9 Essential Oils that Kill and Repel Fleas

Using Essential Oils to Kill Fleas

Anyone that has fur babies has more than likely had to figure out how to deal with the nightmare that is fleas at one point or another.

Sometimes it can feel impossible to find a good way to not only keep fleas off of your dog but also repel and kill fleas inside your home and in your yard as well.

People are left between the choices of shelling out their money to expose their home, human family members, and pets to harmful chemicals or seeking out more natural ways to eliminate fleas.

Lately more people have been discovering that essential oils have a great many uses beyond covering the scent of dog farts and beefy breath in your home. Many have been found to repel fleas, and some even kill the irritating little critters.

Essential OilsKillsRepelsHow to Use 
PennyroyalNoYesNot on human or pet skin. Use as a sprayBuy Now
CedarwoodYesYesDilute with coconut oil on dog's skin, in a diffuser, or as a sprayBuy Now
LavenderNoYesRub directly on dog's skinBuy Now
Lemon/LemongrassNoYesAs a spray, do not use directly on pet's skinBuy Now
PeppermintNoYesAs a spray, diluted with coconut oil directly on dog's skin (large breed only)Buy Now
RosemaryNoYesOnly for use with dogs. Dilute and use with bathBuy Now
CloveYesYesAdd to bedding or collar. Do not use with catsBuy Now
BasilNoYesAs a sprayBuy Now
ThymeYesYesAs a sprayBuy Now

Benefits of Using Essential Oils to Repel Fleas Over Flea Medications

vials for essential oils that can get rid of fleasMany people decide to use essential oils over medication to help get rid of fleas because the oils are natural and aren’t harmful to your dog or your human family members when used correctly.

Medications can be a good way to kill fleas, but sometimes with prolonged or incorrect use, they can cause medical issues ranging from skin irritations to vomiting and even respiratory problems. Not to mention it can sometimes be hard to get your dog to take a pill.

After a while of using the same medication, the fleas may become immune to them.

Even when used correctly, the flea medication, collars, etc. can have harmful effects on people, especially kids[1].  The topical medications are exposed so it can get on their hands and spread throughout your house and ingested.

Most small children can’t seem to stop putting their hands in their mouths, so this is especially dangerous for those kiddos.

C’mon.  You know if your kid is a thumb sucker.

Essential oils repel fleas, but they can also help with inflammation and scratching[2] that go along with the jumpers. Many essential oils have antiseptic properties that can help heal the bites from the fleas as well as sores and skin irritation caused from scratching.

Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed can also help reduce these problems.

Dangers Associated with Essential Oils

While essential oils are a great natural way to get rid of fleas, there are some oils shouldn’t be used on small dogs or on cats[3].  Make sure look into each individual oil before you use it on or around your pets.

Also do not use undiluted oils on your pet or yourself.  It can be dangerous to expose your dog to anything more than marginal amounts essential oils.

Use a carrier oil to blend your essential oils[4] before application.  Carrier Oils Include:

  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Jojoba Oil

  • Sweet Almond Oil
  • Castor Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil

Some oils, such as such as pennyroyal oil, can be toxic if used on your skin or your pet. Some oils can cause sun sensitivity and some react badly when combined with other medications.  Anyone who is pregnant should also use caution when handling essential oils.

Always do your homework and research which oils are safe[5] and which ones could potentially pose hazards.

Essential Oils That Repel Fleas

pennyroyal essential oil as a flea repellantPennyroyal Essential Oil

Pennyroyal oil, from a plant that is a member of the mint family, is one of the oldest known remedies for fleas. It works best as a repellant for use around the home.

This oil is one that is not recommended for use directly on human or pet skin as it can have toxic effects.

Using the herb in dried form can also help with keeping fleas away from your home.

Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood Oil Eliminates FleasThis one is not only good for repelling fleas but it also kills them[6].

This is another oil that you shouldn’t put directly on your pet’s skin undiluted. Instead, try adding it to some coconut oil before application.

Cedarwood oil can be used in diffusers in your home and as a spray for your yard.

Not all Cedarwood oils can be used on your pets.  Some of the natural ingredients in certain cedar oils pose hazards, so make sure to look for cedar oils sourced from Texas Red Cedar and Eastern Red Cedar.

Cedarwood Oil Eliminates FleasLavender Essential Oil

One of my favorite scents is lavender, so I was thrilled to discover it also acts as a flea repellent!

It can be diluted and rubbed directly on your dog’s skin to help repel fleas and soothe irritation from flea bites.

It can be planted as a beautiful, fragrant, flea-repelling part of your landscape to keep fleas at bay in and around your lawn.

The only downfall is that it won’t actually kill fleas. It only serves as a repellent.

Lemon and Lemongrass Essential Oils

Lemon essential oils keep fleas awayThese two oils smell similar but vary greatly in their source, chemical make up, and properties. Both are good for repelling fleas.

