Most people think that treating their pets with shampoo or a medication will eliminate fleas. It won’t. Fleas can live for months without a host. This means that untreated, fleas can hide out in carpet, furniture, or other hiding spots for weeks, or even months. This means the fleas will simply hide out and re-invite themselves back onto you or your pets after they feel welcome again. As I have already emphasized, the key to getting rid of fleas for good is isolating the source, and eliminating fleas from every angle. This is best accomplished by applying countermeasures to your home, yard, and pets as close to simultaneously as possible.
This article is about getting rid of fleas in your home, so I will disclose the most common, and most cost effective measures of treating your home against fleas.
Flea foggers are typically aerosol based spray cans that require you leaving your house for around 8-12 hours. Brands include Hot Shot Flea Foggers, Raid Flea Kill & Fogger, Enforcer Flea Fogger, BioSpot Flea Fotter, and dozens of others. The prices range from $4 all the way up to $20. The coverage area ranges from 400 square feet all the way up to 2000 square feet. If you need more coverage, manufacturers encourage you to purchase more cans.
I wish I could say that my experience was favorable with Flea foggers, but it wasn’t. I needed around 2,000 square feet of coverage, across 4 floors. The Raid flea foggers I purchased promised coverage of up to 4,000 square feet with the 3 cans, so I placed two cans on the carpeted floors of my residence, and the remaining can on the steps between floors with hardwood and concrete floors with no cloth furniture. We emptied the house for the day, and came home to a flea situation no better than before. I honestly don’t think that any fleas were killed, they may have been agitated, but not killed. There was also an odd smell and haze on surfaces. I was incredibly disappointed with the results provided, and I’m not the only one. On Amazon, I’m hard pressed to find any foggers that have successfully gotten rid of fleas.
Carpet flea powders have slightly varying ingredients, but for the most part the top ingredient is a pesticide called Linalool. Linalool is a common ingredient in perfumes, shampoos, laundry detergent, bleach powder, and other consumer packaged goods. The biggest issue I can recognize is that Linalool is toxic to animals. You are supposed to scrub the powder into the carpet with a broom, then vacuum the powder up, but because of the risks, I haven’t used flea carpet powders first hand.
I have evaluated a good sample of reviews on Amazon, PetCo, and Petsmart’s websites, and the reviews are very hit and miss. Some people report that it helped defeat minor flea infestations, while others claim it has been rather ineffective. The most popular brands that have favorable reviews are Adam’s Carpet Powder with Linalool, and Foster and Smith’s Bio Spot with Linalool. But remember, if you do decide to use a Linalool based product, make sure to vacuum up all of the product from your furniture and carpets to ensure the safety of your pets.
I’m one for efficiency, so my preferred method of getting rid of fleas in the house is simply shampooing the carpet. If you have pets and carpet, you’re bound to have hairs and stains in your carpets in addition to fleas. By shampooing your floors, you are removing any fleas, as well as knocking out that pesky cleaning element. Quality shampooers can be had for $300, which is pricey, so I’d recommend renting a shampooer such as a Rug Doctor. I know Krogers rents them for around $20/day, plus $5-10 for shampoo. It may be a bigger inconvenience than flea bombs or the carpet powder, but it is the safest for your pets, and it also makes your house look nice and clean.
This is the way to go if you want to get rid of fleas in your home. It does involve more time and money, but in my opinion, it is necessary. Combine a good carpet shampooing with a dog shampooing and a brewer’s yeast pill, and you and your pets will be flea free.
Other Methods I’ve Read About
Borax. I have read about it, and it is apparently applied in a powder form like the aforementioned flea carpet powders. I do know that boric acid is dangerous, so it has to be used with caution. In addition, the providers suggest a treatment schedule of 3 applications every 3 days, for a total of 9 days of treatment. This means you will be vacuuming a total of 3 times, and have to make sure to remove all of the Borax powder for safety issues. Shampooing requires just one vacuuming, and likely does a better job. The user reviews for Borax are favorable, and prices seem relatively low, around $5-10 for a box. It is available at most home improvement stores, but not many pet stores. Just remember to be careful and remove all traces and do not let your pet near the container.
Insecticides. These are what the powders are based on. Typically Mithoprene and Pyriproxyfen are the two most commonly used agents to kill fleas. Your local pet store will likely have solutions including these ingredients, so you can shop around to find a spray to use.