If your cat has fleas, it’s safe to assume that your house is infested too. The itchy critters get everywhere, from all over your carpet to on your couch cushions and even under your bed. Wherever your cat explores or sits for any length of time is bound to have more than a few fleas lying in wait.
Clearing up an infestation takes time and dedication. It’s also not as simple as only treating your cat; you also need to tackle the fleas around your house, or your efforts will be in vain. This step-by-step guide will tell you the best way to rid your cat and home of these itchy invaders.
Before You Start
Deep cleaning your house takes a great deal of work but when it comes to fleas, it’s a worthwhile chore. The tools and the method that you use can make your life easier and the job go faster. Here are a few things to remember before you begin.
Vacuum cleaners are a lifesaver when it comes down to sucking up all the nasty critters living in hard-to-reach places. You’ll want to use one with a high-suction power to make sure you capture as many fleas as possible, whatever life stage they’re at.
A vacuum cleaner with a bag will save time too. You’ll be able to dispose of the used bag after you’re finished, removing the captured fleas from your property.
When to Use Flea Treatments
Most people are familiar with the variety of flea treatments available for pets. Products for treating the house can be more complicated, however. Many of them need to be left alone for a while so they can do their job.
Vacuuming before you use a flea treatment will help you disturb any fleas in your home. They’ll be forced out of their hidey-holes and more likely to get caught by the flea treatment that you use.
Remember the Yard
Even if you have an indoor cat, it’s a good idea to treat your yard for fleas too. Fleas might prefer animals over humans, but they’ll still hitch a ride if they get the chance. You can accidentally reinfest your cat and your home if you bring in uninvited guests from your garden.
Rinse and Repeat
Fleas are quick to reproduce and grow, and unfortunately for us and our schedules, one deep house clean isn’t enough to eradicate an infestation. If you stay on top of cleaning, you won’t need to get into all the nooks and crannies every time, but it’s a good idea to clear out the dust bunnies regularly all the same.
Vacuuming the house at least once every 2 days should be enough to keep the fleas under control, especially if you’re pushed for time.
How to Deep Clean a Flea Infested House: Step by Step
1. Wait Until No One’s Home
The best time to deep clean the house is when you’re home alone, especially if you have children. Besides your infested cat, children are the most likely to pick up fleas from around the house and spread them all over the place, so you’ll want them out of the way while you tackle cleaning. Wait until they’re at school, at a friend’s place, or on a day trip with your significant other.
Getting everyone out of the house also serves another purpose. It’s much easier to get into all the nooks and crannies of your home without having to worry about stepping on your housemates’ toes.
Your cat can be a little more difficult to work around, especially if they’re an indoor kitty. While they’re likely to stay out of the way, especially when you’re vacuuming, you should keep them in a separate room until you’ve treated them for fleas. It’s also a good idea to keep them out of the way if you use any pesticide flea treatments that need to dry.
The easiest way to collect dirt and fleas from hard-to-reach places is with a high-powered vacuum cleaner. It’ll pick up fleas at all life stages or disturb them enough that they’ll be easier to catch with the flea treatment that you’ve chosen.
Pay particular attention to carpets, but don’t forget to vacuum hard floors too. You can also use a vacuum cleaner to help clean any fabric-covered furniture that you can’t wash in a washing machine, like your couch or your mattress.
3. Steam Clean
Steam cleaners use a combination of steam and soap to clean hard floors, and some models can also be used on carpets and upholstery. Make sure you vacuum before grabbing the steam cleaner, and you’ll be more likely to make a large dent in the flea population in your home.
4. Clean Under the Furniture
It might seem excessive to clean under the couch, especially if you know that your cat is too big to fit under there. Unfortunately, fleas get everywhere. They might be more prominent in areas that your cat frequents, but they also like dark, sheltered places, like the small gaps beneath your furniture.
Make sure you vacuum and steam clean the spots that are hard to get to just as much as you vacuum open spaces. You can ask a friend to help you move the furniture if you need to. Not only will this cleaning session help reduce the number of fleas in your home, but it’ll also remove any dust bunnies and forgotten food that’s fallen under the furniture.
5. Wash Everything
While you’re vacuuming and steam cleaning everything, you can also interrupt the fleas’ life cycle by washing curtains, clothing, and bedding. Don’t forget your cat’s favorite toys, blankets, and cushions. Washing these items is an effective way of ridding them of any fleas without having to wrestle with a vacuum cleaner.
6. Throw Out Junk
Fleas enjoy sheltered places, and those include any piles of rubbish or objects that you haven’t moved in a while. This is something to watch out for in your yard too. Fleas love the shelter of piles of untouched possessions that you never move anymore, indoors or outdoors, and they’ll prefer those places over the open carpet in your living room.
Clear out anything that you don’t use. Not only will you have more space for that new cabinet that you’ve been eyeing — or even a cat tree for your precious fur-baby — but you’ll also be destroying a breeding ground for pesky fleas.
7. Flea Treatment
It might seem odd to clean everything before using flea treatment on your carpet, but by disturbing the places where fleas are likely to hang out, you’re more likely to catch them with the flea treatment when you use it.
Follow the instructions on the product. It’ll tell you how long to leave the treatment before vacuuming again.
8. Treat Your Cat’s Fleas
Part of your ongoing mission to rid your house of fleas should include treating your cat too. Whether they’re a house cat or an intrepid street explorer, you’ll want to apply a flea treatment to tackle their infestation.
You can use topical flea treatments once a month, flea and tick shampoos if your cat tolerates baths, or combine both. Keep in mind that treating your cat’s fleas won’t be successful in one sitting, and it may take a while for your house and cat to be free from infestation.
How to Tell If Your Cat Has Fleas
As small as they are, fleas are easy critters to miss when you’re not looking for them. They are, however, a nuisance to both us and our cats, and the signs of infestation are obvious. If your cat is scratching more often, chewing their skin, or generally more fidgety than usual, it’s a good sign that they’ve picked up a few freeloaders.
Even if you don’t see any signs of fleas, it’s good practice to stay ahead of the game. While preventative measures won’t always stop your cat from picking up fleas, they’re a good way to stop a more problematic infestation.
Along with the aforementioned steps, you can stay ahead of any lurking fleas by regularly running a flea comb through your cat’s fur and keeping up with flea treatments.
If you have a cat — or a dog — you’re bound to need to deal with fleas at some point, if not regularly. They can pick up these pests anywhere, from your yard or even you, if you’ve visited a friend’s pet with fleas of their own.
Cleaning your house is something that you should do regularly to stay on top of the flea population in your home. Tiring as it may be, it’s the best way to rid your cat and home of the pesky menaces. We hope that this step-by-step guide will help you fight your cat’s flea problem.
Featured Image Credit: AlexDonin, Shutterstock