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How to Get Rid of Fleas on Humans (and Keep Them Off)

By the time you’re searching for answers on how to get rid of fleas on humans, you’re solidly in the midst of a flea infestation.

And we feel for you, we really do. Because fleas are the worst. They suck blood and leave insanely itchy bites on you and your beloved furry friends. They jump really high and crawl rapidly away before you can catch and and kill them. Not to mention they breed worse than bunnies do.

So small and yet so massively annoying, fleas are terrible company to have around your home.

Do fleas live on humans?

The good news is that most fleas can’t really survive on human skin, thanks to our relative lack of body hair. That’s why they usually prefer to live on our furry pets (or other pests we have lurking around the house, i.e. rats).

The bad news? There are at least 2,000 species of fleas and at least one of these species find humans to be an acceptable host. And the so-called ‘human flea’ won’t just take a nibble from you occasionally – in worst case scenarios, these fleas may choose you as their new home, living on your clothes and your hair!

It’s not just human fleas, either. If an animal in your house brings in a flea infestation, you’ll also fall on the receiving end of their constant blood sucking attacks. Even worse, if the animal host the fleas were living on suddenly becomes unavailable, they’ll pick up and move to the nearest available source – i.e. you.

Talk about adding insult to injury, right? Not only are you devastated by the loss of a pet, but now you’ve got a flea infestation in your home and in your hair biting you at all hours of the day!

Well, no more. It’s time to unleash the fury on these suckers. And we’re not going for some half-assed approach here – we’re going to pull this problem up by its roots.

How to get rid of fleas on humans

Alright, here’s how you get rid of fleas on humans so they stay away. Permanently.

#1. Run the wash

Before you jump in the shower, the first thing you want to do is run the wash.

When living on a human host, the ‘human flea’ will mostly hang out on your clothing and hair. This arrangement allows them to spend their time close to you so they are in easy reach of their next meal.

This is why the first thing you want to do is to make sure you have flea-free clothes so you’re not slipping on another flea-infested shirt as soon as you wash the fleas off in the shower.

#2. Get rid of fleas in your hair

Most of your body is not a problem – a hot shower or bath and a good soaping will get them off your body.

But if you have a thick head of hair or a full beard, this requires a bit more focused attention. Here’s how to get rid of fleas in your hair.

In the bath or shower, use one of the following to kill the fleas in your hair…

  • Flea shampoo: They don’t make flea shampoo for humans so you’ll be using a flea shampoo for dogs. Relax, it’s perfectly safe – especially if you go for a gentle, natural one – human skin is more acidic than dog’s skin which is why you’re not supposed to use human shampoo on dogs (it dries their skin) but you won’t mess up your scalp or hair’s pH by using a dog shampoo a few times. The only downside is that it won’t be formulated for permed or color-treated hair. Richard’s Organics Flea & Ticks Shampoo will get the job done.
  • Dish soap: Dawn dish soap is mild enough to use on your hair and strong enough to kill fleas. Apply it on your hair and leave it in for 10 minutes
  • Baking soda and salt pack: This one is not as strongly effective as the others on this list, but it does help. Make a paste by mixing baking soda, salt, and water and then apply the paste to your hair. Leave it for 10 minutes.

If you’re using one of the above shampoos (or the dish soap), take a lice comb and slowly comb your lathered hair from the root all the way out to the tip of your hair. If using the baking soda, rinse it out of your hair before you begin combing.

Keep combing in this way until you’ve removed all the fleas.

After this shampoo and comb session, your hair will be free of fleas – but you’ll want to ensure that it stays that away by switching to a flea-preventing shampoo until your house is clear of fleas.

You can, again, use a flea shampoo for pets – it’s only for a short while, so it won’t damage the pH of your scalp or hair. Or you can even use a lice repellent shampoo.

Or if you prefer to use your own shampoo, add a couple drops of either thyme essential oil or myrtle essential oil into your shampoo bottle. Both of these essential oils have been shown to be effective in repelling fleas.

#3. Keep fleas off your body

You’ve emerged flea-free from the shower and slipped on some freshly washed and dried, flea-free clothes. You’re feeling better than you have in ages – so, how do you stay this way?

