9 Ways To Kill Fleas in Your Carpet: Everything to Know

5 Ways To Get Rid of Fleas in Carpet

Our homes are a place for comfort and relaxation. This makes it all the more upsetting when you come to suspect that fleas are invading your safe space. If you're dealing with pesky fleas in your house, and more specifically in your carpets, here's how to take care of it and kill fleas, carpet-dwelling ones, and any others.

1. Make Sure It's Actually Fleas

Once you suspect that fleas are to blame for your, your family's, or your pet's itchiness, it's understandable that you would want to get started right away. After all, who wants these bugs in their house for even a second longer than necessary?

We completely get the impulse to want to nuke these pests and be done with it immediately, but there's a step you should take first.

Before you are ready to get rid of a flea infestation in earnest, you'll have to ensure that it is the fleas you're dealing with. If you're dealing with another insect, like bed bugs, mosquitoes, or spiders, how you handle it might change. Though, if it's not fleas, other bugs can be as annoying (and as itchy). So, just in case, stock up on some mosquito patches for adults and mosquito patches for kids, or as we prefer to call them – fun mosquito stickers.

Going through the elaborate process of ridding your home of a specific kind of bug only to find out that they weren't the culprit at all is demoralizing, but it might also be ineffective. So instead, budget just a bit of your bug-fighting energy to first ensure you have correctly identified the bugs in question.

How do you know if it's actually fleas? They have some distinct moves and marks. Unlike other fellow bugs like bed bugs, which are more into hiding in your mattress, fleas are the outgoing types, especially interested in pets and carpets. They're tiny, sure, but with a keen eye, you can spot them. They can jump pretty high and far and have signature dark, reddish-brown coats. So, take a moment, get up close and personal with your carpet or pet's fur, and look for their telltale signs, like flea dirt.

Once you know that fleas are the ones to blame, you can go about eliminating them with all of your might, knowing that each step you take will be effective.

2. Understanding Fleas and Their Lifecycle

Let's get to know these tiny adversaries a bit better. The lifecycle of fleas goes from egg, larva, and pupa to adult fleas, the one that comes after humans and pets. This cycle is why just cleaning once won't cut it. You have to break the cycle to prevent future infestation—think of it as stopping the flea family tree from growing. If you try to get rid of them by putting the vacuum cleaner into action once and then notice them coming back again and again, this is why. Somewhere, there are invisible survivors, such as flea larvae, that multiply and return to infest the home once more.

How to Know if Fleas Are in Your Carpet Stings & Bites Shop Our Stings & Bites Collection Shop Now

Fleas are tiny bugs, but they can usually be seen by the naked eye without assistance. These insects range from .039 inches to .13 inches in length, making it easy to mistake them for a speck of dirt, a crumb, or something else inconsequential. Depending on the type of carpet you have, gently separate the fibers to check for evidence of fleas in between.

This evidence can appear as the fleas themselves, typically dark red or brown in color. You might see them crawling around, or they could stay put. You might also see what is known as flea dirt.

If you place the suspected flea dirt on a wet paper towel, you'll notice that it turns red. This is because flea dirt is primarily composed of blood. If you aren't sure whether a speck is dirt or flea dirt, put it on something wet to find out.

How to Test for Fleas

Let's say you don't see any fleas in your carpet, but you are still fairly certain they're the ones at fault for your itchiness. In that case, you can leave a bowl of soapy water out overnight near where you think they hang out. Also, have an itch patch at the ready, especially if you haven't identified where they're coming from and expect the attackers to come back.

Give the bowl some time on its own, and then revisit it to see if you've caught any pests. Consider pointing a light source to up the fleas' incentive to jump to their doom.

Another way to discover if fleas are hiding in your carpet is to stand on it with long white socks. Rub your feet into the carpet, and wait to see if fleas begin to leap up onto the socks. Make sure to pay special attention to the corners.

3. Vacuum Extensively

Now that you know there are fleas in your carpet, it's time to vacuum like you've never vacuumed before. We've all done some half-hearted vacuuming when company is coming over that we don't particularly care about impressing. This, however, is a time to make your vacuum really earn its keep.

