How to Get Rid of Fleas





Introduction: How to Get Rid of Fleas

Here is a few easy techniques that you can follow to destroy those pesty little insects known as fleas.


No, I'm not talking about the bassist from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, I'm talking about the insect.

(Definition from Wikipedia)

Flea is the common name for any of the small wingless insects of the order Siphonaptera they can multpily up to 800 million fleas in just a matter of 5 days (some authorities use the name Aphaniptera because it is older, but names above family rank need not follow the ICZN rules of priority, so most taxonomists use the more familiar name). Fleas are external parasites, living by hematophagy off the blood of mammals and birds. Genetic and morphological evidence indicates that they are descendants of the Scorpionfly family Boreidae, which are also flightless; accordingly it is possible that they will eventually be reclassified as a suborder within the Mecoptera. In the past, however, it was most commonly supposed that fleas had evolved from the flies (Diptera), based on similarities of the larvae. In any case, all these groups seem to represent a clade of closely related insect lineages, for which the names Mecopteroidea and Antliophora have been proposed.

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Step 1: Removing Fleas From the Enviroment

Fleas live on their host, but eggs can be left both on the host and in the host's bedding. The eggs that are left on the host will fall off and accumulate in beds, clothes, carpets, cars, and anyplace that the host visits.

The first step after finding out about your infestation is to clean everything that has come into contact with the infested persons or animals in order to remove as many eggs and larvae as possible. This section will walk you through this process.

What you want to do:

1. Quarantine infested pets.

2. Collect all bedding, rugs and throws and wash them in soapy water. Soapy water is known to kill the eggs, larvae, pupae and adults.

3. Vacuum everything. All furniture, carpets, cracks in the floor, bare floors, corners, behind doors, and anywhere else that dust collects. This will pick up most of the eggs, but larvae will latch onto carpet fibers and stick around. After vacuuming, immediately dispose of the vacuum bag outside to prevent escaping of larvae

4. The remaining flea larvae can be dealt with by having the carpets steam-cleaned (the steam will kill every stage of flea except eggs). Make sure you warn the cleaners about the fleas and remove infested animals. Another process is for you to shampoo the carpet with insecticidal carpet shampoo or have a pest control professionally apply an infrared heat treatment to the carpet, which kills all stages of flea. Beware however, this type of infrared heat treatment can cost a lot.

5. Drench your pets usual resting areas with lots of soap and water to drown any fleas that may be waiting for his return.

Step 2: Removing Fleas From the Host (Human)

I decided to split the section "Removing fleas from the host" into an Human and animal (pet) section.

What to Do:

1. Bathe one to two times daily with soap. Insecticidal shampoos are available but are not always necessary.

2. Comb daily with a special flea comb designed to drag fleas out of hiding and dispose of any rousted fleas in soapy water. You may also want to record daily the number of fleas removed so you can identify any population increase before it becomes a problem.

Step 3: Removing Fleas From the Host (Animal)

Please be very careful when applying flea treatments to yourself and your pets. Only use treatments that are meant for the animal you are going to use it on. Flea treatments meant for dogs and the environment can easily KILL cats.

What to do:

1. Wash your pet with soapy water. Insecticidal cat and dog flea shampoos are available but not necessary. Safer's flea shampoo is one of the least toxic varieties. Stay away from shampoos that contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) as it can cause serious adverse reactions.

2. Comb your pet daily with a special flea comb that is designed to extract fleas and dispose of any you find in soapy water. Alternatively, you can wrap a length of sticky tape around your hand (sticky side out) and pat your animal down. This method works best on short haired animals. You can also use the lint and fur removal rollers (the adhesive ones) to complete the same task.

Note: You may want to talk to your pet's veterinarian before giving the animal a bath to ensure the pet's safety. You can also pay to have a professional bathe your dog at your local pet supply store. (ie: Petco or PetsMart)

Step 4: Flea Control/Prevention Tips

1. Restrict pets to areas that are easily cleaned. (No basements, bedrooms, garages, cars, etc)

2. Fleas love the carpet so be sure to vacuum as often as you can since the previously applied steam cleaning can trigger any remaining eggs to hatch. Remember to dispose of vacuum bags immediately after use.

3. Provide a bedding for your pet that is easily removed and cleaned. Lay towels anywhere your pets like to lounge, and wash them all every week until the fleas are gone, and every two weeks after that.

4. Comb your pets daily with the special flea comb and record the number of fleas you find in the first 5-10 strokes so you can identify any surges in the population. Flick any fleas that are removed into soapy water to kill them and if a population spike occurs, bathe the pet.

Step 5: A Few Last Notes...

Just a few last words for you before you begin your battle with the fleas.

A few products to help you:

Insect Growth Inhibitors (IGR's)
These products will keep eggs, larvae, and pupae from evolving into adults, but will do nothing to control pre-existing adults.

