Before buying chemical treatments for an infestation, we’ve always been tempted to try homemade solutions first. That’s because they sound cheaper, safer and even more “natural” than conventional commercial methods. So it totally makes sense to look for the best home remedies for fleas before resorting to flea bombs.
This is why we’re counting down some of the best options you can take, using only the ingredients you can find around the house, specially from your kitchen. So you can decide on the right treatment to handle your flea problems without giving your exterminator a call.
Top Flea Killing Solutions
Homeowners use natural and herbal treatments because they’re usually inexpensive and safe.
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Light infestations call for rosemary. Its strong smell can repel fleas from large dogs or from certain areas of the house. It won’t kill the insects, but it can be a great option to prevent reinfestation, following a large-scale a flea killing treatment.
There are two ways to use this herb. You can boil a few stems with 2 cups of water, and use that to spray all over your house. Or, you can follow Rapid Home Remedies’ recipe. Combine rosemary powder with rue, wormwood and fennel powder in a coffee grinder or mortar. Then sprinkle the mixture on your pet’s corner, carpet, upholstery, window sills and other areas in the house.
Remember that the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals clearly lists the herb as non-toxic to dogs, cats and horses, so it’s safe for pets.
Rosemary oil, on the other hand, is different. Don’t substitute the oil for the entire plant. They’re not the same. The oil is more concentrated, and it’s not poisonous to cats. In fact, cats don’t have the necessary liver enzyme that can break down the oil into harmless substances. So you should stay away from the oil if you have feline friends in your house.
#2 Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar gets rid of fleas from the inside. What it does is that with a couple of daily doses, it eventually makes the skin more acidic and less appetizing to fleas.
You can use this method for your pets as well as to all the members of your family. Just fuse raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar with water and put it into your pet’s bowl daily. You can also encourage your family to drink this water-vinegar mixture every morning before breakfast. Use 2 tablespoons for people and big dogs, and 1/2 – 1 teaspoon for cats and smaller dogs.
Apple cider vinegar works best if you use the product that has “the mother” in it. This means that beneficial bacteria that live in the vinegar hasn’t been filtered out. They give health benefits like making the skin look clearer, lowering blood sugar levels and making coats shinier for pets.
Of course, feel free to check in with your doctor or your vet if you’re planning to make this little diet change happen.
#3 Lavender Oil
Generally, essential oils are bad news for fleas. And lavender is no exemption.
All you have to do is combine 1-2 drops of the oil into a spray bottle and fill it with water. If you have dogs, gradually incorporate this mixture into your house to keep them from being overwhelmed with the smell.
The best-case scenario for this treatment would be: being doused with the oil should suffocate fleas since these bugs breathe through their skin. But if that doesn’t happen, lavender’s strong smell can always drive them away.
Warning: if you raise cats, look for another treatment to use. Like the rosemary oil, cats can’t metabolize lavender oil. It’s very toxic to them.
Also, always dilute the oil heavily before you use it. A substantial amount can cause liver and kidney problems to your dogs. Visit your vet for more info on this.
#4 Coconut Oil with Brewer’s Yeast
Mix 1 and 1/8 cups of melted organic coconut oil and 1/2 cup of brewer’s yeast in a blender. Then pour the oil and yeast mixture in a silicone mold and freeze it until it turns into solid treats.
Give 1 daily treat per 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight. So, if you have a 20-pound dog, 2 treats will work for him.
Coconut oil has lauric acid and brewer’s yeast has thiamine. Fleas harbor a natural aversion to both. Once your dog takes the treats every day, remnants of these substances get out through the skin, forcing the fleas to look for other hosts.
#5 Cedar Oil
Cedar oil is a commonly used toxin for pests like ticks, mosquitoes and fleas. The oil has cedrol, a type of alcohol found in conifers. This natural substance is toxic to insects. Cedar oil has even been used in ancient Egypt’s embalming methods to keep pests from disturbing the dead.
To use this oil, Everyday Roots suggests combining 2-3 drops of cedar oil, 1 cup of apple cider vinegar and 1 quart water in a spray bottle. Just spray this all over the infested pet and leave it there for a few hours before rinsing it off. You should also spray it on all the infested areas in your house, specially the carpet.
As with most essential oils, cedar oil only works for dogs. Just be careful not to spray the mixture on his wounds, it will sting your him badly.
Lastly, we have lemons.
A fresh lemon is another kitchen ingredient you can use to solve your flea problems. Lemons have limonene, a substance that’s been used in commercial insect repellents for years. You can also find it in household cleaners and fragrance products.
There are plenty of ways to use the humble lemon. For PetMD, it’s as simple as rubbing lemon juice (not oil) onto your pet’s fur to keep the fleas out.
But for Cuteness.com, they suggest making a spray repellent out of the citrus. Start by mixing 2 lemons to 1 quart of water. Boil it for 5 minutes, and leave it to steep for 8 hours. Then pour the mixture into a spray bottle, and use it on your dog. Just be careful with his ears, genitals and eyes. You can also use this for your house.
Never use lemon oil for your dogs and cats. The oil has a very high concentration of limonene. It can irritate skin and cause terrible liver issues for them. You’re better off sticking to the actual fruit.
Read this article for a more comprehensive coverage on lemons and fleas.
So, these are 6 of the best home remedies for fleas. Overall, most of what these homegrown solutions do is repel the bugs rather than kill them. That’s because natural methods are typically less toxic compared to commercial products. But if you think about it, keeping pests away is a steady and more lasting solution. It’s better than the alternative which can instantly kill fleas but still give you the risk of having another infestation after a few months.
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