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How To Kill Fleas In The House...

"Your Guide To Getting Rid Of Fleas!"

Often, people won't speak of finding fleas in the house, but virtually every pet owner has been through this at some point.

Welcome to this second page in our special flea series. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend the previous article, Top 8 Facts as well. The 8 facts are keys we used to kill the fleas in our home.

These pests can affect any breed. No matter what kind of pet you have, the info here is for you. If you currently have no pets, but for some reason there are fleas in the house, we'll discuss some tips and techniques for your situation, too.

Fleas are horrible little home invaders. When there are fleas on cats or dogs, they are in the home, too.

fleas in the house

This page is all about:

  • What fleas look like
  • How to get rid of fleas in a house
  • Find out the best natural flea killers
  • Tips and techniques to kill these buggers for good

In The Beginning:

At first, you see one flea and hope there aren't too many more. Maybe you take some measures, and then Wham! They are everywhere! In the carpets, the furniture, all over the pets, even you. You have fleas in the house. It's terrible. You think, "How did I let this happen?" And then, "Why do they keep coming, no matter what I do?"

We got rid of fleas in the house, and so will you: You start looking for natural flea killers, all the best flea killers, you wonder if your pet needs Frontline, Advantage, or something else.

Then there are all the pet flea products. Do they really work? Is there a magic formula for success? We had quite a battle, we learned a lot, and I'm going to share it all with you!

Fleas are insidious little creatures. They make themselves at home in your home before you even know they are there. Finding fleas in your home can cause an immediate sense of worry and panic.


Here, we'll lay out a game plan.

The key to getting rid of fleas is to act quickly and proactively. Waiting even a day before waging war can mean extra weeks of battling them.

Step One: Confirm The Presence Of Fleas -
"What Do Fleas Look Like?"

You suspect that there are fleas in the house. Your first clue may be an itching pet, seeing some "flea dirt" or finding an actual flea in the house. This is the day to take action.

Flea Dirt: This is actually flea droppings. It looks like tiny black specks. If you run a flea comb through your pet and see it, there likely are fleas nearby. To make sure it is flea droppings, wet it. It is actually dried blood (flea food) and will turn reddish.

What do fleas look like? They look like tiny black specks. When they are first hatched they are smaller and darker. They are also more active. This is because they need to feed. An older flea or one who has fed is a bit "fatter" and has a brownish body.

what do fleas look like

They do not look like little black flies. They are dark, shiny, and have a trademark jump. They can walk on your pet, but usually you'll see them jump.

They jump high and fast, often disappearing before you have a chance to grab one.

They rarely stay in one spot long enough for you to lean in and look closely, trying to see exactly what it is.

It usually goes something like this: You will see a small black dot. You wonder what it is - a crumb, some lint hopefully. Then it vanishes in the blink of an eye. That's when you know for sure. It's always a good idea to try to see where it landed and kill it, though this is often impossible.

If you do get one, don't open your fingers to look at it. It'll jump away immediately. Put it in a cup or saucer of soapy water.

Fleas can jump right off the surface of water, but make it soapy and they'll be trapped. (Some people will also crush it between their fingernails.)

Try to capture and kill any flea you see. Letting them go means many more eggs to be laid in the home.

Step Two: Waging war

No doubt about it, this is all-out war. As soon as you see fleas in the house, follow these steps:

1: Treat all your pets

Every pet with fur needs to be treated with a topical flea treatment, such as Frontline or Advantage. If you don't have it in your home, go out and buy it immediately. If your vet is closed, try the local pet stores. Just treat your pets as soon as possible. You can visit our page on Pet Flea Products to compare Frontline and Advantage.

Never, ever try to give your small pet a lower dose of these products, though! Ask your vet about dosages for small pets, such as guinea pigs or rabbits. He or she will likely provide you with a specific, measured dose for your little pets.

If you are a new pet owner, or new to this subject of "topical flea treatment," here is a primer for you. Topical flea treatment refers to a liquid formula that is applied directly to your pets skin. The place to do this is on your pets back, between the shoulder blades. The reason for this location is that pets are less able to lick it off there.

cat scratching at fleas
Cat plagued by fleas in the house

These products are pesticides. It is one of the few occasions where loving pet owners would actually apply a chemical pesticide directly to the skin of their fur-baby. But, in this circumstance it is deemed by many to be the best option.

As with any pesticide, there is a slim chance of individual negative reaction. Because of this, many pet owners choose to take a natural approach, using natural and homemade flea killers. These methods can work. They simply require more persistence and regular application. It may take longer, but for many it is worth the peace of mind that comes with avoiding pesticides. Futher down, we'll go over some of these natural flea remedies for both pet application and for use around the home.

Important Insider Tip: Don't bathe your pet within 48 hours of applying the flea treatment (before or after). The box may say you can bathe your pet as soon as it's dry, but waiting 48 hours is known to ensure its effectiveness.

2: Vacuum To Kill Fleas In A House

Thoroughly vacuum your home immediately. If you have a canister-style vacuum that can get under furniture and in corners, all the better. This can't be stressed enough!

Vacuuming is the single most under-rated and one of the most effective ways to get rid of fleas in house! Take time to cover every inch of your home, every day for a while. If you can, take turns with another family member.

Want to super-charge your vacuuming effort, making it as effective as possible? Sprinkle some of the very popular FleaBusters powder in corners, cracks, and crevices. This highly effective powder destroys fleas by direct contact.

