Here’s What Kills Fleas On Contact?

Rubbing alcohol kills fleas on contact. But it has its drawbacks. One of them is that it’s harmful for pets and for your skin.

The best part is that you’ve a lot of options. There are many compounds that kill fleas instantly.

However, the trick lies in using these products wisely, with precautions, for maximum effect.

I learned this the hard way, so that you don’t have to.

In this guide, I’ll share both chemical and natural home remedies that you can use to kill and prevent fleas in your home.

Keep reading to find out.

5 Things That Kill Fleas On Contact

What kills fleas on contact

There are both natural and chemical compounds that kill fleas on contact. But some of them are not instant killers.

Rubbing Alcohol

Rubbing alcohol is an instant flea killer. It kills fleas by eating away their exoskeleton and by drying them from the inside. So, the fleas by dehydration.

However, you shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol as is. You’ll need to dilute it a bit with water for it to work.

But rubbing alcohol has it’s disadvantages. Constant exposure to rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) causes skin rashes and itching.

Inhaling it causes headache, dizziness, and nausea.

For pets, it’s even worse. My niece bathed her dog with a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water to get rid of fleas in her dog.

But it was disastrous.

Her dog developed skin rashes! The worst part was that her dog developed eye problems because the solution went inside her dog’s eyes.

So, when, and where to use rubbing alcohol?

I recommend using rubbing alcohol only in your yard where fleas hide. I don’t recommend using it indoors or on your pets because of its negative effects.

However, keep in mind that rubbing alcohol kills only adult fleas. It doesn’t kill flea eggs and flea larvae.

Use IGR (insect growth regulator) after spraying rubbing alcohol outdoors to kill fleas larvae, eggs, and pupae.

IGRs work by getting inside the fleas and messing up with their ability to grow and reproduce. So, they’re not instant flea killers.

But they’re essential for flea control in the yard (and other outdoor areas) which many a time can be the source of fleas in the house.

Vacuum Cleaners And Steam Cleaners

Steam cleaners produce heat which is lethal for fleas. The best part is that the heat kills fleas in all lifecycle stages.

So, your steam cleaner will kill adult fleas, flea eggs, and larvae.

Use your steam cleaner where fleas in the house hide. Those places are your bed mattress, pet beds, couches, carpets, and even upholstered furniture.

Fleas hide in the dark corners of these objects. So, while steam cleaning, ensure that you cover all the edges, seams, tags, and corners of these objects.

Steam cleaning is the best natural home remedy to kill fleas. And it works significantly well to remove flea infestation in the house.

Vacuum cleaning also works. But it just removes fleas, eggs, and flea larvae. A vacuum cleaner doesn’t kill them.

So, safely disposing the vacuum dust bag after vacuum cleaning is vital.

If you don’t dispose of the vacuum dust bag outside your property, then fleas in the bag can jump out and re-enter the house.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant dust. It gets inside the fleas and absorbs their bodily fluids and moisture.

That leads to fleas’ demise by dehydration.

Diatomaceous earth has fine particles, which are known as diatoms. These particles are sharp, and they cut the fleas’ exoskeletons to get inside their bodies.

But there’s a catch. Diatomaceous earth isn’t an instant flea-killer. It takes some time depending on how many fleas there are.

The best way to use diatomaceous earth is to scatter it on the infested area. And wait for 15-20 minutes to let it do its work.

It doesn’t have any harmful effects like rubbing alcohol has, except one. It’s particles suspend in the air and can enter your respiratory system.

So, it’ll be best to wear a face mask while using diatomaceous earth.

The best part about diatomaceous earth is that it kills fleas in all life stages. It kills fleas eggs, flea larvae, and adult fleas.

And you can use it both indoors and outdoors.

But it’s essential that you vacuum your indoors if you’ve used diatomaceous earth.

Vacuum cleaning will remove the diatomaceous earth and the dead fleas.

Salt And Boric Acid Powder

A natural home remedy to kill fleas is a mixture of boric acid and salt. This mixture works like diatomaceous earth.

Mix equal amounts of boric acid and salt in a cup. Take the amount depending on the area you want to cover.

Scatter the mixture in places where you suspect fleas.

Wait for 30-60 minutes to let the mixture do its work. And follow up by either vacuum cleaning or steam cleaning the area if you’ve used it indoors.

Instead of boric acid, you can also use baking soda.

Chemical Flea Sprays For Flea Control

There are many flea pesticides available. And I’ve tried many of them.

However, not all of them are good.

Here are the top two flea sprays that worked for me. They all killed fleas instantly.

Raid Flea Killer Spray

There’s something special about raid flea killer spray.

It kills flea larvae and flea eggs along with adult fleas on contact.

However, using it has a drawback. It doesn’t have residual toxicity, which means that it remains active only for a few hours.

Therefore, it’s not going to get rid of the flea infestation in the house.

However, spraying it on the carpets, bed mattress, basement, furniture, and in the yard has significantly reduced flea activity in the house.

Do not use the Raid flea killer spray on your pets. The chemicals in the spray are toxic.

And please read the safety precautions before using it.

