Instructables

Control Fleas Naturally with Common Household Items

Picture of Control Fleas Naturally with Common Household Items
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Flea season is upon us. If you have ever had an infestation, you know you have to combat fleas from many angles to control and eliminate these hopping, opportunistic parasitic pests. One of the most powerful agents in reducing flea populations is one of the most safest: Read on to find comprehensive ways to control these pests from making you and your pet's lives miserable with crawling, biting, itching and scratching!


I have recently updated this ...ible with new & improved graphics. I hope you like it! My pleasure! Enjoy! OXO
 
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Step 1: Safe ingredient you have on hand!

Picture of Safe ingredient you have on hand!
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Salt. Yes. Regular, everyday, plain old, put it on your fried eggs, salt. Can it be used effectively against large infestations of fleas? Yes. Salting and vacuuming your floors and furniture kills the flea's eggs by dehydrating them. If you take this route-you will be pleased with results. You'll have to be diligent and persistent with treatment to be really effective. But with patience it can be done.
I have also read about using borax. But the down side to borax is it can hold moisture. So using on your carpets can be a risk if you don't get all of the powdered vacuumed up, it can lead to problems later. Use rock salt in a knotted piece of pantyhose under furniture, or sprinkle sea salt, Kosher salt, or table salt.

Step 2: Cleanliness is next to Flealessness

Picture of Cleanliness is next to Flealessness
Flea eggs hatch every 3 days, so by sprinkling your floors for at least 9 days, vacuuming each 3rd day for 9 days, takes you through the complete life cycle of flea life. Be sure and empty your vacuum after each cleaning or the pests will just crawl back out and re-infest your home! You can also salt porches, doghouses and kennels to kill eggs & maintain flea control. Borax works as an alternative to salt but has a few cautions. In high humidity areas you may need to use a dehumidifier with the salt treatment for its use to be effective.

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mmcheh1 year ago
My FIL brought his cat into my house for 3 weeks and by the time they left, the fleas had infested both my room and my baby's room. I am someone who attracts fleas, My dermatologist told me I am unlucky that way, my skin has some sort of molecules that attracts these monsters and I am allergic towards their bites.

I have no pet in my house, 2 adults and 2 babies, no carpets anywhere, only 80 year-old pine wood flooring. Since the flooring is very old in these french homes, there are big space better these wood, where the fleas can hide and we can't find them.

I tried your method with salt. By the end of the 3rd day, no noticeable improvements because I get fresh bites everynight. By the end of the 6th day, I was ready to come back to your site and put nasty words because not only the situation did not improve, but it also seem to has worsen because instead of 2-3 bites per nite, it escalated to 7-8 bites per nite. On the 7th day, I left my home for a 3 weeks holiday.

Upon my return, I was very anxious. I didn't want to be bitten by these monsters and was ready to use the diatomaceous earth which I have ordered online.

First night, no bite, second night, no bite, third night, no bite and I knew the salt worked.

