Natural Ways To Keep Fleas Out Of Your Home

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How To Naturally Keep Fleas Out Of Your Home
How To Naturally Keep Fleas Out Of Your Home. Graphic ยฉ Flea Illustration – Hooke (PD)

Fleas, as pestilent as they are, are actually fascinating creatures. One of their best known “super powers” is their ability to jump hundreds of times their own body length. If we could perform a similar feat, we would be able to jump over buildings with ease. Looking up the flea on Wikipedia, I learned that their jump is not caused by muscular action, but by “energy stored in a protein named resilin”. [1] But they can also land from these skyscraper jumps without hurting themselves: Fleas also have very tough little bodies, which are amazingly crush-resistant for their size.

Another thing I did not know about fleas was they only spend around 25% of their time on a host animal. Thus, when working to prevent or eradicate them, much of the work involves getting rid of them not only from pets, but from bedding, carpets and other fabrics.

We found a great post over at Nature Hacks describing some ways to keep fleas out of your home. These are some great tips. However when researching in depth, I also found a few more ideas, so I decided to compile these resources and add them to the list! ๐Ÿ™‚

Baking soda is reported by Wikipedia to be effective against fleas. It dehydrates and kills larvae and eggs. The idea is to sprinkle it into carpets and work it down into the fibers, then vacuum it up afterwards. Table salt can also be added to the baking soda. Overall, this method is a nice inexpensive remedy – and it is advised to perform once per week until no further signs of infestation remain.

Dried Pennyroyal has been suggested as a herbal flea treatment – but owing to toxicity to animals, should never be used around pets.

The use of dehumidifiers, together with frequent vacuuming of carpets can interrupt the flea life cycle. Humidity is essential to flea survival. Flea eggs require relative humidity of at least 70โ€“75% to hatch, and larvae need at least 50% humidity to survive. [1]

Essential Oils vs. Fleas

One further avenue that was not explored was that of essential oils – so I decided to do a little research! ๐Ÿ™‚

A component of grapefruit essential oil (nootkatone) was found effective against fleas. [2] Nootkatone is also found significantly in essential oils of vetiver (thus supporting its traditional use in this regard!) and alaskan yellow cedar (cedar chips too have been used as an anti-flea remedy in pet bedding!) Nootkatone has also been found effective against ants, termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and ticks, including Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) – a tick that can transmit the dreaded Lyme disease. [3]

Nootkatone is interesting stuff and showing tremendous potential as an insect repellant. [4][5] If you can’t get hold of it, you could simply try grapefruit essential oil! (I’m also of the view that whole extracts, rather than single molecules, are better form the point of view that it is more difficult for the critters to develop tolerance).

Here’s a link to a high quality (and amazingly priced! – $3.20 plus shipping at the time of writing) grapefruit essential oil on

Carvacrol also has demonstrated biocidal activity against ticks, fleas and mosquitos – though around 50% as effective by dose as nootkatone. Does the name carvacrol ring any bells? It’s one of the main components of (genuine) oregano leaf (Origanum vulgare) essential oil and is also strongly antibiotic. Carvacrol is also found significantly in essential oils of thyme, pepperwort and wild bergamot. Marjoram (Origanum majorana) essential oil is approximately 50% carvacrol, and Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is around 60-80%. [6]

PLEASE NOTE – I do not know which, if any, of these essential oils will be safe for use around pets. Please assume that they are NOT safe until you are sure otherwise!

Now all that is needed is a full safety report on which of these oils is ok to use around pets – and we have the potential for an all-natural anti-flea remedy that avoids the use of toxic chemicals! And standard flea medicine for pets is very toxic stuff! Can we be done with it?

Ok, here is the link to the original list of ways to keep fleas out of your home:

You might be interested also in another post we ran recently – from EveryDay Roots – 6 Natural Ways To Ged Rid Of Fleas On Dogs – which has several other remedies – and mentions cedarwood and lavender essential oils.

If you have any more tips, please let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!


[1] Flea.

[2] Panella NA, et al. (2005) Use of novel compounds for pest control: insecticidal and acaricidal activity of essential oil components from heartwood of Alaska yellow cedar.

