For something so small, fleas can be a big problem.They are irritating and unpleasant and pose a serious health risk. And, quite frankly, it’s embarrassing to admit you have a flea infestation.
Unfortunately, once you have fleas in your carpet, they can be difficult to budge. But not impossible. Our cleaning experts are going to run you through the signs that may have a flea infestation, some pro carpet cleaning tips to get rid of them, as well as how to make sure they stay gone for good.
Signs your may have fleas
If you aren’t sure if there are fleas in your carpet, here are some signs to look out for:
- Small bites and scratching
A clear sign of fleas is multiple small insect bites on your body. Fleabites are small, red itchy spots that tend to sting at first. Typically, these will be clustered on your feet and lower legs, but they can occur elsewhere on your body.
- Pet problems
Just like you, your pets may be frequently scratching themselves. They may also seem distressed when they scratch.
Some pets are allergic to flea saliva. This can quickly irritate their skin and they may bite or lick themselves obsessively, along with frequent scratching.
As a result of this regular scratching, your pet may develop alopecia (hair loss). Usually, this presents on their paws, back and at the base of their tail, but it can occur anywhere on their body.
In extreme cases, your pet may develop anemia (a condition caused by a lack of red blood cells). Check your pet’s gums. A healthy pet’s gums should be a reddish-pink. If they are closer to white, then your pet’s body is struggling to replace the blood the fleas have taken.
- Dirt specks
Dust and dirt is common in all houses; it’s a part of life, particularly if you have pets. However, if you notice an increase in little dirt specks, this can mean fleas. Check your furniture, carpet, bedding and anywhere your pet sleeps.
White specks can be flea eggs. Black or brown specks can be flea droppings. To check, you can place these black or brown specks in water. If a red colour starts to leach out of them, they are flea droppings.
Getting fleas out of your house
If you do have a flea infestation in your house, it’s important to act quickly. Fleas breed fast. Follow the steps below to deal with them.
- Vacuum your entire carpet
Carpet is prime real estate for fleas. This is where you should start your cleaning. Clean all the carpet in your house, even if you think the fleas haven’t reached a certain room. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Pay particular attention to any spots under furniture. Fleas like to hide in the dark and where they are less likely to be disturbed. You should also give special attention to anywhere your pet likes to sit and sleep.
If you have an especially bad infestation, you may need to repeat this step multiple times over two weeks. Alternatively, steam cleaning can be an effective way to deal with larger infestations more quickly.
- Vacuum upholstered furniture
While fleas will generally make their home in carpets, they can make themselves quite comfortable on fabric furniture. Vacuum any upholstered furniture, spending extra time on the underside and base. Again, fleas will choose a spot where they will be undisturbed.
- Wash bedding
Strip all the beds in your house and wash the sheets. This step also applies to pet bedding. If you have any blankets or throws, wash these also.
Sheets and bedding should be washed on a high heat and regularly until there are no more fleas. Using a dryer can also make sure no fleas are left on the sheets.
- Bag and bin fleas
Once you have finished vacuuming, empty your vacuum cleaner into a plastic bag. Tie or seal this bag and then put it into a bin outside of your house.
Wash your hands afterwards to make sure no fleas have hitched a ride back inside with you. Read Tips for deep-cleaning your Rugs
Preventing fleas from coming back
To ensure your hard work isn’t for nothing, there are things you can do to make sure the fleas don’t come back.
- Check your pet
If your pet regularly goes outside, they can be a means for fleas to return to your house. Make it a daily habit to check your pet for fleas. Look for signs of scratching or soreness. Fleas like to hide in pets’ armpits and groins especially, so pay attention to these areas.
- Treat your pet
There are many types of flea medications and collars available. Make sure your pet is up to date with their flea treatment to prevent a re-infestation.
- Use plants
For extra protection, you can grow a number of plants that repel fleas. Mint, lavender, catnip, sage, rosemary, lemongrass and chamomile all discourage fleas.
Fleas can be a nightmare but you can rid your home of an infestation. Remember to watch for signs of fleas before it gets to crisis point and to regularly clean your carpet.