A quick internet search will show you hundreds of concoctions, natural remedies, myths and old wives tales on how to get rid of fleas from your home and pets, as well as homemade flea repellents to deter them coming back. But are any of these home remedies and repellents effective?
In short – some flea remedies can hold a grain of truth, which may help alleviate a small issue but are very unlikely to completely eliminate a flea infestation, once established in your home.
If you have an on-going or recurring flea issue in your home, which is not resolved quickly with DIY flea products then you are likely to need the expertise and experience of a qualified pest controller to eliminate the fleas, eggs and larvae in your property.
Popular homemade flea remedies
Baking soda or salt – both these ‘old wives tales’ involve sprinkling either baking soda or finely ground salt on to your carpets, rugs and furniture then in the case of baking soda rubbing it into the fabric with a stiff brush. You then leave it a day or two before thoroughly vacuuming. The vacuum should be emptied outside and the bag placed securely in an outside rubbish bin.
Rosemary – by making a herbal powder of rosemary, rue, fennel, wormwood and peppermint by grinding it in a pestle and mortar, you can then sprinkle this on carpets, rugs, furniture, pet bedding and place by window sills. This homemade remedy is supposed to repel fleas.
Lemon – for this flea spray solution you’ll need to thinly slice a lemon and add to a pint (500 ml) of water and bring to the boil. Then let the citrus solution steep overnight then pour into a spray bottle. Then spray flea infested areas (chairs, sofas, pet bedding etc.…) until they are damp, not soaked.
Although the lemon and rosemary remedies will give your home a pleasant fragrance, none of the above homemade ‘remedies’ are likely to have any long term effect on removing a flea infestation.
Homemade flea trap
This homemade flea trap involves filling a plate or bowl with washing up liquid and water. Place the traps in rooms with most flea activity at night and replace with a fresh batch every day. The myth goes that the fleas become trapped due to the high viscosity of the liquid and cannot escape.
Indeed any unfortunate fleas that accidentally land in the liquid are likely to get stuck. However it’s simply pure luck if they end up in the trap as there is nothing to actually attract them to the solution.
What kills fleas in the house?
Diatomaceous earth – using ‘food grade’ diatomaceous earth is one of the few home remedies that can actually help against fleas, but it must be used with great caution. Although it is non-toxic, the powder can get messy and irritate your eyes and throat. If using diatomaceous earth to treat your home you should wear a face mask and gloves.
Diatomaceous earth is the microscopic remains of fossilized algae, diatoms. It’s a very fine non-toxic powder, which is a natural remedy to get rid of fleas as it causes dehydration. You should sprinkle it over areas of high flea activity, applying thin layers. Leave the powder for 2 days then vacuum, following flea prevention tips afterwards.
Vacuum, vacuum, vacuum! – Careful and persistent vacuuming of carpets, flooring, pet bedding and furniture is likely to be more effective at reducing the level of flea activity than most ‘old wives tales’, myths and remedies’ put together.
The flea larvae feed on organic matter (such as dead skin, dandruff etc.…) in carpets, bedding, clothing, pet fur and furnishings. You need to try and remove any potential food supply to help prevent fleas, so a vacuuming regime will help remove food sources for larvae as well as adult fleas. Remember to carefully remove the contents of your Hoover outside of your property and seal it before placing it securely in an outside bin.