5 Natural Home Flea Remedies that Actually Work

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All pet owners have to deal with fleas at one point or another. While many turn to chemical remedies, toxic flea shampoos and even dish detergents and sprays, they may not understand why these so called solutions don’t work long-term.

5 Natural Home Remedies to Treat for Fleas

If you take this 5-step flea remedy approach, you can limit the possibility of fleas on your pets.

The main issue with these is that they often make cats very sick and caused liver problems, kidney diseases, and immune disorders, not to mention long-term nerve damage. Chemical flea control is based on nerve gases. By destroying the nervous system of the flea through the chemicals, the flea is unable to live. These chemicals do not discriminate between insect nervous systems and human or animal ones. There are solutions to flea pest control that are long lasting, effective, and safe for you, your family, your home and your pet. If you take this 5-step flea remedy approach, you can limit the possibility of fleas on your pets. (Note – some of these links may be affiliate links which help support this blog. It does not alter the price.)

Bathing/Flea Dip

Avalon Lavender Shampoo and Conditioner is a natural bathing solution that worked well for me – better than the blue dish-soap or flea collars, powders, soaps, or even the oily nerve chemical stuff you put behind their neck. The best part is that, after using it once per week for a couple of weeks, the cats and dog would beg to have a bath when I got the bottle out or when I washed my hair with it.  And the fleas were gone; even the one I saw jump on one cat quickly jumped off.

Carpet/Bed Treatment

For carpets and bedding there is a two-part treatment. First, make a carpet powder of 4-cups baking soda, ¼-cup salt, ¼-cup diatomaceous earth (DE), and ten drops each essential oils of lavender, lemon geranium (citronella), and marigold. Optionally, you can also add rosemary, eucalyptus, and/or any citrus oil such as lime, orange, or lemon.  (Baking soda, salt, and DE will not only pull dirt and smells from carpeting, but also dehydrate fleas, their larva, and eggs. NOTE – Look for food grade DE when using in areas where pets and children would have access. Thanks Nellie for the reminder in the comment section! :-)

The essential oils are all either poisonous to insects or repel them. (However, all are harmless to pets and humans except for the salt. )  Allow the powder to rest on the carpeting for at least an hour (or up to 3 days) – but do not let your cats or dogs walk on it, as excess salt can cause kidney problems. Simply vacuum it up. Feel free to shake it onto pet bedding and allow the bed to set a while; always shake it out before the pet uses it.

Hardwood, Tile, and Linoleum

For hard surfaces, take an equal mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and water. (NOTE:Add equal amounts distilled/deionized/RO (or nikkon pHi-mag) water and vinegar. The chlorine and other chemicals found in unfiltered or carbon filtered water can ruin the essential oils and even make the mixture spoil or smell bad. The purer the water is, the longer your mixture will last before going rancid or spoiling.) Put one drop of each essential oils per cup of the mixture. Use the same essential oils as above. Do not allow the mixture to set around, mix only enough to use each week. Put in a spray bottle and spray surfaces as you wipe them, especially floors. Feel free to use it as an air freshener and spray on couches, pet bedding, and in between vacuuming on carpeting and rugs. As a preventative measure, feel free to also spray on entry mats and outdoor entry ways, cement or wood.

NEVER SPRAY DIRECTLY ON YOUR PETS! Although non-toxic, it will make them throw up if they lick it off their fur. Allow all surfaces to dry before using them.

Lawn and Garden

For flower beds, buy DE to sprinkle around the foundation and under large shrubbery. DE has sharp spines that dig into the shells of fleas and other insects and kill them through dehydration. (It is also effective against all other insects such as ants, spiders, and termites. Plant your garden with marigold, lavender, rosemary, and lemon geranium (citronella), especially along property lines, beneath trees -birds, chipmunks, squirrels and other wild animals carry fleas- along fence lines, and around the home.

Lavender and marigold kill fleas and their larva while rosemary and lemon geranium deter them.  For lawns, purchase beneficial nematodes. These must be applied to lawns in the fall in a particular way. They will rid your lawn of fleas, their eggs, and larva, along with all other harmful insects such as ants and lawn pests. Beneficial nematodes prey on other insects in the lawn if pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not used on it.

Crawl Spaces and Crevices

Close up basement access and crawl spaces. Make sure all animals have been evacuated. Apply DE to these spaces, along with salt. Make sure the attic and any pier and beam foundations are impenetrable by rodents and other critters. The DE and the salt will prevent any fleas or other insects, their larva, and their eggs are dried up and deter any others from entering the home.

