Repel Fleas From Your Home With An Ingredient From Your Kitchen

If you have a pet, you'll want to keep fleas top of mind. Your furry friends can easily bring these tiny insects into your home where they can hide and thrive in upholstery, carpeting, and bedding. It often takes time to notice a flea problem, and when you do, it's too late — a complete infestation has occurred. You might see fleas jumping on furniture, find your pet is scratching a whole lot, or even discover that you have flea bites (small red bumps) yourself. 

Luckily, there's an everyday ingredient that can prevent them from moving into your house and lawn in the first place: vinegar, a truly versatile cleaning tool. While the kitchen staple doesn't directly kill them, it does a great job of repelling them, forcing them to move on to a more inviting environment. It's one of the many simple ways to get rid of fleas in your home. All you have to do is fill a spray bottle with equal parts water and white vinegar (apple cider vinegar works, too), then go to town, misting furniture, upholstery, pet bedding, carpets, and even floorboards. Be sure to pay particular attention to any spots where your pet likes to spend a lot of time, as those are likely to be the most problematic.

Using vinegar on your pet

In addition to spritzing your home with your DIY vinegar-water solution, experts also recommend using the mixture directly on your pets. This everyday ingredient is safe to use on their fur, and because fleas are put off by the smell and taste of vinegar, they'll likely avoid your pet if it's spritzed with it. You can use a spray bottle to mist your four-legged bestie or add vinegar to their bathtime routine. If you choose the latter, let the vinegar sit on their fur for a few minutes or, better yet, don't rinse it off at all and let it air dry. 

Either way, be careful not to get the mixture in your pet's face. And remember: You're simply repelling the fleas, so you'll need to regularly use your DIY vinegar mix on your pet and around your house for it to work effectively and continuously.

Other DIY flea busters

White vinegar isn't the only household item that's great for combating fleas. Another handy kitchen staple that works well is salt. If you suspect there are fleas in your home, crush table salt or sea salt into a fine powder and sprinkle it over carpeting and furniture, leaving it to work for 12 to 48 hours. Make sure to stay away from the covered surfaces so you don't spread salt everywhere, then vacuum it up and immediately throw away the bag or wash the canister to prevent re-infestation. While salt will actually kill fleas, it's important to note this method can be quite messy and may need to be repeated. Just don't use it on your pet: Dr. Karyn Kanowski says salt can be toxic, even in small amounts (per Dogster).

You can also say goodbye to fleas with the help of one sweet-smelling herb: lavender. Similar to vinegar, lavender's smell repels fleas. Fill a spray bottle with 1 ounce of water and 3 to 6 drops of lavender oil and spray your pet's collar to keep the insects at bay. Veterinarian Sandra C. Mitchell recommends against using essential oils directly on their fur and skin due to potential toxicity and the lack of long-term data on their safety (via PetMD). You can also plant lavender around your backyard, particularly in spots where your pet likes to hang out and around any seating areas where you and your family spend time.