Environmentally conscious households plagued with a flea infestation may want to consider some natural home remedies for fleas in their bid to stave off these nasty critters.
With an estimated 2,000 species of fleas around the world and 300 species isolated to North America alone, it’s no wonder how bothersome these pesky insects can be. Dogs and cats are the most common household pets that are plagued with fleas. If left untreated, a few fleas can easily become an infestation.
While chemical flea treatments are effective, they can pose serious health risks for both humans and pets. Listed are a few natural ways to minimize and often eliminate the presence of fleas.
Home Remedies for Fleas on Pets
One of the most effective home remedies for getting rid of fleas on pets is to simply remove them from the pets. This is accomplished by giving the pet a really good bath.
The pet should be bathe with a mild shampoo or a citrus-based dish detergent (such as Dawn). Removal of fleas can be done with a flea comb. If a flea comb isn’t available, a toothbrush can easily be used as a substitution. Combing or brushing the pets fur will loosen any fleas that may be on the skin, and allow them to easily be washed away.
The anatomy of a flea does not allow it the ability to attach themselves to the shaft of the pet’s hair, so any fleas that do not immediately drown in the water will easily be detached with brushing.
After pets have been washed it is important to also wash items that have been on the floor, such as clothing and pet bedding. While washing alone will not kill fleas, flea eggs and larvae, putting the articles in the dryer for at least 30 minutes will kill the pest. It is critical that all items be washed at once to minimize the chances of the fleas surviving.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Another helpful remedy involves spraying ones pet with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water. The smell of the solution is a turnoff for fleas and causes them to jump off of the pet and search for another host.
To start, combine two parts apple cider vinegar with one part water and pour into a spray bottle. Liberally spray the pet with the solution and brush afterwards so that the solution is distributed evenly. While the mixture does not kill the fleas, it will give the pet temporary relief from the biting creatures.
Avon Skin So Soft
A study conducted at the University of Florida revealed that dogs that were bathe in a bath oil produced by Avon, saw a 40% decrease in the number of fleas on pets. If Avon’s Skin So Soft bath oil is available add 1 ½ ounces of the oil to 1 gallon of water. The mixture can then be used to sponge pets down. It is assumed that the oil works so well because fleas do not care much for the oil’s woodland scent.
Home Remedies for Treating Home Infestations
When it comes to fleas in the home, regular vacuuming is a critical step in eliminating fleas, their eggs and larvae. It is recommended that vacuuming be done once per week at the very least. Some even suggest sprinkling salt on carpet and allowing it to sit for a few hours before vacuuming.
Borax or baking soda can also be used as a substitute for salt before vacuuming. These work by causing the eggs and larvae in the carpet to dry up. After vacuuming it is recommended that you change the bag, or empty the canister to properly dispose of fleas.
However, a professor at Ohio State University who conducted a study on fleas and vacuuming does not think that changing the bag is necessary as he believes the vacuuming kills the fleas nearly 100 percent of the time.
Homemade Flea Traps
Fleas can be a pain in the butt. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun in the eradication process. Did you know that fleas are attracted to warm water that has a little color to it?
If you know fleas are in a certain area and want to rig up a little contraption, you can take a shallow bowl of water and add some dish soap to it (e.g. Dawn). Place it under a lamp and allow the light to gently warm the water bowl. In time, you will have fleas literally dying to take a bath in that bowl.
If the use of harsh chemicals is an option that one does not want to explore, using all natural ingredients is an alternative. One option is to create a flea spray that consists of mixing ingredients that can easily be found in most kitchen cabinets. The directions for using this spray involves spraying it around the house, as well as vacuuming every day. It is recommended that this spray be used every day for 2 – 3 weeks to rid ones house of fleas. The recipe is as follows:
- 1 gallon of vinegar
- ½ gallon of water
- 16 Oz lemon juice
- 8 Oz witch hazel
Mix all ingredients thoroughly and use as directed.
When it comes to fleas the use of Rosemary also has many advantages. When finely ground it can be sprinkled over a pet’s bed to repeal fleas, and keep them from attacking while a pet is trying to rest. Rosemary can also be used to create a flea dip to minimize redness and swelling caused by flea bites. The herb has anti-inflammatory properties that can sooth irritated skin, and encourage hair growth in balding areas due to excessive scratching. To create the flea dip, steep two cups of fresh rosemary in boiling water for 30 minutes. The mixture can then be poured over pets coat and allowing them to dry naturally.
The use of natural methods have been helpful in many cases. However, large scale infestations may require the use of chemicals or an exterminator. Ones expectations of natural home remedies for fleas must be tempered and adjusted according to the scale of infestation that is you are attempting to combat.