Thanks a lot for posting this method. All in all, $ spent to kill these fleas, $ 3 for 10kg of salt and $32 for the 1 kg of diatomaceous earth which I have yet to use.
myrrhmaid (author)  mmcheh1 year ago
You can't even imagine how happy it makes me to hear your success! I am like you.. I attract fleas! If I go into a room that even has one flea, it finds me! Hence my own personal journey (vendetta) to thwart these parasites!
I wish I could find any reason to appreciate this creature as I am a real bug lover. But I find no redeeming value in their existence so I take great joy knowing of them being extinguished!
Brava mama for sharing your story with us! Much love from California! OXO
0ctober4 years ago
I want to THANK for whoever posted this. My husband and I were at ODDS end with these pests!! After months of flea collars, sprays, powders, money spent and down the drain yesterday I saw this article (SALT!) Who knew? I wish I would have known this before. I hated putting poison on our pets and in our home. We even spent good portion of money having someone come in and spray, also with the advantage and frontline -NOPE didn't work! So now I have put salt EVERYWHERE! Baking soda too, I got my pan with water (dishsoap) and light. I baked my home made "flea terminator dog bones - which I can give if anyone wants it!) I did it yesterday and the DOGS LOVE THEM! I also added a tablespoon of white vinegar to the water as well. I can't wait until this week is over! I am also getting some lemons and using the lemon peels on the carpet as well. Going to get some oils and some cloth for the dogs. I do have one question - what about cat treat recipe for fleas, also can I use the same method of flea collars on cats? I bathed them as well they had like few on them not lot. My lab seems to have the MOST! The other dog did have alot yesterday (boxer, lab mix) but today he's looks CLEAN! Lastnight he was actually sleeping peacefully, he wasnt stratching every five seconds! I also like the salt idea because when they are bathed they rub everywhere so it just goes on their coats and the fleas hate that! I will let you know how it goes by the 9th day! We are following the instructions very carefully!
Can I get your dog cookie recipe. Thanks
can you please send me the flea terminator treat recipe?? or post is here for everyone?
dpage2162@aol.com
Skyebug 0ctober2 years ago
Can you send me the receipe for the Flea terminator dog bones
Skyebug Skyebug2 years ago
whitechocolate_28@yahoo.com
Boy, do I have battle scars from bathing my cats :/ I just walked through the whole house with the big salt shaker from the stove. I will vacuum tomorrow evening. I want those awful bugs to get a good dose of it. I hate what they do to my little babies. My poor cats have had bald butts for the past two months. I have purchased the whole gammit of flea products aimed at cats. Still, the fleas live and haunt the poor things.
I walked into my carpeted area the other day wearing white socks, white sweat pants and a light grey sweatshirt. Now that was an eye opening experience. Someone else wrote about plucking them off of themself and putting them in water with soap. I found myself doing the same thing. Ever try to crush a flea? It is almost impossible. I even tried rubbing the bottom of a flat bottom glass on one and it jumped after I stopped. We must be missing the boat here. With a hard shell like that, maybe we shoud be experimenting on them for a cure for osteo porosus...I know I probably spelled it wrong...but you know what I mean. I have been doing the white vinegar in the food, not the water on a daily basis. Basically, I put a capful in every 5.5 ounce can. I did a little research on the all natural foods they sell in the refrig section of the supermarket. THEY put white vinegar in there too. At least if I see the food disappear, I know they are getting the vinegar. I hesitate to put it in the water. Cats are a breed all their own. They will avoid the water to the point of dehydration if they do not like what is in it. I know some people asked about giving a cat the same treatment as a dog. Do the research first. Definately commercial flea treatments are species specific. You cannot use "dog" flea treatments on cats. You could kill the poor little thing. Nobody wants to do that.
aubrurnhair54:
Let me tell you how I bathe my cat. This is no fluke. I have even taken a cat to a college class and given him a bath as a demonstration. If anything would set a cat off, that would. I have even bathed cats that aren't mine.

Take a big breath and relax. Your state of mind will influence his.

Start with a clean counter next to the kitchen sink. Put towels on it. Don't have them so close to the sink that the cat could grab it. Get your shampoo opened and handy. Consider which hand will be easier for you to hold the cat and which to wash and set up your towels and sinks accordingly.

Now, plug the side of the sink you'll be using to bathe the cat. In the other side, start the water. Get it to the temperature you want. Turn the pressure down to a slow flow - on that side.

Put your cat into the empty, plugged up side of the sink, facing the wall. I have bathed a cat with and without a towel in the sink. Your choice. Let him watch the water for a few seconds. With your washing hand, cup your hand, fill it with water and "pet" your cat with it. Start on his back, not his head. Do this several times. Slowly move the faucet over to his side of the sink but not ON him. Continue "petting" him with water. If he's relatively calm, increase the water pressure so the sink is slowly filling. Remember, you're washing with one hand and restraining him gently with the other.

Put some shampoo on him and water-pet and wash him. Have a little PLASTIC cup handy so you can scoop some of the water from his side of the sink and pour it over him (it has soap in it - might as well use it to the max).

Continue washing until you are satisfied that he is clean. GENTLY remove the plug and let the water drain WHILE you are filling that cup with clean water and gently pouring it over him. Scratch and pet him frequently. Talk to him.

When you are all done, let him drip a little and then put him on the towels and wrap him up gently but quickly. Use old towels. If he has his claws he might snag them a little.