Citrus peel extracts (Limonene and Linalool)
Citrus peel extracts are among the safer treatments, but you need both limonene and linalool to kill fleas in all 4 stages of growth so make sure you choose a product that contains both of them. Use these for spot cleaning and beddings, but not entire rooms or outdoors. Use only EPA registered products directly on people or pets, as a poorly refined citrus extract can cause harm and even the death of your pet. Always consult your vet first.

Flea collars
Flea collars work by constantly emitting poisonous vapors that kill any fleas on the animal. Unfortunately, these vapors can also be harmful to the pets and people that they are supposed to protect so use them sparingly and only for as long as needed.

Frontline is a great product that rids pets of fleas, ticks, and any other harmful insects. This can protect your pet from lyme disease.

Extreme Measures:
If any of the previous techniques are not enough, it's time to call a professional and put the task in their hands. You're probably exhausted anyway!

DISCLAIMER: Before using any of the previously mentioned products, be sure to consult with your Veterinarian. The author of this instructable is in no way liable for any damage done to people or property while following this guide.

Thanks for Reading!

-Brian Francois



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    133 Discussions

    we have tried literally everything to get rid of these fleas but they only stay gone for a day or two then they come back, i don’t know what to do anymore.

    1 reply

    I hate bugs. My cat had fleas. These nasty creatures bit me. All lower parts of legs were in bites. It was hard not to scratch them (who had flea bites knows how I felt). I even called to the local Supercity service here in New Zealand. I think it's better to leave such work to the professionals.

    Is there any best solution for human flea bite ?

    Good evening! Two years i have fleas in my garage, cant do nothing with that, i try to make poison for them, make traps but nothing,after few days they come back, so, maybe try 1 of this methods on practice? Now i use

    My cat passed away almost 3 weeks ago and I still have fleas. She was 19 and never had fleas in her life until these last 3 months. There is an outside cat in our neighborhood whose Human moved away and left him behind. He's the sweetest, however he's outside day and night and has bugs of all kinds. I treated him with several different flea medications to no avail. I don't allow him inside but my boyfriend let him in the kitchen for treats one day about 3 months ago and that's when my old lady Chloe got fleas. He didn't think having him in the kitchen would cause fleas! Poor Chloe. I felt awful. I used Advantage II on her, which seemed to work at first, but by the next application it wasn't doing anything and I started noticing the fleas on the carpets upstairs. I bathed her in Dawn dish soap once a week as well. She wasn't in great shape before she got the fleas but I honestly think they wore her down :( After Chloe passed, I put Borax down on all carpeted areas and the couches. I allowed it to sit overnight and then vacuumed it up. I repeated the Borax a week later and did the same. Now I vacuum every single day- it's exhausting! I am still seeing fleas in what is emptied from the vacuum. I am still catching about 4-5 a week with the light and dish soap traps. How long do I have to continue applying Borax, vacuuming and setting traps?! I don't even have a pet anymore!

    I have a dog i see a couple of tiny black bugs meh i think (i didnt know flees were black!!) And now poors guys chewing his fur of from the bites

    So I thought I saw a flea on my dog today. I know what they say, if you see 1 there are a million more somewhere....anyway, I instantly gave him a bath with Johnson baby shampoo and saw nothing else on him (no flea "dirt" and nothing dropped off of him) as I was brushing him after I found 1 live flea on him. I removed it and killed it. I then took to action with my house. I washed all his bedding in hot water and very dry heat and then I vacuumed the floor (mostly hardwood, 1-2 rugs) and then steam cleaned the floors as well. I made a solution of vinegar, water, and peppermint oil and sprayed down my couches (leather), the floors, areas where my dog hangs out. I have since taken him outside to brush him again with a regular brush and a flea comb and I have seen nothing else on him.

    I will continue to clean the same way as stated above for the next few days (daily) and then switch to every other day. I also plan on bathing my dog every other day as well including the combing.

    Are there any other tips on what I should do? I am in a tizzy over this and I am freaking out! I hate this!!!!

    1 reply

    DO NOT BATHE YOUR DOG EVERY OTHER DAY. Get flea treatment, but it is extremely damaging to dog's skin to be bathed this frequently. Get a topical/oral flea treatment, and use one round of flea shampoo if you must.

    I have tried multiple different kinds of flea drops, baths etc. Went to the vet and they recommended Bravecto for dogs. Its 1 pill that lasts 3 months ($45). I havent seen one flea on either dog since I started. Now I am trying to tackle my 2 cats which have been living in the basement because of the fleas. I didnt want them to come up and have my kids bit by fleas. This past weekend my husband and I bombed the basement and while the cats were outside we gave them Capstar & Activile drops. Then the next day we bombed the basement again. We are really trying to get rid of the annoying / nasty fleas. Plan on using bleach and water tonight to clean the floors. I cant say for sure if the Activile works for cats but I know for a fact that the Bravecto works for dogs. Keeping my fingers crossed!! Good Luck All!!!!

    1 reply

    I found around 10 fleas in my bedroom in just under five minuets the other day so I went in another room for the night, went in to my old room the next day and saw at least 30 odd scattered on the floor.

