How to Get Rid of Fleas in Carpet and Kill 95% of the Flea Infestation

It’s one thing to get rid of fleas on a cushion or two – but an entire house full of carpet?!

An intimidating task, to be sure, but one that absolutely must be done because this will make the biggest difference in your war against fleas.

The fight that takes place on the carpet is your very own Battle of Saratoga and if you play your cards right, it will give you decisive victory over the entire flea battalion.

Here’s why.

The carpet is where pretty much all the flea eggs, larvae, and pupae are.

After mating, the female will begin laying eggs within just 36 to 48 hours. And for such a short pregnancy, she produces a lot of eggs – one female flea can lay up to 50 eggs per day! The thing about these eggs is that they’re not sticky so they fall off and scatter all over your carpet.

When you consider the fact that flea eggs make up around 50 percent of an infestation in a home while flea larvae and pupae make up 45 percent of a flea infestation – you can see why the winning the battle on the carpet is key to getting rid of fleas.

The carpet is where all the flea babies – 95 percent of the flea infestation – live.

Sure, it sort of makes you never want to walk on the carpet again. But it’s also good news for you the easiest way to kill fleas is to strike when they’re at their most vulnerable, developing stages.

Ready to win the battle that’ll decide the war? Here’s how to get rid of fleas in carpet!

Start with what’s on the carpet

Why it’s awesome: You don’t want to spend all your time and effort getting rid of fleas in carpet only to have them drop back on it, right?

How to do it: Scoop up all the pet bedding, cushions and any other fabrics that are on or near the carpet and wash and dry them on the highest setting. The heat from the washer and dryer will kill the fleas that’ve been hiding out in the items.

Vacuum everything that cannot be thrown into the wash – upholstered furniture, cat towers, armchairs, etc. Make sure to also vacuum the underside of furniture.

For upholstered furniture (i.e plushy, cushion-y couches) – remove all the cushions, wash and dry the covers on the highest setting and vacuum everything. If you can, go the extra step and steam clean it as well – fleas at all life stages can’t survive temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit so the heat will kill the ones it reaches. The heat can also cause dormant flea pupae to wake up, making them easier to kill.

We recommend McCulloch’s Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner – it heats water to over 200 degree Fahrenheit, produces strong steam and you can use it on both your upholstered furniture and carpets.

Vacuum the carpet like you mean it

Meet the vacuum cleaner – it will be your lieutenant general in your war against fleas.

Why it’s awesome: Vacuuming seems like such a simple solution yet it is probably the best way to get rid of fleas in carpet. It not only eliminates all the adult fleas it sucks up, the vacuum also removes flea eggs, larvae and some pupae.

As mentioned above, killing just the adult fleas is a shabby solution since you’ll soon have a new generation of bloodsuckers to deal with. So vacuuming allows you to really hit them where it hurts.

It allows sucks up all the nastiness that comes with fleas – i.e. that disgusting pre-digested blood feces that looks like coarse ground black pepper. Not only is removing this crap much much more sanitary for you, it also removes the main food source of flea larvae (yes, they eat this stuff).

Lastly, the vibrations from the vacuum can stimulate flea pupae to leave their cocoon, which makes it easier to suck them up into the vacuum. Because the cocoon is resistant to insecticides and often spun around the base of the carpet fibers – they can be very difficult to kill or remove. Enticing them out of it is the best way to deal with them.

How to do it: Start at one end of the room and vacuum in strips so you can cover the entire carpet. Give some extra time and attention to the corners of the room as well as any dark, humid areas (i.e. under furniture) and places that you pet likes to hang around.

When you’re done vacuuming, take it outside before you remove the bags to prevent any fleas from getting back in your house.

Try to vacuum every day for at least 2 weeks.

Steam ’em to death

Why it’s awesome: Fleas at all life stages can’t survive temperatures above 95 degrees. And even if the steam doesn’t reach deep enough to kill all the fleas hidden in the carpet, the heat alone could be enough to stimulate dormant flea pupae to leave their cocoons – which makes them much easier to kill since their cocoons are often attached to the carpet fibers.

It’s also a totally natural way to kill fleas and sanitize your space at the same time, which is great if you’ve got kids around and are looking for non-toxic ways to get rid of fleas in the carpet.

How to do it: Either rent a steamer, hire a professional cleaning service or get a home steam cleaner. We recommend McCulloch’s Heavy Duty Steam Cleaner – it heats water to over 200 degree Fahrenheit, produces strong steam and you can use it on both your upholstered furniture and carpets.

Vacuum daily even after the steam cleaning treatment to capture the newly hatched fleas.

Sprinkle flea killers on your carpet

There are a lot of things things you can use to kill fleas in carpet – what you choose to go with depends on whether you prefer natural or chemical methods, how sensitive your pets are, and how severe the infestation is.

Here are your options:

  • Baking soda and salt. Best for light to medium infestations. Natural and safe. Sprinkle a fine layer of baking soda and salt on your carpet, leave for 24 hours, check the carpet to see the situation – if there are only a few fleas left, vacuum it all up – baking soda, salt and the dead flies. If not much has improved, leave it for up to a week.
  • Diatomaceous earth (DE). Great for all levels of infestations, except very severe. Natural and safe, but make sure you get food-grade Diatomaceous earth (DE). Sprinkle a light layer of DE onto your carpet, apply a heavier layer in your pet’s favorite hangout areas and under furniture. Leave it on your carpet for around 4 to 5 days and then vacuum it all up.
  • Natural flea spray. Good for light to medium infestations. Natural and safe. The best one is Vet’s Best Home Spray – it uses peppermint and clove oils and kills fleas and their eggs on contact. Wait until dry and vacuum.
  • Insecticides. Best for severe infestations. Chemical and varying levels of toxicity. There are adulticides (kills adult fleas) like Suspend SC (active ingredient is Deltamethrin) which work very well but can only kill adult fleas. If you want to get rid of fleas at all stages of life and wipe out the infestation for good, go for one that combines an adulticide like Permethrin, Phenothrin, or Deltamethrin with Insect Growth Regulators (IGRs ) like Methoprene or Pyriproxifen. While the adulticides kill the adults, the IGRs kill off the larvae. Hartz UltraGuard Spray is a good combination; Ultracide Spray is another potent combination.

We don’t recommend boric acid. It works pretty well for killing fleas in carpet, but it can be toxic to pets, especially smaller ones, and it can cause discoloration.

We also don’t advise using flea foggers.

Monitor the situation (while killing more fleas)

At this point, the fleas living in your carpet should be on their way out. Keep tabs on the situation by leaving flea traps out on your carpet – you can measure how quickly your flea infestation is being destroyed by checking to see how many victims the traps have claimed each day.

This is the easiest step here since all you have to do is lay them out and check on them (and replace them, of course).

You can get a ready-made flea trap here or make your own by mixing dish soap and water in a bowl.

An ounce of prevention…

The last thing you want after doing all this to get rid of fleas in your carpet is to have to do it all over again.

To discourage fleas from moving back into your carpet, continue to spray the carpet – especially under the furniture, places your pets hang out, and dark places – with a natural flea repellent.

And remember that the best way to make sure you get rid of fleas in your carpet completely is to clear not just your carpet – but your pets, all areas of the house (including your bed if the flea infestation was severe), and even your yard. Here’s how:

How to get rid of fleas on dogs

How to get rid of fleas on cats

How to get rid of fleas at home

How to get rid of fleas in the yard

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