Use a powerful vacuum to go over your carpet or rug multiple times. Make sure that no spot is spared. If even a few live fleas are left over, the infestation can easily begin anew after you've finished your dirty work. This is why it's often wise to go over the carpet multiple times.

Make sure that your vacuum really is powerful. If you've occasionally vacuumed and noticed bits left behind, then you'll need something stronger. Once your vacuuming is done, you'll need to move on to several other steps to ensure any remaining fleas don't just start over.

To get a more thorough clean, use a nozzle attachment if your vacuum has one available. This will allow you to get deeper into the carpet and focus on individual fibers rather than covering a wide area less precisely. After this is done, it's time to get the filter (and all the contents you just sucked up) out of your house.

Remember that it's not enough to just run the vacuum cleaner over the carpet and call it a day. You must leave nothing to chance. Get into nooks and crannies, under furniture, and if you're a pet owner, especially in spots where your pets like to snooze. Once that's done, carefully dispose of the vacuum bag or contents to throw the fleas away with the debris. If you don't do it promptly, they might come back.

4. Wash Your Carpets With Soap and Water

An effective means of killing fleas is with soap and water. This is why flea baths are popular for ridding dogs and cats of these unpleasant insects. Shampooing your carpets is a handy method of killing remaining fleas that somehow survived your adventure with the vacuum.

You can do this yourself, or you can hire a professional to do it for you. Whether or not you seek a professional's help will largely depend on the severity of the infestation.

If you've managed to catch the infestation relatively early, you might be able to get away with doing it yourself. But keep in mind that you want to do this right first to avoid the problem worsening in the future.

Shampooing is great because it should kill off the remaining fleas and their larvae and eggs while also making your carpet look cleaner and fresher. Besides the good old shampooing, steam cleaning is another excellent flea-fighter. Steam cleaning uses high temperatures that clean the fabric and kill fleas; carpet invaders, at various life stages, from the daring adults to the hidden eggs, don't stand a chance with this method.

Both techniques are a win-win: clean carpets, no fleas. But remember, both also have some considerations. If you go with shampooing, pick a product that's safe for exactly the type of carpet fabric you have (and the length of the "hairs"). For steam cleaning, the hot steam may be a bit harsh, so use it carefully and don't overdo it.

If you do choose to steam clean or shampoo your carpet at home, you'll want your rug to be as dry as possible afterward. If the space between fibers remains damp and warm, this is the perfect environment for flea eggs to hatch and thrive. This is the last thing any of us want, so try to dry off the surface before putting it back where it belongs in your home.

5. Treat All Other Areas of Your Home

If fleas have found their way into your carpeting, it's almost certain that they're lurking in other areas of your home. If you have any pets, the fleas are likely already using them as a source of nutrients. This means you have to take any of your pet's bedding, toys, and other items they touch and clean them thoroughly.

Fleas don't only hide among your pet's belongings, though. They might have come into your house on your pet, but they have the ability to jump and travel significant distances after that.

In fact, fleas can jump 200 times their body height, about 13 inches. Otherwise, the fleas could have come into your house through a piece of furniture or from the outside, and they've since found their way to your pet.

No matter how they got in, you're going to have to treat the rest of your house like the potential flea den it is. Nothing upholstered is safe. Carpets, furniture, blankets, clothes, bedding, and more must be washed before the infestation can spread even more.

It might seem like a pain to go over your home with such a fine-toothed comb, acting as if fleas are everywhere. Still, it's much better to take care of the issue now rather than wait for it to become more severe.

6. Use Essential Oils

For those of us who prefer to deal with our problems without chemicals, you're in luck. There are multiple essential oils that can be used to great effect when it comes to taking care of fleas.

You can use a diluted essential oil spray to successfully eliminate fleas by spraying it around the home. Depending on the essential oil you use, this mixture can even be pet-friendly.

Use the spray anywhere that fleas could enter your home. Take a tour of your house with the eyes of a flea. What small spots and cracks could serve as an open door for them to enter? Be sure to spray around your windows using oils like lavender, peppermint, cedarwood, and more.

Essential oil for fleas can be a mighty ally, but the correct use is the condition. Usually, using essential oils properly means, first and foremost, diluting them. Mix a few drops of the oil of choice with water or a carrier oil. Such mixtures are safer for use around the house.

