How To Get Rid of Fleas in the House?

Fleas are a common nuisance that can easily infest homes and irritate both pets and people. However, getting rid of fleas doesn’t have to be difficult. This comprehensive guide will provide tips and strategies to help you kick fleas out of your house for good.

Why Flea Removal is Important

Before getting into flea removal methods, it’s helpful to understand why it’s so important to get rid of these pesky parasites quickly and properly. Here are some key reasons:

  • Fleas bite and irritate skin. Flea bites on pets and humans cause red, itchy bumps that can lead to infection from scratching. Some people suffer serious allergic reactions as well.
  • Fleas spread disease. Fleas can transmit typhus, plague, and other dangerous diseases between animals and humans.
  • Infestations multiply rapidly. A single flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day. This means populations boom in just days or weeks.
  • Fleas indicate broader issues. Heavy flea populations reveal problems with sanitation, invasive wildlife, or neglect of pets.
  • Fleas are tough to spot. Their small size and speed make fleas themselves hard to see. Looking for signs like “flea dirt” is more reliable.

Thorough flea removal not only provides relief from itches and bites, but also improves overall cleanliness and animal and human health.

Flea Removal Tips and Strategies

Getting rid of fleas requires attacking all stages of the flea life cycle. Flea eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults all must be eliminated to fully clear an infestation. Here are some key tips to follow:

1. Vacuum Daily

  • Vacuuming grabs adult fleas and also stimulates pupae to hatch into fleas (which are then promptly sucked up).
  • Focus on areas pets frequent: couches, carpets, floors, pet beds.
  • Use attachments to vacuum upholstery and curtains thoroughly.
  • Dispose of vacuum bags in sealed plastic afterward.

Tip: Add a natural flea repellent like diatomaceous earth or borax to vacuum bags/canisters.

2. Wash All Fabric Items

  • Launder pet bedding, blankets, pillows, curtains, etc. in hot, soapy water.
  • Use borax, chlorine bleach, or other sanitizing elements in the wash cycle.
  • Dry on a hot cycle to kill any eggs or larvae.

Tip: For non-washable items, have them dry cleaned or use flea spray.

3. Apply an IGR

  • Apply an insect growth regulator (IGR) like methoprene or pyriproxyfen.
  • IGRs prevent flea eggs and larvae from fully developing.
  • Use around the house and reapply every 1-3 months.

Tip: Ask your vet for an oral IGR to give your pet for full protection.

4. Use Flea Sprays

  • Spray carpets, hard floors, furniture, pet beds, and other areas.
  • Choose sprays with IGRs and insecticides to kill adults.
  • Let sit for 24+ hours then vacuum up dead fleas.
  • Reapply every 2 weeks to a month.

Tip: Avoid sprays with permethrin if you have cats in the house.

5. Apply Diatomaceous Earth

  • Diatomaceous earth (DE) cuts the exoskeletons of fleas and kills them by dehydration.
  • Sprinkle a fine layer of food-grade DE on carpets, pet beds, under furniture, etc.
  • Let sit for several hours up to a few days, then vacuum up.
  • Reapply once a week.

Tip: Wear a mask when applying to avoid breathing in dust.

6. Set Out Flea Traps

  • Flea traps use light and/or vibration to attract fleas.
  • Place traps wherever pets spend time like near pet beds.
  • These won’t eliminate full-blown infestations but help control light ones.

Tip: Sticky traps monitor populations. Non-sticky traps kill fleas but must be cleaned out.

7. Treat All Pets

  • Use vet-recommended flea prevention on each pet every month.
  • Many options like pills, topicals, collars kill fleas and repel re-infestation.
  • Bathe and comb pets first to remove many adults and eggs.

Tip: Treat indoor and outdoor pets year-round for maximum protection.

8. Maintain Low Humidity Levels

  • Fleas thrive in warm, humid environments (70-90%).
  • Use dehumidifiers, air conditioning, and fans to keep indoor humidity below 50%.
  • Improving ventilation also stunts flea growth.

Tip: Monitor humidity with gauges. Automatic dehumidifiers remove moisture.

9. Try Natural Repellents

  • Natural ingredients like cedar, lemon, lavender, peppermint oil and eucalyptus can deter and kill fleas without harsh chemicals.
  • Results vary based on concentration and coverage. Used along with other methods, they add extra protection.

Tip: Make your own natural flea sprays or purchase pre-made versions for convenience.

10. Call a Professional If Needed

  • For severe, stubborn infestations professional extermination may be needed.
  • Experts have industrial-strength insecticides and IGRs not available to consumers.
  • They also have advanced equipment like atomizers to penetrate carpets, floors and furniture.

Tip: Get quotes from 2-3 exterminators and check reviews before hiring one.

Flea Removal By Room

In addition to the general tips above, here are some extra pointers for tackling fleas room-by-room:

Living Room and Family Rooms

  • Vacuum under furniture and inside crevices well. Fleas hide in dark spaces.
  • Spray cloth furniture like sofas as well as underneath and between cushions.
  • Wash throws, blankets and dog/cat beds even if they don’t appear dirty.
  • Treat floors if carpeted or pets have access. Hard floors need less attention.