Drying is the hardest because he wants to run away. Dry him as best you can and then release him in a warm room. Don't let him outside until he is dry.

I hope this works for you as it has for me.
renateho1 year ago
i sprinkle a bit of yeast, just half a teaspoon, (nutritional or brewer's yeast) on my cats food every day and they haven't had fleas in over 6 years. it's good for their fur too and it's very healthy for them. i bought it in a nature shop.
BtheBike3 years ago
Powdering the Salt makes it More effective . Put it in the Blender until the grains are dust .
Borax has Boric acid . Its better to just get powdered Boric acid .

I mixed powdered salt and boric acid in an old carpet powder can.
Shake it in the corners ,base boards, everywhere. It will dehydrate
insects . They are toast .
redstick174 years ago
I came to this board about a week ago frustrated with my flea problem.  Thanks to you guy's the fleas are no longer a problem.  After reading your comments I purchased salt and vinegar.  Per your instructions I sprinkled the salt around all of the baseboards and let it stay there for about three days.  Last weekend we vacuumed, cleaned all the baseboards and sprinkled again with salt.  We also added vinegar to their water, and I hope I wasn't wrong but I sprayed the cats with vinegar also.  As of today we are no longer having a problem with fleas.  Thank you so very mcuh. 
momjeans835 years ago
nervous surprisedI had this problem about a month ago,when an possum died under in a crawl space under my home. after the smell dissipated and I returned with my kids, it was infested with fleas, and probably was for weeks. now, we don't have animals, so the assumption is that it was some how carried in with the dead carcass that was removed weeks later. well, an organic farmer around here told me the same thing, and i was very surprised that this technique worked! i swear by it, because table salt is ,for one, less than $.50 and doesn't harm the little lungs or nervous systems of the children. Kudos for the Instructable, i swear by it .
myrrhmaid (author)  momjeans835 years ago
Thanks for the testimonial. It seems too simple but it really is effective!
Has anyone gotten the recipe for "Flea Terminator Dog Bones"? I have yet to see a response regarding the recipe. Please share this recipe as there are many folks who want to care for their dogs flea issues without the use of harmful products. The question was also posted if there were any "Flea Terminator Cat" recipes and so far no response. Anyone have a recipe to share regarding this subject? Anyway to control heartworm and all those nasty worms in our dog's and cat's in a natural manner? Seem's like everything on the market is toxic and dangerous. Thank you for sharing if you will please and thank you.

Black walnut (comes in capsules) & Hawthorne Berries (come in capsules), will get rid of heartworms & will not hurt your dog. You can find them in the vitamin & herb section of Wal-Mart or most Drug Stores.

myrrhmaid (author)  ladywarrior4jc8 months ago
Hi lady warrior, The Flea Terminator Dog Bones recipe is in step 7. It's from the allrecipes site.
Oil of Scotch pine (turpentine) can be used as a dewormer,
Cats can be a lil pickier about what treats they eat. Maybe adjust the recipe by adding some tunafish and they might find it palatable.
iamaqtpoo4 months ago
thank you so much for your lovely and thorough explanation of everything Fleas. It was very useful to me as I try to be as pesticide free as possible. I have two cats and 1 dog and ferrets, my major problem is the ferrets, because fleas can kill ferrets. I've told the salt trick to many people and they're always surprise, but it does work like a charm and I feel that it's much safer than borax. thanks again and have a lovely day, cheers, Mary :-)
iamwildwoman4 months ago

I am wondering about the effect salt will have on my dog. He will, undoubtedly, lick the daylights out of my area rug if i put salt on it. And, to WildWhippetWoman, (great name, I am simply 'iamwildwoman'), you seem to dispute this suggestion and base it on the fact that you weren't 'lucky' re: the dog eating chocolate. As you mentioned in your post, it was milk-chocolate. Dogs can eat it and be fine. But, if you check with a vet, I hope they informed you that it is DARK chocolate that is a problem. Very BIG problem. It can make them sick, to say the least.