You also need caution when applying the oils. Lightly mist the places where you've found fleas hanging out or where pets spend a lot of their time. Since essential oils like lavender, peppermint, and cedarwood are pleasant to human noses but a nightmare for fleas, having just enough will make the place smell great, be safe, and put off the nasty invaders.

7. Choosing the Right Flea Treatment Products

It's time to talk about flea-fighting tools. There's a whole arsenal of products out there, from sprays and powders to the big guns like IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) products. Each has its place and time.

Sprays and powders are great for a direct attack, especially if you're dealing with aggressive flea attacks that itch and redden and madden. Meanwhile, IGRs are there for long-term fighting. They prevent fleas from coming back and multiplying.

For those leaning towards a more natural approach, there are products like NatPat that are still effective but with fewer chemicals. Pick what works best for your situation, so long as it's safe for the whole family, pets included. No matter how powerful a product may be, if it's toxic for anyone other than fleas, then it might be more trouble than it's worth.

8. Safety Precautions When Using Flea Treatments

It's natural to want to be rid of fleas as soon as possible. But don't let this desire push you toward rash decisions. Chemical treatments are effective, but they come with a label for a reason. Always follow the instructions to the letter and keep pets and kids out of the area when fighting fleas with these kinds of products. After treatment, give your space a good airing out and a thorough clean, so it can be safe for everyone to return. 

Non-chemical treatments don't need as much of a warning, but it's still worth being careful. Even if using natural remedies, check for allergic reactions and don't overdo it. Keep in mind that most things are only good in moderation and you should be alright.

9. Post-Treatment: Ensuring Fleas Don’t Return

Winning the battle against fleas is one thing, but keeping them gone is another. Vacuuming often is your best friend here. It sucks up any fleas that might be considering settling down.

Keep an eye on your pets too. Baths for dogs and flea treatments for many pet species keep them from being flea magnets. Of course, don't forget about cleanliness. A clean home makes it tough for fleas to find a foothold again. The less they have to eat, the fewer areas they can nest in, the better.

Using Natural Means to Ease the Itch

Natural techniques can be very helpful and effective when trying to get rid of fleas. Plus, they can also help while you're dealing with the ramifications of an infestation at the moment.

Rather than turning to itch-relief methods that are saturated with harsh chemicals, turn to an option that both you and your kids can feel good about.

MagicPatch Itch Relief Patches by The Natural Patch Co. offer a solution for people looking for an all-natural reprieve from their discomfort. These easy-to-use bug bite patches utilize the powers of Grid-Relief Technology to work with your body and not against it.

When you place a patch over an itchy bug bite, a microlift is formed in the skin, allowing your lymphatic system to drain more quickly and effectively. This erases the itch before you know it. Also, remember that similar treatments may be available to deal with sand bug bites and the like. If you're not sure what those are, look up pictures of sand flea bites.

The Fleas Will Flee

By following this guide, hopefully, all the (furry and non-furry) members of your family will soon be back to their non-itchy selves in no time.


What kills fleas instantly in carpet?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) works almost instantly. This natural, powdery substance is like walking on broken glass for fleas but is safe for humans and pets. Sprinkle it on your carpet, let it sit for a time, then vacuum it up. Remember, "instantly" is a bit of a stretch with any method, but DE works fast by causing fleas to dehydrate and die.

Does vinegar kill fleas in carpet?

Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, has many uses, but killing fleas in carpets isn't one of its strengths. It can repel fleas thanks to its strong scent and acidity, so it's still a decent repellant if not a killer. Mixing vinegar with water and spraying it lightly on carpets can discourage new fleas from moving in, but don't count on it to kill an existing infestation.

What product kills fleas in carpet?

There are several products for battling fleas in carpets. Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs) stop fleas from maturing and reproducing, breaking the life cycle. For immediate killing power, look for sprays or powders for flea control that contain ingredients like pyrethrins or permethrin. Always follow the product instructions.

Does Dawn kill fleas in carpet?

Dawn dish soap has a reputation for being a flea fighter on pets, but its effectiveness on carpets is limited. While a solution of Dawn and water can kill fleas, carpet-invading ones, or those living in other fabrics, on contact due to its surfactant properties, it's not the best for treating carpets. It's hard to rinse out and doesn't target fleas hidden deep in carpet fibers.

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