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The Number One Way to Kill Fleas

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Flea bath

  • Pet flea removal products

  • Laundry

  • Diatomaceous earth (Naturally pulvarized or ground, NOT pool grade)

  • Borax

  • Salt

  • Brush

  • Vacuum

  • Flea collar / flea deterrent system

Fleas can be a pervasive, annoying pest that infest not only your pets, but also your home, furniture and bedding. Once fleas have infested an area, they can be very difficult to remove. There are a variety of ways to kill fleas, both chemically and with natural or non-toxic products, but it is imperative to get rid of fleas throughout the life cycle -- you don't want to deal just with the ones you can see, but the eggs they've laid as well.

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Bathe all pets with either a chemical shampoo made for flea removal or a herbal flea shampoo that has a combination of any of these natural extracts: pine cedar, bergamot, rosemary, lavender, eucalyptus, citronella, juniper or geranium. Be sure any flea shampoo you use on your pets will kill existing fleas as well as their eggs, larva and pupa. To prevent fleas from collecting on the pet's face (since you don't want soap or chemicals near their eyes or mouth), first put the shampoo around the dog's neck. Work a lather over the pet's body, starting just behind the head and working back.

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Launder all bedding, clothing and rugs, preferably with hot water. Vacuum carpets at least every two days and vacuum furniture whenever possible. It is important to perform a deep clean in the environment where the flea infestation has taken place.

Create a mix to sprinkle in the carpet that will kill fleas in any stage of their life. Use one-and-a-half pounds of diatomaceous earth (DI), one-and-a-half pounds of natural borax and 1 cup of salt. Be sure to use the DI that is found at garden stores, not from a pool store. Sprinkle the mix into the carpet, use a brush to work the mix into the carpet fibers, and vacuum after a few days to allow the mix to kill any fleas or eggs in the carpet. Additionally, although the mix isn't toxic to people or pets, avoid prolonged exposure to the mix while it's sitting in the carpet. In lieu of the natural mixture, a homeowner can hire a pest control company to "flea bomb" their home, but this process can be costly and will require the family to vacate the home for several days, and may leave a chemical smell afterward.

Apply a flea deterrent product to all pets that may be exposed to fleas in the future. A deterrent product can range from from a flea collar to a monthly topical flea product to a prescription pill that a veterinarian can prescribe to prevent fleas. Be mindful that some topical products can cause reactions in pets, such as itching or hair loss. Never use dog flea drops on cats and never use cat flea drops on dogs. Using products across species can kill your pet. Preventing fleas from infesting a pet, who can bring them into the home, is the key in preventing future infestations.

Sprinkle diatomaceous earth (DI) in areas in the yard where your pet frequents. DI is a non-toxic to pets and kills fleas by dehydrating them. It is safe to use both inside and outside as long as the garden/food grade forms are used, not the DI that can be purchased at pool stores for use in water filters. The pool-grade DI can be harmful if inhaled.


  • If unable to find DI or borax, plain salt can be used to dehydrate and kill fleas. It may take longer to kill all of the fleas, but it will work in carpet and furniture.


  • Always use caution and ensure that an area is well ventilated if any chemicals are being used to kill fleas. Read instructions for all flea killing or flea deterrent products.