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How to rid your house & home of fleas, get rid of fleas fast in your home now!

Updated on September 04, 2016



My misfortune with fleas

In 2012, I had a severe infestation of fleas. Both of my cats died in September. Although I can't prove it solely from the fleas, I know it contributed to them dying. I can't even recall the first time I saw a flea, as this was the first time I had ever had them. Both of my cats were kept inside, which is another mystery of how we had them so badly. My one cat (Santapaws was an elderly stray with thyroid disease, he was on medication for his illness) had already been weak and the fleas exasperated him. My other cat (Naps was also a stray, I'd put at about 5 yrs old) both of my cats were generally healthy, eating, playing and happy before we got fleas.

I later read that empty homes can house fleas in a dormant state. We had moved in December of 2011 to our current home. The fleas appeared in Spring of 2012. Both of my cats became extremely anemic, and it seemed that no matter what I did to kill the fleas, I just couldn't get rid to them. I lost them both of my babies in September. The 7th I chose to put Santapaws down because he was in need of blood transfusions (yes, he was that sick), and on the 17th Naps died in my arms from what appeared to be a heart attack. Three vets told me he had most likely had an undetected heart condition known as Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

I'm writing this article to hopefully prevent this from happening to someone else, their family, and most of all, beloved pets. I have both of my cats buried in our back yard and I've been thankful to keep them with us, if only on the property. But I miss them daily and the memories of how they went haunts me. And I hope to prevent this for others.

I vow to never have fleas the way I did before, ever.

Call in a professional?

For my situation, I did call a few local pest control companies. But first I did a little research on how they get rid of fleas.

After my research, it was not necessary for me to pay for professional help.

If you follow my advise, you will not need to get professional help.

The most important thing however, is to follow through on the suggested treatments for a minimum of 3 months!

Things that do not work for Flea Infestations

Save yourself time, money, frustration and potential illness to your pets and family, do not bother with these options for pest control

  1. Flea Collars-these are inexpensive, but they do not work. They cannot safely prevent or help an animal that is the host of a flea. Flea collars can be dangerous for cats. If they are not put on correctly the animal can snag or hurt itself trying to get the collar off, choke and possibly suffocate. They also have medication on the collar that can be toxic to your cat or dog. A flea collar does have one practical use, but more on that later...
  2. Flea dips, shampoo, and skin sprays-these are a waste of money and extremely toxic to cats. DO NOT BUY THEM! I cannot stress this enough! I personally think they should be REMOVED from store shelves. This includes, Hartz, Adams, and any knock off or dollar store brand. Also, these chemicals are not interchangeable. What can be used on a dog CANNOT be used on a cat! You can unintentionally kill your pet.
  3. Household flea bombs-these are toxic as well. Not safe for you or your pet. They can cause respiratory irritation to humans and pets, and skin irritation. They also do not reach hidden corners and crevices of places that fleas like to hide and lay eggs. They distribute unevenly throughout your home, making even square footage coverage useless.
  4. Generic topical solutions, these are the squeeze tubes you find at a discount store for flea treatment. They don't work, and again they are toxic! There are brands that work which I will mention further on, but one thing you have to keep in mind is that you CANNOT give these to your cats in less than 30 day intervals because these are chemicals and can hurt your pet if they are not given correctly. They can potentially kill your pet.

Flea bath


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So what works?

Because of how a fleas life cycle works, it is important to follow these suggestions for a minimum of 90 days. I know that is a pain, believe me, I've been there. But it is imperative to stop their breeding cycle. In some horrific situations this may take longer (such as my sad situation did).

