How to Get Rid of Fleas in the House

Know where to look and what to do after you find fleas

Man cleaning floor with vacuum cleaner
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Selling a house where pets have lived has its own unique set of problems without having to deal with fleas, too. A flea infestation can be a time-consuming problem to fix, but don't make the mistake of thinking you need a professional to handle the job. You can get rid of fleas in the house yourself.

Finding and Eliminating Fleas on Your Pets

The first place to check for fleas is on your pet. Fleas will run the other direction and hide when you part their fur or hair. Special flea combs are made with the express purpose of flushing the little pests out and capturing them, too.

Flea Combs

Ashley DeLeon. © The Balance, 2018

But finding them is one thing, and getting rid of them is another. Live fleas will become get trapped in the teeth of the comb. Now you have to dispose of them.

  1. Start with your pet's head, near the ears. Also check near the tail or under the legs.
  2. Quickly run the comb backward through the fur in these spots.
  3. Immediately dip the comb into a bowl containing a solution of liquid dish soap mixed with water. Act quickly before the fleas have a chance to spring loose after getting stuck in the comb.
  4. Any fleas that were trapped in the teeth will die in the soapy water.
  5. Repeat, if necessary, after drying the comb.

Try offering your pet treats to prolong the treatment without a big fuss.

Spotting Fleas on You

Don't blame your pets entirely for a flea infestation. Humans can track fleas into the house, too. You might have a cat that never goes outdoors, yet you have fleas. They almost certainly came in on you in this situation, then might have found a comfortable home on your cat.

Fleas can jump on you when you're in the yard and hitchhike a free ride into your home where they multiply like crazy.

Put on a pair of white knee-highs and walk around in your stocking feet for a while. Fleas will jump from your carpet onto your legs, and they'll be much easier to spot against a white background.

Flea Control for your Pets

Combing out fleas is just a temporary measure. Your best option is to kill the fleas that are present on your pet and kill those that hop aboard later, too.

Plenty of great products will not only get rid of fleas, but they'll also prevent them from coming back for three weeks or so. It might take a couple of treatments to kill the remaining fleas and those that hatch after the flea infestation is under control, however.

The important thing is perseverance. Don't give up!

You can also bathe your pet with a flea shampoo. Take your cat to a vet or a groomer if you think you'll have problems giving it a flea bath.

How to Apply Products to Get Rid of Fleas

Simply puncture the tube of flea control or bend the applicator tip and squeeze the contents. It's best to apply the ointment at the back of your pet's head, near the base of the neck or in between the shoulder blades. These are spots your pet can't easily lick or scratch. Part the hair until you can see skin and apply all of the treatment in that spot.

Flea Control for the House: Foggers

Foggers work well, but you'll probably need one for each room, and possibly two depending on the room's size. Foggers are flammable, so be sure to turn off all pilot lights. Remove birds, fish, animals, and humans from the room you're treating, and exit quickly after you've activated the device.

The fog is toxic so you won't want to breathe the fumes. Leave the house undisturbed a minimum of two hours, or as directed.

You can protect surfaces by placing the fogger on a newspaper and covering exposed wood and tile with newspaper as well. Thoroughly air the space out before introducing small children or vulnerable animals back into the environment.

Powder Treatments

Flea powder is a safer and more environmentally-friendly product.

First, remove all bedding in the room and wash it or have it cleaned. Thoroughly vacuum all carpeting and rugs. Remove cushions from furniture and sprinkle powder in the crevices. Sprinkle the powder along the perimeter of all the walls as well, and cover your floor area with it. Scratch or brush into the carpet until the powder is no longer visible.

Flea Control for Your Yard

A number of yard products can get rid of fleas outdoors as well, but some are toxic so read the instructions carefully. Most containers are adaptable to your garden hose.

Attach the product to your hose and thoroughly spray all affected areas. Don't spray near flowers or vegetables. Repeat as required.

It Can Be an Ongoing Project

It might seem like a lot of extra work, but if you apply flea control products on your pets at least once a month for two or three months, and if you aggressively treat the house and yard, your flea problem should disappear...for a while. You'll want to keep up with your efforts periodically to ensure they don't come back.