What Can I Put in a Steam Cleaner to Kill Fleas?

Written by erin ringwald
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What Can I Put in a Steam Cleaner to Kill Fleas?
Keep your carpet flea-free by steam cleaning. (NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

When used in conjunction with other treatment methods, steam cleaning is an effective way to kill fleas in your home. Knowing the right ingredients to add for killing fleas and their eggs helps you decide what treatment method will work best. If you do not have a steam cleaner, rent one from your local hardware or grocery store.

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Basic Cleaning

Vacuum your floors first to remove dirt and debris along with fleas and their eggs. Discard of the vacuum contents in a zip-lock bag to prevent the fleas from escaping. Choose a cleaner that is right for your model of steam cleaner, such as one for high-traffic areas, pet stains or odours. If desired, add an anti-foaming agent to the clean water reservoir. These agents prevent excess foaming as the water is sucked back up. Use a slow, steady stroke when moving the cleaner back and forth on the carpet.


The most natural method of killing fleas with a steam cleaner is to use water only. Fill the clean water reservoir as instructed by the steam cleaner's manufacturer. The steam cleaner heats the water before circulating it out of the cleaner and into your carpet. Heat from the water kills the fleas and eggs. Those fleas and eggs that escape the heat die by drowning in the dirty water reservoir or when you pour the water down the toilet.


Vinegar is another natural choice for flea killing. Pour equal parts of water and apple cider or white distilled vinegar into the clean water reservoir of your steam cleaner. The vinegar not only kills fleas, but the odour repels future infestations. Vinegar will leave an odour to your carpets, but it dissipates quickly. If desired, add a few drops of your favourite fragrance of essential to the reservoir to combat the vinegar odour.

Liquid Dish Soap

Another option is adding 2 or 3 drops of liquid dish soap to the clean water reservoir prior to steam cleaning. Although water will drown most fleas, the dish soap helps kill the rest. Because of their small size, fleas are not able to always break the water tension and float on top, avoiding drowning. By adding soap, you help break that tension.

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