Not even the speediest of hounds can escape fleas; but you can outsmart them with natural methods without having to resort to toxic pesticides. For household control of fleas, diligent cleaning is an important part of the equation. You must eliminate all sources of reinfestation which means you need to bathe and treat all your pets with flea shampoos and spot treatments or collars. Carpets, upholstery, bedding material, linen and furniture provide numerous hiding places for fleas and you can only eliminate them with thorough cleaning. There is a wide variety of options available to clean your home, but steam cleaning is most effective. So before you spend more money on sprays, shampoos and other flea treatments, try this easy, pure and foolproof way to get rid of fleas with steam cleaning.
Why invest in a handheld steamer unit
1. It is cost effective
If you own multiple pets or are dealing with heavy flea infestations year after year then it may be prudent to invest in a pressurized handheld steamer (not the mop kind). It is relatively inexpensive and it is indeed a worthwhile investment if you live in a flea infested area. Compared to the cost of pesticides, you will find a steamer much cheaper. Most steamers come with a nozzle that releases steam at a high pressure and temperatures of over 200 degrees. These days, you can also rent steamers and for very heavy infestations, you may want to enlist the help of a professional exterminator for steam cleaning your premises.
2. Treat multiple surfaces
You can treat several surfaces with a steam cleaner. Carpets, fabrics, curtains, beds, pet bedding etc. Use the steamer a couple of times a month and voila – no fleas.
3. Super clean house
The best part of using steam cleaning is that it also gets rid of other bugs like ticks, mange, mites, dust mites, bed bugs etc. Believe me, you will be left with a squeaky clean house. Steaming also eliminates ringworm spores, scabies, and other disease causing bacteria, viruses and fungi. You can also use the steamer on bathroom and kitchen surfaces to eliminate e.coli, staphylococcus and other microbes. It gets rid of burned mess on stove tops, burners and inside ovens. Just make sure you get a steamer with high pressure steaming and not the gentle steamers used for ironing clothing.
How to kill fleas with steam cleaning
If you are dealing with an active flea infestation, it is a good idea to use the steamer at least once a week. Soon you will find that you need to use it less and less. Warning: never use the steamer directly on pets as the hot steam can scald and cause serious burns. This might seem unnecessary to say but better safe than sorry.
- Remove all pets and children from the premises when steam cleaning.
- Steam all your pets’ blankets, bedding etc. You can also wash them in hot water or dry them on the highest heat setting of your dryer.
- Scrub and clean the areas where your pet rests and sleeps. You can use the steamer or a strong household cleaner. For the treatment to be effective, steam these areas a few times a week to eliminate newly hatched fleas, eggs, larvae etc.
- If you have hardwood floors, test the steamer first to ensure it does not damage the surface. The same is true in case of delicate linen, rugs, upholstery and curtains.
- Pay special attention to cracks and crevices. This is where fleas usually lay their eggs.
- Steam down your bedding, box spring, mattresses and pillows. Wash all washable items in hot water and bleach/detergent.
- Steam the windows and blinds.
You can also steam the inside of your car, porch and deck or other areas where your pet spends time. If needed, treat the entire house with diatomaceous earth powder. This will eliminate fleas and other bugs by ripping apart their exoskeleton. Use only food grade diatomaceous powder labeled as an insecticide and not the swimming pool filter powder which does nothing to fleas.
Steam cleaning versus chemical control
Steam cleaning regularly will shortly reduce your dependence on Frontline and other flea control products. Even though my dogs are currently on flea pills, I always look for effective natural alternatives. The less we use pesticides, the better it is for everyone.
Total flea control naturally
- Daily combing of your pet using a fine toothed comb and monthly steam cleaning is essentially all you need for total flea control.
- If you want to go completely chemical-free, then perform steam cleaning regularly. Soon you will find that your pet hardly has any fleas.
- Once every few months, sprinkle diatomaceous earth powder all around the premises and follow this up with a thorough vacuuming.
- Minimize clutter in your yard. Mow your lawn regularly to keep grass height to a minimum. Deter flea-carrying animals like rodents, possums and squirrels in your yard.
- Feed your pet a nutritious diet with a little minced garlic, brewer’s yeast etc. Talk to your vet about the dosage. Note that not all dogs benefit from the flea repellent effect.
- Bathe your pet once every 15 days with non toxic shampoos. Use vinegar or lemon solution as a final rinse since both can eliminate fleas.
- You can also dust your pet’s coat with brewer’s yeast or diatomaceous earth. It can potentially dry out your dogs skin and irritate the lungs, so talk to your vet about this first.
Steam cleaning is a highly effective natural method for eliminating fleas, larvae and eggs. I recommend you try it out for yourself – it may be the solution you are looking for to rid your home of fleas.
If you need help finding the right steam or vacuum cleaner, here are 10 vacuum cleaners for pet owners.
For very heavy infestations, it may be necessary to discard all infested items and seek help of a professional exterminator.