Fighting Fleas The Frugal Way!

dog fleas

There are so many wonderful products available to treat fleas on your pets…a few drops on the back of the neck gives you excellent flea protection for ninety days. But for many of us, our homes aren’t so lucky, especially if you live close to a wooded area!  The fleas get in your house, lay eggs in the carpet, and before you know it, you are hosting your own flea circus!

Fortunately, fighting fleas does NOT have to cause a fortune.  There are several things you can do to eradicate your unwanted visitors!

  • Buy an inexpensive flea collar, cut it in to small pieces, and put the pieces in your vacuum cleaner bag. Vacuum the affected carpet area at least twice a day until all the fleas are gone.  Many experts suggest fighting fleas by vacuuming heavily to sweep up the adults and eggs attached to carpet fighters. The problem then, is you have to immediately remove the vacuum bag, tie it up securely in another plastic bag to suffocate the bugs inside, and throw the whole thing away!  Vacuum bags can become quickly expensive…and as you remove the bag, fleas and eggs may end up escaping anyway! But a flea collar inside the bag (I’ve read that moth balls also work well for this) will kill them as they get sucked inside.  The flea collar only costs about a dollar, which is much cheaper than constantly replacing bags.  You can also use this trick with bagless vacuums…just put the flea collar pieces inside the vacuum canister.  During the warmer months, I use a flea collar in the vacuum as a preventative measure inside my vacuum and haven’t had a flea infestation since!

  • Many companies that specialize in selling hypoallergenic products carry a boron powder that kills both fleas and dust mites (a big source of allergy problems for many people). You sprinkle it on your carpet; let it work its way down in the fibers, then vacuum it out.  Many people also leave the powder in the corners of the room during the warmer months as a preventative.  This powder can get really expensive, however.  However, the product they are selling as hypoallergenic boron is really just…Borax. Yes, the laundry booster you buy in your grocery store does a wonderful job killing fleas.  You can use it by itself or mix it with equal parts salt to make a “killer” carpet powder!
  • Borax and salt can also be used around doorways both in and outside to prevent fleas from ever getting in.  Rock salt (the larger chunked salt that is also used for de-icing in the winter) works particularly well outside because it doesn’t dissolve as quickly!
  • If you have babies or toddlers who could get in to the borax and salt, you can place it in shallow dishes under furniture where they can’t reach it such as under TV stands, sofas, and low-slung chairs.  It won’t have the same affect as treating the whole carpet but it will greatly reduce the problem, and works well as a preventative measure.
  • Cedar chips are a wonderful chemical-free alternative that smell great too.  You can sprinkle them around entrances to the house (doors and windows), and use them in your pets sleeping areas.  Cedar eggs (like the kind you buy for keeping moths out of closets and trunks) can also be stashed under furniture as a preventative measure.
  • Certain herbs are decidedly flea-unfriendly. You can plant them in a border around your house, or in small pots on your porch and windowsill.  Pennyroyal, basil, and fennel work very well.  You can also sprinkle the dried and crushed herbs around the house.
  • Vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar, is bitter and unappetizing to fleas.  Mop the floors with it and use it in your carpet cleaner as well.  As a bonus, vinegar doesn’t have to be rinsed out like regular carpet cleaning soaps!

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