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Tuesday
Nov082011

Natural Solutions for Flea Infestations in the Home

Having a flea infestation in your home is no easy thing to bear, but there are several natural, non-toxic ways to deal with them safety. Please note that this information is for your house only. Please ask your holistic veterinarian or do research before beginning treatment if you have animal companions. If you know of any excellent sites on this, please let me know!

Diatomaceous Earth, Borax & Salt:

Mix together 1½ parts food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE)*, 1½ parts borax* and 1 part table salt. The DE, borax and salt all work in different ways to dehydrate the fleas which kills them. To use, sprinkle this mixture throughout your home on floors, carpets and furniture. Make sure to liberally sprinkle it into dark corners and cracks. Allow it to sit for at least two days to a week (the longer the better) and then vacuum up well. Empty the vacuum cleaner immediately, seal contents in a plastic bag and remove from your home. This process needs to be repeated a few to several times depending on the severity of your infestation. Though this mixture is non-toxic to people and pets, it’s not ideal to be breathing it in so wear a mask when applying and keep pets and children out of the treated area. Alternately, if you don’t want to spread it throughout your house, vacuum up a pile and then vacuum your house thoroughly. In this way, the fleas that get vacuumed up will die once inside. *Be sure to use only food-grade DE that you purchase from a garden or health food store as pool grade DE is extremely dangerous and can cause silicosis (scarring of the lungs). Purchase your borax from the grocery or health food store as well.

Baking Soda:

Baking soda also dehydrates fleas. Mix it in equal parts with table salt and use as above.

Flea Trap:

You can make a flea trap with a shallow pan of soapy water and a light. Put a mixture of warm water and a squirt of dish soap in a shallow pan, stir, then put it on the floor. Place a light (such as a desk lamp or clip-on light) next to the pan so that the light falls on the water. Fleas are attracted to the heat from the lamp and jump into the soapy water where they drown. Empty the pan each day, and then set it back up until there are no more signs of fleas. Use in conjunction with the DE treatment for greater effectiveness.

Vacuuming:

Vacuum daily to suck up fleas and help clear up a flea infestation more quickly. Pay particular attention to baseboards, cracks and under furniture. Empty the vacuum after use and remove from your home as above.

Steam Cleaning:

Steam cleaning your carpets and cloth furniture will kill any fleas that have infested them. The water drowns adult fleas, and the heat from the steam destroys the eggs and any adults that survived. Use the hottest water possible as high heat kills fleas.

Essential oils:

Essential oils, such as lemongrass, lavender and citronella can kill fleas to a degree. Combine the essential oils either as a blend or individually in a spray bottle and spray around your house on the floor, carpets and furniture. Let sit for a few hours then vacuum.

Homemade D-Limonene:

D-limonene is a substance found in citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes that is extremely toxic to adult fleas and their larvae. It essentially dissolves their protective waxy coating leaving them vulnerable to dehydration. To make a spray with limes, cut 3-4 into wedges, score their peels and put them in a bowl with a tight fitting lid. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the slices, seal tightly and let soak overnight. The next day, strain out the liquid and squeeze out the wedges. Transfer the liquid into a spray bottle and use daily anywhere you have fleas until the infestation is over. For prevention, treat your home weekly. You can also mix the juice of four lemons, including rinds, with 2 liters of hot water and mop your floors.

Cedar Chips:

Put cedar chips under pets bedding or furniture to control fleas.

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