[3] Suszkiw, J. Jan 2011. Lignin + Nootkatone = Dead Ticks.

[4] Knox, R. Apr 18, 2011. Repelling Bugs With The Essence Of Grapefruit.

[5] Flor-Weiler LB, et al. (2011) Susceptibility of four tick species, Amblyomma americanum, Dermacentor variabilis, Ixodes scapularis, and Rhipicephalus sanguineus (Acari: Ixodidae), to nootkatone from essential oil of grapefruit.

[6] Carvacrol.

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59 thoughts on “Natural Ways To Keep Fleas Out Of Your Home

  1. I would love to know how to naturally get rid of fleas on cats. There are always posts about dogs but never cats. Does anyone know of a way? My cats will not drink the water with ACV in it by the way ha ha!

  2. ^About cats? I had two flea-ridden kittens last summer (too young to treat). Our vet suggested a Dawn bath (something in it suffocates the little buggers). Also, I found diametreous earth. If you get food grade you can not only put it on your rugs and vacuum but also pet bedding, etc. It doesn’t hurt animals if consumed as long as it’s food grade but it does get under hard shells of insects, including fleas, and dehydrates them.

  3. a friend of mine adds a little garlic to her cats meals and says it keeps fleas at bay

  4. i have found Diamateous Earth-food grade to be great to get rid fleas, any type of bug. flies,.it can be taken internally, but make sure it says food grade.on bag.. it looks like dirt, but it kills on your pets,any livestock.i found the Amish folks use this.. you can put around your yard too.. it better in dry grass, we can even take it with drink with a glass of fruit juice or filtered water..Diamateous Earth is like glass to bugs.. so it kills them.. good stuff!!

  5. i should add you can put Diamateous Earth to put it on your pets , need to rub next to their skin.. and the food grade you can just small pinch in their water.

  6. Get a shiny pie plate. Fill halfway with water. Add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. Place on floor under a lamp. Leave overnight. The light attracts the fleas and the dish soap breaks the water tension so they don’t float. Yes, fleas float.

  7. I grow and use fresh eucalyptus and will also use a good oil bought from a vitamin store or on line. Fresh is the key for aromatic. Fleas have a hard time breathing this and it freezes their lungs.This can be sat around your house in a big accent vase with water or put in a vase for drying. Looks great for decor also. I have also used the baking soda method.
    Thanks and good luck!

  8. Last year I obtained some stuff from the vet that successfully treated my very cat-flea and fabric-filled home. Haven’t seen a flea here since. Now I know it’s not a ‘natural’ solution but whatever it was was not toxic – even to fleas; it was just slightly oily and therefore prevented eggs and larvae ‘breathing’. I imagine something similar could be done with water and an essential oil such as cedarwood, in a spray.

  9. Please DO NOT Use essential oils on cats It will make them sick !!! there bodies cannot metabolize it! food grade DE will do the trick apply once a week to long haired cats, every 2 weeks for short haired.

  10. I had a dog , he passed away at the vet. I miss him dearly, well he left behind some little friends. FLEAS!! he had frontline on, but I have still saw some in my home. I have used a sray, then I read about using regular salt, I have been on a million sites to try to do it naturally seeing as how I have a 6 year old. Any other ideas PLEASE!!!!

  11. I saw directions on facebook for a flea shampoo made with 1/2 cup cider vinegar, 1/2 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid, and 1/2 cup water. I’ve used it with great success. You shampoo it in, leave it on for a few minutes, then rinse well–and I mean really well! You want to rinse every unconscious flea off before they wake up. The article said it kills the fleas, but I watched one that looked dead lying next to the shower drain. After several minutes it woke up and began to crawl.

  12. I hope at least one or some of these remedies work. I moved into an apartment where the previous renter had a dog and I have been killing fleas every since I been here. They really come out when it rains, don’t understand that at all. They’re in the yard as well. Can’t afford another place at this time.

  13. I have had great success using Borax detergent sprinkled on carpets, rugs, etc. The Boric acid in it is like glass to their bodies, it scratches the hard outer shell and they dehydrate and die.

