If you’ve ever dealt with a flea infestation, you know how hard it can be to eliminate those little pests entirely. Next time you see a flea in your house, reach for your steamer instead of insecticides; the heat from the steamer will kill fleas in all stages of life.
In this article, we will discuss how to determine if you have fleas in your home. We’ll also tell you how to get rid of those fleas by steam cleaning and how long it will take, as well as other ways to get rid of those pesky bugs.
Does Steam Kill Fleas And Their Eggs?
Yes, Unlike most insecticides that focus on one life stage or another steam cleaning kills fleas in all stages of life, including eggs. All fleas and eggs die in temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
That makes getting rid of the fleas much quicker and easier since you won’t have to make sure you’re using the right products at the right time or risk the need to start the whole process over again.
Signs That You Have Fleas In Your Home
You may be surprised to discover that you could have fleas in your home even if you don’t have pets.
A few ways fleas can get into your home is by hitching a ride on your clothing when you visit a house with pets, jumping off of a mouse or rat that gets inside your home, or jumping off the clothing of a pet owner when that person visits your house.
If you live in an apartment building, fleas or flea eggs can also be transferred to your apartment from common areas you share with neighbors with pets.
For the reasons listed above, you should always be on the lookout for signs of flea infestation, even if you don’t have pets.
Some signs that fleas may have infiltrated your home include:
- Seeing fleas: Obviously, if you see a few fleas in your home, you are either in the midst of an infestation or about to have one. Just one little flea can lay 20-50 eggs daily, so you must take care of them immediately to avoid a big problem.
- Seeing bite marks: When fleas bite their hosts, they leave behind a puffy red mark that itches. They look and feel similar to mosquito bites. If you notice these marks when you haven’t been exposed to mosquitos, you should look around your home to see if there are any other signs of flea activity.
- Itchy pets: If you have pets, you will likely notice them scratching, biting, and licking their fur excessively long before you see signs of flea activity in your home. That’s because fleas live on their host animal and only spread to other areas through contact with the host. If you notice your pets scratching a lot, part their fur to the skin to look for signs of fleas. You’ll usually be able to see black specks in their fur, often in their armpits or on their bellies. This is dried blood left behind by fleas and is a clear indicator of an infestation, even if you don’t see any live insects.
How To Get Rid Of Fleas By Steam Cleaning
Now that you know how to spot flea activity in your home, let’s talk about how you can get rid of that nasty little problem by steam cleaning.
Follow this tried and true method to remove as many fleas as possible and repeat the process every 2-3 days until there are no lingering signs of infestation.
1. Use Your Vacuum
Before you pull out your steam cleaner, vacuum your floors to remove excess dirt and pet hair so you can focus on the fleas with the steam.
Be sure to remove the bag or empty the canister outside. Tie the trash bag shut and throw it away in an outdoor trash can to keep any fleas or eggs you may have swept up from returning to your home.
2. Steam Clean Pet Bedding
If you have pets, the first area you should tackle is wherever they spend most of their time, as this is the point of origin for most of the fleas in your home.
If they have a pet bed, you can give it a thorough cleaning with your steamer. If they only have blankets, you should place them into garbage bags, then tie the bags and place them outside until you have a chance to wash them.
3. Steam Clean Furniture And Carpet
Once the vacuuming is complete and you’ve properly disposed of the contents of your sweeper, you can steam clean your furniture and carpet.
Set your steamer to its hottest setting so you will be sure to kill any fleas and eggs you come in contact with.
To ensure you cover the most surface area, you should use the triangular attachment that comes with most steam cleaners.
4. Steam Clean Mattresses
Once you’ve covered the main living areas of the house, it’s time to move on to the bedrooms.
Strip the bedding from all the beds, place it in garbage bags, tie the bags, and set them outside until you are ready to wash them.
If it’s hot or cold enough, putting the linens outside might even kill a few fleas and eggs before you have a chance to wash them.
After the beds are stripped, you can use your steamer on the mattresses. Allow the mattresses to dry before putting fresh linens on them.
5. Steam Clean Curtains
When the main living areas and bedrooms have been cleaned, go back through the rooms and steam clean the curtains.
You may be surprised to find many fleas living in your drapes, particularly if they are floor-length and you have pets that brush against them.
How Long Does It Take For Steam To Kill Fleas?
Fleas begin to die at 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and most home steamers reach temperatures of 150-300 degrees Fahrenheit, which will kill fleas on contact.
Flea eggs have a protective cocoon and are, therefore, a little harder to kill. You will still kill many eggs with your first steam cleaning, but you will need to repeat the process for 2-3 days during an active infestation to ensure no eggs have hatched into fleas that can produce more eggs.
Other Ways To Remove Fleas From Your Home
Steam cleaning is a wonderful tool to use against fleas, but it will only partially eliminate them on its own.
Here are a few more things you can do in addition to steaming to make sure the little pests are gone for good:
- Treat pets: If you have pets, the first thing you should do to eliminate fleas in your home is to treat your animals. There are tons of flea medications on the market, and they come in all forms, including pills, collars, spot treatments, and shampoos. They range in intensity from vet-prescribed chemical treatments to dietary changes and essential oils, so it will be easy to find a treatment that best suits your family’s needs.
- Wash pet accessories: After you treat your pet, you’ll need to clean their beds, toys, and clothes. If your pet bed is too big to go in the washing machine, you can use the vacuum and steam cleaner on those items. For everything else, toss it in the wash on a sanitize cycle, then dry it on the hottest setting your dryer has. Since fleas can’t live in temperatures higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, this should eliminate all traces of the pests on your pet items.
- Launder bedding: You should also wash your own bedding. Whether or not you have pets that sleep with you, bed linens make a nice, cozy environment for fleas, too. The warm, moist conditions are the perfect breeding ground for flea eggs to hatch and for the larva to grow.
- Set up flea traps: Even if you think you’ve eliminated all signs of fleas, it’s a good idea to set up flea traps in hot-spot areas around your house for a few weeks to ensure they’re gone. To make a simple flea trap, fill a shallow bowl with soapy water and set it near a light source. The fleas will be drawn to the light and unable to hop out of the soapy water.
Flea infestations are a huge inconvenience that every pet owner dreads. Unfortunately, you can still get fleas even if you don’t have pets, so it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for signs of flea activity in your home, no matter what.
Signs of an active flea infestation include bite marks on your body, seeing fleas on your furniture or carpet, or having a pet that scratches incessantly.
Steam cleaning is an effective method of killing fleas at all stages of life. Fleas can’t live in temperatures that exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and home steamers reach temperatures of 150-300 degrees.
Although steaming will take care of the immediate infestation, you should take other measures to keep fleas from returning.
These measures include treating your pets, washing your pet accessories, laundering your bedding, and setting up flea traps to make sure the fleas have been eliminated.