  • Change and wash sheets at least once a week in hot water. Add borax for extra potency.
  • Inspect mattresses for signs of fleas, especially if pets sleep on the bed. Use a handheld steamer or spray to kill them.
  • Move the bed from the wall and vacuum underneath and around the perimeter thoroughly.


  • Vacuum floors well, especially along edges and under appliances.
  • Comb through pet food containers and look in pantry areas pets can access. Throw out contaminated food.
  • Keep food sealed in containers fleas cannot penetrate.


  • Wash all towels and rugs weekly in hot, soapy water.
  • Look for fleas around damp areas like sinks, showers and tubs where they can survive longer.
  • If allowing pets in bathrooms, vacuum floors and baseboards extra well.

Basement and Attic

  • These are common hotspots since pets may shelter there and fleas thrive in relative isolation.
  • Vacuum thoroughly and leave DE down for a few days before cleaning up.
  • Check for and eliminate wildlife nesting areas.

How to Know When Fleas Are Gone

It’s important to monitor progress to know if flea removal methods are working or if more vigilance is needed:

  • Keep vacuuming – Empty and dispose of vacuum bags/canisters immediately after use. Fleas caught in filters or bags can still be alive and jump back out!
  • Do the sock test – Walk around areas pets frequent wearing white socks. Check for tiny black flea dirt dots indicating flea presence.
  • Check for bites – Note if pet and human itching and skin irritation is decreasing. Bites indicate lingering fleas.
  • Monitor traps – Are sticky traps catching fleas? Activity should decrease over time if efforts are successful.
  • Inspect pets – Look for fleas in fur and around necks and tails. Regular combing should produce less and less live fleas.
  • Bring in pros – If home methods alone don’t seem to be working after 2-3 weeks, professional pest control may be needed.

Mistakes to Avoid

When trying to eliminate fleas, there are some common mistakes that actually make the problem worse. Be sure to avoid:

  • Stopping treatments too early. Stick with methods diligently for weeks to months until all signs of fleas are gone.
  • Not treating outdoor areas. Yards, patios, decks and kennels also need attention to prevent re-infestation.
  • Ignoring other pets. If one pet has fleas, assume all pets have them and need treatment. Eggs can linger on untreated pets.
  • Skipping vacuuming after treatments. This allows insecticides to fully kill fleas without them escaping back into the environment.
  • Not washing pet bedding. Eggs stick to fabrics and will just hatch again if not thoroughly laundered.
  • Relying on home remedies alone. Natural methods can help but may not be potent enough to fully eliminate entrenched infestations.

When to Call in a Professional Exterminator

In most cases, consistent home treatment will clear up a flea issue. However, if the problem persists, calling in a professional exterminator may be your best bet for getting rid of fleas once and for all. Consider professional help if:

  • No improvement after diligently trying methods for 2-3 weeks
  • New flea bites keep appearing daily
  • You find dozens of fleas combing a pet
  • Fleas are located through the entire home, not just certain rooms
  • Pets have signs of anemia from flea bites/blood loss
  • Homeowners have health issues or physical limitations that prevent effective treatment
  • There is a high risk of flea-borne disease transmission in the area

Going the professional route for flea removal isn’t always cheap. Expect to pay $200-$500 or more for common treatment methods like:

  • Foggers/bug bombs – disperse insecticide through full home
  • Spot treatments – targeted sprays and dusts in specific areas
  • Fumigation tents – seal home and pump in pesticide gas, highest level

Get quotes from 2-3 highly reviewed companies before selecting one. Make sure to ask about their treatment methods, guarantees, and preparation requirements.

Maintaining a Flea-Free Home

Congratulations, the fleas are gone! Now it’s time to keep them from coming back again:

  • Continue using flea prevention on pets year-round. One missed dose can lead to re-infestation.
  • Vacuum 1-2 times per week to pick up any new eggs or fleas before they multiply.
  • Reapply sprays and insecticides around the home every 1-3 months. Follow product instructions.
  • Inspect any new pets closely before allowing them indoors. Quarantine and treat them before introducing them to other pets.
  • Address landscaping issues that could encourage fleas, such as excessive weeds and wildlife entry points.
  • Trim plants back from the home’s foundation so they don’t harbor fleas.
  • Continue monitoring with periodic sock checks and combing pets. Catch any lapses early.
  • Be extra diligent during warm, humid months when fleas reproduce more rapidly.

The Takeaway: No More Fleas!

Fleas are stubborn pests capable of rapid population explosions. However, with persistent and thorough treatment focusing on all stages of the flea life cycle, ridding your home of these insects is absolutely possible.

Use this comprehensive guide to learn the proven tips and proper methods to knock out fleas once and for all. Just remember – consistency and vigilance are key. Stick with it, and you can outlast even the most hardy flea infestation. Here’s to a flea-free home from now on!