The salt carpet treatment is popular online. It’s a cheap alternative that a lot of homeowners swear by, even though there isn’t much proof that supports its effectiveness – which begs the question, does salt kill fleas in your carpet? Or is this treatment just part of an internet trend?
Table salt has a reputation that involves getting rid of pests like fleas and ants.
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How does the salt treatment work?
The salt treatment mostly targets the developing flea population, the eggs, larvae and pupas, since they’re the ones that live in our carpets. Adult fleas prefer to stay in their hosts most of the time.
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Ideally, salt should kill insects by absorbing all the moisture from its victim’s body. It’s also hygroscopic, so it should suck out water from its surroundings, including the moisture in the air. These make the salt deadly to its targets.
There are two ways to apply this treatment. One is to sprinkle the condiment directly to your carpet, and the other is to sprinkle and then add water in an attempt to spread the salt all over the floor.
Some sites also suggest pairing this treatment with boric acid or other flea killers to make it effective.
Why is the salt treatment so popular?
So the treatment is easy to do. It also sounds effective. But are those the only reasons that make it popular in the world of pest control?
Its popularity may have started when Time Magazine published the article Science: Salt v. Insect in 1937. The article talked about Dr. Vernon Raymond Haber’s discovery on Epsom salt’s lethal effects on Mexican bean beetles, and maybe even to all insects.
So the literature for this treatment is practically ancient. It’s obsolete compared to the new pest control remedies popping up right now.
But even though there’s a real lack of credible evidence to back it up, the salt treatment is mentioned in a lot of sources online. Some of them are even popular go-tos for pest control and DIY pest management. This is probably because there are homeowners who swear by this method. And the collective experience that they’ve had are all the proof others need. Whatever the case, we don’t really require proof to try out something cheap, safe and readily available, do we?
What you should know about putting salt on carpets
According to Flea Science, a reliable flea encyclopedia, the salt treatment can do more harm than good.
As we’ve mentioned, pouring salt and water on your carpeted floor mainly targets flea eggs, larvae and pupas. But we’re forgetting that these creatures thrive in moisture-rich environments. Not only will the treatment be less effective, it probably won’t damage the immature flea’s environment too much. Worse, it can probably even enrich it with all that water. The microhabitat in your carpet would then become very moist, an ideal place for termites, mold or fungi and dry rot to form on the floor below.
Additionally, salt is notorious for giving salt stains on wooden floors. It can cause damages that only paid professional cleaners can fix, setting you back a huge amount. This is counterproductive since you’re using salt to save money in the first place.
So does salt kill fleas in your carpet? And is it worth it? A few posts ago, we talked about how salt could kill ants, and we concluded that you have to try the treatment out before you make a conclusion. The same goes for salt and fleas because, fundamentally, fleas aren’t that much different from ants.
You’re welcome to try it at home, but know that there are plenty of risks involved. You’re better off trying other methods that have a long history of actually being effective.