How to Get Rid of Fleas in the House

By: Contributors & Austin Henderson  | 
A close up image of a flea.
Dog fleas, cat fleas — they're all the same pests. Pet owners understand the struggle, but killing fleas may be easier than you think. George D. Lepp / Getty Images

Flea infestations can be a big headache for pet owners. If your pet recently had a flea problem, you most likely have fleas in your pet's area and around your home. But making your home flea-free isn't difficult; read the tips listed below and learn about how to get rid of fleas plaguing your household.


What Are Fleas?

Fleas are tiny, wingless insects, feeding primarily on the blood of mammals and birds. They are notorious for their ability to jump long distances and for their quick breeding cycle.

Fleas can not only cause discomfort to your pets but also transmit diseases. Understanding the flea life cycle — from eggs to larvae, pupae and then adult fleas — is crucial in effectively tackling a flea infestation.


How to Get Rid of Fleas

1. The Vacuum: Your First Line of Defense

Vacuuming is a powerful weapon in your arsenal against adult fleas and flea larvae. It disrupts the flea life cycle and prevents them from turning your home into their breeding ground. Vacuum thoroughly, especially where your pets hang out.

First, use a flea comb on your pet's fur to catch and kill adult fleas. Then focus your vacuuming efforts on pet beds, carpets and furniture. Don't forget those corners and other hidden spots. If you've recently faced a flea infestation, discard your vacuum bag to fully eradicate fleas.


2. Steam Cleaning: The Deep Clean Solution

If vacuuming isn't cutting it, it's time to bring in the big guns: steam cleaning. This method penetrates deep into your carpets and upholstery, ensuring no flea, be it an adult or larvae, can escape.

Target areas where your pets spend most of their time, and be sure to use hot water to effectively kill fleas and flea eggs.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar: A Natural Remedy

A mix of apple cider vinegar and water can be a natural way to repel fleas. Clean your hard surfaces with this solution to keep fleas at bay.

Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle, then use the solution to wipe down floors, countertops and tables.

4. Insecticides: The Strongest Offense

In the face of a stubborn flea infestation, insecticides might be your best bet. Consult a professional to find the best product for your application.

Vacuum first, then spray. Follow the safety instructions to a tee, and hold off on vacuuming for two weeks to let the insecticide work its magic. Be extra cautious if you have young children or vulnerable individuals at home.


Additional Strategies for a Flea-free Home

Beyond the basics, there are several additional measures you can take to ensure your home remains a no-flea zone. From regular pet grooming to natural home remedies, these strategies can help you maintain a flea-free environment over the long term.

  • Regular pet grooming: Use flea shampoo during baths and regularly wash your pet's bedding in hot water.
  • Flea treatments for pets: Consider flea collars or prescription flea medication, applying topical treatments as prescribed.
  • Home remedies: Try lemon spray or diatomaceous earth. You can also experiment with baking soda on carpets.
  • Preventing future infestations: Regularly clean pet areas, and keep an eye out for flea feces (aka "flea dirt" or itchy flea bites.

Fleas might be persistent, but with these strategies, you're more than equipped to win this battle. Remember, a consistent approach is key to keeping your home flea-free. Say goodbye to fleas, and hello to peace of mind.


This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.