Feel free to add the essential oils mentioned above, or even ground, dried marigold plants and flowers from your garden. Marigolds contain a chemical that stops the life cycle of fleas and other insects. It prevents them from reproducing.

While chemical solutions may seem cheap at first, they can cost hefty vet bills from the medical problems they cause over time. Additionally, pests like fleas become immune to pesticides over time, necessitating the use of more and more to keep them at bay. These natural methods are both preventative and instant. Insects like fleas cannot become immune to the glass-like shards of DE or the drying effects of salt and baking soda.

The insecticidal properties of vinegar and essential oils and plants act differently than chemical insecticides. As a bonus, they are healthier for our homes and families. Plus, they leave our homes clean and smelling fresh. There is no need to worry about having to protect your skin from them or worry about the essential oils hurting lungs or eyes.

About Amie Sugat

Amie Sugat has written 50 posts in this blog.

Author at Amiesugat.com and at Untrained Housewives , she currently is a Live-in-Nanny and enjoys cooking, sewing, and writing eclectically covering subjects related to her lifestyle.



    • says

      Some walmarts also sell the shampoo and conditioner. the differrence between usign the shampoo as opposed to direct essential oils is that body products generally contain plant extracts, aka juice or tea. Where essentail oils are much stronger and can be toxic for cats to lick. However, these mentioned are non-toxic to be used around pets and we are rinsing msot of the shampoo and conditioner out. On the other hand, flea collars and applications often leave the toxic chemicals on the pets.

  1. Nellie Kampmann says

    It is great to see alternatives to chemical flea killers. However, BIG WARNING about the diatomaceous earth – make sure that it is food grade!!! The stuff they use in swimming pools could kill your pet.

  2. Cathy says

    It says for hard surfaces, take an equal mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and put one drop of each essential oils per cup of the mixture. What do you mix with the vinegar, water? We have a 15 week old puppy and an older dog, I would love to try some of these ideas around our house.

    • says

      Yes, Water. I will see about adding this in. It is equal parts water and vinigar.

      As per order of treatment, simply clean their kennal or crate, bathe them, then treat the home while they are drying off in their kennal or crate.

    • says

      I didn’t write the post but the essential oils are being applied into the carpet area – not onto the cat directly. I use essential oils for myself, my family, etc all the time and have never had problems with indirect contact by the family kitties. If you are concerned about not being able to keep the kitties off the carpet while the salt/EO mixture is laid down I would use a different option. The salt itself would be a potential hazard as well. Once you vacuum the mix up it shouldn’t be a problem – it never has been for me in ten years of using similar things because I’m not applying the oils directly to the cat. :-)

      • says

        Thank you for clarifying this. Other than the bathing treatment mentioned, no other chemicals are required to treat the pets. We treated our floors over the weekend and we simply locked the cat up into their “room” the laundry room” and treated the rest of the house. We left for a couple of hours, came back and the carpet was dry. I have been using all these methods on my pets for 25 years. I have only seen the cats or dogs become ill when I tried conventional chemicals. If you look at the warnings for conventional chemicals they will say “may cause” and the list ranges from stomach, nerve, and skin disorders to organ failure and death. You are not even allowed to touch the pet with the chemical treatments on them, they are that toxic. Since the essential oils and powders are not applied to the animal and we are vaccuuming them up or allowing surfaces to dry before we use them, the likelyhood our pets will ingest them is very minimal.

    • AmieSugat says

      Try all other treatments apart from bathing. Simply be more thorough in your other treatments. You may also try making a collar for the pet, I have seen recipes for homemade cat collars using essential oils. The essential oils are applied to the outside of the collar so they do not touch the pet. I have not tried them, so I cannot vouch for the efficacy or safety.

      All I can offer is using the other cleaning methods as part of your normal household cleaning routine and products rather than other household chemicals and cleaners. So, replace what you use to mop floors and refresh your carpets before vacuuming. The toughest thing is keeping new fleas from infesting your home. This is a common problem with pets allowed outside. To reduce the reinfection chance, be especially vigilant in treating your yards.

      As far as bathing a cat, someplace I have directions on easing cats into bath time. Of the 15 cats I have owned over my lifetime, I have been able to ease 14 of them into regular bathing routines.