  14. You can buy Diamateous Earth-food grade at farm stores, Luckey Farmers, Tractor Supply, Andersons, etc.

  15. I have used 20 mule team borax to get rid of fleas in the carpet. I sprinkle it on the carpet before i go to bed then vacuum in the morning. I also sprinkle the borax underneath the cushions of the couch and chairs and leave it there. My mother-in-law shared this with me and believe me it works like a charm. I hate using the sprays and/or bombs. For on the pet treatment, Dawn is the best around. Just make sure you rinse your animal good (I know how hard it is with a

  16. Hi there…. I have used with good results a mixture of Eucalyptus oil and carrier oil (I like to use olive oil because it has great topical properties). Mix with a ratio of 1:10 in a bottle and apply OUTSIDE on your pet like a lotion and watch the fleas jump off and run! They HATE eucalyptus oil. I made a bottle a few summers back to use on a pack of cats and they stayed flea free all summer long. Never had issues inside the house either. And, they all smelled really good. Peace~

  17. DE(Diameterious Earth) food grade works great on my cats. And it helps to keep most other bugs at bay.

  18. Garlic cloves work great for dogs and cats. Garlic is safe for dogs in small quanties (I do 1 clove daily for my 68lb dog, but can go up to 4 daily). There is info online on the right amounts for your size dog. It also make she coat shiny and beautiful.

    Otherwise, lavender oil is safe to put on their coat, all around the home, and lavender and lemongrass are great to plant in your yard. Strong smelling essential oils repell fleas and are harmless to your pet. I’ve heard peppermint oil works too, but have only tried lavender. Works like a charm.

  19. if you can use the baking soda on rugs is it safe to rub on a dog or cat to get rid of fleas too

  20. I have two toy poodles that I have usually treated with Sentinel for 6 months of the year, but money was tight, so I thought I’d try an essential oil mist recipe I found on-line this season. It seemed to be working until September when the fleas got the better of us.

    I was chasing them on the dogs and killing them by hand, then spritzing the dogs with the e.o. blend which was in a water base. Every time I thought I was winning, there’d be half a dozen more on each dog within hours. It was maddening.

    Then my mister ran out and I decided to switch to fractionated coconut oil as the base instead of water. It is light enough to not clog the mister and won’t stain the furniture. It’s also good for the dogs whether they absorb it through their skin or lick it off themselves.

    The up side of this is that I am not having to chase the fleas any more. When I see one, I blast it with the mister and rub it around a bit. The flea suffocates in the oil so I can just leave it there to fall off or whatever. And the e.o. oil spreads over the fur when I give them a final brushing. It’s a lot easier for me this way.

    My pooches and I are really bonding with all this grooming, but I am going to make sure I have enough money for Sentinel next spring. I plan to continue grooming and misting, experimenting with different e.o. recipes, maybe rotate the e.o.s in my mister so the dogs don’t sensitize, but I can’t deal with another year of chasing fleas 4 and 5 times a day.

    I read that NYS banned brush burning two years ago and that’s why the fleas are so awful now.

  21. I havery three dogs and I bath them all in blue Dawn dish soap. Use the non-concentrated version if you can find it, it’s less harsh if your dog or cat has sensitive skin. I’ve used this for over 15 years and I haven’t seen one flea yet. If you don’t believe me, ask your veterinarian… you’ll be surprised at their response. They all know it works, they would just prefer you buy their expensive treatments.

  22. I make a tea out of dried lavender which I further dilute in a little bath for my kittens. They get a dip in it about once a week to once a fortnight, and the lavender keeps bugs away from them. Also works for ticks!

  23. I love the idea of natural remedies, but please keep in mind that “natural” doesn’t always mean non-toxic. Essential Oils are in general highly toxic to cats and many well meaning pet owners have made their animals very very sick using them on or near their felines. Just a heads up :). Keep up the great work!

