It's an icky reality, but with the muggy late summer heat comes fleas … sometimes LOTS of fleas. Here are a few (mostly) chemical-free tips for keeping an infestation at bay.
A QUICK NOTE: We called these solutions mostly chemical-free because many of them involve the use of soap which can contain chemicals, but there are plenty of natural, eco-friendly options out there. Just be aware of any essential oils in the soap that might be harmful to your pets. Read our post on essential oil knowledge for cat owners for more info.
Vacuum, Mop, Wash, Repeat, Repeat, Repeat
It's not fun, but it works. Focus on areas that your pets spend most of their time: throw everything you can into the washing machine and vacuum everything else. Make sure to empty the vacuum cleaner bag and take it outside to the trash immediately. Then mop the floors with warm sudsy water. You'll most likely have to repeat this process a few times before you're totally rid of an infestation, but at least your house will be spotless.
Make a Flea Trap (pictured above)
Put a dish of warm soapy water under a desk lamp and shine the lamp on the water overnight. Make sure all the other lights in your house are turned off. Fleas are attracted to the light and will drown in the soapy water. Be careful not to leave your trap in reach of curious pets or children!
Give Your Pet a Bath (if they'll tolerate it)
Fleas drown in water, especially soapy water, but see our note above — some oils in soaps can be irritating or even toxic to pets. If you aren't too squeamish, give your pet a post-bath once or twice over with a flea comb. Keep a bowl of soapy water nearby to drown any fleas that show up on the comb.
Wait for the Winter
At least there is something to look forward to along with the arrival cold weather. Once the temperature drops, you are likely out of the woods as far as fleas are concerned.
What flea remedies have worked (or not worked) for you?
MORE ON GETTING RID OF FLEAS
• Dealing With Fleas
• Reader Solution: Natural Flea Remedy for Pet and Home
• Good Questions: Nice Flea Killer?
(Image: Sarah Rainwater)