  1. Once you determine you have a flea infestation, buy these items-Dawn liquid dish soap, a flea comb (if you don't already have one), Advantage Plus (90 day supply minimum), a flea collar, Precor IGR Insect Growth Regulator (easily found on Amazon) as well as a lawn and garden sprayer for application. Also have your vacuum cleaner ready.
  2. The most important thing to do is treat your animals first! They are the preferred host of a flea and are probably suffering immensely. It is also advisable to follow a flea program during the times of year fleas are active. Spring-Fall.
  3. Wash your pet gently and calmly with Dawn liquid Dish soap. DAWN only. This soap will suffocate a flea and not harm your pet. Wash around the neck, and follow back through the rest of the pets body as best you can. As you wash your pet the fleas will try to relocate to dry land. Make sure you wash the inside of your pets legs and hind quarters very well. Fleas like to hang out in this location. Do a really good job when rinsing your pet, start again by rinsing their neck and working back. Do not be surprised if the water runs red from your pet. This is a sign of a flea basically drowning, and as it drowns it excretes the blood that is sucked out of your poor animal. It's very important to treat your pet first because all the blood loss can cause Anemia. Another medication to use for extreme situations is Capstar. This medication works to immediately kill fleas on the cats body. Sentry makes a version of Capstar that is very affordable and works safely for cats and dogs. You can buy this on Amazon, see link. Please keep in mind this is a medication and you need to follow it exactly to avoid harm to your pet. Consult your vet.
  4. Treat your pet with Advantage plus, yes it is a little pricey, but believe me, other stuff will not work and waste your money. Advantage plus is applied to the space between the pets shoulder bones every 30 days. It is absorbed into their skin and will go into their bloodstream. It is also waterproof. When the flea tries to feed on your pet, it will be poisoned and die.
  5. Wash your cloths, rugs, towels and bedding in the hottest water possible.
  6. Next, you need to vacuum. Take the flea collar you bought and cut it small enough pieces to fit inside your vacuum cleaner bag or container, you can also use Fossil Shell Flour-food grade, this stuff actually slices the exoskeleton of a flea and kills it. Fossil Shell flour also called Damascus earth can also be sprinkled through your home, and applied directly to your pets fur. This stuff is EXTREMELY SAFE, use as often as possible in place of medications for your pets. If you have a vacuum that is bag-less, you will need to empty it after each use as far from your home as possible. Vacuuming is probably one of the best things in your arsenal against fleas. The vibrations from the cleaner cause flea eggs to hatch, and force fleas to come out of hiding. Vacuum anywhere your pets have been or like to spend time. This includes pet beds, furniture, carpet, everywhere. Vacuum any and all dark crevices in your home, along baseboards, in closets, in cupboards/cabinets, under beds, floor boards air ducts, air vents, ceiling rafters, attics and basements. You will unfortunately need to repeat this thorough act at least 3 times a week for 90 days. Our home is 2640 sq feet, I'd spend on average 2-3 hours vacuuming 3 times a week. It was awful, but it MUST be done.
  7. Next prepare your Precor solution as directed, remove people and pets from your home. Also contain any food that may be out, and spray this everywhere. All rooms, closets, cupboards, along the floor, and around the exterior perimeter of your house. Lots of furry woodland creatures carry fleas, such as rabbits, squirrels, and deer. When spraying in your house, start in a room and work your way out. You may need to do this 2 times in 90 days, depending on how bad your situation is. This chemical is like bug birth control, and prevents adults from being able to reproduce. It does not kill adults, that is what the other steps will do.

Within 90 days you should have your problem solved. After the first few treatments you may continue to see fleas bouncing about. Even if you only are seeing 1 or 2, you should not stop any of the above steps. Fleas multiply very quickly, so it's very important to continue to follow-through on all steps until you don't see any, not even ONE.

© 2013 Rebecca


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    • profile image

      No Sleep 3 years ago


      In 2008 I was blessed to receive the best friend I’ve ever had: a Service Dog. Later on that my service dog began scratching at his ears constantly, so I took him to the vet and was given a medication for mites, even though the vet didn’t see any in his ears. A month or so later I started feeling what I thought were small bugs crawling on my eyelashes during the night when I would wake up. My family tried to say that it was my nerves rather than some type of fly or insect, which I knew was ridiculous. The problem continued and I began to feel what seemed like pieces of sand landing on my face at night when I tried to sleep. Apparently this was the next stage of development. Then my dog began to scratch a lot more than usual, despite being treated monthly via oral medication, and the insects were now jumping on me and crawling into my nose, ears, and corners of my eyes! If that’s not bad enough, when this happens at night I cannot get up and shake them off or get in the shower because I’m paralyzed from the collarbone down and cannot get out of bed until my attendant comes in the morning. All I can do is swat them on my face and ears the best I can, but my efforts are futile since the problem has magnified over the years. Over the years I have moved from an apartment in my hometown, to a house on my college campus, and recently into a brand-new apartment in which I was the first tenant, and the problem has followed me every step of the way! Here’s what we do on a daily basis to fight the problem, but it’s not enough:

      -Vacuum, empty the canister, and take it to an outside garbage

      - Put Boric Acid on the carpet in my room, allowing it to sit for 10-12 hours.