ccannon75 months ago

When I read this article I was ecstatic. Salt...... Who'da thunk it? So I headed to the store and bought 4 of the 26 ounce round paper canister of salt. I put 1 whole canister in each room of my tiny apartment. (I vacuumed each room well before salting.) I sat up a Flea Trap in each room. (Soapy water in a bowl with a light above.) I find 60 to more than 100 fleas in the traps every morning. (I change the water daily) I waited 3 long..... agonizingly horrible day of putting up with the fleas then I vacuumed well again. Put down salt... waited 3 days and vacuumed again. Today is day 8.... I haven't seen any reduction in the fleas at all. They are everywhere. Tomorrow I will vacuum AGAIN..... And put salt down AGAIN. I will change the water in the flea traps AGAIN..... I am in a wheel chair and on disability, so guess what....... I will have to wait til the 3rd. of next month, then I will spend a large portion of my monthly allotted food money on FLEA BOMBS..... Cause the Salt ain't work'n.......... {:0(

myrrhmaid (author)  ccannon75 months ago
Are you sprinkling the salt all over the carpet? If you have furniture, you might want to get underneath it too. It sounds like you have a massive infestation. Do you have pets? They may be in danger with those kinds of numbers. Check their gums if they are white and not pink they are anemic and in dangerous health. If you live in a rental you might want to contact the landlord for help. If you have a crawl space under the house they might be originating from there. The salt doesn't kill the fleas it dehydrates the eggs so no more hatch. Don't give up yet. Give it some more time to work.

Salt is under every piece of furniture. And YES is is a massive infestation. My sister moved out and now I have a spare bedroom. My ex-daughter in law offered me "A REALLY NICE BEDROOM SET" that her parents had left when they moved. They delivered it at about 6 p.m. put it in the spare room and shut the door. I didn't even go into the room until the next morning. The mattress reeked of cat urine and the room was full of fleas. I called my son and he came right over with a friend and took the whole set out to the dumpster, but by then the fleas had moved out of the furniture and into my apartment. As for my 10 year old cat..... She climbed to the top self of the pantry and didn't come down till about the 4th day when my son caught her and took her to the vet for a good flea treatment and now she is staying at his house. This has been the most stressful situation. I have an exterminator (he goes to my church and is doing this for free) coming in this Saturday with a promise of getting them ALL out in one treatment. Fingers crossed.

HisChild676 months ago
"Fleas also cannot survive hot temperatures over 90 degrees. Closing up the whole house on a hot summer day can kill all the fleas you have inside your home."

