How to Get Rid of Fleas in the House

Man cleaning floor with vacuum cleaner
••• Garry Wade/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Do you need to get rid of fleas in the house? Dealing with fleas can be a time-consuming problem, but it's not impossible to resolve by yourself. Don't make the mistake of thinking you need a professional when you do not. I've been in your shoes. In fact, I'm getting itchy just thinking about fleas. Because by the time you realize you have a flea problem, most likely a full-blown flea infestation has occurred.

Don't panic, because a full-blown flea infestation sounds worse than it is, or maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better about it. However, by using the time-tested methods below, you can effectively get rid of fleas.

Well, we all know where fleas come from, or do we? Pets are wonderful company and they bring us endless hours of joy. However, the downside to having pets in the house is the fact they can bring in fleas. But don't blame pets entirely for a flea infestation; humans can track fleas into the house, too.

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

In less than a week, you could discover a full-blown flea infestation has taken over, right under your unsuspecting nose.

Selling a house where pets live has its own unique set of problems without having to deal with fleas. Now, you might not even notice when your dog or cat seems to be scratching a lot more than usual. But you will notice when the fleas bite you. By then, I hate to say, it's too late. The flea problem then turns into an emergency situation. Ready to get rid of fleas in the house?

Are Fleas in the House?

  • The first place to look for fleas is on your pet. When you part the hair, fleas will run the other direction and hide. It might be hard to find the fleas without using a special flea comb.

Flea Combs

Ashley DeLeon. © The Balance, 2018

Flea combs are easy to use, but you need to be prepared to dispose of any live fleas that get trapped in the teeth of the comb. So, here's what you do:

  1. Start with your pet's head, near the ears. Also check near the tail or under the arms (legs).
  2. Quickly run the comb backwards through the fur.
  3. Then, before the fleas have a chance to spring loose after getting stuck in the comb, immediately dip the comb into a bowl containing a solution of liquid dish soap mixed with water.
  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 treats to prolong the treatment without a big fuss.

Spotting Fleas On You

Put on a pair of white knee-highs and walk around in your stocking feet. Fleas will be much easier to spot against a white background.

Flea Control for your Pets

Combing out fleas is a temporary measure. Your best bet is to kill the fleas that are present on your pet and kill those that hop aboard later. I know of two great products, Frontline and Advantage, that not only get rid of fleas but keep them from coming back for at least three weeks. However, once the flea infestation in your home is under control, it might take a couple more treatments to kill the remaining fleas and those that hatch.

The important thing is perseverance. Do not, under any circumstances, give up.

You can also bathe your pet with a flea shampoo. If you've never given a cat a bath, you are in for a treat. Just kidding. It is horrible. The last cat I bathed grabbed by arm and embedded its nails under my skin , which then poked up through another hole. He was literally hooked to me. Dogs are much easier and generally more patient.

Take your cat to a vet if you think you will have problems giving it a flea bath.

How to Apply Frontline / Advantage 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 at the back of your pet's head near the base of the neck or in between the shoulder blades, spots where your pet can't lick or scratch it. Part the hair until you can see skin and apply all of the treatment in that spot.

Flea Control for the House

  • You can try foggers, but you will probably need one for each room.
  • They are flammable, so turn off all pilot lights.
  • Remove birds and fish and all animals and humans.
  • It's toxic, so don't breathe the fumes.
  • Protect surfaces by placing the fogger on a newspaper.
  • Leave the house undisturbed a minimum of two hours or as directed.
  • Thoroughly air out before introducing small children or vulnerable animals to the environment.

A safer and more environmentally friendly product, which I have personally found to be highly effective, is called Fleabusters. The product is a powder. It will get rid of those fleas in your house like no tomorrow.

  • Remove all bedding - wash or dry clean.
  • Thoroughly vacuum all carpeting and rugs.
  • Remove cushions and sprinkle powder in the crevices, along the perimeter of all the walls and cover your floor area with it.
  • Scratch or brush into the carpet, until the powder is no longer visible.

Flea Control for the Yard

There are a number of yard products available to get rid of fleas outdoors. Some are toxic. Read the instructions carefully. Most containers are adaptable to your garden hose.

  • Attach product to your garden hose and spray thoroughly all affected areas.
  • Do not spray near flowers or vegetables.
  • Repeat as required.

It may 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 aggressively treat the house and yard, your flea problem should disappear -- provided you do not continually bring more fleas into the house. You can get rid of fleas in the house.

At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, License #00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.