    Having the same problem as others: have never had fleas in 10 yrs, but have been combating them for over three weeks now; 4 dogs, 1 cat and now baby kitten. Have washed and washed and vacuumed and vacuumed and vacuumed. Sprayed with apple cider vinegar, while funds were soo low. Used salt, left it down for three days, will do again. Finally was able to purchase some spray to treat the ground. Used Bugs B Gone liquid where you just attach the hose to the bottle. Sprayed the dog area and ground around the house. I believe that is starting a healing process now. Still gotta bathe all four dogs again for the 4th time, bathe the kitten, and not sure about older cat..... Having ear mites too and raw red skin from hot spots on the dogs. Not to mention being grossed out by the critters. But for me, treating the ground, and will move forward from there. Praying I can afford vet meds for it, even tho I dont like using them. Over it...

    1 reply

    Hey, this year was crazy for fleas. Make sure grass outside is cut short, treat if you can. I just gave our cat a bath with gain dishsoap and vinegar. I used a sponge with dishsoap on his face first to keep his face from being swarmed. It actually worked!!!! I tried everything else, including flea dip, nothing phased these guys! Only one flea was still moving and this poor guy was getting really sick. Took him outside and used a dollar fifty flea comb from walmart, which is how found that one left. I also read that the need to be dried out, the fleas that is. I put whatever i could on the floors, as in baking soda and salt, it is actually working! They were bad here due to heat and humidity. I tried every product, bug bombs, carpet powder, everything. This is what worked, i just had to share, from one fed up host to another. Our cat is happy now and so are our ankles. Gotta try this guys!!!!

    I've had good success with the following:

    - Throw any infested rugs, bedding, clothes, etc. into the dryer for 15 minutes at normal or high temperature. This kills any fleas hanging around.

    - Vacuum everything else including furniture.

    - Spray yourself with Wondercide Flea and Tick spray. It's organic and safe, and fleas hate it. (I do not sell this product or work for this company. I just love their spray.)

    1 reply

    I use the Wondercide line of products and love them! ! !

    Dusting the carpet & furniture with a 50lb bag of DE from pool store (much, much cheaper if you have one) using the light with Joy brand dish soap at night, mixing 1/8 cup Ivory liquid with 3 tsp peppermint oil, 10-15 drops tea tree oil in a quart of water in a spay bottle for you mist legs and shoes (not dress shoes though) when you walk in, plus the pets, after giving capstar. Water your yard with Adams flea yard spray 2x a month alternate with the mint tea treeoil mixture every other week yard sprayer dependson size we have 1/2 acre and use 16 oz soap grind 1lb of mint leaves soaked in 750ml of cheap vodka for couple weeks add 16oz of the vodka juice to the yard sprayer attach to hose. In our crawlspace March, June, & September we use raid brand fumigator it's a chemical smoke keeps Palmetto bugs away also.

    Vacum the house of the D.E. after you have swept it in, dispose of the bag or the canister contents in a sealed plastic bag daily for a week.

    Make sure you bathe your dogs & cats in the soap mix you spray on legs, and use ear cleaner i.e. rubbing alcohol & vinegar few drops in the ears massage & use a tissue to wipe them out fleas love to hide in the ears both pets & humans. We live in SC at the beach, does not get cold enough for them to hibernate so its a year round battle. Until all these super topicals came out keeping mint & pennyroal growing by the door, vacuming and regular baths worked. Now they are immune to most things. This is the only regimen I have found to work. Also use a commercial steamer twice a year on our bed as they even got through bed bug proof sealing.

    When we lived in the country guineau fowl would actually keep the yard clear of all bugs including fleas, if your in the country great way to get rid of them. Most of these will work on bed bugs also, just add double tea tree oil and use commercial steam heat. It takes 122°f to kill bed bugs, fleas 135°f based on what the exterminator we hired to clear a hotel we manage informed us. The chemicals are becoming ineffective. Things like the above are still working


    2 years ago

    Try running your vacuum on the bare floor setting. I have been battling my first real flea infestation with diatomaceous earth, soapy water traps, and vacuuming. Suddenly in the last two days I noticed a dramatic decrease in fleas and the only thing I changed is the necessity to use the bare floor setting because the vacuum broke. I suppose it's possible they're just dying from lack of food because we barely go in that room anymore, but that situation has existed for a while and this is a sudden change at exactly the same time as I changed my vacuuming habits.

    When I had fleas, I found all sorts of great tips like these. I tried a heck of a lot of them. Flea baths for my pets. Vacuuming. Combing my pets several times a day. Diatomaceous earth all over. Boric acid all over. This is all child's play.

    There is a readily available short-acting medication that instantly kills every flea on your pet. And there's another longer-acting medication that makes fleas sterile when they feed on your pet. Between the two, a massive flea problem can be eliminated in a few days. Don't quarantine your pets. They are the source of the fleas, and they're also the key to elimination of these pests. Turn them into walking flea death.

    1 reply

    What is the medication, I like your idea