Sometimes when our dogs have fleas, we see them scratching and I can’t help feeling a little itchy myself, hoping the fleas are contained and not leaving their eggs elsewhere in our loft apartment. It’s December and the cooler weather brings respite but living in sunny Los Angeles, I can’t help but keep an eye out for these critters since it was sunny and 71 this afternoon.
I’ve found an important step that needs to be taken when infestation is uncovered is to clean out everything that has been in contact with the infested animals or persons, to break the egg--> larvae--> infestation cycle.
It’s so important to make sure that all traces of fleas are dealt with and extinguished. For example, even if the host is decontaminated without taking into consideration the surroundings or environment, the infestation will surely return in a short time, defeating the purpose.
5 Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas: Step #1- Using an herbal spray instead of a flea bomb
It is only logical to separate the host from every other person or animals in order for decontamination to be effective. One way is to use a flea bomb, which can be full of harsh chemicals. Another way is to make a concoction of lemon juice, vinegar, witch hazel and water (all natural, no harsh chemicals, safe for pets and children)
Natural flea spray recipe
-½ gallon filtered water
-½ gallon distilled vinegar
-16 oz of lemon juice (I buy the bottle of pre-made)
Mix it all together and fill a squirt bottle. Pour the rest in a large gallon glass jar and put in the cleaning closet, refilling as needed. Start by spraying the floors, especially the corners and then mop. Then spritz the pet’s bedding, and other places where they hang out etc.
5 Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas: Step #2-Decontaminate and wash!
All bedding, small throw carpeting or clothing in sight, should be washed thoroughly in hot hot water. This will help to eliminate the eggs, pupae and larvae from forming and hatching, thus ending the flea cycle.
5 Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas: Step #3- Vacuuming with Diatomaceous Earth
Vacuuming is effective but more helpful is sprinkling a thin layer of Diatomaceous Earth and letting it sit for several hours, then vacuum. What is this Diatomaceous Earth (DE) and how does it work? DE is the remains of fossilized algae in a very fine powder form. Diatomacious Earth cuts the exoskeleton of the fleas and sucks water out of the flea’s body, eventually killing the flea. After all, fleas need water like we do. DE is non toxic, but the fine powder can cause allergies for some people so be sure to wear a face mask while working with it. Sprinkle it all around the house, along crevices, corners, behind cabinets, and everywhere that dust has a chance to settle. Most of the flea eggs will get picked up in this way, and larvae on the surfaces will also be trapped by the vacuum bag. Try not to get it on you or your pet’s skin as it can be drying.
Immediately disposal of the vacuum bag in an outdoor garbage can is recommended so that the larva doesn’t find its way back indoors. *****Make sure to buy food grade Diatomaceous. You can read more about DE in detail here
5 Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas: Step #4-Steam Clean Carpets
If you have carpets and are still worried after vacuuming with Diatomaceous Earth, you can steam clean your carpets. Steam cleaning will eliminate all stages of the fleas around the surface and open areas.
5 Ways to Naturally Get Rid of Fleas: Step #5- Last but not least, don’t forget to give your pets a flea bath. We recommend a bath with an all natural anti-flea shampoo.
Washing your pet ensures that any surviving flea is drowned before the host returns. One of my pups weighs only 6 lbs and I don’t like to wash her with shampoos with harsh chemicals. A basic recipe I like is one I make with castile soap, a little olive oil, water and rosemary essential oils. Since I eyeball my concoction, here is a recipe I found online with more exact measurements. We like to rub rosemary onto their bedding and coat as it helps to repel fleas and smells nice too.
As always, take what resonates and leave the rest. Here’s to a flea free home!