Fleas happen to be some of the most prolific pests which can detract from your quality of life. This article covers the most effective methods which can be used to eliminate them so you can enjoy a home that is free of these insects.
We also discuss methods that must be avoided when you need to get rid of fleas on hardwood floors to enable you to come away with a knowledge of what works best so you can save time and possibly money during the extermination process and possibly afterward.
Can Fleas Live on Hardwood Floors?
Yes, they can. These parasites normally make it into your home by hitching a ride on one or more of your pets. Once in, they tend to hide in soft furnishings such as rugs and carpets and can also snuggle into cracks and splits in your hardwood floors.
Old floors are particularly conducive for fleas. While concealed thus, they will rely on dust and debris for sustenance while they also multiply their numbers by laying eggs. Their droppings will also provide food for their larvae once they hatch.
How to Identify If Your Hardwood Floors Have Fleas?
Excessive scratching: Does your pet sit around and scratch actively behind its ears and other parts of its body where it never used to do so before? The culprit might be fleas whose bites cause itching due to their saliva.
To be certain you will need to inspect your pet’s fur for the presence of insects that have:
- A small wingless torso under 3mm in length
- Six long legs
- Reddish-brown coloring
Redness on the skin: Does your pet have redness around its ears, belly, or hindquarters? These spots are a flea’s favorite area to latch onto your pet and take a bite.
Flea dirt: Do your pet’s fur and bedding have any telltale dark spots? Do they turn reddish-brown when dropped in water? These dark specks are actually flea dirt, or more appropriately, flea droppings.
Why are they red? Due to the blood from your pet some of which also makes it into their droppings.
How to Get Rid of Fleas on Hardwood Floor?
There are different remedies for dealing with flea infestation. However, for them to work effectively, you will need to prepare the room to be treated first of all.
1. Preparing Your Room
You will need to empty it of all furniture and soft furnishings.
You will then need to vacuum it thoroughly, paying special attention to the gaps between the planks and the walls.
Vacuuming itself can eliminate a great number of fleas at all stages of their life cycle: eggs, larvae, pupae, and adults.
Once you are through you will need to seal the debris and dispose of it outside your home.
You will then be able to apply any of the remedies listed below.
2. Applying Your Remedy of Choice
The following options for getting rid of fleas on hardwood floors are some of the most widely available and effective. They are also easy to apply and clear up afterward as can be seen from the procedures for applying them which have also been provided.
This versatile chemical which is used in the manufacture of detergents and insecticides has a desiccating effect on fleas.
However, it is worth noting that it is slightly toxic and as a result is unsuitable for the following:
- Use around expectant mothers and small children.
- Use around pets, especially cats (because it may cause pulmonary issues for them).
- Ingestion under any circumstances (and as a result must not be applied around food).
- Use around plants.
- Use in damp carpets (due to the discoloration it may cause).
Its slight toxicity means you will need to ensure the room in which you apply it is adequately ventilated.
You will also need to make use of protective clothing and gloves when applying it, taking special care to ensure it gets into crevices.
You will need to leave it for a minimum of six hours and a maximum of 48 hours to eliminate the pests. (You will also need to close all windows and openings in the room while you wait for the treatment to take effect. Doing so will prevent it from spreading about.)
Following this period, you will need to vacuum it thoroughly and take special care to remove the residue of the chemical in cracks and gaps in your floor and even beneath planks as well.
Natural, easy to apply, and safe for use in your home, diatomaceous earth works by lacerating the cuticles of adult fleas and absorbing the moisture from their bodies.
You will need to ensure you obtain the food-grade variety from the store and not the filter variety.
You will need to wear a face mask when applying it and ensure you sprinkle it generously.
Diatomaceous earth can also be sprinkled on rugs and carpets.
You will have to leave it for about 72 hours during which it will kill fleas and their larvae on your hardwood floors. Following this period, you will need to sweep or brush the diatomaceous earth or vacuum it using a shop vac or a filterless vacuum. Alternatively, you will be able to use a standard vacuum cleaner as long as you clear out the filter frequently — you will need to check it several times during an hour.
