6 Frugal Ways To Kill Fleas
originally published in April 2015
I have lived in Boxford, MA for the past 14 years and never once saw a flea on any of my pets. I actually believed that only ticks live in the woods and fleas live in the city. I could not have been more wrong! Last year at a routine check up for my dog the vet noticed a few flea eggs on the back of her leg. After a close examination, they found 2 live fleas on her belly. If you have ever had any experience with fleas, you know that 2 fleas can multiply faster than any male rabbit ever dreamed of. When I went home, I closely checked all of my other pet’s (at the time we had 2 dogs, 5 cats ). And guess what? Yuck! They all had fleas!
I immediately did what any responsible pet owner / bug phobic would do. I went straight to PetSmart to purchase whatever it would take to kill any fleas in my house. My plan was to come home with bombs, sprays, collars and potions. I started grabbing one of everything but when I totaled up the contents of the cart I had a change of heart (and a small heart attack). Call me a cheapskate, frugal or whatever word you feel best describes me, but I knew there had to be another way to kill fleas that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I drove home empty handed and started searching for alternative chemical free (aka cheap) ways to kill fleas.
Here are the 6 things that I did that had us flea free in under 48 hours. The best part is I had all these items in my home already and you may too.
At night, leave a low lying shallow bowl filled with sudsy dish soap under a night light. The fleas will be drawn to the light and once they jump in the soapy water they will get stuck and drown.
Bathe in Dawn Dish Soap
Wash your pet in a mixture of Dawn dish soap and warm water. Be sure to start at the neck of your pet and work downward. Keep lathering your pet in the soap as long as your pet will sit, preferably for 10- 15 minutes. The water will drown all the fleas and the soap suds will suffocate them. The bubbles and suds will keep them from being able to jump off your pet and escaping. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary.
Comb your pet regularly with a flea comb. The comb will pull out any eggs that could end up being thousand of fleas if they hatch. While combing, continuously dip the comb in a cup of sudsy dish soap water to drown any live fleas as well the eggs. If you don’t have a flea comb you can use a fine tooth comb.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Soak a cloth in apple cider vinegar and rub it on your pets skin to kill any fleas and deter any new fleas from jumping on them. Add one tablespoon of apple cider or distilled vinegar to your pets food or water bowl daily. You can also make a mixture of 50% apple cider vinegar and 50% water in a spray bottle. Spray your pet with the mixture before they go out to deter new fleas from jumping on them.
Fleas need moisture to survive. Keep the humidity in the room under 50% for 48 hours by running a dehumidifier. This will dehydrate the fleas causing them to die, be sure and vacuum the room thoroughly afterwards. If you really want to get the job done quickly, crank the heat up to 100 degrees and run the dehumidifier at the same time. The high heat and lack of humidity will dehydrate the fleas in no time.
Natural Diatomaceous Earth (food Grade)
Diatomaceous Earth is a great way to kill fleas in carpets and upholstery. Sprinkle the DE all over your rugs, using a broom to spread it around getting it deep into the rug’s pile. The DE cuts the fleas and sucks the blood out of them, causing them to dehydrate and die.
If you currently have an infestation I recommend using all of the methods listed above at once and you will be flea free in under 48 hours. To stay flea free be sure and vacuum your home thoroughly daily to remove any eggs from carpets and furniture. Empty and dispose of whatever you vacuum up immediately to prevent eggs from hatching inside the vacuum. For extra protection you can add crushed up moth balls or a little Diatomaceous Earth to the inside of your canister to kill any live fleas.
Let us know if these tips work for you or if you know of any other frugal tips to stay flea free!