How to get rid of fleas naturally – 8 expert tips, including a smart salt hack

Don’t let fleas take a bite out of your home life – get rid of these irritating insects with some easy-to-try ideas.

Is the news that Britain is in the hold of an almighty flea epidemic (as reported by The Telegraph) making you want to – well – flee? As with the influx of flying ants we’ve experienced this year, we have unusual weather patterns to thank for the rise of these irritating pests in our homes.

The UK recorded its hottest June since 1884, followed by above-average rainfall in July. But what’s been great news for the garden is bad news for furry pet owners. Fleas thrive in moist, warm conditions. They then use their legendary jumping skills to hop from your pet to your carpets and bedding with ease.

Fleas in hairCredit: Shutterstock / photowind

Itching for answers? We’ve enlisted the help of Fantastic Services pest control specialist, Todor Stoev. He shares that while it may take several weeks to completely eradicate fleas from your home, with determination and consistency, it can be done.

On a positive note, most of what you need to naturally battle your flea foes is probably already sitting under your kitchen sink.


1. Prevention is better than cure

Keep your pets and home as clean as possible

Dog getting flea treatmentCredit: Shutterstock / CL Shebley

Keeping fleas from entering your home may be easier said than done. Since they cleverly hitch a ride on your beloved pet, the welcome mat is all but rolled out for them. The key is to act fast to get the unwanted fleas out of your home as soon as possible.

Stoev says: “For a comprehensive approach to flea control, it is necessary to address both your pets and your home simultaneously. It is also important to groom your pets regularly, use flea prevention products on them, and consult a veterinarian for effective flea control.”

One of the best tools in the fight against fleas will always be a good vacuum cleaner.

“Regular vacuuming is not only an essential part of your home cleaning chores, it is also essential in a flea control strategy,” says Stoev. “Ensure that carpets, furniture, and pet bedding are vacuumed in areas where fleas might be hiding. To prevent reinfestation, dispose of the vacuum bag after vacuuming or empty the canister outside.”

A perfect vacuuming technique is required for tackling fleas. Make sure you aren’t making these common vacuuming mistakes.

2. Reach for the bicarb

A dehydrated flea is a dead flea

Dead fleasCredit: Shutterstock / Vera Larina

Every home needs a store of bicarb soda. [internal] From keeping towels white to cleaning a burnt pot, there seems to be no end to the use of this humble baking ingredient.

It’s also bad news for your flea foes.

Stoev shares that when it comes to natural options for fighting fleas, baking soda takes some beating: “Bicarb soda is a versatile and cost-effective home remedy for fleas. You just need to sprinkle baking soda over the affected areas, such as your carpets and furniture.

“Make sure you apply this natural pesticide to the fibres with a hard brush, to help it penetrate deeper, where fleas hide. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, then vacuum thoroughly. The way this method works is that the exoskeletons of fleas are destroyed by the bicarb soda, which causes them to dehydrate and eventually die. Again, as mentioned before, empty the vacuum canister outside ASAP.”

Not all vacuums are created equal when it comes to keeping a home with pets habitable. If you’re wondering how to get rid of fleas, specialist pet vacuums will come with special or covered bristles that are more effective at picking up hair (and potentially, fleas). They should also have HEPA filters that do a better job of containing pet dander.

Here’s our thoughts on one of the best dog and cat vacuums on the market.

3. Throw rocks at the pests

Ground diatomaceous earth hits fleas hard

Diatomaceous earthCredit: Shutterstock / Anna Hoychuk

No, we aren’t suggesting lobbing boulders at your high jumping fleas – though you might have the urge to if your own legs are covered in their itchy bites.

Instead, get your hands on some diatomaceous earth (DE) which is made from ground rock that’s rich in silica.

Stoev says that this product – which owes its origins to fossilized algae – is safe for pets and humans, but lethal to fleas. “You should only sprinkle food-grade DE on the areas where fleas are active. Just like with bicarb soda, DE penetrates the fleas’ protective shells, causing them to dehydrate and die. Additionally, it is effective against flea eggs. Of course, remember to reapply every few days to ensure that you have eliminated them all.”

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4. Use natural oils

Get a fabulous smelling, flea-free home

Natural oilsCredit: Shutterstock / Madeleine Steinbach

Do the words ‘sandalwood’ or ‘lavender’ make you swoon as home scents? Then here’s some good news: fleas cannot abide these natural oils.

Stoev says: “As in the case of any other pest, fleas can be repelled and eliminated with the help of certain essential oils. Oils such as citronella, eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender, and peppermint are ones that work well when it comes to flea infestations.

“All you need to do to get rid of fleas is pour equal parts of your chosen essential oil and a carrier oil (such as rapeseed oil) into a spray bottle. The spray can be applied directly to fleas or to areas where they hide.


Stoev points out that you should be careful when using essential oils around your pets, as some can be harmful to them. Always check the product instructions before using them.

5. Make a lemon spray

A good alternative to oils

Credit: Shutterstock / Pixel-Shot

If you aren’t a fan of essential oils or worry that your dog or cat may be averse to them, you can always reach for a harmless lemon.

Stoev suggests whipping up your own lemon spray. “Due to its acidic properties, lemon is a natural flea repellent. Just boil a thinly sliced lemon in water and let it sit overnight. After that, pour the lemon-infused water into a spray bottle and lightly spray it on all flea-infested areas. Be cautious about using it on fabrics, and check for any possible staining.”

6. Set a well-laid trap

Know your flea enemy’s weakness and exploit it

Credit: Shutterstock / Lyudmila Lucienne

Setting homemade traps for pests came in handy in our battle against the dreaded housefly, and it is a method that is just as effective against pesky fleas.

Stoev says start by grabbing your favourite brand of washing-up liquid. “You can create a simple flea trap by using warm water and washing-up liquid. Just fill a bowl or plate with soapy water and place it in areas where fleas are active. As fleas are attracted to light and warmth, they will jump into the water, and become trapped by the soapy surface, making it harder for them to escape.”

7. Add salt

But hold the pepper

Credit: Shutterstock / HandmadePictures

If, like me, you’re not exactly a star baker and don’t have bicarb soda to hand, how about a pinch of salt?

Stoev tells us that this common condiment is a solid ally in the fight against fleas. “Salt acts as a dehydration agent for fleas. You can sprinkle finely ground salt on your carpets to destroy fleas and their eggs, especially in areas where fleas thrive. You should wait one or two days and then thoroughly vacuum your home. Remember to dispose of the vacuum bag outside.”

8. Root out fleas with plants

Take a practical and pretty route

chrysanthemumsCredit: Shutterstock / New Africa

Aah, chrysanthemums. If you’ve got green fingers, it will be music to your ears that your love of flowers and plants is surpassed only by the fleas’ loathing for some of them.

“Flea-repelling plants are popular natural pest controllers,” Stoev says. “Certain ones like pennyroyal, chrysanthemums, lavender, and spearmint are among the ones that can repel fleas. You can deter them from infesting outdoor areas by placing these plants in pots around your home or in your garden.”

Do you have some fresh lavender sitting around and wonder how you can put it to good use? Our homes writer, Camilla Sharman, shows you how to beat the bugs with dried lavender.


Written by Joy Archer she/her