Get Rid of Fleas in the Home

by Tanya Harding

To get rid of fleas, it's advisable to know about the life cycle of fleas.

About the life cycle of fleas:  

Adult fleas eat a meal of blood, that they get from biting a host, like a pet or human.  They can get extremely irritating to the host, which results in a lot of scratching like crazy, but usually the scratching doesn't deter the fleas at all.

Flea faeces can also be found on the host.  The feaces look like small dried black pepper kernels, which turn red when rehydrated with water (the red color is because the faeces is made of the host's blood).  

The fleas lay lots of eggs, and these aren't sticky so they fall off the animal or pet and into carpet, bedding and floor cracks.

From these eggs hatch larvae that live on organic debris in its surroundings, for example the faeces of adult fleas. 

After 5 days or more, the larvae spins themselves up into a cocoon. 

Here they will stay until the conditions are right for them to come out as fleas.  What constitutes the right conditions for them includes temperature, humidity, and of course, enough to eat - a host, in other words. 

This means they can be in the cocoon for as little as three days when their transformation from pupae to fleas are complete, or they can stay in the cocoon for more than a year, if that's how long it takes for a host to walk by. 

This explains why some people may find that after moving into an empty house, it seems a flea plague can just suddenly spring up out of nowhere - the pupae stayed in their cocoons until they sensed vibrations and shadows from somebody's movements, which now prompted them to come out and feed on the poor unfortunate person or animal.   

To drive fleas from your home:

1.  Vacuum clean your home.  Vacuum cleaning is the best way to suck up a lot of fleas at once. 

Be careful how you discard of them of course.  If you can burn the vacuum cleaner bag, even better.  Otherwise you may seal it inside a plastic bag very tightly before you discard the lot, so they can't get out. 

If it's a permanent bag that your vacuum cleaner uses, you might cut off about an inch of a very strong flea collar, and place it in the bag before you start vacuum cleaning.  The toxic fumes should kill any incoming fleas. 

Otherwise, you might try emptying the bag in a big dish of SOAPY water, so the fleas drown in it as soon as they drop out.  Then discard the lot outside.  Note:  THE WATER MUST BE SOAPY, because fleas can actually jump off the surface of regular water.  

Make sure you vacuum clean in every nook and cranny. 

Also, use the proper attachments to also vacuum clean any upholstery, like chairs and furniture, even curtains.  Fleas, their eggs and pupae could be hiding anywhere. 

Bedding, blankets, throws and clothes should be washed in the washing machine, WITH LAUNDRY DETERGENT - it's very important that the water be soapy. 

2.  Get a spray squirter, or even a more professional garden squirter with a pump.  An empty kitchen spray bottle might also work. 

Fill it with pure white vinegar, mix a little lemon juice in it too, and start spraying it everywhere, in every nook and cranny, and even on the carpet if it wouldn't stain.  The acidic smell will chase away the fleas.  It doesn't kill them, but it does repel them.

Apple Cider Vinegar may also work, however the smell might repel you too.  Best to use clear white vinegar. 

3.  When the above is dry, liberally sprinkle salt everywhere where it wouldn't create a stain or damage.  Sprinkle it all over the carpet, floor, into the cracks in the linoleum, etc.

Salt shouldn't harm upholstery, PROVIDED THAT IT REMAINS DRY. 

The salt will dehydrate any fleas it touches, the eggs, the larvae and the pupae, and so kill them. 

Use as fine a salt as possible. 

Let the salt sit for a day or three, even more.

4.  Vacuum clean up the lot, and from now on, vacuum clean your home regularly, as proper as you possibly can.  High standards of cleanliness, including of course very regular vacuum cleaning, should keep a flea population from hijacking your house. 

If you have a pet, keep it clean too - a flea-infested pet is probably the most likely free ride for more fleas into your home.