For starters, you want to keep the fleas off your body. You can do this by using flea repellent on your clothes and your body. Here are you best options.

Flea Repellent Cream

Sally Ander’s No-Bite-Me Cream is a must have when you’re battling fleas. It uses an all-natural blend of 16 essential oils that does double duty to repel fleas while also stopping the itchiness of already existing flea bites.

You can also get it as a soap and cream set for extra flea bite protection.

Flea Repellent Spray

A flea repellent to spray is a handy option since you can use it on on your clothes as well as your body. Since it’ll be in close contact with your skin, we recommend you get something natural and non-toxic – Amrita’s Bug Be Gone is great and made up of essential oils that repel fleas.

You can also make your own DIY flea repelling spray by getting a spritzer bottle, filling 90% of it with boiled or distilled water and the filling up the remaining 10% with essential oils like thyme oil, tea tree oil, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil and citronella oil.

These oils are great for keeping fleas off you and safe enough to use on your skin and even your pets and kids.

If you also suffer from dry skin, another option is Avon’s Skin So Soft – in a study conducted by the University of Florida, using Avon’s Skin So Soft resulted in a 40% drop in the amount of fleas.

#4. Attack the source

Unless you attack at source of the fleas, anything you do will be only temporary. Fleas will continue to breed and multiply in your home and it’ll be a matter of time before you’re back to square one.

If you don’t want to wash your hair with dog flea shampoo forever – you need to treat the source of the fleas. Which will usually be your furry friends.

Here’s how to do it:

How to get rid of dog fleas

How to get rid of fleas on cats

Treat all your pets at the same time, even if some don’t show signs of being infested.

#5. Clear your house of fleas

It’s easy enough to get rid of fleas on humans, but if your living environment is infested with fleas that are waiting to jump on your from the curtain, cushions, carpets, and even from your own bed – getting the fleas off yourself will be an ongoing battle…

…unless you clear your house of fleas. Sound intimidating? We got your back and if you follow our free guides, fleas will be out of your life before you know it.

Here’s how you do it:

  • How to get rid of fleas on your bed. Human fleas will often hang around in your bed since it’s a convenient place for them to hop on you for their next meal. Even worse – they can lay their eggs on your bed so you want to start here immediately.
  • How to get rid of fleas in carpet. Carpet’s another favorite place for fleas to lay their eggs and hang out in – clearing the carpet of fleas will make a huge difference in eliminating the flea population in your home.

30 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Fleas on Humans (and Keep Them Off)”

  1. Tea tree oil is toxic to dogs and cats. You can use a small drop in the pet’s bath water. I use tea tree shampoo on myself and my dogs are fine. Don’t use tea tree oil on your pets. It keeps bugs away, but it may hurt your pets.

    • 91percent rubbing alcohol is very painful for fleas as it dries them out,won't let them breathe,it's also a covered expense on a health savings card,once I drown them I make certain I smash between two fingernails,I spray everything,deep in recliner,bedding,my clothing,keeps me safe!. It doesn't damage anything,carpet,my hair,colors,furniture, the only thing it temporarily damages if I spray too much in a puddle is my waxed oak floors but,let wd40 soak in for a few minutes and clean up and floor looks great again!!

  2. I’m a human and i very thick hair I’ve had fleas for quite awhile iit sucks my house is clean give me tips or anything help me please I’m tired of getting my mom to buy dawn dish soap its a waste of money might do it for pets but ive tried it don’t help

    • I am having issues with fleas as well. I read that lemon scented dish soap works. Also baking soda and warm water, leave on 15 min rinse and repeat. they also recommended following that with apple cider vinegar. I am dealing with FLEAS at this very moment. I am going to try the dog flea shampoo and then the backing soda and then the lemon scented dish soap, then the apple cider vinegar. Hoping this will do it

