Do lemons or vinegar kill fleas?

If you're suffering from a flea infestation (or have a pet suffering from the pesky buggers), you may be wondering about a cost-effective way to kill these pests. Many people attest to either using lemons or even vinegar. But, are these practices just old wives' tales, or are they actually full proof methods of ridding your house of fleas?


Surprisingly, lemons, or at least the D-limonene in lemons, work as both a natural flea repellent and organic insecticide, for lack of a better word. Using a body wash made with natural lemon should do the trick. This isn't something you'll pick up at your local pharmacy or pet store; it'll be something you make yourself, hence the cost-effectiveness.


Basically, all you'll need to do to make the wash is slice a lemon and add it, rinds and all, to 2 cups of hot water (boil the water prior to adding the lemons). Cover the pot and allow it to steep for 6 to 8 hours. You can usually do this overnight, so there's an added convenience to starting the brew before heading off to bed. Once steeped and cooled, sponge your homemade flea tonic over your dog or cat, making sure the solution gets down to the skin. Continue to use the tonic for a week or so, and your problem should be solved.


After you've made the tonic, make sure to remove the lemons before storing any remaining solution. While a batch will most likely not last you more than one or two applications, depending on the size of your pet, you can easily store your flea tonic in the refrigerator. For ease, you can make a double batch and keep the flea tonic in a spray bottle.


While many people may tell you that vinegar will kill fleas, this isn't necessarily the full truth. Vinegar itself doesn't kill fleas, or at least the substance of vinegar doesn't act like a natural insecticide, like lemons do. Vinegar has a sort of magnetic pull to the flea. They're attracted to the substance. So, when someone tells you vinegar will kill fleas, he's not quite right.


This doesn't mean that vinegar isn't an effective way of ridding your house of fleas. On the contrary, it's actually quite helpful. To use vinegar as a way of liberating your home of these pests, simply place a bowl of vinegar (1/2 cup is all you really need) in the area of infestation and the fleas will hop in. From there, nature takes over and the little nits will drown.

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About the Author

Based in Minneapolis, Minn., Dana Severson has been writing marketing materials for small-to-mid-sized businesses since 2005. Prior to this, Severson worked as a manager of business development for a marketing company, developing targeted marketing campaigns for Big G, Betty Crocker and Pillsbury, among others.