  24. My grandpa has been doing this to the dogs in his life since he could remember, but if you take used oil that you would dispose of between changings, it first drowns the fleas and eggs, and on top of that it literally makes the dogs coat superduper shiny and bouncy.. I doubted his methods at first but he keeps the dogs outside to protect the home against coyotes and wolves. He resides in Mississippi which is always humid and “did he bite me” is always waiting for this bath as the tiks, fleas and other natural elements that would harm a dog stay off him for weeks on end maybe longer but he does it at every oil change and the dog couldn’t be anymore happier and it is not dangerous to the dog, he is one of the healthiest dogs that gets his checkups annually. it may sound ridiculous but ask your elder if he was taught this on the farm and you may get the shock of a lifetime. i do it to my white dog and man she is always looking beautiful and her coat is so shiny and white when i do it. you will need a big bucket though to prevent oil waste

  25. The idea with the saucers placed under night lights with a little dawn dish washing liquid placed in them works GREAT! I thought someone was playing a joke when they suggested this but I have 4 saucers around my house loaded down with dead fleas and although there’s still one or two around, the population has been cut down tremendously. Now got to treat my cats and dogs but they have collars on so not sure why the fleas keep getting on them. May have to rig up a string of Christmas lights outside with saucers of dish water under them. Course, this cold snap should take care of most of the outside ones..

  26. I have been using inexpensive {Walmart or Dollar General} brands of dandruff shampoo for years, and fleas just wash right down the drain. Lather up your pet, rubbing well into the skin. Rinse…Even on long haired pets, the fleas never move as you comb them out. Works wonders!

  27. i read recently Eucalyptus and Lavender Essential Oils repel fleas and put some drops on the dogs collars. Noticed a big difference in their scratching. (they are on flea treatment, but still get them now and then) Plus they smell really nice!

  28. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar can be put directly on the cat or dog and rubbed into the fur. The fleas, their eggs and all will die and then you can use a comb to brush it out of your pet’s fur. The smell does not remain, the animal benefits from the wonderful properties of the Apple Cider Vinegar and the infestation can begin to be controlled. It also keeps the fleas from coming back onto the cat.
    However, since Apple Cider Vinegar is derived from corn, you must use organic brands. (Otherwise the genetically engineered organisms could actually add to your problems…and I am not sure how.)
    I hope this helps!

  29. CATS! Attention: ALL Essential Oils are toxic to them.

    I checked with my vet, my vet checked with a toxicologist. Bottom line? Stay away from using essential oils around cats.


  30. once you have rid your home of fleas (or in the process of) you can supplement your dog or cats food with a natural mix..
    i use about 2 tbsp of garlic powder and an equal amount of brewer’s yeast.. you may have to crush tablets if you can’t find brewer’s yeast powder.. to this add about a tsp or so of fennel seeds..
    sprinkle a small amount on your pet’s food daily.. it makes them unpleasant to the fleas.. keep it in a dry location..

    i have been doing this for two years now and in that time i had to use vet flea treatment once.. the past winter had been very mild and the bug problems were like i have never seen before.. i am not surprised i needed bigger guns.. my three cats go out when they want and sleep on my bed.. i am flea alert!
    it costs me about $60 to treat my babies for a month on Advantage… the mix i suggest has saved a whole bunch of money.. $25 treats my cats for about 6 months..

    REMEMBER it won’t get rid of the fleas you already have.. you need to start flea free.. it is preventative, not treatment.. good luck!

  31. All of the comments I’ve read are about the pets or bedding/carpet. My cat has fleas and of the 3 humans living in the house, I am the only one the fleas attack. Does anyone have a recipe for a spray I could spray on my pants legs/socks to keep the buggers off? Needs to be something that won’t stain clothes and ideally won’t require reapplication every 30 minutes.

  32. Yes, I have used Diatomacous Earth. There is a website that has 50 pounds for less than 2 10 pound bags. I never have fleas anymore. One year I could not get rid of them. I used a combination of the earth and also put Beneficial Nematodes on part of my lawn in the front and back where my dogs went out in the fence enclosure (too expensive to do 5 acres). I also have a friend the takes Diatomacous Earth for inflamation. I haven’t done that. Really works. And you do need to order food grade because there are harsh chemicals in the other kind.