  3. Pulex irritans or house fleas are very small. They transmit tape worm, typhus and the plauge having killed more people killed in all the wars throughout history, look it up. This species of flea being 2mm max for a full grown female with males being smaller coupled with the spongy texture of human skin and the fleas natural instinct to pull itself in to a host’s skin allows them to pull themselves inside our skin and move freely about your body to any part of the skin touching air. They will form circle shapes from tiny to two inches in diameter sometimes with larva in the center of the circle sometimes around the outside of the circle in between the layers of skin. The Also sometimes forming straight lines in the skin. They love the feet, hands, and anywhere with hair, but will thrive everywhere on the human body inside the skin, mucus membranes included. I am serious about this subject. I have had these fleas on me fighting them for going on 7 months. Most people don’t think fleas can live in human skin, if you are one of the non-believers you are welcome to look me up on Facebook Joe Baldwin joelinnlama@gmail.com friend request me I have pictures from every month I have been hopelessly infested with pulex irritans. I have been to two hospitals the first one they wouldn’t even get close and absolutely didn’t believe I have fleas. Grady hospital in Atlanta knew I had flea along with a tapeworm aquired from them but had no real solution. Just a giant bill. At this point I would do almost anything to get rid of them and do quite a lot to do so. I only wish that before someone else tells me that fleas can’t live in human skin they might educate them selves because no matter what anyone believes about the nature of pulex irritans I know and can provide several forms of concrete proof that everything I have said above is100% truth. No joke.

    • I’ve been dealing with them off and on for over 3 years I get rid of them but the nasty things always seem to come back I’m tempted to move to a new place

    • I suggest preferably in warm weather or room try coconut oil, drench it through your hair and then cover your entire body. The reason is because 1) it will suffocate any fleas, and 2) its antifungal antibiotic antiviral properties will help your skin recover. Preferably have a nice leather or plastic chair to sit on for say two hours and then wash it off.

    • Only for humans I suggest you try melted coconut oil, drench it through your hair and then cover your entire body. The reason is because 1) it will suffocate any fleas, and 2) its antifungal antibiotic antiviral properties will clear most surface infections and give your skin a head start to recovery. Preferably have a nice leather or plastic chair to sit on for say two hours and then wash it off.

    • Are you still having this problem with fleas !!
      I have the same problem I can’t seem to get rid of them I’ve had my place sprayed u spray I use essential oils in and it’s dried my skin out I’ve used Avon skin so soft , salt, baking soda nothing seems to work!! Help me please!!
      I’ve lost weight I’m totally stressed out!!! HELP PLEASE??!

      • I believe this is more widespread that people appreciate. In low level form, people just have minor sores on their head that come and go. They have some jock itch and toe fungus.

        The first and foremost issue Is to find their burrows on your skin. You can pull them out with some lemon or some essential oil blends, but very strong. I am just starting to learn the best process. I believe an alternative medicine approach called cupping might be helpful. The suction combined with something to draw them out may be quite useful.

    • I have experience with the same thing. It is an absolute bear. Because the insect is born on you or in you, it returns HOME to it source. Great, its homing instinct is your curse. The larvae and mite form can move forward or backward in regard to its stages. I have seen eggs shrink and also change forms before my eyes.

      I believe it is the same insect that causes Morgellon’s.

      There is so much more to say….we need a forum just for this.

    • I was infested with pulex irritans in Guatemala in 2007 and these things are nearly impossible to get rid of. I have not had any pets so this nonsense of getting fleas only from your pets is not at all the only way. They are so tiny and hide everywhere. I am surprised no one said anything about using flea bombs because that is one of the only ways after thorough cleaning to keep the population down. In my experience if you miss ONE it starts all over again. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    • Hi,
      Just read your story. I have fleas crabs in hair and lice looks like body lice. I have tried nic.rid ivermectin pills and cream on scalp malation 5 times spinsad 6 times nothing would get rid of them have no pets washed sheets everyday towels and blankets also
      I wear brand new clothes and throw them away every day very expensive
      Yesterday I got do fed up I used Adams flea and tick shampoo with proctor also kills lice. I had to wash my scalp and use dawn also I applied it to pubic area
      After 5 minutes I rinsed it off and used dawn I used lice comb to comb out hair found lice fleas crabs coming out of hair one of the imbedded in scalp like 100 tons of black specks coming out
      All my itching stop with in 5 minutes
      I was able to sleep for first time since March today I can feel few crawl on scalp no biting yet and the bites are very painful
      It says not to use dog shampoo. But it was more efficient than any thing to used they lived thru everything except this dog shampoo. There here but nothing left ke before
      I will keep experimenting til I get rid of them.

