13 Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Fleas in Your House

Natural Home Remedies to Get Rid of Fleas in Your House
Last week I was having lunch with a couple of friends, Mandi and Lisa.

Of course, the topic of dogs came up, specifically regarding an article I wrote about flea treatments.

Mandi and Lisa both prefer using natural home remedies whenever possible, so they were asking about natural flea treatments.

Unfortunately, Lisa had her dog at the dog park and, though she uses a preventative, was concerned about fleas. (Apparently, there was a recent flea issue with some of the dogs that play at the park.)

Though preventatives work great, dogs can still carry fleas into the house before the preventative has a chance to kick in.

Thankfully, Bolt hasn’t shown any signs of fleas. However, Lisa was curious about what she could do to proactively to prevent fleas from taking up residence in her home.

I said that I used a combination of natural and traditional flea preventatives.

I use both oral and topical flea preventatives on our dogs, though not on the same dog.

Also, I  use natural preventatives in and outside of our home.

I’ve broken up the home remedies below into two categories: The first category is for treatments that kill fleas and the second category is solutions for preventing insects.

Though I have researched many of these remedies, I have not tried them all.

As I repeatedly state, and I’m sure you’re sick of reading, always check things out with your vet first.

Even natural home remedies can interact poorly with certain medications or health issues.

Home Remedies to Kill Fleas

salt desiccant hydroscopic insecticide dehydrates fleas kills adults

Salt

Salt kills adult fleas by penetrating a flea’s exoskeleton and dehydrating the flea to death[1].

Salt will work on adult fleas as well as their eggs and larvae

How to Use

Sprinkle salt on the carpet; fine salt works best.

Next, let the salt sit for 12-48 hours.

Finally, vacuum the salted area and dump the vacuumed contents directly into an outdoor garbage.

Tips/Caution

Do not allow children or pets to walk on the salted carpet.

Also, be sure to salt and vacuum near the baseboards where fleas particularly like to live.

Arm & Hammer pure baking soda kills fleas how to apply directly to carpetBaking Soda

Baking soda works similar to salt.

It kills fleas at all life stages through dehydration.

How to Use

Sprinkle baking soda on carpet, then using a brush gently work the baking powder down into the carpet[2].

Because baking powder is naturally fine-grained, it will sit on top of the carpet fibers if not properly worked into the fibers.

Let the baking soda sit for 12-48 hours.

Finally, vacuum the area that has baking soda on it and dump the vacuumed contents directly into an outdoor garbage.

Tips/Caution

Do not allow children or pets to walk on the baking soda area of the carpet.

Additionally, be sure to use the baking soda near the baseboards where fleas are often found.

Finally, salt and baking soda can be used together:

First, apply the baking soda and work that in. Next, sprinkle the salt, creating a layered effect.

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

Harris diatomaceous earth ground silicon food grade natural flea killing treatmentDiatomaceous earth is a powder-like substance that was initially fossilized algae, or diatoms[3].

Diatomaceous earth has teeny tiny sharp-edged flakes that cut the exoskeleton of the fleas.

In addition to its cutting abilities, diatomaceous earth also dries the fleas out.

How to Use

Just like salt and baking soda, sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the affected areas.

Allow it to sit overnight.

Next, vacuum the area where you used the diatomaceous earth.

Tips/Caution

Using human grade diatomaceous earth is an absolute must; using a lower grade powder can be hazardous to you and your pets.

Also, just like with the salt, it is best to leave the area undisturbed after applying the diatomaceous earth to the carpet.

Product Recommendation

Hoover Power Scrub deluxe carpet steam cleaning machine vacuumSteam Vacuum

Steam vacuuming accomplishes two things.

First, it kills the fleas, larvae, and eggs; then it cleans up the mess.

Because steam is hotter than 100 F, it is hot enough to kill the fleas[4].

Steam vacuuming is an excellent way to kill fleas without the use of chemicals.

How to Use

Steam vacuum all flooring surfaces, couches and chairs, and dog beds.

Empty the vacuum outside when done.

Tips/Caution

Be sure to pay extra attention to the baseboard areas and other crevices.

Steam vacuuming is also an excellent maintenance method to prevent future flea outbreaks

Product Recommendation

Hoover Power Scrub Carpet Cleaner Machine – I like this one because of the attachments that are good for furniture and crevices.

Dish Soap Flea Trap with Battery Operated Tea Light

dawn dish soap flea trap with battery operated tea light attracts drowns pests

Like this except with a floating light in the middle.
Photo by AngryJulieMonday (CC BY 2.0)

Dish soap flea traps are simple, easy, and non-toxic.