  33. Do you have ideas on how to keep SQUIRRELS away from house areas. They like to tunnel under our ground set double-wide & tear up the insulation underneath. Thanks so much

  34. I have a dog and cat,I use ACV and water mixed half and half. Every other day I spray my dog and brush her woth it. I also spray onto my carpet, beds, bedding, anywhere I feel like they might be hiding. It stinks while its wet but once it dries you cant smell a thing. Its wonderful, bc my dog always gets staph on her whole body and flakes everywhere, and since I started doing this her skin is amazing and shiny.

  35. My mother ( now 87 and handicapped ) has been complaining about getting bit at night in bed. It’s not bed bugs but little tiny brown winged flying things.. Could it be fleas? Or a form of a bed bug? They don’t look like bed bugs .. And they are very tiny and have wings. .. Wondering how to get rid of them and protect her at night.?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  36. Reading all comments & didn’t see the remedy my mother taught me. She is an AVID gardener w/ two green hands instead of the traditional green thumb & knows everything from A-Z about plants. To get rid of fleas inside or outside your home use cut branches from the Crete Myrtle tree. Simply cut branches from the tree & lay around the area you want to rid of fleas & they disappear. There is something in the Crete Myrtle that repels the fleas & they go away & don’t come back. I thought she was nuts @ first when she told me about it years ago, but it actually worked! Crete Myrtle is common & can be found anywhere & everywhere. Simple, easy, natural & free!

  37. i am like everyone..there are always flea home remedies for dogs but not cats..its difficult to bathe cats.please any suggestions would be very helpful

  38. Diatomacous Earth (DE) works the best..just google it & there are links to order it! Lasts a very long time…works amazingly well on any kind of bug including fleas!! I keep it sprinkled around my house & never have a bug problem of any kind. I did use it on my cats & dogs, but you MUST use a MASK & Goggles!! You do NOT want to inhale it or get it in your eyes, as it can hurt your lungs & eyes! I used Dawn Dish soap on one of my cats that was infested, then used DE+Borax on my carpets…no more fleas! You do have to do it again in 7-10 days to make sure you get them all!

  39. For cat owners: I understand its difficult to bathe your cats! However, I have found that using head and shoulders shampoo. Put it on thick to smoother the fleas. Leave it on for awhile. Keep your cat in the tub. After 3-5 minutes rinse off. Repeat every week until you know longer see fleas in your house. I would also recommend bug bombing your house, then washing your pet. Also washing the bedding where your pet sleeps.

    Once you get rid of the fleas, wash your cats once a month. You must make sure you rinse all the shampoo out. Otherwise they will puke.

  40. I’ve always found that the easiest way to get rid of fleas for both dogs and cats is lemon. Pour boiling water over a chopped up lemon and leave it over night, then rub down your pet using the lemon water and a cloth or sponge. This is completely natural, is not toxic and works like a charm! ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. you can buy Diatomacous Earth – DE at your local feed stores, I posted a link to one of them but it’s available other places too.

  42. Wondering if some of these treatments such as the earth, oils and lemon baths are safe to use on rabbits??
    It’s spring and I have started taking our mush out. ๐Ÿ™‚

  43. Tammy: regarding bedbug crawlies. I always carry peppermint essential oil with me. When I’ve stayed at motels that I was troubled with bedbugs, I sprinkled the Peppermint oil on my fingers and smoothed it over the bottom sheet. No more problems.
    They hate it.

  44. 20 Mule Borax Laundry booster in the laundry detergent section of supermarket….sprinkle on rugs, couches, floor corners if tile floor, safe, very effective, cheap.

  45. Ca you please give me some ideas on how to keep fleas from biting me. It seems like everything likes me for diner

  46. You can use lenon juice to stop fleas from biting you and your pets. You can also spray it around yoyr home and on your carpet couches ect. You cut several lemons and boil them in water until it makes a sour lemonaid, yoy can also use lemon juice, once boiled add it to a spray bottle and spray away. This is safe on everything.

  47. Food grade Diatimaceous Earth will get rid of fleas on Pets, (just rub it into fur) put it in drinking pets drinking water and sprinkle around home. Make sure it is FOOD GRADE.

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