  4. This is the umpteenth dozen time that I’ve had fleas all over my body including in some areas that I am totally freaked out about I seem to get rid of them for a few months and then I only notice that I have them again when they get really bad my animals are always flea treated so is my house yet I’m always getting them nobody else does and I’m always called crazy or accused of being on drugs I’m so tired of dealing with this and I don’t know what to do to keep them from coming back HELP!!!!

    • The reason you get them and other people do not is that they are hatched in your body. Like trout who return to the place that they are born, this insect recognizes your scent, vibration and return to it automatically. It is very frustrating because you can walk across a carpet and get bit and others do not.

      You need to find the source. They hide in hair, skin cracks and even the sweat glands and pores on your lets. The mite form can eat keratin and thrive. They burrows under skin and sometimes many can get into this burrow. It feels like a bump on the skin. It may feel like a dime or small padding is under your scalp.

    • Hi, I'm in a critical and difficult situation with what I think are fleas and the larvae on my body hair and hopefully you could help with answering a question or two
      I believe I'm being bitten by a flea and have the bite marks and can find what I think might be flea tangled up in my hairs, but I'm also finding what I think could be the larvae, tiny black specks about 2mm to 4mm in lenght and they also bite
      Does this sound like anything you have experienced please.
      I've had this so far for 3 months and it really is driving me crazy, doctors don't believe me and won't even take swabs from my skin
      Please any information would be so gratefully appreciated
      Gordon from Scotland

      • Did you find out how to stop them? They burrowed into the scalp and don't know how to keep them out. I've had them for 3 months and its been hell.

  5. Mothballs, boric acid, mopping with bleach every day, tea tree oil conditioner kills fleas. These bugs live outdoors and in cracks in the floor. Get a mattress cover.

  6. Please note that tea tree oil is deadly to cats and dogs. Do not use tea tree oil on dogs and cats. Take caution when using essential oils around pets!

  7. Marty,
    This flea business is the toughest and most horrible spawn of the devil for I’ve ever been up against.
    The flea population seems to simmer down but never quite goes away. We’ve tried many different things but one thing they hate if you put it between door jambs to keep them from going room-to-room is a towel soaked in vinegar, damp but not necessarily drippy. For my dogs and myself a generous rub down of coconut oil …there is an acid in it that kills the fleas and it also moisturizes your dog skin after other treatments.
    Another success is to have several spray bottles. The tea tree oil mixture is okay but I’ve had better luck with 50/50 reconstituted lemon juice and water, 50/50 vinegar and water; and isopropyl alcohol 50/50 with water. The fleas particularly seem to hate the citrus, anything lemon and concentrated orange sprays..
    On carpets we’ve been using 50/50 salt and baking soda. Leave it on for 2 days and then vacuum… otherwise vacuume like a maniac daily, slow and steady in a straight motion and then diagonal.
    For your body, and believe me I’ve had a time of it, these fleas digging into my skin, soak your feet every time you sit down… in water with Dawn liquid blue as hot as you can stand it and I usually microwave an extra large cup of water to pour in as the water my feet are in cools. This practically made all the bites on my feet and ankles disappear.
    I do the same in the tub; I draw a bath, showering in it first and then sit in a tub of the hottest water I can stand. Keep the water very hot and the bites will open and the flea will fallout or rub out. Scrub your body down with a brush as your skin softens from the water. Drain well making sure all fleas go down the drain in that hot water or sometimes they come back to life.
    As soon as I take clothes from the dryer I put them in a plastic bag to make sure those little tiny. Fleas don’t somehow get on my clothing. I generally change in the enclosed bathtub or outside in the screened patio. Wear the highest shoes that you have and pull your socks (long sweat socks) over your pant legs when you’re around the house. it makes you look like a real nerd in public, so only make this fashion statement at home.
    When I’m working on flea riddance detail, I duct-tape my sleeves down and wear a tight collar around my neck and a hat, plastic bags around my feet taped onto my pants… It’s the only way to keep these devils from getting in and under your clothing.
    Before I go to bed, I steam my mattress and then I steam the sheet I put on top. I steam all the area around my bed after vacuuming and sleep without much annoyance. Walmart sells a lavender talcum powder that fleas don’t like and I generally put this on my sheets. This is also when I use tea tree oil or cedar oil or the peppermint variety which they hate because it’s the scent that keeps them at bay. The other sprays are for direct contact purposes. Oh I almost forgot, I also use hydrogen peroxide 50/50 with water that burns them up and it’s also excellent to put on any open bites as it sizzles them out of your skin.
    I hope some of these tips help you, we are still fighting the good war to get these most vile creatures out of our house.
    Good luck, we’ve been at it for about 2 months and think we have almost conquered them.

