If you share your home with a cat, a dog, or some other variety of animal, there’s a good chance that at some point or another, you’re going to end up playing host to some rather less desirable critters. We are, of course, talking about fleas. The winged, jumping little pests may be tiny, but they’re far from harmless… as anyone who’s ever been bitten by one will tell you. Worst still, their larvae can stay dormant in carpets and bedding for over a year before hatching, meaning you can never quite be sure whether you’ve finally seen the back of them. If you do find yourself suddenly under attack, here’s how to get rid of fleas.
1. Try a Salt Remedy
Rapid Home Remedies has some great suggestions on how to de-flea your home, none more so than this super effective, all-natural salt remedy. All you’ll need to get started is some finely ground salt (sea salt or table salt, take your pick) and a large spice bottle with a shaker top. Simply fill the spice bottle with salt, and then sprinkle the salt evenly over your carpets. Leave for 12-48 hours, and then vacuum up the salt. The salt acts as a dehydrator that will – simply but slightly grimly put- kill the fleas by sucking them dry.
2. Keep Vacuuming
Fleas are experts at finding a good hiding place. If you’re able to track down all the nooks and crannies they’ve decided to camp in, a powerful vacuum cleaner should be enough to suck them out. Vacuum all floors, upholstery, mattresses, soft furnishings, and curtains thoroughly. Dispose of the bag immediately, and as far away from your house as you can. Repeat every day for between 10 days to a month, depending on the severity of the infestation.
3. Steam Clean the House
Fleas may be resilient little critters, but few can stand up to the dual power of high heat and soap. Steam clean all carpets, bed linen, pet beds, and soft furnishings, paying particular attention to the places your pet (presuming they’re the ones to have bought the fleas into the house in the first place) likes to spend their time.
4. Make a Rosemary Flea Powder
First things first, rosemary won’t help bring a severe infestation under control. It can, however, help stop an infestation in the first place, and stop any rouge fleas from making your house their home. How you use it as up to you (some people like to rinse their pets in water that’s been boiled with rosemary leaves and then cooled, while others swear by pouring a few drops of its essential oil onto their pet’s collar), but the most popular method is to create a flea powder that can be used throughout the house. To make the powder, grind equal measurements of rosemary, rue, wormwood, fennel, and peppermint into a fine powder, and then sprinkle around areas where fleas like to congregate. Just be aware that this method shouldn’t be used around cats– unlike dogs, cats don’t tolerate rosemary well.
5. Trap them with a Detergent Flea Trap
Let How has several great tips on how to rid your home of fleas, including one about making a flea trap. To make the trap, fill several shallow bowls with a mixture of water and dish detergent. Place the bowls in the areas of the house you think the fleas are, then simply sit back and wait for them to take a dip in the toxic swimming pool you’ve made.
6. Use a Chemical Treatment
Sometimes, nothing works like some good old chemicals. If you’re dealing with a particularly nasty infestation, a natural remedy might not cut it. As Healthline notes, aerosol sprays are the preference over foggers as they can be more easily directed under beds and other areas that foggers can’t reach. As killing eggs and larvae is just as important as killing adult fleas, look for a chemical that contains an adulticide like permethrin along with an insect growth regulator like methoprene or pyriproxyfen. Remember that chemical treatments are toxic to both humans and pets, so use a mask and gloves when you spray, and don’t allow anyone or anything to come in contact with the treatment until its dried.
7. Wash Your Bedding
Fleas don’t like hot temperatures. They do, however, like soft furnishings. Wash all bedding (both yours and your pets) and soft furnishings on as high a heat as the material can take. Finish by drying in the dryer, again on the hottest setting possible. If the infestation is particularly persistent, you may need to consider replacing soft furnishings in the worst affected areas.
8. Make a Vinegar Treatment
Fleas hate the taste and smell of vinegar and will think twice about overstaying their welcome in a house that reeks of it. Create a simple vinegar spray treatment by filling a spray bottle with a cup of vinegar (any kind will do). Add a few drops of essential rosemary oil if you want to make it doubly effective. Spray the solution liberally all around the house, paying particular attention to the spot’s fleas like to hang out.
9. Lower the Humidity
Fleas like a nice, humid environment best. In fact, 50% humidity or more is crucial to their survival. If you have a dehumidifier, keep it running for several days to bring the air humidity to below 50%. Once the fleas and larvae have bitten the dust, simply vacuum up the bodies and voila – job done.
10. Bring in the Experts
Sometimes, you need to know when you’re beat. If you’ve tried every home remedy you can but are still under attack, do the one thing that’s guaranteed to kill those pesky fleas for good – call in the experts. A professional exterminator will have access to the kind of chemicals that can wither a flea on sight. Granted, it’s not the cheapest solution, but it is the final one.