Fleas in the home is never fun! These tiny bugs can seem impossible to get rid of once they establish themselves.
Fleas typically come into your home riding on another animal like a pet or even rodents like a rat.
One thing that people don’t realize about fleas is that they can survive without a blood meal for up to two weeks. Plus, when fleas lay eggs, the eggs themselves are not actually attached to the fur of their host. Many of the eggs can fall off of an infested pet and directly into your carpet.
Even if your pets are protected by a flea collar or a monthly flea treatment, fleas can easily find their way into your home. Adult fleas can hide in the carpet until flea treatments wear off, and newly hatched fleas can start a whole new infestation. So, to completely rid your house of fleas you need to treat your carpet.
In this article, we discuss all of the ways to get rid of fleas in carpet – starting with the simplest methods and progressing to the more extreme.
Methods of Removing Fleas from Carpet
There are several different methods capable of removing fleas from the carpets inside your home. While light infestations can be dealt with through simpler methods, more stubborn infestations may require chemical intervention.
You can follow these as a step-by-step guide on getting rid of fleas from your carpet.
1. Vacuum Cleaners
One of the simplest ways to suck fleas up out of your carpet is with your vacuum cleaner. Vacuum cleaners provide powerful suction and typically have a beater bar with bristles that will actively dislodge eggs and adult fleas from the carpet.
The only thing you need to consider when using your vacuum is how you will dispose of the fleas.
Some vacuums have bags that can just be thrown away. These typically have HEPA filters as well so they won’t kick up allergens into the environment, so if you have a vacuum cleaner like this it’s best to use it!
Other vacuum cleaners have permanent collection chambers that are supposed to be dumped in the trash. If your vacuum has one of these chambers, empty the contents into a sealable Zip-lock bag so you can be sure that the fleas won’t escape back into your house.
Either way, frequently vacuum your carpeting to remove as many fleas as possible. At least once a day is ideal. Focus on areas where your pets my spend the most time, including their bedding.
2. Wash Everything
Fleas can hide everywhere, not just the carpet. Fleas can hide in your bedsheets, in dirty laundry, in clean laundry, and they are very prone to hiding in dog and cat beds.
For them, this is a perfect place to hide out while waiting for their next victim. Since fleas can bite humans while they are searching for a more suitable host, you should wash everything you can.
Find all the loose fabric in your home and throw it in the wash. Wash the load with hot water and plenty of detergent. The hot water will cook the fleas, and the detergent will ensure that the water penetrates the fleas’ exoskeletons. This double-whammy is sure to wash out any fleas that are hiding out in places other than the carpet.
Most of the time, these two actions (in addition to treating your pets with shampoos and repellents) will be enough to rid your house and carpet of pesky fleas. If you are still having trouble, move on to the next steps.
3. Use a Steamer
If you have vacuumed your carpet thoroughly and have washed everything you can but you are still finding fleas, you may need to step it up a notch.
Steamers use heated steam to clean carpets thoroughly. You can rent steamers from stores like Home Depot or Ace Hardware for a reasonable rate. The added benefit of steam is that it can kill fleas that it encounters, even if they are deeply embedded into the carpet fibers.
You can also buy a standalone steamer to treat your floors such as the one below.
- STEAM CLEAN. DEGREASE. DEODORIZE. ANY SURFACE. BETTER.
- POWERFUL STEAM CLEANER: up to 275°F/135°C. Best multi purpose steamer for home, cars and more.
- HEAVY-DUTY & LARGE CAPACITY: Up to 50 minutes of cleaning time per fill up.
Make sure to set your steamer temperature settings to produce steam that is as hot as possible. This will literally cook the little parasites like a lobster, ensuring that they cannot bite your pets, you, or your family ever again!
Unfortunately, steamers are hard to get into certain locations such as corners and under furniture. If you have a lot of inaccessible areas, you may need to step up your tactics.
4. Diatomaceous Earth (or equivalent Insect Dust)
Insect dust works through an ingenious mechanism. Though it is non-toxic to pets and your family, it readily kills any insect pest that comes into contact with it.
Diatomaceous Earth (D.E.) is dust made from the sharp silicon cells of microscopic organisms called diatoms. The shells of these organisms are extremely sharp, and rapidly destroy the exoskeleton of fleas and other pest insects. This leads to rapid dehydration, causing the fleas to quickly dry out. Other dust products use synthetic silicone for the same purpose.
- Kills a Variety of Insects - Kills roaches, fleas, ants, bed bugs, and more
- Comes In Puffer Bottle - For easy surface application or deep into cracks and crevices
- No Fillers or Additives - Composed of 100% freshwater diatomaceous earth mined in Nevada and packaged in Georgia
Many of these products come in easy-to-use dispenser bottles that help you spread the dust in a light layer. Distribute the dust in any areas you could not reach with the vacuum or steamer. The dust will stay in the carpet for months (or years in the right conditions) and will kill any fleas that come into contact with the area.
This should eliminate all fleas from your carpet, though there is one last tool in your arsenal if all of the above methods fail.
5. Bring in the Chemicals
If all else fails, you can always turn to chemical insecticides. While many synthetic insecticides are incredibly powerful, they can also be potentially harmful to your pets or family. They must be used according to the directions on the label. There are many, many different types of insecticides that work against fleas.
You can check out our article on the Best Insecticides for the Home to find the product that is right for you and your specific situation. Most of these are applied as a spray and will protect your home for a month or more.
However, you may have to stay off of the carpet and out of the rooms you treated for several hours or more as the chemicals dry. While this is the most extreme flea treatment, it is also one of the most powerful ways to rid your house of fleas (and many other insect pests)!
PT Alpine is rated as “reduced risk” by the EPA, meaning it’s less toxic and dangerous to the mammals in your household.
Why DoMyOwn?DoMyOwn.com offers professional-grade insecticides to DIYers while ensuring proper storage of chemicals. Couple that with their impressive customer service and knowledgeable staff, it’s the #1 choice.
PT Alpine (seen above) is a spray that will kill fleas for ~30 days, and also has an “insect growth regulator” component which prevents the growth of young fleas so they can’t become adults that lay eggs.
PT Apline is a good choice for indoor use because the active ingredients are granted “reduced risk” status by the EPA. This means they are generally safe for pets, children, and adults. You still don’t want to directly ingest the spray, but it would take quite a lot of exposure to do any harm.
Should I Use a Flea Bomb/Fogger?
Flea bombs are the most extreme treatment method for fleas, but not a particularly good one! The way that a fogger works is it shoots a cloud of pesticide into the air, which then slowly falls to the surfaces of your home, coating things with pesticide.
There are some obvious issues with this. For starters, you don’t really need to treat every surface with pesticides. It’s much safer to simply target the surfaces and areas most likely to have fleas.
Second, fleas can hide deeper in cracks and crevices (or deeper in your carpet) where a fogger won’t reach.
My advice is to skip the fogger unless you’re treating an area like a garage, attic, or vacant home.