The fleas are drawn to the light, and when they move towards it, they land in the soapy water.

The soap in the water traps them, and ultimately the flea ends up drowning.

How to Use

Use a wide mouth shallow bowl; a pie tin works great.

Put water and dish soap in the pie tin.

Next, place a small ramekin upside down in the middle of the plate. The smaller, the better.

Finally, turn on the battery-operated tea tree light and place it on top of the ramekin. Be sure it is not touching the water.

Tips/Caution

Soap traps are best used in the evening.

Also, keep in mind the area of effect is limited to the area you set it up in, so it is best to set up multiple soap stations.

Dawn dish soap is said to work best.

Also, it is vital to note that this will only kill adult fleas and will not kill larvae or eggs.

Launder dog bed couch covers blankets hot cycle washing drying machine control infestationLaundry

Washing bed linens and your pet’s linens is an excellent and safe way to kill fleas.

The water will drown the fleas, and if anything survived the wash, the dryer set to high heat would destroy what’s left.

How to Use

Wash all bed linens, especially and dog bed covers.

If you have any furniture covers or seat covers in your car that your pooch uses, toss those into the laundry too.

Tips/Caution

Be sure to use hot water and the high heat setting for the dryer.

Like steam vacuuming, this is an excellent way to prevent future flea infestations.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I have read on numerous websites that apple cider vinegar (ACV) can be used in a spray form to kill fleas.

Also, ACV, when diluted and given orally to your dog, can act as a flea preventative.

But, is this true?

Is it safe to use apple cider vinegar to prevent control fleas on dogsCaution

Dr. Hanie Elfenbein states that an ACV spray will not kill fleas at any stage nor will the consumption of ACV by your dog prevent fleas[5].

Instead of ACV being helpful to your dog, it can cause harm.

ACV can cause skin irritation, break down tooth enamel, and can cause damage to your dog’s throat and stomach when ingested.

Dr. Cailin Heinze said that small amounts well diluted ACV would likely not cause harm to healthy dogs[6].

However, large quantities and ACV that is not diluted has the potential to cause significant health issues.

Dr. Heinze further states that there is no scientific data that shows there are any health benefits to dogs when given ACV.

Note

Based on what I read from veterinarians, I don’t feel that this is a good option. I have included it here because it is frequently toted as a good solution for fleas.  I am not comfortable with this method and would suggest you use caution and consult your vet before trying ACV for fleas.

Flea Bath

Flea bath drown fleas ticks pet friendly safe for dogs how to batheSimply bathing your dog is enough to get the fleas off and drown them.

It is like a giant soap bowl method!

Regular dog shampoo will work, so there is no need to use a special flea shampoo.

Also, as a bonus, your pup will smell great!

How to Use

Bathe your dog as usual, but let the soap stay on a few minutes longer than usual.

Also, giving your pooch a good, but gentle, scrub will help loosen flea eggs and larvae.

Tips/Caution

After the bath, you can use a flea comb to help remove and stubborn fleas and flea droppings.

Plus, this is another method you can use to help prevent fleas from taking up residence on your dog.

Product Recommendation

Fun Fact

Fleas can stop their growth cycle in the larvae stage during less optimal temperatures[7]. So, even if you think that your house is flea-free, you may have some dormant flea larvae lurking in your home. This is why maintenance is so critical.

Home Remedies to Prevent Fleas

vacuum cleaner constant cleaning help prevent flea egg infestation in your houseVacuuming

Fleas can enter your home by taking a free ride on your clothes or in your dog’s fur.

After they get into your home, they can drop off anywhere and start to take up residence.

Vacuuming will aid in keeping them from being able to take root your home.

How to Use

Vacuum weekly, if not more frequently.

Remember to vacuum dog beds and furniture!

Tips/Caution

Empty the contents of the vacuum directly outside.

Fleas can die when vacuumed up, but those that survived the ride will crawl out of the trash.

So, if you empty your trash outside you don’t have to worry about them coming back into your home.

Essential Oils

Essential oils mixed up in a spray bottle can be sprayed on your dog and/or on furniture and carpet as a flea deterrent.

How to UseNOW essential oils dilute spray thyme kill fleas in house home on dog bed

Essential oils that are suitable for preventing fleas are pennyroyal, cedarwood, lemon, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary, clove, basil, and thyme.

Mix 6-7 drops, of any of the above oils into a spray bottle with water.

This spray can be used on beds and furniture.

A combination of the oils listed above would also work.

You can dilute cedarwood, lavender, basil, or thyme to use directly on your dog.

The different oils require different application methods. Check out our article “Using Essential Oils to Kill Fleas” for the proper application techniques.

