Fleas are uncomfortable and itchy. They can also carry diseases and transmit tapeworms to pets! Here are 5 steps to rid your home, pet and lawn of a flea infestation! We recommend following the steps in order.
Do the Laundry
Wash: Pick up damp towels and throw rugs. Wash them in hot water with apple cider vinegar. Dry in the dryer and return throw rugs to their respective places after the floors have been treated. Strip beds down to the mattress and box springs—blankets, duvets, mattress pads and pillow protectors can be infested, especially if pets sleep in the bed. This would be a good time to vacuum the mattress and box spring as well.
Don't forget pet bedding. It will have the largest concentration of fleas and eggs. Remove covers from beds and inspect the foam. If it can be washed or hosed off, this is your best chance of removing fleas. Otherwise, use the salt trick (#2) on pet bedding.
Salt: You can rid your home of fleas without chemicals by using common items from your cupboard. Process salt or sea salt in a food processor until it is as fine as powder. Sprinkle it lightly, but evenly, over carpets, rugs and upholstered furniture. Leave it for 48 hours, and then vacuum thoroughly. The salt will dehydrate the fleas. For serious infestations mix the salt with boric acid, commercially known as Borax and found in the laundry section of the grocery store.
Vacuum: When vacuuming furniture, remove the cushions and use the crevice tool to access all of the hiding places. Be sure to turn furniture over and vacuum the underside as well as the sides and back. Every inch should be touched. Don't forget to vacuum the carpets under the furniture as well. Empty the vacuum canister immediately into an outside, airtight bag or container.
Mop: Mop hardwood or tiled floors with an apple cider vinegar and water mixture. Two cups of vinegar to one gallon of water will encourage fleas to emerge from holes and cracks. Be sure to get to the door edges, corners and under appliances.
Treat Your Lawn
Treat the source of the infestation—the lawn. Using a non-chemical spray, like Natural Alternative® Organic Mosquito, Tick and Flea Control, treat the area of the lawn where the pet spends the majority of its time. Mowing the lawn before you spray is helpful. Remove debris like fallen leaves, grass clippings or other items before treating the yard.
Treat the shaded or partially shaded areas especially well. Don't forget dog houses, outdoor bedding, under trees, shrubbery, bushes and under the deck or porch. Re-apply outdoor flea control products every 30 days to continue disrupting the gestation cycle and control populations.
Bathe Your Pets
Bathe your pets with a gentle shampoo or a citrus-based dish washing liquid. Fleas don't clinch onto hair, so they will fall into the water and drown. Expect to see brown specs and in some cases dried blood and discolored water. Comb the pet with a flea comb after the bath, as well as throughout the summer months, to check for further infestation. Clipping the pet's hair to a shorter length helps skin heal, makes flea combs more effective and allows you to more thoroughly check for remaining fleas. Rub pet fur with citrus. Rub the rind over the pets' fur and deter fleas. Eucalyptus oil works, too.
Detail Your Car
Does your pet ride in the car? Fleas live there, too. Use the recommended salt treatment for home carpets and furniture to treat carpets and seat upholstery. Remember to vacuum crevices, glove boxes, consoles and the trunk. Depending on how much time your pet spends in the car with you, it may be a good time to have the vehicle detailed—on the inside at least.