Carried into the home on pets or on clothing, fleas can quickly become a serious problem. Carpeting provides an optimum surface for fleas to breed and within a few days, a few fleas can quickly morph into a full-blown infestation, putting animals and humans at risk of flea-borne diseases, itching and irritation. Carpet treatment consists of eliminating a current flea problem and preventing future infestations.
Reduce the likelihood of a flea infestation by vacuuming frequently during warm weather when your pets or children can bring fleas unknowingly into the home. According to the New Mexico State University College of Agriculture, not only does vacuuming remove many adult fleas, the vibration from the vacuum encourages unhatched fleas in the pupae stage to emerge, allowing you to remove them next time you vacuum.
Turn up the heat. Many common flea varieties, including their larvae and eggs, perish at temperatures in excess of 39.4 degrees Celsius so rent or borrow a steam cleaner that heats the water or hire a steam cleaning service. Steam clean your upholstery, curtains and pillows at the same time you clean the carpet to prevent fleas from reinfesting the home.
Pre-treat your carpeting with insecticidal dust to kill fleas before they breed. Found in pet stores or purchased online, carpet flea powders are sprinkled liberally on carpeted areas, working the powder into the carpet with a broom or a brush and allowing it to remain for a few minutes before vacuuming. Look for products that contain diatomaceous earth or silica, ingredients that cause dehydration and death in fleas (see Resources.)
Treat present infestations with a combination of steam cleaning followed by treatment with a chemical insect growth regulator, that includes fenoxycarb or methoprene, to prevent surviving young fleas from maturing into adult fleas.
Unfortunately, treating only your carpet might not eradicate a flea problem after a severe infestation occurs. Because fleas migrate to furniture, clothing and other surfaces, including cracks under baseboards and cabinets, you must treat your entire home, clothing and bedding. In addition, animals should receive a flea treatment, such as Frontline Plus, to kill any fleas that bite the animal (see Resources).