3: Set A Trap To Kill Fleas In A House

Fleas don't spend all their time on pets. They hang out in carpets, furniture, and crevices. At night before bed, set out a tray or saucer of soapy water in a place where you've seen fleas. If the saucer can be white, even better. Place a small lamp or nightlight shining on it. The fleas will be attracted to the warmth and light and jump right in.

4: Vacuum!

5: Bathe your pets

After the 48 hours, give every pet a bath and repeat as necessary. Your pets, even cats, will appreciate feeling fresh and clean (not crawly!) Many people report that Dawn dish soap makes pretty good natural flea killer. It must remain sudsy and on the flea for ten minutes to do its job, before rinsing.

To make the bath many times more effective, use vinegar as well. There are details and instructions in our page all about the ways vinegar kills fleas. It's one of the best natural flea killers around!

Now, I consider myself a natural kind of gal, and I really gave the natural approach a go. The Dawn, in my opinion, didn't work. I left it on for 20 minutes, reapplied, everything. The cats were still riddled with fat, happy fleas.

Adding the vinegar rinse made a big difference (I am quite impressed with it), but this approach really can't touch the effectiveness of actual flea shampoo. That's the way to go. Perhaps a high quality natural flea shampoo is a good choice if you are avoiding the chemicals?

The flea dip is another method. It is not something I recommend. Flea dips are very strong. They would have to be. Just dipping an animal kills the fleas, so imaging the toxicity levels, and amount of chemicals involved. Different dips contain different active ingredients and chemicals, but they have one thing in common: pets have been known to become ill or worse after having a dip absorb into their skin.

There are, however, natural dips available from retailers of natural pet products, so that may be a safer route.

pet flea products

6: The Complete Approach: Killing Fleas In The House With Flea Products

To really get down to business, you'll want to be equipped with flea products. By treating your pets, home and yard together with reliable products, you'll get rid of the pests much more effectively.

There are lots of useful flea products on the market. To see our Top Picks, visit our page on Top Products for Fleas in the House.

When it comes to products, flea bombs are a reliable choice. When bombing, make sure to follow the instructions fully, including vacuuming before. The vacuum will stimulate the pupae to hatch. This is important, as the bomb won't kill fleas in that stage of the flea life cycle. Other popular products include flea shampoos and dips, flea powders, and flea spray.

Natural And Homemade Flea Killers

Natural flea killers can work! Many folks swear by their effectiveness. Here are the top natural flea killers. You can find some of these right in your cupboard:

Vinegar: As discussed above, it is good in a bath. Some like to put it in their dog's drinking water, too. For details on this be sure to visit our page on vinegar and fleas (link below).

20 Mule Team Borax is a product many use in their laundry. It's a white powder, similar to detergent. This powder actually kills fleas. It is used by sprinkling on floors, carpets, and furniture. Leave overnight and vacuum before frequenting the area. It remains in the corners and cracks, exactly where fleas are pupating.

Along the same lines, Fleabusters uses an extremely fine, statically charged Borate powder. It is applied in a similar manner, although you will want to use a mask and goggles during the meticulous application. By following the directions precisely, the powder will remain in many cracks and crevices - killing fleas in a house even if there are no pets in the household!

Lemon is considered a good bath or natural dip ingredient. I have not personally tried this one, but it's said that lemon kills fleas.

A flea comb is non-chemical, so it's a natural and safe way to get rid of fleas! Do not underestimate the power of combing out as many as possible, before they have a chance to reproduce.

Products To Avoid

In addition to those harsh chemical flea dips, we don't recommend flea powder or collars. The powder that is made to be applied directly to a pet is another chemical that will be all over their fur, get shaken off their fur, and end up all over the house! Not to mention being ingested when your pet grooms him or herself! Collars are also falling out of favor. Again, this is a toxic chemical that we are placing close to our pets skin. These collars end up rubbing on our skin when we touch our pets. And, they are really not very effective!

Want to know about even more products? The following products are discussed on our product page:

  • The Top topical flea treatments
  • Flea bomb, or fogger
  • Shampoo
  • Fleabusters - a popular and useful powder for treating fleas in a home
  • Spray
  • Comb
  • Brewers Yeast - garlic tablets
  • The Victor Trap
  • Ortho bug treatment for lawns

7: You guessed it. Vacuum!

It's tedious, it's tiring, and it takes up valuable time. It's one of the things you least want to do.

But- vacuuming fleas kills in all phases of the flea life cycle. By doing it daily you'll kill fleas in the house so much faster than using the other methods only. When we were in "the thick of it" we took turns vacuuming so it would get done almost every evening.

One last tip on how to kill fleas in the house: There must be no flea left behind! If one gets away on a rug, go vacuum that room immediately. If you spot one in a bedroom and lose it, vacuum that room immediately. If you see one on your sock, don't just flick it away - kill it.

Step Three: Control and Maintenance

The fleas are gone, and you never want to go through another flea infestation!

Keep your pet on Frontline or Advantage (or your other product of choice) consistently. Don't miss a dose. Make sure that any other animals who come to visit are treated as well.

And if you are just getting rid of fleas in a house recently, keep dosing through the winter. If you live in a warm climate you'll want to dose through the winter anyway.

Treat your lawn. Fleas can spread like wildfire outdoors in the right weather. Find a good pest control treatment to make sure no one brings a flea back in the home.

After reading these articles, you may be looking for even more info about killing fleas. We recommend a fresh new website with special sections just for fleas on cats, on dogs, in the home and much, much more. Want to know all there is about getting rid of fleas? Check out!

Once you reach this point of being flea-free (and you will!) you'll never again have to worry about how to kill fleas in the house.

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