Did your cat or dog fall victim to a flea or two ... or a dozen? Once your pet becomes infected with fleas, ridding the pests from your house can be a serious challenge. With perseverance, however, you can get your house back to normal.
Treat the Host
Before you can have success cleansing your home of fleas, you must start with the host--usually your pet. Bathe your pet thoroughly with pet shampoo. If your cat or dog isn't already on flea medicine, buy some and apply it according to the instructions on the package. Most veterinarians recommend Frontline or Advantage as the top two proven flea medications on the market today. These medications will not only kill fleas already on your animal, they will also kill eggs within the pet's environment. If you're considering taking the cheap way out, the Humane Society of the United States warns against purchasing discount flea medications available at Wal-Mart and other discount stores not only because of the danger they present to animals but because of their ineffectiveness.
Treat the Environment
Perhaps the biggest obstacle in ridding your environment of these blood-sucking pests is the fact that they can lay thousands of eggs in as little as an hour of being introduced to your home. Fleas lay eggs on upholstery, clothing, bedding and carpet. You will probably have to perform two or three treatments within a month's time to eliminate all eggs. Begin by purchasing a flea killing spray, such as Raid. Remove all pets and people from the environment, then spray the area thoroughly, making sure you reach every nook and cranny. In severe cases, you can purchase a fogger and "bomb" your home, but this requires a lengthy absence and an even more thorough cleaning of the home afterward.
After spraying your home with any pesticides, you should always follow up a few hours later by vacuuming all carpets, wiping all countertops with soap and water and washing all bedding and any other exposed fabrics, such as curtains and laundry. When vacuuming, be sure to first sprinkle laundry detergent or special flea powder on the carpet to ensure that as many eggs as possible are killed. Otherwise, active eggs can be sucked into the vacuum cleaner where they will hibernate until hatching. For this reason, make sure you also do a thorough cleaning of your vacuum cleaner after use. The Illinois Department of Public Health also recommends a steam cleaning of carpet and upholstery to help eliminate missed eggs. Chances are you won't eliminate all fleas after only one round of spraying and cleaning, but the more thorough you are each time, the less often you will have to repeat these steps.