Vet’s Best Fleas And Ticks Spray

If your pet dog or cat is struggling with fleas, then vet’s best fleas and tick spray can give your pet immediate relief.

Using the spray on the pets will kill fleas on contact.

I’ve used this spray on my dog, and it wasn’t effective because I wasn’t using it right.

If you use it straight on the fur then the spray won’t reach the skin where the adult fleas, larvae, pupae, and eggs are hiding.

So, you’ll need to inspect your pet for fleas, flea bites, flea dirt, scratch marks, and use the spray on those areas where you notice them.

Another drawback is that you’ll have to use the spray daily. Refilling it jacks up the cost.

So, it’ll be best to take your pet to a vet for flea treatment and follow the prescribed treatment.

In my experience, flea collars and flea combs also work in keeping fleas off pets.

Home Remedies For Flea Prevention

The homemade flea repellents that you’re about to find out prevents fleas. They don’t keep kill fleas.

However, you can’t ignore their importance because using them during the flea season can save your home and pet from flea infestation.

Essential Oils To Keep Fleas Away

Essential oils don’t kill fleas. They act as a repellent.

But you can’t ignore essential oils when it comes to keeping fleas away from your home.

Essential oils emit smells fleas and other pests, including parasites like ticks and bed bugs, hate.

And the most common of those essential oils is peppermint oil.

There’s peppermint oil spray readily available that you can directly use on your upholstered furniture, and on furnishings like carpets and rugs.

The scent of the oil will keep fleas away from them.

You can also prepare a peppermint oil spray by taking a bottle of water and adding 7-10 drops of natural cold-condensed authentic peppermint oil in it.

Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. And use it as a spray.

Other essential oils such as lavender, citronella, tea tree oil, cedar, and eucalyptus also work in the same way.

However, essential oils are not the solution to the flea problem in your home. You can use them as a preventative measure to keep fleas away.

Also, this is important, essential oils are harmful for dogs. Don’t use them on your dogs.

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Fleas also hate the smell of apple cider vinegar. Using it as a spray on pets and indoors keeps fleas away.

However, you’ll need to dilute it with water before using it. The best ratio that worked for me is one tablespoon of spray in one standard cup of water.

Homemade Flea Trap With Dish Soap

You can easily make a flea trap with water, dish soap, and a light bulb.

Light attracts fleas. Studies have shown that more than 90% of fleas will move to the light source if they’re in the dark for more than 30 minutes.

So, you can use phototaxis behavior of fleas to your own advantage.

Take a bowl and fill it with water. Pour a generous amount of dish soap in the bowl.

Place a candle in the middle of the bowl. Or keep the bowl underneath a glowing night lamp for the whole night.

Keep the trap at places where you suspect fleas. So, you can keep it near a couch, carpet, rugs, or even in your bedroom.

The light from the trap attracts fleas. And when the fleas jump in the bowl to reach the light source, they drown in the mixture and die.

Dawn dish soap in the mixture reduces the surface tension of the water causing the fleas to drown.

The viscosity and stickiness of the dish soap traps the fleas, making it impossible for them to come to the water’s surface to escape.

But dawn dish soap doesn’t kill fleas instantly. It takes 5-10 minutes to work.

So, it’s always best to keep the trap the whole night. Throw away the liquid with dead fleas in it the next morning.

There are flea traps with light readily available if you don’t have time to make the trap.

However, there are two drawbacks to using a flea trap. First, it kills only adult fleas.

And second, it doesn’t remove the flea eggs and flea larvae. So, flea traps don’t get rid of the flea infestation in the house.

Keeping Your Pet Flea-Free

Most flea infestation in homes is because of pets. Your pets pick up fleas, ticks, and many other insects from the outdoors.

These parasites latch onto their fur and skin and make their way to your home.

Pets transfer fleas to your interiors such as beds, couches, and carpets.

In the absence of their primary hosts, the fleas in these areas bite humans.

So, it’s essential that you inspect your pet for fleas often. Any scratching or hair loss can be a sign of fleas.

Fleas are active during the warmer days of the year.

Bathing you pets with a good quality flea shampoo during this period keep fleas away from them.

Also, take your pet to a vet if you notice any signs of fleas on your furry family member.

Washing Fabric And Clothes In Hot Water

Fleas travel by hitchhiking too. They can latch onto your luggage, belongings, and clothes to travel to your home.

So, if think that you’ve been to a flea-infested place, such as tall grasses and dense bushes or a home or hotel room with fleas, then there’s a solution.

Wash your clothes in hot water and dry them in high heat in the dryer to kill the fleas and their eggs latching onto them.

Steam cleaning the luggage items such as bags and suitcases will kill the fleas that may have sneaked inside them.


Diatomaceous earth, steam cleaners, baking soda and salt mixture, and specific flea sprays such as Raid kill fleas on contact.

Preventing fleas is also essential to keep fleas. This guide has a list of four home remedies that you can use to keep fleas away.

Hire a pest controller if you want to get rid of fleas in the house fast. Pest controllers are the best option, especially when the flea infestation is severe.

However, the best way to keep fleas away from your home is to keep your pets free from fleas.

Pets bring fleas home most of the time. And keeping them safe from fleas prevents a flea breakout in the house.