      -Spray Knock-out and Ortho in my room and apartment, and have had exterminators to come in

      -Have my service dog bathed in flea shampoo biweekly

      -Special flea collar from the vet

      -Oral medication monthly for fleas, ticks, and heart worms

      - Use an Over-the-counter topical spray that is rubbed into his hair, and I’ve even tried diatomacous earth on the carpet, but


      They are in my hair, nose, ears, eyelids, eyebrows, and I can feel them job off of me all over my body. In the mornings and at night, I rub down with Off Spray to help calm it down, but apparently they are getting resistant to the spray because it does not work like it used to. I have not had a sound night’s sleep in years! At this point I don’t think I will ever get rid of my problem, and I’m willing to bet that any suggestions provided will probably not work.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 years ago from USA

      If this problem is indeed fleas, you need to get Precor IGR and continue everything you are doing until the issue is gone. I'd also talk to a doctor about everything you've described, and I hate to suggest this, but have you talked to a doc about possible Schizophrenia? Sometimes symptoms can cause delusions, especially those involving bugs. I'm not saying this is the case, I've just not heard of all that you're describing. My flea war was very bad, managed to kill 2 of my cats, but in 3-4 months it was under control. Also get a jar of organic coconut oil, you can put this on your dog, and you can also eat 1-3 tsp a day to help with the symptoms you're describing.

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      shaye1978 2 years ago

      Dear No Sleep,

      I too have same problem and I know im not Schizophrenic . Ive had the pesky things take up residence in my hair /scalp. Its so bad ive gone so far as to shave my hair off . Please let me know what you come up with to help, im at my wits end and tempted to try a pesticide we've used on lawn ! (Jk,) well ive done the treating all our animals w avantix, vacuuming 2-3times a day. Bedding changes daily, vacuuming mattrsses,pillows in dryer 30 min on hot, well yes Laundry all the time, tea tree oil, olive oil, heck ive even shaved all my hair I mean ALL of it except my eyebrows& forearms cause there'snot all that much to hide in, right, well its been 5 months,oh yeah also had 2 prescriptions for meds foc thought would help and It does but only 2-3 days ! I'm so tired of being itchy exausted and bald !im hoping for a solution

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 2 years ago from USA

      Shaye and No Sleep, do you guys think it could be bed bugs? I've never heard of fleas the way either of you have described.


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      Kelly Lancer 2 years ago

      I have a serious problem now no sleep....,I have 2 indoor cats & a small terrier...., dog treated with frontline plus & heartguard, until abot a week and a 1/2 ago. My calico ,got out, i freaked as she and my other one are both indoor, she was behind my shed, after combing the neighborhood, thank goodness..., but, about a day of her being back onside,my dog was covered, its been 5 days since then, I have my dog on comfortis, and i found a great repellent, ATLAST,all natural flea & tick spray, but the cats are itching so am i, so i sprayed both cats, where they sleep, etc, & here I thought it was my dog that brought them in, but it wasn't. I also used sulphur and bayer granules around my yard,lots of trees, and a vacant house behind me, its like sherwood forest, im so itchy & upset, i called dept of health on house behind me...so hang in there, its awful

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      i have a ten year old cat, she is spayed and seen her scratching everyday. I think she got the fleas from the males but she always stays outdoor. My son is allergic to cat fur

    • profile image

      Theresa 16 months ago

      I also have a house infested with fleas. Ive been fighting them for 5 months. I sprayed my house insude and out with pesticides every week. Even had Terminex out 2 times. These things get in my eyes,ears and every possible place you can think of. They get in my skin, even though everyone says they dont, i jnow they can cause i am living proof. Ive been takung a bath in bleach water and hundreds of them come off in the bath tub. Everybody thinks ive totally lost it, but i can show you were they burrow in my skin. Drs think you are crazy when you try to explain the situation. I dont know any answer to this problem. I wish someone would listen to me

    • sagolia profile image

      sagolia 16 months ago

      This is an interesting article, and helpful too. As a vet tech, I'm asked almost daily how to get rid of fleas. The number one thing to do is get ALL of your pets on a quality preventative and stick to it religiously! You can do all the DIY treatments in the world, but you'll never get anywhere until your pet is on a flea preventative.