Not true. I live in hot, sunny Florida where the temperatures are well over 90 degrees for most of the year. The fleas are terrible here. I have closed up my house and gone away on vacation (no air conditioning on) and still had fleas when we got back.
velcro29 months ago
Always put at least two moth balls in your household vacuum bag every time you change the vac bag. It will kill any insect larvae you vacuumed up.
First off, let me tell y'all a little about myself before I say anything. I've owned, done field trials, showed, done obedience & agility both for fun and in actual AKC competition for titles, and whelped 3 litters of whippets so I know and have learned a great deal about dogs. I also subscribe to several "dog" magazines & work closely w/ several specialty vets (if and when I need them) & use every opportunity to pick their brains. While most of your ideas are sound,, there are a couple of things I'm concerned about. One is using salt. I get the principle behind it & while it makes sense chemically, if you have a dog w/ kidney disease, heart disease, or just about any other systemic problem you may or may not be aware of, salt could very well kill them or at the least, put them into the vet hospital. Just like w/ humans, salt is a necessary electrolyte but only in moderation and that's for folks who are healthy. But if a human or a dog has any disease, salt can be detrimental. My dogs LOVE salt and garlic and I have to take precautions to keep them out of it. I can imagine if it were sprinkled everywhere, I'd have 5 dogs licking the carpet, their bedding, the furniture and anywhere else the salt can be found. In the summer, they will even lick ME after I've worked in the garden and sweated my butt off! LOL I usually will come in and take a shower immediately to keep from being covered in dirt AND dog slobber.
Also, I just read this one so it's news to me too.....vets are recommending NOT using tea tree oils any more. I remember when it was an ingredient of choice for dogs w/ hot spots, flea dermatitis, or were just generally itchy. I guess there have been some problems w/ tea tree oil shampoos so now it's considered taboo. Same w/ orange oils. Just like in human medicine, one year they'll say the best diet is all protein and fats; the next year, they'll be saying it'll kill you.
Personally, before I do anything, I check w/ my vet just to be on the safe side. They've always said there is an ingredient in chocolate that kills dogs. Well, I've had dogs get into milk chocolate kisses, one who ate a whole can of whipped chocolate frosting, and I've never had one problem. Did I just get lucky? I don't think so. I think the truer fact is there have been cases of dogs who were extremely sensitive to chocolate, maybe it was in a very concentrated form like baker's chocolate (unsweetened and bitter), or the amount in general is so much, a dog would have to eat his weight in chocolate to actually bring on the reported effects. But it's always easier to tell the public at large to NEVER do something than try to explain the actual facts of the situation AND it may vary so widely from breed to breed or dog to dog, they can't really tell us anything else and be safe.
Bottom line, ask your vet before doing anything where the dog may be in a position to eat the substance, have the substance be taken in through the skin, or otherwise enter the blood stream. Just because something isn't labeled a poison, doesn't mean at some level it can't be toxic. And everything is a chemical whether it be a flea spray or top spot or an oil extracted from an herb. All chemicals. Just saying....No offense meant and I hope this post is taken in the spirit it is intended. I would just hate for someone's dog to die from well-intentioned advice. BTW, I feel the same way about diatomaceous earth which lots of people deem perfectly safe. Personally, IMHO, if the microscopic diatoms are capable of cutting up a flea w/ their sharp edges, what can it do to our delicate lung tissue? Or your dogs?
myrrhmaid (author)  WildWhippetWoman9 months ago
I appreciate your concern but... if a dog has health issues salt is still safer than chemicals. Chemicals most certainly damage kidneys, liver and give more of a propensity for cancers including blood cancer like lymphoma & leukemia.
If your dogs are salt hounds maybe they are lacking minerals in their diet?
I don't know how much salt intake can cause harm but everything in moderation. Too much air can kill too. But I'm not holding my breath!
saford1310 months ago
How often do you give them a treat for this to be effective?
tmlathey11 months ago
ok I just started the salt treatment and hope it works, but I'm seeing a problem with this that no one has said anything about... after i put the salt on the floor my kitten has started hissing at me, and also has to shake her feet when she walks. I'm assuming it's because the salt is in her paws. why would she be aggressive?? has anyone had this problem?
Carrie M11 months ago
If I use salt on my carpets and furniture, will it hurt my cats in any way by walking or laying on it?
Garlic is bad for dogs.
I used 1c table salt and 1c baking soda and 30 drops lemon essential oil (don't use essential oil if you have a cat) and mixed it in a bowl with a fork and put it in a cleaned peanut butter container with holes punched in the lid and sprinkled it on all floors, on carpet, ceramic, kitchen floor, stairs, and upstairs my landlords put it on their hardwood floors with seemingly no problems though they are older hardwood floors.

However, if you don't do this next step, you will still have fleas in low numbers (how do I know? My landlords refused to do this step and they kept re-infecting the common area of the house): You need to wear white socks and tuck in your pants from the time you come home to the time you leave. I even wore them to bed because using the washroom at night was the last time I saw fleas and it prevents you from infecting your bed linen. Check your socks regularly (like when you use the washroom, before you leave your home, before you get into bed) for fleas and remove and drown in a container with a drop of dishsoap in water (I used a washed yogurt container and kept it in the bathroom and also kept one at the back door). Remember, fleas can resemble a speck of dust. Drown that speck of dust if you're not sure.:)

I also walked all through my area twice a day to trigger the remaining eggs to hatch and jump on my socks. I got rid of the fleas in less than 3 weeks. My landlords still had some fleas months later.

(Aside: The flea-infected cats were no longer in the house as the owner had moved. Based on what I've read, just washing your pet with regular pet soap and washing its bedding is helpful. I know when I got fleas on me, all I had to do was shower with soap and they were gone.)