Lemon and lemongrass essential oils are very popular for use as a flea repellent because their scent is pleasant.

Making a spray with these oils and using it around your house will make your house smell like you just cleaned instead of attempted to ward off a flea infestation.

These oils should not be used directly on cats, but may be used on their beds and towers.

And as with the lavender oil, it doesn’t actually kill fleas, only repels them.

Peppermint essential oil is a natural flea repellantPeppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint is a great oil to help repel fleas that also smells great!

You can make a spray by diluting the peppermint oil with apple cider vinegar and water to use around your house and even directly on your dog.

Keep in mind that peppermint oil shouldn’t be used on your cats.

Putting the oil on your dog’s skin in a mixture with some coconut oil can soothe the irritation, but only use it with larger breeds.

Rosemary Essential Oil Eliminates FleasRosemary Essential Oil

Dog owners only, because rosemary oil can be toxic to cats. It is helpful in repelling fleas though.

It has antiseptic properties and is great to use as a rinse after giving your dog a bath.

Mix the oil with a little apple cider vinegar and water as your pup’s final rinse to help keep fleas at bay.

Clove Oil protects against FleasClove Essential Oil

Clove oil is another helpful insecticide in your arsenal against fleas.

This oil can be added to your laundry when you wash your dog’s bedding.

It’s also a good oil to add to your dog’s collar.

A warning, however, cats and clove oil do not mix.

Basil essential oil repels fleas and mosquitoesBasil Essential Oil

Basil essential oil contains compounds that repel annoying pests like fleas and mosquitoes.

Not only is basil essential oil is a natural repellent, but the basil plant is as well. It not only adds beauty to your landscape, but will also help repel fleas.

It’s also a great addition to pizza. And let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good pesto?

Thyme Essential Oil

Essential Oil of Thyme repels fleasThyme essential oil is a great pesticide, but it is also a fungicide and bactericide.

Using thyme oil will kill fleas and keep your dog and your home protected from an infestation.

This is another great plant to add to your herb garden to help repel fleas in your yard.

Ways to Use Essential Oils as Flea Repellent

Essential oils can be use in many different ways as a flea repellent.  The best method depends on the type of oil you choose to use, as well as the strength of the essential oil.

  1. Some essential oils can be diluted and applied directly on the skin to repel fleas and to soothe your dog’s skin.
  2. Then there are essential oils that you shouldn’t put directly on your pet but instead sprinkle on their dog bed, dog house, and around other areas of your home to help repel fleas.
  3. Other essential oils (like lavender or cedar oil) can be mixed into a spray bottle with apple cider vinegar and water and applied to your dog’s bed, crate, dog house, and your rugs and upholstered furniture.
  4. Some oils can be blended into a base such as coconut oil so that you can apply them on your dog.
  5. Before brushing, dip your dog’s brush into a solution of essential oil mixed into water. Cedar oil is great for this.using essential oils to protect your dogs from fleas and ticks
  6. You can sock your dog’s collar (literally use a sock; cut a hole in the toe and slip it over the length of your dog’s collar) and add a few drops to the cloth to make a DIY flea collar with essential oils to help repel the fleas. Another method to achieve the same results is to use a bandana for this purpose if your dog wants to be flea free AND adorable.

Final Thoughts on Using Essential Oils Against Fleas

Essential oils are a great way to help repel fleas from your pet as well as your home, but as is always my advice, speak to your vet before you try anything new with your pet.

Using essential oils may not always be enough to get rid of fleas by themselves. They are oils, not magical potions.

You’ll still need to put in the work and make sure to wash anything where your pet has been sleeping like rugs, upholstered furniture, and washable pet beds. You may have to go through more than one life cycle of fleas to take care of all the pests.

Repeated exposure to essential oils is a lot healthier, not to mention more pleasant, an option than repeated exposure to dangerous and toxic chemicals.  Essential oils are a safer choice for you, your pet, and your home to kill and repel fleas.


  1. https://www.nrdc.org/media/2000/001101
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319775.php
  3. https://www.foundanimals.org/essential-oils-toxic-pets/
  4. https://www.auracacia.com/community/essential-oil/blending-and-diluting
  5. http://info.achs.edu/blog/aromatherapy-essential-oil-dangers-and-safety
  6. https://www3.epa.gov/pesticides/chem_search/reg_actions/reregistration/fs_PC-040505_1-Sep-93.pdf
Using Essential Oils to Kill Fleas
About the author

Jennifer Marshall

Jennifer is the proud pet parent of three plucky pound puppy pals. She also loves alliteration. When she's not cheering on her beloved Vikings, you can usually find her at the dog park or on the back porch unsuccessfully playing fetch with her mutts. You can follow her on Pinterest