If I were to name insects that give me the creeps, fleas would rank near the top of the list. With any warm vertebrate being ready host for these wingless buggers, fleas multiply like they were laying eggs on Prozac! Given that these eggs can thrive on any surface, you need to make use of effective home remedies to get rid of fleas by ensuring that you leave no breeding ground away from the ambit of ‘mission flea-elimination!’ What’s more- these eggs can remain dormant for more than a year, so even if you feel like your home remedies to get rid of fleas have worked, they may appear out of nowhere! As such, you need to be able to differentiate between the remedies that provide instantaneous relief from those that not only eliminate the insects but also prevent their recurrence.
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Here are a few home remedies to get rid of fleas, belonging to the second category:
Dish-washing liquid flea trap
The easiest home remedy to get rid of fleas, this one shall offer good riddance! What you need is dish washing liquid, dishes, tea candles and warm water. At night, strategically set a plate or bowl filled to the brim with warm water on the floor, right in the middle of your room. Now, add dish washing liquid to the water. Be careful to use a generous amount- about a capful. Now place a tea candle in the middle of the bowl. Light the candles. Fleas shall be drawn toward the light and get trapped in the highly viscous mixture, unable to get away. You may dispose the bodies in the morning. If you have a severe case of flea infestation in your house, you may continue to do use the trap for about 5-6 nights in a row. However, this process requires a fair degree of caution- as your children and pets need to be kept away from the candles and the liquid trap.
Herbal flea spray
The herbal flea spray is akin to a flea-elimination bomb you may have oft wished to detonate in your flea-infested home. Safe for pets and kids, this home remedy is more handy and can be easily prepared at home with ingredients like lemon juice and witch hazel. The ingredients used include a little less than 4 liters of vinegar, a little less than 2 liters of water, 500 ml of lemon juice, 250 ml of witch hazel, a fresh vacuum bag and a home and garden sprayer. What you need to do is collect all items that cannot be vacuumed and subject it to sterilization or a wash at the hottest setting. This shall kill all eggs and larvae in the items. You need to vacuum next and make sure you cover all nooks and crannies. Get all corners, upholstery, crevices and folds with the help of several attachments. Use a fresh vacuum bag. Now mix water, vinegar, lemon juice and witch hazel and fill the mixture in a garden sprayer. Dial it to a heavy spray setting and spray the mixture on every item in the house- from carpets and furniture to window sills, pet houses and floors. Do this for about 2-7 days depending on the severity of the infestation. Once you realize significant results, you can repeat every 4 days and thereafter, once a week through the flea season. You could also start using the spray before the flea season approaches as a precautionary measure- so you only have to spray weekly through the season.
You may wonder how an ingredient like common salt could serve as an effective remedy to rid your home of this nuisance…well, salt dehydrates the bodies of fleas and kills them. So, if you are looking for an easy (and inexpensive) way to treat your home for fleas, you may find this remedy to be the most welcome one in the arsenal. Use table salt (or any sea salt) and a large spice bottle with a shaker top. Fill finely ground salt in the shaker, leaving a wiggle room at the top so you can easily sprinkle salt. Sprinkle the salt over floors, carpets, pet bedding and other areas where fleas are thriving. Leave on for 12-48 hours depending on the severity of the infestation. Afterward, vacuum thoroughly.
Suggested read: 10 amazingly effective home remedies for itchy hands and feet
Boric acid remedy
Another desiccant that dehydrates the bodies of flea, this one is a surefire way to get rid of fleas, their eggs or larvae. You may want to fill a shaker with boric acid and label it in bold. Vacuum the objects that you want to sprinkle boric acid on. Spread it out in thin layers over the area- like carpets and floors- and use a soft bristled-brush to work the mixture into gaps. Remember boric acid can discolor fabrics- so test it before using it on clothes or linen. Leave it on for 12-48 hours and then, vacuum the treated areas thoroughly. You may want to vacuum regularly as the worked in boric acid shall continue to kill eggs and larvae tugged away in discreet folds and crevices. After a month, you can wash the carpets and upholstery. You may want to heed caution while using boric acid. Even though its toxicity is low, you may want to keep it away from the kitchen, pets, kids and food items.
Diatomaceous earth is finely ground microscopic remnants of fossilized algae. These algae (diatoms) are found in freshwater as well as seawater. The cell walls of diatom are made of silica and the exoskeleton of fleas and other such insects are vulnerable to the sharp edges of these microscopic algae. The silica shards slice through the shells of fleas and dries out their body. You may want to consider using the non-toxic variety used in food grading systems rather than the one used in pool filtration. You may want to vacuum, sterilize or hot-wash all surfaces before sprinkling DE. Spread it out in thin layers and comb it in so you can cover the gaps. Leave it in place for 12-48 hours and thereafter, vacuum thoroughly. Continue to vacuum away all the powder and dispose the vacuum bag. Remember, DE isn’t effective when it comes in contact with water, so use it in dry form. Also, keep it away from kids and pets.
Available in many variants, the European pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium) and American pennyroyal (Hedeoma pulegiodes) have been traditionally used to deter fleas. However, these are harmful for human and animal health and have been deployed for ages in abortive procedures by Native Americans. Even, animals can encounter fertility problems when in close contact with the herb. Any oral contact/ingestion may prove lethal. The herb isn’t effective for killing fleas but works well to repel them and keep them at bay. You could ground pennyroyal leaves and use the paste on a cheesecloth hung in a safe location around the house to repel fleas. Alternatively, you could pour a few drops of pennyroyal essential oil on the collars of your pets in such a way that it doesn’t touch the skin or fill the herb in tea bags placed at strategic locations around the house, away from the reach of children and pets. Also, you can sew cloth tubes filled with dried pennyroyal and hang them around the house.
Usually effective for mild flea infestations, rosemary works as a powder, rinse or oil. You could even bathe your dog with rosemary water, although cats tend to be allergic to the concoction. The rosemary herbal flea power requires equal quantities of rosemary, rue, wormwood, fennel, peppermint, coffee grinder or mortar and pestle. You need to grind all herbs together until they are a fine powder and sprinkle it over flea-infested surfaces. The mixture acts as a natural flea repellant and may not serve to kill fleas.
You shall need thinly sliced lemons, a few sprigs of rosemary leaves, boiling water, geranium essential oil and a spraying bottle. Place the lemon slices in a bowl, add chopped rosemary leaves, boiling water and geranium oil and allow the covered mixture to stay overnight. In the morning, strain and fill it in a spray bottle. Use it over flea-infested surfaces to observe their repellant action.
Citronella essential oil
A volatile oil derived from the plant Cymbopogon nardus (Ceylon citronella) or Cymbopogon winteratus (Java type citronella) with greenish blue lemon scented leaves, Citronella oil is a natural flea repellant. Safe for pets as well as humans, you can use it to mop floors, spray bedding and more. Mix 20 drops of citronella oil with 10 drops of tea tree oil and lemongrass oil each. Add 5 drops of geranium oil and pour the mixture into a gallon of warm water. Use this water to clean your house through the flea season. Not only shall it keep the fleas at bay, it shall also repel ticks, mosquitoes and flies.
Have a flea-free life!
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