How to remove fleas from your home – my experienceLast updated on November 26th, 2023
Some years back, I had the misfortune to get fleas into my house. This was a horrible experience to go through, and despite common belief, simply being clean and tidy isn’t enough to prevent this.
I had 2 house cats at the time that didn’t go outside at all, and I used the standard FrontLine spot-on flea treatment to minimise the risk of fleas (albeit, with the vets advice, applying 25% less frequently than for outdoor cats). I still got this issue though. Below are the steps I found to be critical to killing off the fleas… I hope this helps anyone out there having similar pain.
Cleaning the house
I’d like to think that I’m actually a very clean person, but with fleas in the house, this called for a slightly obsessive level of cleaning, particularly vacuuming, and changing bed sheets etc..
I tried to do this daily, pulling items out where possible to clean under them, vacuuming right up to the walls (using a tool to get the power right up to the edges) and vacuuming the sofa surfaces too. Many places suggested cutting up a flea collar and placing it in the vacuum to ensure any fleas vacuumed up were dead. I must admit I just went for emptying the vacuum outside, though obviously this carries with it a risk of taking them back into the house!
Next the obsession moved towards surfaces my cats liked, cat beds, throws, bed sheets, the whole lot went for a good hot wash.
De-fleaing my pets
After several failed attempts with a range of products the vet was happy to recommend and sell to me (one of which I would definitely not recommend… the spray on versions… my boys (cats) HATED it, and spraying them all over and rubbing it over their face etc.. made me very unpopular, and wasn’t easy to do!)… I came across a product called FrontLine Combo (NOT to be confused with standard FrontLine) which was sold by prescription only, but that my vet was happy to recommend. This stuff worked miracles!
Basically, FrontLine Combo (and to be clear competitors sell similar upgraded versions of their standard flea prevention products) uses Fipronil, and prevents the development of flea eggs, such that you don’t have to wait for them to hatch to kill them off! The way it was described to me, this product protected the environment around the cat, and not just the cat. From what I could tell, this was true, as this appeared to be the final straw for the fleas. I would highly recommend this product, having tried the standard FrontLine product with no real impact to this issue. I do in-fact use it now as standard rather than the standard FrontLine product, and the vet, and FrontLine, seem happy to say this is correct usage of the product (i.e. you don’t have to have fleas to use this Combo product).
I’m not sure if this was important, but having a flea comb and combing through the boys fur was, if nothing else, an easy way to measure the success of what I was doing. The thought of fleas makes humans itch, so you can’t really trust your senses to tell you how you are doing! In-case you lift out any live fleas, ensure you have a pot/jar/saucer of water with a single drop of washing up liquid in it… dip the comb in it regularly, the oil of the soap helps grab the fleas, and prevent them jumping away (as they can from water) so they end up drowning. I found the fleas liked the spot at the end of the spine, just at the base of the tail most. But comb all over to rid your pet of these, and particularly to lift out eggs, and flea droppings, as these irritate the skin, and can cause skin issues/irritation for your pet.
Feel free to comment if you have any other ideas/methods that have worked for you.