  8. WITH THE WINTER coming on now, i await the ultimate flea killer ‘bomb’ i’ve used often. As temperatures drop below freezing, i will open the windows and use fans to move the cold air through my home. One or more in the windows, pushing the air in and, at the other end of my apartment, fans in windows sucking the air out. [No fans, just open all the windows overnight.] I prefer temperatures around 20 degrees, but 30 doesn’t hurt! With the former, though, you might want to trickle the water in your sinks and tub, because the pipes may freeze up otherwise. The goal, of course, is to get the house down below freezing. I’ll sleep in a room that is warm, but will switch rooms and freeze that room out later. This ALWAYS works, when virtually nothing else, -chemical bombs, constant vacuuming and mopping, etc., has failed, -and it isn’t that hard to do.
    Getting up in the morning to a frozen house is a rude awakening, but i like the results! While 30 degrees [outside] may not finish them completely, it will make quite a dent…
    Another, slightly scary method i use is putting bleach on my calfs [legs]. You could probably put it on full strength without harming yourself, but i usually cut it 50/50 with water, of course, or more. 10 to 1 probably won’t cut it, as you have to have SOME strength. When house cleaning, we often get bleach on our hands, and while it is not something i think is good for me, this is WAR. Fleas burrow into your flesh and lay their eggs there. If you don’t kill the larvae in your own skin, you are literally “shedding” little fleas as you walk around your house! I did like the hydrogen peroxide suggestion in these comments and will try it tonight. [Btw, peroxide in your ears helps [some] people with “colds”, -esp. upper respiratory viruses!] Maybe that’s healthier, if it works. But bleach WORKS. Try it two parts water, one part bleach, or 3 to 1 may do.
    We have a cat. The first line of defense is to take care of her! [Temp. is still too warm outside!] Kitty gets a combing every night! She’s a flea MAGNET! I use a lice comb my daughter needs once in a while. It’s perfect. [A lady on you tube showed me this, by the way, God bless her!] Take a pot of boiling water to the tub and set it on a milk crate [etc.] in there. As you comb the cat, you’ll get a flea in the comb. Instantly dip the comb [with flea on it] in the hot water. often you’ll get two or three in a swipe. If you don’t move fast, they’ll hop off the comb. But they usually seem “stunned” to be pulled from their “fur world”, so you have a moment before they can react. If they do jump, they may fall in the tub, where you can have a cup of warm water to try to wash them down the drain. A dozen fleas on kitty last night, only six tonight… Gotta keep at it! Good luck y’all!

  9. Has any one used this flea trap
    ASPECTEK Favored-Trapest Sticky Dome Bed Bug 2 Glue Discs.Odorless Non-Poisonous and Natural Flea Killer Trap Pad Family, Children and Pets Friendly, Best Pest Control, White ASPECTEK Favored-Trapest Sticky Dome Bed Bug 2 Glue Discs.Odorle…

  10. I’ve been turned away from 3 hospitals and instead of taking a skin sample they give me a psych med and tell me it’s all in my head.

  11. 91percent rubbing alcohol is very painful for fleas as it dries them out,won't let them breathe,it's also a covered expense on a health savings card,once I drown them I make certain I smash between two fingernails,I spray everything,deep in recliner,bedding,my clothing,keeps me safe!


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