It’s bad enough to find a few fleas in your home, but it’s even worse when you realize there may be a lot more. In fact, by the time you see a flea, there’s a good chance you have a full-blown flea infestation in your home. Adult fleas you can see, or are found on your pet, make up only 5% of a flea infestation. The remaining 95% consists of flea eggs, flea larvae and pupae hiding in your home and in your yard.
Fleas are notoriously difficult to get rid of once they’ve made themselves at home, due to the rate at which they reproduce and the extent to which they can spread throughout the house. You need a solid plan of action to thoroughly oust them.
How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Home
1. Treat your pet and all other animals. Even if you’ve only seen fleas on one pet, there is a possibility that your other pets have them as well. Maintain a regular, long-term treatment schedule for each pet to limit the spread and help stop an infestation in its tracks.
2. Vacuum floors, carpets, area rugs and furniture. Remember to empty your vacuum cleaner and dispose of the bag after each use to prevent eggs from possibly hatching inside, which could lead to future flea infestation. Vacuum on a regular basis, especially in areas that pets frequent, until the infestation is cleared.
3. Wash pet bedding, including covers and inserts, in hot water. The hot water will help kill any remaining eggs or larvae on the fabric. This is an essential step for eliminating all the fleas. It is important to wash the bedding on a regular basis until the infestation is cleared.
4. Wash your family bedding in hot water. Treat these items with a household flea spray or wash them in hot water. The hot water will help kill remaining fleas and flea larvae, and remove flea dirt (a food source for immature fleas). Wash bathroom rugs and throw blankets, too — any places your pet likes to sleep or lounge.
5. Use a spray labeled for flea treatment on upholstery, furniture and crevices. Make sure to follow the instructions and thoroughly treat your pet’s favorite spots. Read the label closely to prevent exposing your pets to the spray chemicals while you treat your home.
6. Fog your home. Use a flea fogger in your home after you have treated your pet, cleaned the house and washed all bedding. Choose a fogger that kills multiple flea life stages, and always follow all label directions. Before fogging, you may need to move indoor plants outdoors, unplug all electronic devices and make plans to be away from your home for the time indicated on the label directions.
7. Don’t forget to address uncommon flea hiding spots. Fleas can hide in cars and cabinets — but people often forget about these spaces. Remember to vacuum any fabric surfaces inside your car, and make sure your pet sits on a blanket that can be changed and washed regularly. Treat cabinets by vacuuming and following up with a flea spray.
8. Clean all of your dog’s or cat’s soft toys. Even your dog’s beloved squeaky plush or your cat’s toy mouse could potentially harbor flea eggs and larvae. If these toys can’t be washed, they may have to be thrown away.
How to Know If the Fleas Are Gone
Your house is finally clean — but how can you tell if the fleas are gone? There may be no definitive answer, but you can monitor your pets for scratching, chewing, hair loss and touch sensitivity as signs that fleas have returned.
How to Help Keep an Infestation from Coming Back
You may have worked hard to get rid of fleas in your home, but the entire cycle can repeat. Stay vigilant! All your hard work could be undone by visiting wildlife in your yard, a puppy play date or unhatched eggs that survived the first round of cleaning. Repeat the above steps as necessary until you no longer find fleas in your house.
Flea & Tick Life Cycle
How to Help Get Rid of Fleas & Ticks in Your Yard
How to Help Get Rid of Fleas on Your Dog
How to Help Get Rid of Fleas on Your Cat