      People also need to understand that when getting rid of fleas, it takes MONTHS for them to all go away, because you have to kill each and every generation of fleas. This takes TIME.

      I could rant for days on the importance of just getting your pets on preventatives and sticking to them.

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      msMary 11 months ago

      We had an infestation of sand fleas once, I believe that's what killed my dog. They were everywhere! We are in a rural area. I bought a yard treatment that sterilized the hatchling as they hatch, every 10 days we attached it to the waterhose. We set up those diy flea traps with Dawn water in a clear dish and a white piece of paper under night light. Treated the dogs with Comfortis. Sprinkled borax and Seven dust throughout the house and left it there as we had no carpet. And ain't nothing wrong with washing in Dawn dish soap, especially if you moisturize with coconut oil. There was also an insect killer called Demon that we used, but carefully. Then we were told of an old home remedy involving a local bush called MercleBushes. We were told that animal in the wild will bed up under these shruby little weeds and it keeps the fleas away. We walked the wooded areas and chopped some and put them under all the beds, couches, chairs and up against the house on the outside. We finally rid ourselves of those horrible buggers! We are in the deep south. Good luck And remember, Prymethian(?), a dog flea treatment, Is deadly for cats so use caution.

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      Barbara 9 months ago

      We were bathing our cats in Ivory dish soap, works wonders and they smell so good. SPCA told us this method. Then we bought Advantix for 1 large dog and spread it out amoung 5 cats. Also from the SPCA. Amazingly no more fleas and our babies are thriving.

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      Kim Pearson 8 months ago

      I lost one of my sweet boys on June 26, I no2016. He was 10 years old and always very robust and healthy. When he was younger he loved the outdoors and would come and go as he pleased. We moved to an apt for the last 6 years and I kept him indoors. Last summer we had a problem but I was able to control it. We moved to a house in March and he was so happy being in the backyard. It rained here for a month and it seems like after that the fleas got vicious. We have 4 cats and they all got sick around the same time. I thought they had gotten into something in the garage. My Romeo would always come in to my room to wake me up for breakfast for everyone and that day he didn't come in. He was so lethargic but I thought if we could just get those fleas off he would feel better. I took him to the vet since he was the sickest and had to leave him overnight because they had almost sucked him dry. The next morning he was doing better and but then he started going downhill and died that night at the pet hospital. The vet said he had bone marrow cancer and that the fleas took advantage of his situation. I was devastated. He never acted sick and he was always taking care of the other cats and me. I still think the fleas killed him but since he did have the cancer at least he didn't suffer long. I have been washing and spraying everything I can get my hands on and I refuse to lose to these bloodsuckers. we are still having issues but the other cats are feeling better. It just takes that much more time to do chores each day to fight them. This has been such a horrible experience but I will not let them win and lose another baby. I will also never let them outside again. I think that may have been why they were so bad and I am still trying to figure out what works best. I'm ready to start the homemade remedies because all the expensive stuff kills some but has not been fully successful.

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      had bed bugs fleas AND lice 7 months ago

      guys, please, find yourself some food grade diatomaceous earth, and take a dust bath in it, rub down pets and sprinkle it on carpets and anywhere there is a problem. it has taken care of the fleas, the bed bugs, and the lice my kids brought home from school.

      please, save yourselves. buy some food grade diatomaceous earth. there is a coarser brown and a finer talc- loike white powder. they both work, but the fine talc is easier to manage in the house, and on on bodies, will give you instant relief, and is not harmful for you or your pets to eat and swallow. (even kills internal parasites for both, and is recommended for consumption by holistics)

      there is a way. save yourselves. i bought mine on ebay.

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      Ben 6 months ago

      I've had bed bugs. 1000 times worse than fleas. I found that using a chalk line sprayer bottle (the kind used in construction to mark lines on wood to cut, work great applying the diatomaceous earth. It's a small bottle with a spout you can squeeze to distribute powder. Had to wrap all our mattresses on plastic and treat that everywhere. I wouldn't wish bedbugs on my worst enemy. They truely are the final circle of hell!

