A dog scratches fleas

How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally

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Struggling to get rid of fleas without harsh chemicals? Fleas are a common problem that can cause discomfort for both pets and their owners. But there are ways you can get rid of them naturally.

I use these steps with my dogs, because they always seem to pick up fleas when we go camping. They passed them onto me once, and after that I learned quickly how to protect them — and myself. Now you’ll know our secrets, too.

Step 1: Isolate your pet

Isolating your pet while cleaning your home is crucial when it comes to getting rid of fleas naturally. Fleas can quickly jump from your pet to carpets, furniture, and other areas of your home, leading to a wider infestation. By isolating your pet in a crate or kennel, you can prevent fleas from spreading to other parts of your home while you clean.

Step 2: Wash your pet’s bedding

To remove fleas from your pet’s bedding and blankets, launder them in your washing machine using the hottest and longest setting. Add 2 cups of white vinegar and your usual detergent, but don’t use fabric softener as it can keep flea eggs stuck to the fabric.

Dry them on the hottest setting. If you can’t machine wash and tumble dry your pet’s bedding, it needs to be thrown out. Hand-washing and line-drying are not hot enough temperatures to kill fleas and their eggs.

Step 3: Clean your own bedding

To get rid of fleas and flea eggs that may be in your bed, it’s important to clean your bedding, even if your pet doesn’t sleep there.

Remove all sheets, blankets, pads and bedspreads and wash them in the hottest setting allowed on the care label. While your bed is bare, clean your mattress thoroughly. Wash your pillows too.

Step 4: Vacuum all floors and upholstery

Vacuuming is crucial to effectively remove fleas from nonwashable upholstery, furniture, and carpets. For furniture, use the vacuum’s crevice attachment in gaps where the back and sides meet the seating platform. Then use the upholstery attachment to clean all sides of the cushion, couch, and chairs.

For floors, use the crevice attachment around the base of walls. Vacuum properly in overlapping strokes until you’ve finished the room, turning and repeating at a right angle. Move furniture to clean the floor beneath it.

For even better results, sprinkle diatomaceous earth on upholstery and carpets, wait several hours, and then vacuum it up. Diatomaceous earth dehydrates and breaks down fleas at all stages of their life cycle, which makes them easier to remove. Be sure to clean your vacuum thoroughly after using it to prevent reinfestation.

Step 5: Use a homemade natural flea spray

To effectively get rid of fleas naturally, using this homemade flea spray along with the other methods can be highly effective. For best results, use the spray daily on soft surfaces throughout your home for two weeks.

However, it’s important to avoid using it on non-washable fabrics such as silk or suede. If there is any uncertainty about a fabric, conduct a spot test in an inconspicuous area first.

DIY Flea Spray Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup table salt
  • 5 drops each rosemary and lavender essential oils

Directions

  1. Add the ingredients to a spray bottle and shake until the salt dissolves. Then add the essential oils.
  2. Shake well and spray on carpets, sofas, and other soft surfaces daily.
  3. Store any unused portion in a cool, dark spot.

Step 6: Use homemade flea shampoo

In natural flea removal, it’s essential to get rid of fleas on your pet. Before releasing your dog or cat from isolation, use a homemade flea shampoo to treat them. After they’re dry, use a flea comb and ongoing flea treatments to keep them itch-free. Repeat this process every two weeks.

Homemade Flea Shampoo

  • 7 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup Castile soap
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Combine 4 cups of water with the Castile soap and add the lavender oil. Use this mixture to bathe your pet instead of their usual shampoo. Rinse your pet thoroughly.

Combine 3 cups of water and the apple cider vinegar. Rub this into your pet’s hair, avoiding their nose and eyes. Do not rinse.

After your pet is dry, comb their hair outdoors using a fine-toothed flea comb to remove fleas and flea eggs. Dip the comb into a bowl of water to dislodge fleas and eggs as you comb. Once you’ve finished, pour the contents of a bowl into a plastic bag, knot it tightly, and throw it away. Do not carry it back into your home or dump it outdoors, or surviving fleas may reinfest your home.

Be Patient

Natural flea removal methods take longer than chemical efforts like flea fogging and pesticides. Since flea eggs can hatch over several weeks, you must continue your flea control efforts should for at least two weeks.

This includes bathing and using a flea comb on your pet once a week for two weeks. Skipping steps or giving up too soon can cause re-infestation, so be patient and consistent for best results.

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14 Comments

  1. When our cats brought a flea colony into our house last year (no more outside for you!), the DE worked perfectly, even on the cats. If I’d the recipe for the spray you mentioned, I might have tried spraying around the house with that, too.

    Now, does anyone want to buy about 9 1/2 lbs of diatomaceous earth?

    1. Vanessa Hendrickson says:

      I know this is an old post but I wish I could. All I can find around here is the stuff for pools. Not food grade.

  2. I have found that the best method for getting rid of fleas, eggs and larvae from carpets and furnishing is to spray the whole area from about 12″ (30cm) away with Raid fly spray — the blue can. Try not to breathe in too much while doing this and then just shut the door on the room for 1/2 an hour. It works far better than any commercial flea spray, even the flea bombs.

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I would never feel comfortable recommending to people — especially those with children or pets — to use a product that requires a disclaimer of “try not to breathe in too much.”

    2. But the poison is left on the soft (and hard) surfaces, later being exposed to pets and humans, these poisons are easily absorbed externally, lotions, soaps (laundry too!), sprays, perfume, pesticides, and various pollutants all can be absorbed by our largest organ (skin)

  3. Check out local feed stores (cow, chicken, horse feed) my local one carried food grade DE for cows so I buy it there

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Great point! Our local Tractor Supply Co. has it, too.

  4. I have newborn baby kittens, about 4 weeks old that have fleas, are the essential oils and DE safe to use on them since they are so young? And what about thier momma, since they are still breastfeeding?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Timber,
      I’m not a vet, so I don’t know the actual effects on newborn kittens or breastfeeding mama cats. I’d recommend contacting a local veterinarian or animal shelter for their professional opinion.

    2. Dawn dishwashing liquid works great. It kills the fleas and ticks, and also acts as a conditioner for the fur and also helps dry skin. I use it regularly on my oldest cat who is now 24 years old, and it really helps her. I’ve also heard it works on dogs, too.

  5. I needed some bug/flea repellent and didn’t have any commercial product on hand so I sprayed this mixture on myself. It works great! I will be making more of this to have on hand.

  6. Kay Houston says:

    I bought the flea medicine that you put on their Shoulder blade all the way down to the end to where a tale is and that didn’t work I paid $29:99 for three two for the dogs and one for my cat I even used a flea Comb and got some eggs off my cat and some flea to I have used everything nothing seems to work put some water a lid and they sure do die in that baking soda and salt doesn’t work I am going to put a hot shot fogger in this back room and let it do it’s job I have a small rug

  7. I am allergic to lavender so is there a different essential oil I can use?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      You can omit the lavender and instead use just rosemary essential oil.

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