Tips/Caution

When mixing essential oils, it is best to use dark glass containers to ensure the integrity of the mixture is kept intact over time.

If you have cats, be sure to check if the oils you are using are safe for use around them.

Not all oils are safe to use near or on cats.

It is critical to use caution when working with essential oils since some oils are toxic to dogs and cats when consumed or inhaled[8].

Also, some oils may cause skin irritations, so it is vital you use oils as directed to avoid health issues for your dog.

If you are ever in doubt, contact your vet before using the oil in question.

Product Recommendations

For sprays, I use the NOW brand, and for topical treatments, I use the Living Young brand.

  • Pennyroyal
  • Cedarwood
  • Lemon

  • Lemongrass
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary

  • Clove
  • Basil
  • Thyme

  • Plant Plants

    Starting with outdoor prevention is key to ensuring a flea-free environment.

    Using certain outdoor plants is a great and safe way to discourage fleas from residing in your yard.

    How to Use

    keep fleas away with plants catnip mint rosemary sage herb garden

    As a bonus, many of these flea-repelling plants are great herbs and spices for your kitchen!

    There are several plants, many of them decorative flowers, that can be planted in gardens or pots in and around the yard to help keep fleas away.

    Some excellent dog-safe plant choices are[9]:

    • Catnip
    • Chamomile
    • Lavender
    • Mint
    • Lemongrass
    • Rosemary
    • Sage

    Tips/Caution

    There are other plants available that help keep fleas away, just be sure you are using pet-safe plants.

    The ASPCA has a comprehensive list of poisonous plants you can cross-check before planting[10].

    Sulfur

    Sulfur kills fleas on contact but shouldn’t be used where your pet roams[11].

    How to Use

    Sprinkle sulfur outdoors on bushes, grass, woodpiles, and anywhere else fleas are attracted to, such as damp, dark areas.

    Tips/Cautionsulfur powder in yard control fleas safe toxic poisonous to dogs cats how to use

    Only use sulfur in areas dogs, and cats cannot access.

    We have a fenced-in backyard, so we only use this in the front yard.

    Sulfur is poisonous to dogs and cats when consumed[12]!

    Looking for other methods you can use to keep fleas out of your yard? Check out this article and look no further!

    Cleaning

    Keeping to a strict cleaning routine is the best flea preventative.

    How to Use

    Steam vacuuming, laundering all dog linens and bed linens, and using essential oil flea sprays is the best way to prevent fleas from taking up residence in your home.

    Tips/Caution

    You don’t need to steam vacuum weekly, but making it a monthly habit will help tremendously.

    Final Thoughts

    Though I love natural home remedies, safety has to come first.

    It’s hard to know which is worse between using artificial chemicals or natural treatments that have the potential to cause harm.

    As dog parents, we turn to natural solutions with the hope of providing safer care for our cherished canines.

    However, there are times these remedies can be more potentially harmful than traditional medicines.

    Not all-natural home remedies are bad, and not all traditional medicines are good.

    But it is imperative as dog parents we take the time to research these natural remedies to guarantee we are giving the safest and best care possible.

    Resources

    1. https://www.reference.com/pets-animals/table-salt-kill-fleas-5408fb55a03d7c6b
    2.  https://www.thebugsquad.com/fleas/baking-soda-fleas/
    3.  http://npic.orst.edu/factsheets/degen.html
    4.  https://fleascience.com/flea-encyclopedia/life-cycle-of-fleas/adult-fleas/how-to-kill-fleas/does-steam-cleaning-kill-fleas/
    5.  https://www.petmd.com/parasites/apple-cider-vinegar-for-fleas
    6.  https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/can-pets-have-apple-cider-vinegar
    7.  https://www.petmd.com/dog/parasites/evr_multi_understanding_the_flea_life_cycle
    8.  http://www.mpcoftexas.com/public/Five_Essential_Oils_You_Want_To_Avoid_In_Pets.cfm
    9.  https://www.canidae.com/blog/2011/04/garden-plants-that-help-fight-fleas-naturally/
    10.  https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants
    11.  https://www.quora.com/How-does-sulfur-effect-fleas
    12. https://www.justanswer.com/dog-health/6hr6s-sulphur-granules-used-lawns-poisonous-dog.html
    About the author

    Jessica Mabie

    Jessica and her husband share their lives with four amazing high energy Brittanys and one very awesome cat. You’ll rarely see her without her 4 pack, they go everywhere with her, including most vacations. So, if you see her out and about with her family don’t hesitate to say “Hi!”, (You’ll know it’s her since few are so daring as to have 4 Britts).