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      Several iinfestation of fleas 4 months ago

      I have 3 dogs and 4 cats. We treat our animals with advantage as well as treat our yard twice a year but still have had infestations several times. I think I have finally found a great combination to get rid of and keep fleas out of my house. To get rid of a current iinfestation: 1. Wash animals with Dawn, blue original only. Ithe kills fleas and also removes dirt so much better than dog shampoo. I did not wash my cats. Great info in this post. Before introducing animals back into house. 2. Make a mixture of borax and salt (borax weakens fleas shell and salt dries them out) sprinkle all over carpet and under any upholstery cushions or on top. ( made shaker from mason jar with holes in lid) Let sit for 6 to 24hours. Vacuum up. 3. wash all linens (hot water, I also add borax and vinegar, and hot dryer) 4. Make mixture to of apple cider vinegar ( white does not work) and water in spray bottle and spray all fabrics you are unable to wash. ( I do it once a week ) fleas do not like the taste/ smell. 4. Treat animals with advantage (cheap kind can burn skin and cause horrible reactions and do not work.... be sure to NEVER usedog's flea med on a cat, it affects the cats nervous system and can kill them fast. I in fact keeps dogs from cats for 24 hours to be safe. We had a horrible scare that was an accident with a cat of ours. Make sure it's a few hours after bath to make sure it stays on skin. 5. Capstar is a must also. Same with flea combing animals. 6. Treat lawn with triazicide (make sure watered and keep animals from lawn for 24hours for safety)

      For prevention: 1. 30 days faithful application of topical flea med (advantage) do not pet animals or touch spot of application for at least 12 hours so chemicals are not spread around house 2. Continue spray fabrics with apple cider vinegar. And occasional carpet sprinkle. Vacuuming often does make a huge difference as stated in article as well regular dawn baths and flea combing ( Have a cup of water with dawn handy to put fleas in, they can't swim in dawn and drowns them, where just water they can get out of. Flush down toilet. 3. Wash linens, pet beds often (if unable to wash spray with vinegar as well as kennel)

      4. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vvinegar per 1 gallon of animals drinking water ( fleas do not like taste therefore do not latch on to animal because it is then in their skin) it actually keeps water clean and animals do not taste it. ( can also spray animals down with it)

      It took several years of trial and error to figure out these combinations especially since I do not like to use chemicals on/ near my animals or my kids. I hope I added useful information. I hope it does not come across as trying to overshadowing this article ( had awesome advice ) just wanted to share my experiences. I have hhad animals all my life and have a super soft heart for homeless/ stray animals but have learned a lot recently because of the longer spells of warm weather here in the south ( which are a breeding ground for fleas and mosquitoes)

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      Jessica 4 months ago

      Hello. Would it be safe to use the sentry tablets and advantage plus at the same time on my cat?

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      Gladys 4 months ago

      I cannot find advantage plus anywhere I found advantage 2, will that work?

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 months ago from USA

      D.E. is excellent! I've luckily not had a bed bug issue before, but will use it for that if I ever do. I'm glad you got rid of them.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 months ago from USA

      I usually find it on Amazon, but I'm sure adv 2 will work, just follow the dosing exactly. All these chemicals are very hard on our pets. Good luck to you.

    • Bishop55 profile image

      Rebecca 3 months ago from USA

      Hi, a flea comb won't really get rid of them, but it will definitely help you determine what is in the cats fur. The cat will enjoy the brushing too. But because of a flea's life cycle you'll need more than a comb. Hope that helps.

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      Anon 2 months ago

      For some of the comments about not sleeping/them attacking you more severely than they should be - it's possible that it's scabies in addition to fleas, particularly if being cold (e.g. cold shower) helps and it's more itchy at night than it is through the day. Many doctors won't actually notice them as they turn up as tiny dots (they look almost like black head pimples) between the webbing of your fingers and on your hands in general as this is where they enter your skin. If you find you are affected by this there are lotions available at pharmacies and you'll also need to follow many of the home cleaning tips for flea removal (washing exposed material at high heat with certain cleaners, etc) to help be rid of them completely.

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