    • DScully says

      I don’t think my cats would be keen on being put into a bath either, eased in or not. But in the past couple of years, I have gotten them into the habit of letting me wet them and rub them down with a wet cloth during the hot summer days to help them cool down. I’m thinking that would also be an ideal time to add the lavendar shampoo or the essential oils to the water and arm them against the fleas at the same time.

  3. AmieSugat says

    Please note: We cannot eliminate fleas any more than we can eliminate mosquitos. What we do is make the home and pet an unpleasant and inhospitable place for these insects to be and they will not want to colonize your home and use you and your pets as food. Marigold and lavender contain anti-viral and anti-bacterial ingredients that disrupt the life cycle of fleas, but actually boost the immune systems of mammals. While rosemary, eucalyptus, and geranium are unpleasant to them and disrupt their ability to keep hydrated by acting as a soap and removing the oily layer on their shells that keep them from losing too much moisture. Beings without exoskeletons don’t have this problem. The added benefits are that these methods also make for a cleaner and more germ free home as the residual effects that inhabit fleas are also unpleasant for bacteria, germs, and other insects.

    One thing I forgot to mention is using borax in the powder mixtures for the yard, crawl spaces, and floors. While nontoxic and often used in industrial applications for cleaning clothing or food processing equipment, the soap effects also cause bacteria, germs, and insects to dehydrate and die. These are the same effects seen by the use of salt, baking soda, and DE.

  4. Karen says

    I used the food grade DE last summer on both of our cats and 2 dogs. I did a direct application, dusting them from head to toe. A month later I did another application. It has been over 4 months now, and we haven’t found any fleas on the animals since. Yes, the DE is drying and can cause eye irritation, I did not apply around the eyes, and we had to be careful to not pat the animals too hard for a few days to avoid the dust clouds, but all in all the animals are so much happier to be relieved of their flea problem and so are we.

  5. Rae Price says

    Under the section for hardwood, tile, and linoleum it says “For hard surfaces, take an equal mixture of white or apple cider vinegar and put one drop of each essential oils per cup of the mixture.” What do you mix in equal parts with the vinegar before adding the essential oil drops?

    • says

      Add equal amounts distilled/deionized/RO (or nikkon pHi-mag) water and vinegar. the chlorine and other chemicals found int unfiltered or carbon filtered water can ruin the essential oils and even make the mixture spoil or smell bad. the purer the water is, the longer your mixture will last before going rancid or spoiling.

    • says

      Fleas can live indefinitely in their pupa state. In the pupa state they can survive heat and cold in extremes that would kill any other bug. In the adult flea state they can survive 3 years without food. If you have any place infested with fleas, simply treat it. Then close it up. If you are closing up a summer cottage or vacation home, by all means leave the carpet powder mixture on the floors (carpet or smooth surfaces), and spray the cleaning mixture around and allow it to dry on its own the entire time and plan to clean it up before using the place the next spring. Now is the best time to treat the yards with nematodes too.

        • says

          Nematodes are tiny larva insects which feed on pest larva like flea larva i nthe same way ladybugs eat harmful instect like aphids. You purchase them in a container whic you sprinkle on a lawn that has been punctured with holes and kept free from peticides nad chemical fertilizers to create a natural preditor for harmful insects, like grub worms, ants, and fleas, nd balance in your lawn and garden.

  6. Wendy Jo says

    Hi! I am going to attempt the carpet recipe above. However, I could only find the lavender essential oil, so I picked up the Aura Cacia mineral bath powder packs (also says “essential oils” on the package – rosemary and lemon). Will these work as effectively as the actual oil? Or am I gonna just get a nice “Inspiring” and “Energizing” bath? LOL Thanks – and I’m excited about trying this as lavender is my favorite scent :)

      • says

        I think as long as what you were using wouldn’t stain or damage the carpet you should be ok. You can check the label to see if it has true essential oils pre-mixed in. It should say “100% essential oils” or “Lavendar essential oil” in the ingredient list.

        I would definitely spot test it on a small part of the carpet to make sure it won’t stain or hurt the carpet. Maybe a small spot under the couch or in a closet where it won’t show if the stuff you use isn’t carpet safe.


    How about treatment for humans ? How do I stop the itching ? The itching wakes me up in the middle of the night and I scratch til my skin bleeds. How do I find relief, what home remedies can I use ?

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