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.
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.
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.
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.
How To Know if Fleas Are in Your Carpet
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. (This is a much nicer term to cover up what it actually is, which is leftover flea droppings.)
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.
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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
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 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.
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.