Fleas are small parasites that live off the blood of host animals. If you have pets in your home, you probably have encountered fleas at some point. Fleas can irritate your pet or you when they bite. You can try a number of treatments to kill fleas in your home, one of the most common is a flea bomb. These are toxic clouds that you use to fill your home while you and your family leave for hours at a time. If you want to kill fleas but avoid the toxic chemicals of a flea bomb, you have some options.
Sprinkle your carpets with a dusting of diatomaceous earth. Diatomaceous earth is the grounds of fossils of microscopic creatures. The fine powder scratches the surface of the flea's exoskeleton, which in turn allows the flea to become dehydrated and eventually die. Use a food-grade version of diatomaceous earth, which can be found at most home improvement stores and not the type found at pool supply stores. The food grade is safe for use in your home.
Sprinkle your furniture with a dusting of diatomaceous earth, as well. Fleas will often hide on couches and mattresses. Make sure you sprinkle the powder on any fabric surface.
Leave the diatomaceous earth for a minimum of four to six hours. This allows the most exposure to the most fleas. It is a safe product to use around your pets and small children. However, it can cause respiratory irritation to some, so if you can leave your home during this time, it is a good idea. Take your pets as well if you can.
Vacuum all surfaces that had the powder sprinkled on them, including your furniture and mattresses. Dispose of the contents of your vacuum in a sealable bag. Throw the disposable bag away, outside.
Repeat application once a week as necessary.
Vacuum your carpets. This will pick up as many fleas as possible. Empty the contents of your vacuum canister into a sealable bag. Discard the bag in your trash, outside.
Steam clean your carpets. If you do not have a steam cleaner, you can rent one from your local home improvement store or grocery store. When steam cleaning, use the hottest water as possible. Heat will kill the fleas.
Wash all bedding in hot water in your washing machine. Then dry it on high heat. Make sure you include sheets from your bed as well as any pet bedding.
Repeat the entire process once a week, as needed.
Use a flea comb to brush your pet. You should groom your pet daily. This is best done over a white sheet or towel. This will allow you to easily see and catch any fleas that fall off during grooming. Use the flea comb to remove as many fleas as possible. Drop the fleas you catch with the flea comb into a cup filled with water and soap. This will drown the fleas. To make catching the fleas with the flea comb easier, coat the comb with a thin layer of petroleum jelly. The fleas will stick the jelly.
Bathe your pet. For dogs, a bath every one to two weeks is best. For cats, bathing can dry out the natural oils in their skin. Keeping bathing to a minimum, such as once or twice a year. Use a commercial pet flea shampoo when bathing. Start with your pet's head. Fleas will often try and find a high, dry spot when your pet becomes wet. This will prevent them from hiding out on the head of your pet. Wash your pet's entire body and rinse thoroughly.
Use a commercial flea treatment. You can choose from flea collars, flea powders or a topical flea treatment. Topical flea treatments are applied once a month. Flea collars and powders will need to be reapplied more often, according to package directions.