Saturday, August 22, 2015

Natural Ways To Keep Fleas out of Your Home

Fleas, as pestilent as they are, are actually fascinating creatures. One of their best known “super powers” is their ability to jump hundreds of times their own body length. If we could perform a similar feat, we would be able to jump over buildings with ease. Looking up the flea on Wikipedia, I learned that their jump is not caused by muscular action, but by “energy stored in a protein named resilin”. [1] Fleas also have very tough little bodies, which are amazingly crush-resistant for their size.
Another thing I did not know about fleas was they only spend around 25% of their time on a host animal. Thus, when working to prevent or eradicate them, much of the work involves getting rid of them not only from pets, but from bedding, carpets and other fabrics.

We found a great post over at Nature Hacks describing some ways to keep fleas out of your home. These are some great tips. However when researching in depth, I also found a few more ideas, so I decided to compile these resources and add them to the list! 
Baking soda is reported by Wikipedia to be effective against fleas. It dehydrates and kills larvae and eggs. The idea is to sprinkle it into carpets and work it down into the fibers, then vacuumed up afterwards. Table salt can also be added to the baking soda. Overall, this method is a nice inexpensive remedy – and it is advised to perform once per week until no further signs of infestation remain.
Dried Pennyroyal has been suggested as a herbal flea treatment – but owing to toxicity to animals, should never be used around pets.
The use of dehumidifiers, together with frequent vacuuming of carpets can interrupt the flea life cycle. Humidity is essential to flea survival. Flea eggs require relative humidity of at least 70–75% to hatch, and larvae need at least 50% humidity to survive. [1]

Essential Oils vs. Fleas

One further avenue that was not explored was that of essential oils – so I decided to do a little research! 
A component of grapefruit essential oil (nootkatone) was found effective against fleas. [2] Nootkatone is also found significantly in essential oils of vetiver (thus supporting its traditional use in this regard!) and alaskan yellow cedar (cedar chips too have been used as an anti-flea remedy in pet bedding!) Nootkatone has also been found effective against ants, termites, mosquitoes, cockroaches, and ticks, including Ixodes scapularis (blacklegged tick) – a tick that can transmit the dreaded Lyme disease. [3]
Nootkatone is interesting stuff and showing tremendous potential as an insect repellant. [4][5] If you can’t get hold of it, you could simply try grapefruit essential oil! (I’m also of the view that whole extracts, rather than single molecules, are better form the point of view that it is more difficult for the critters to develop tolerance).
Here’s a link to a high quality (and amazingly priced! – $3.20 plus shipping at the time of writing) grapefruit essential oil on
Carvacrol also has demonstrated biocidal activity against ticks, fleas and mosquitos – though around 50% as effective by dose as nootkatone. Does the name carvacrol ring any bells? It’s one of the main components of (genuine) oregano leaf (Origanum vulgare) essential oil and is also strongly antibiotic. Carvacrol is also found significantly in essential oils of thyme, pepperwort and wild bergamot. Marjoram (Origanum majorana) essential oil is approximately 50% carvacrol, and Dittany of Crete (Origanum dictamnus) is around 60-80%. [6]
PLEASE NOTE – I do not know which, if any, of these essential oils will be safe for use around pets. Please assume that they are NOT safe until you are sure otherwise!
Now all that is needed is a full safety report on which of these oils is ok to use around pets – and we have the potential for an all-natural anti-flea remedy that avoids the use of toxic chemicals! And standard flea medicine for pets is very toxic stuff! Can we be done with it?
Ok, here is the link to the original list of ways to keep fleas out of your home:
You might be interested also in another post we ran recently – from EveryDay Roots – 6 Natural Ways To Ged Rid Of Fleas On Dogs – which has several other remedies – and mentions cedarwood and lavender essential oils.
If you have any more tips, please let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page!


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