What about flea eggs and pupae? Does diatomaceous earth harm them? No, it does not. So, you may need to repeat the procedure of vacuuming and sprinkling the chalky white substance after a period of 72 hours, repeating it if necessary, to ensure you can eliminate any newly hatched larvae or newly emerged adults.
Baking Soda and Salt
Like diatomaceous earth, baking soda and salt are highly effective natural options when you have to kill fleas on hardwood floors.
It is also worth noting that salt is capable of eliminating adult insects and is also capable of killing their eggs as well.
All you will need to do is test the quality of the batch of baking soda you intend to use by sprinkling some of it in some vinegar. If it fizzes then you can be certain it is still active and will be efficient in eliminating the pests.
You will then be able to proceed to mix it with finely ground salt and sprinkle it all over the floor following which you will need to use a brush to ensure you spread it efficiently.
Next, it will have to be left for a period of about 48 hours following which you will need to vacuum it and dispose of the bags outside your home.
It is worth noting that this mixture can also be used on rugs and carpets, but not on your pets due to the irritation it may cause.
3. Mopping the Floor With Pine Sol
Why Pine Sol? Because it contains eucalyptus oil which kills fleas. Using disposable microfiber mops is highly recommended in this instance.
You will need to create a solution using one gallon of water and a quart of the cleaning fluid.
You will then need to proceed to clean the floor thoroughly, taking care to use a minimal amount of moisture to get rid of the flea-killing product you have used.
Doing so will enable you to kill any fleas which incidentally escaped your choice of borax, diatomaceous earth, or baking soda and salt, not to mention the second round of vacuuming.
4. Additional Steps
Cleaning an infested room is merely a single step out of several which need to be taken to get rid of fleas. You will also need to do the following:
- Treat your pets using veterinary-approved products.
- Wash household linen and clothing (including your pets’) with hot water.
- Thoroughly clean furniture and window sills with Pine Sol or any other suitable product.
- Wash your rugs and carpets with hot water where possible.
Alternatively, treat them with any suitable remedies which have either been specified above (such as diatomaceous earth or baking soda and salt) or happen to be others that have been proven to be effective against fleas.
Alternatives You’ve Always Wanted to Find Out About
While several remedies, homemade or store-bought will work on your hardwood floors, there are other flea exterminating solutions that are probably best kept away from them.
To be able to assist you with those you need to avoid, we have taken a look at some more popular flea terminating options and the questions which revolve around them with regards to killing fleas in hardwood floors.
1. Will Flea Bombs Work?
Although this option is rather effective, it does also come with some drawbacks. The first of these is the fact that a flea bomb will only cover a limited area.
The second is the fact that fleas are pretty impressive jumpers and will be able to execute a prompt leap to a safer spot in the event of a flea bomb exploding in their vicinity.
2. Will Bleach Kill Fleas on Hardwood Floors?
Although this alkaline substance does kill fleas, bleach will damage your hardwood floors. Since several other suitable and equally effective alternatives exist, it is far better to select them rather than risk additional cost owing to damaged floors.
3. How Efficient Are Essential Oils?
While fleas are known to dislike certain essential oils, the fact is that several of them merely dissuade them from taking up residence in the area rather than killing them. As a result, fleas might stage a comeback depending on the kind you use.
4. Will Mopping With Vinegar Kill Fleas?
No mopping with vinegar will not kill fleas.
This is because its acid is generally too weak to cause any significant degree of damage to adult insects or their eggs.
However, it is widely considered to be an efficient flea repellent and is relied on by some pet owners to repel the parasites from their canine or feline charges.
There is also the fact that vinegar can be harmful to hardwood floors since it can erode their finish, stripping them of their luster and appeal as a result.
Hence using tried and tested options mentioned in the third section for killing fleas is highly preferable if you want to get rid of any of them in your home.