I left the salt on the carpet etc for 2 weeks, then vacuumed and re-applied the salt. I kept my vacuum bag in the freezer between uses. Or else garbage it. Fleas can definitely crawl out of your vacuum bag.
ok i have tried the dishsoap and bowl with the light, have tried spraying a mixture of water and vinegar on my floors and on my cat. I have hardwood floors. I have also mopped them with water and dishsoap. I have 2 small children and i need to get rid of these pesky creatures. They have also managed their way to my basement and are on my concrete floors. Please help if you have any ideas on how to get rid of these fleas. As of right now i'm getting bit up but my kids are not. Thank you!
myrrhmaid (author)  legalrose691 year ago
Have you tried salt? The article is about using salt. It is very effective. You can use kosher, rock, powered, table, sea salt. You can tie rock salt in panyhose and put it around areas affected or sprinkle straight onto floors. Give it a try! It's easy! Use it right out of the shaker onto any surface. It works.
rcowgirl_64 years ago
I use dishsoap, I spray my yard with it twice a year, I use a miracle grow container that hooks up to water hose, fill it with dish soap (any kind you want) and water yard. For dogs, I bathe them with it, it smells good, doesnt dry skin and kills fleas instantly. For carpets, I use a little dish soap in my carpet shampooer and done, carpets are clean, house smells great and fleas dead, For furniture, I put water and dishsoap in spray bottle and lightly spray furniture, fleas dead. (vacuum after dry) its the same as spraying fabreeze. It does not hurt fabrics at all. For cats I do same thing, spary bottle, lightly spray them and wipe clean, you will see all the fleas on washcloth. I brought home a stray cat once that had fleas and didnt know it, I own 5 cats and 5 dogs, it was bad and fast. Dishsoap on everything and I have never had another flea. That was 4 years ago. Its nice because they make dishsoap in very nice scents now. Nematodes work very well in yard too, you can buy them and any feed store for around 10.00. All animal shelters use dishsoap to kill leas and other skin conditions because its so cheap and easy. One treatment and your done forever.
I have some great lavender dish soap to use. How much per quart do you use?
I like this idea. What ratio of water to dishsoap? I use alot of dishsoap as I am a bus mechanic. It works great in the shower for getting oil and grease out of the hair and I now use it as a total body wash. Also keeps the shower floor cleaner.
rgraylint2 years ago
I had never heard the salt idea. Sounds great! These days my house is hardwood floors only so no flea problems. It's a lot easier to control fleas on hardwood than on carpet.

I came up with an idea years ago when we had carpet. I noticed fleas seemed to collect around light like moths. I put a shallow pan of water against the wall in several rooms of the house. I put a desk lamp or spotlight above it pointing down into the water. At night when the lights in the house go off the fleas jump right toward the spot lights and land in the water. Turns out fleas are small enough to float around. I caught a few of the little monsters climbing over the side after they kicked their way to the edge buoyed along by the surface tension of the water. I fixed that problem by adding a couple of drops of dish soap to the water. Then the fleas hit the water and sink like a stone. One last thing. They seem to collect near the light but a lot of them won't take that last leap. If you ease up to the edge of the light you can pat the carpet with you hand and see them hitting the water as they make one final jump 'into the light'. Get the poltergeist reference there? :) Maybe I'm just mean, but those bites hurt. It made me itch just a little bit less to watch the little buggers drown.
myrrhmaid (author) 2 years ago

Ingredients

3 cubes beef bouillon
1 1/2 cups boiling water
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
2/3 cup brewers' yeast
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 egg yolks

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Dissolve beef bouillon cubes in boiling water, and set aside. Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, corn meal, brewers yeast, and garlic powder. Add the yolks, then gradually pour in the bouillon water while stirring. Mix thoroughly to form a firm dough. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes using cookie cutters. Place cookies one inch apart onto cookie sheets.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then turn the oven off, and leave the cookies inside for at least 3 hours or overnight to harden. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

elizk5 years ago
You can also put a flea collar inside your vacuum bag or cannister to kill any fleas you vacuum up or eucalyptus peppermint essential oil on a cotton ball or small piece of felt will hold the oil well. If you have to buy vaccum bags this will save on the cost.
kmpcarter elizk5 years ago
Where do you buy the oil?
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