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Home Remedies for Fleas: 12 Easy Tips Worth Trying

Updated: Jul. 28, 2021

Keep your home, dog, and cat flea-free with these easy home remedies that use natural ingredients to keep your entire family safe from those itchy pests.

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woman hand holding yellow sponge and pouring cleaning liquid on it
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Dish soap

To rid your home of a flea infestation, try this trick. Place a plate on the floor in each room of your home and fill each with water. Add about a capful of dish soap to each plate and place a lit tea candle in the middle of the plates. Fleas will be attracted to the light of the candle, but the plate’s soapy liquid will trap and kill the fleas. The safest way to do this is to tackle a new room each night, and stay awake while the candle burns as a safety precaution. Keep any pets and children out of rooms with the temporary flea traps. Learn (and avoid!) the mistakes all dog owners make.

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flowering witch hazel (Hamamelis) and wooden spoon with dried leaves for homemade skin care cosmetics and bath additive on a white background, closeup with selected focus, narrow depth of field
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Herbal spray

Avoid using harsh chemicals and instead opt for this herbal spray to rid your home of fleas. Mix one gallon of vinegar, a half-gallon of water, 16 ounces of lemon juice, and eight ounces of witch hazel to create your solution, then vigorously vacuum your home to try and rid it of errant fleas before spraying. Wash anything that cannot be vacuumed on the hottest setting possible. Then, for a great natural flea remedy, spray the solution all throughout your home and repeat as needed. Learn the best tips to keep your dog safe during summer.

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Sprinkle finely ground salt over the carpets throughout your home, and then vacuum up after 12 to 48 hours. Although this flea control works on living fleas, it will not kill flea larvae.

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Rosemary oil or powder

Rosemary repels fleas and can be used in oil or powder form. To help get fleas off your dog, a few drops of rosemary oil on the base of his neck should help to deter fleas. You can also wash dogs in rosemary water as a natural flea bath. A powder made of equal parts rosemary, peppermint, fennel, rue, and wormwood can be ground together and sprinkled throughout the house. However, this will only repel fleas (it won’t kill them). Learn these secrets to avoid tick bites, too.

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Lemongrass and rosemary spray

Another flea repellent option is this easy-to-make spray. Add six thinly sliced lemons to a large bowl, and then chop up a handful of rosemary leaves and add them to the mixture. Boil one liter of water and pour into the bowl, and then add three to four drops of geranium oil. Cover the solution and leave it overnight, and in the morning strain the liquid before depositing in a spray bottle and using this holistic flea control option throughout the house.

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Citronella mixture

Citronella oil is a natural flea repellent, and making a mixture out of this and other oils will be sure to keep the pests at bay. Add 20 drops of citronella oil, ten drops of tea tree oil, ten drops of lemongrass oil, and five drops of geranium oil to warm water, and use the solution to mop your home. Repeat as needed. Learn the secrets your pet would tell you if it could.

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Maclura pomifera fruit as known as osage orange, horse apple, adam's apple and Monkey brain fruit. On wooden background
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Horse apples

Cut horse apples (also known as Osage oranges) in half and stick a half in each room and hallway of your home. These should repel not only fleas but also other insects, and will last two to three months in an air-conditioned house.

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The cedar oil in a glass bottle on a white wooden background. Source of essential fatty acids for healthy nutrition

Cedar oil

To get fleas off your dog or as a holistic flea treatment for cats, dilute three to five drops of cedar oil with one to three teaspoons of water, then saturate your pet’s collar or a cute bandanna with five to ten drops of the mixture. You can also swap out cedar oil for lavender oil if you’d like. These essential oils are even safe for treating kittens and other young pets with fleas, as long as you use in moderation. Reapply the mixture once a week. These are the mistakes cat owners should never make.

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A bottle of apple cider vinegar in the morning sun, with apples in the background
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Apple cider vinegar

Use this easy solution to get fleas off your dog. For every 40 pounds that your dog weighs, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to their water bowl each time you change out the water. This will deter fleas and also boost the health of your canine’s coat. Learn the secrets your pet’s groomer won’t tell you.

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glass bowl of freshly squeezed lemon juice, lemon squeezer and ripe lemons on wooden background.
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Lemon juice

Here’s a natural flea dip for dogs or cats: Slice up a lemon and add it to a pot of boiling water. After adding the lemons, remove the water from heat and cover the pot. Leave the water overnight, and the next day dip your pet’s comb or brush in the water and run it through their coat. You can also use a sponge for short-haired pets.

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white vinegar on wooden background
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Vinegar spray

Add shine to your pet’s coat with this flea deterrent. Mix a cup of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar in with a quart of water, then add two to three drops of lavender or cedar oil. Mix thoroughly, then pour into a spray bottle. Gently mist your pet while being careful to avoid their eyes, ears, and nose. If you’re worried about hitting sensitive areas, dampen a cloth with the solution and gently wipe around the neck and behind their ears instead of spraying. Check out these silent signs your healthy dog could actually be sick.

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Flowers of a Harts pennyroyal, Mentha cervina.

Pennyroyal herb

The pennyroyal herb is a great home remedy for fleas in your yard. Plant pennyroyal herbs in your garden or near where your pets love to play. However, watch kids and pets in the yard carefully if you choose to plant pennyroyal because it can be toxic to both humans and animals when ingested. You can also place tea bags with the dried herb in various places around your home to repel fleas, but put them in high up, hard-to-reach locations to keep them from kids and pets. A few drops of pennyroyal can be added to dog collars if it remains out of direct contact with skin, and small bags of the herb can also be attached to cat collars. If you notice your pet itching or showing any signs of allergy, remove the collar immediately. Next, check out these other dog dangers in your own backyard.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest