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Does Bleach Kill Fleas? Safety & Effectiveness Explained

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

bleach powder

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lorna Whittemore

MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Finding a flea on your dog or cat can be stressful and make you feel like there must be fleas hiding everywhere in your house. It’s even worse when you find that your pet and home have a full-blown infestation. If you’ve spotted fleas in your home or on your pet, then you’re probably trying to find the most effective ways to get rid of the fleas, but you also want options that are going to be safe for your pet and your household.

One of the top things that may come to your mind is one of the strongest cleaning chemicals that most of us keep in our homes—bleach. Is this a good option for getting rid of fleas, though? It can be, but you need to know a few important things before using it.


Does Bleach Kill Fleas on Surfaces?

Yes, bleach is quite effective at killing fleas on surfaces. Because of its strength and high level of toxicity, bleach kills fleas at every part of their lifecycle, from eggs to adults. Bleach can be a great way to get rid of fleas on certain surfaces in your home, like floors and hard furniture.

Unfortunately, bleach will take the color out of a lot of different types of surfaces, so it should be used with caution. Bleach will stain clothes, upholstery, carpet, and even some hard surfaces. Make sure to use good judgment when choosing what surfaces you can use bleach on. For this reason it is not usually recommended to use bleach to kill fleas.

flea allergy dermatitis on dog
Photo Credit: February_Love, Shutterstock

Does Bleach Kill Fleas on Pets?

Bleach should not be used to kill fleas on pets. It is a highly caustic liquid that causes great damage to live tissues. There is also the risk that it will accidentally be splashed into their eyes or ingested causing further pain and damage.

On occasion a veterinarian may recommend a dilute bleach bath (1:32 dilution) for certain infections such as ringworm. This should only be done under the direction and guidance of a veterinarian after an official diagnosis has been made. When this is done, diluted bleach is used. Bleach can kill bacteria and even some fungal infections, but it shouldn’t be used as a form of flea treatment or prevention for your pet.

Is It Safe to Use Bleach?

When used as directed for surfaces, bleach can be quite safe. It should always be used in well-ventilated spaces, though, since the fumes can become dangerous in small and unventilated spaces.

It’s also extremely important that you never mix bleach with other household chemicals. Seriously, don’t do it! When combined with certain other chemical compounds, bleach can create deadly reactions, including the formation of chlorine gas and chloramine gas. This can be deadly for you and your pets.

Dog scratching fleas
Photo Credit: Peggy_Marco, Pixabay

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Pets

The best way to take care of fleas on your pets is to talk to your vet about flea and tick prevention. These medications are the safest and most effective way to treat and prevent fleas for your pets. It’s best to purchase these products directly from your vet because there are a lot of ineffective products on the market that can even be dangerous for your pet. It is important that all animals in the household that can be affected by fleas are treated at the same time and that the environment is treated too. It can take 3 months of diligent treatment to get rid of a flea infestation. Never use bleach as a flea treatment or prevention directly on your pet’s skin or coat.


In Conclusion

Bleach can be used to kill fleas at every life stage on surfaces in your home, but there are considerations to take when using it. Bleach can be dangerous if used incorrectly, and it should never be applied topically to your pet to treat or prevent fleas.

Only veterinarian-prescribed flea and tick medications should be used to take care of fleas on your pets. If left untreated, fleas can be very dangerous for your pet, even leading to anemia in severe cases. Talk to your vet about preventing fleas on your pet throughout the year.

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Featured Photo Credit: kropekk_pl, Pixabay

Brooke Billingsley

Authored by

Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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