lavender, but it’s also an excellent deodorizer for dogs. Apply a few drops of the diluted oil on your dog, or spray it on his bedding. You can also use a natural lemongrass dog shampoo for the same effect.
- Rosemary: Rosemary can repel fleas while stimulating hair growth, and healing the skin. Drip a little bit of it on your dog’s collar, or make a natural flea repellent by combining rosemary, lavender, and lemongrass to use on your dog, as well as around the house.
If you don’t have rosemary essential oil laying around, you can make a rosmarty flea repellant wash from the fresh or dried leaves, which will provide the same benefits.
You can also use natural flea and tick treatments that are based on essential oils. But I should warn you that some of them contain peppermint, which is toxic to cats.
The limonene that’s found in lemons is a natural deterrent for fleas and other insects. However, keep in mind that lemon, and any other kind of citrus, can be rough on the skin, so avoid using it directly on your dog.
Instead, take a few lemons, cut them into quarters, and cover them with boiled water (you can also add dried rosemary for a greater effect). Then, let it steep for a few hours. Once cooled, use the mixture as a wash or spray until there are no fleas left.