The 8 Best Home Flea Sprays
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in March of 2016. Dogs and cats are great companions, but they can't help occasionally picking up some unwanted passengers. If you get that itchy feeling after your pet has ventured outdoors, try one of these home flea sprays to stop an infestation of your rugs, furniture, and more. While some are non-toxic and environmentally safe, remember that permethrin and its related compounds are extremely dangerous to cats. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
May 20, 2021:
We removed BioSpot Active Care because of conflicting reports over its colorfastness; some users experienced significant discoloration issues, and other products don't have such a problem. We also stopped recommending Martin's Multi-Purpose Insecticide because there are other permethrin-based options that are more cost-effective. The remainder of the Wiki is still full of worthwhile solutions, though. If you're particularly concerned with selecting safe chemicals - an important thing for cat owners to consider, in particular - Colton's Naturals Pest Repellant is worth looking at. Rather than killing the pests with harsh chemicals, it uses a set of botanical extracts that show considerable promise in repelling bugs.
Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus and BASF PT Ultracide 671858 are still our top choices, largely because they're so easy to use and don't require any mixing. Overall, we wouldn't recommend using highly concentrated bulk permethrins because they're extremely dangerous for cats - to the point where no cat household should have permethrins anywhere on site - and they're not particularly pleasant in high concentrations for dogs or humans, either.
February 25, 2020:
Fleas can take over your home quickly if you don't do something about it, which is why you need a spray that works even faster than these bothersome bugs do. BASF PT Ultracide 671858 caught our attention because it can cover 100 square feet in just ten seconds of expressing the trigger, and dries in 15 minutes, so you can walk around your home soon enough after treatment. Wondercide Natural Products Pets + Home kills the majority of adult bugs within two minutes of contact, so you can handle the insects who are old enough to bite right away.
We understand that keeping your home safe for your pets, while tackling the pests that attack them, is a priority. So we also found some natural options, like Vet's Best Plant-Based, which is gentle enough to use around puppies, and the previously-mentioned Wondercide Natural Products Pets + Home, which relies on ingredients like cedar or rosemary oil - things that are commonly found in chemical-free flea collars - to do its thing.
If you're ready to kill those fleas no matter how harsh the pesticide, we did include some professional-quality options, like Zoecon Precor 2000 Plus and Virbac Knockout E.S. Should you hire a pest control company to treat your home, you may find they use these products. Since we know that not everyone in search of flea control just has domestic pets, farm-ready Martin's Multi-Purpose Insecticide also snagged a spot on our list.
Novacide Flea & Tick Killer + IGR This spray comes in an aerosol can that sends the mist out in a fan-shape, covering a lot of ground quickly. In addition to treating a flea problem, it also tackles roaches, moths, ants, and other pesky critters, killing on contact. It has pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator, to put an end to the breeding cycle, and one 18-ounce can of the stuff can treat 2,300 square feet. solutionstores.com
NyGuard Plus Flea & Tick Premise Spray Whether you have children who drag common campus bugs home or pets who bring critters in from the park, this spray has you covered because it kills lice, bed bugs, ticks, dust mites, and beetles (and, of course, fleas). In addition to addressing insect problems, it also eliminates pet odors, leaving a fresh scent behind. When used correctly, it can prevent reinfestation for up to seven months. mgk.com
Choosing A Home Flea Spray
For mitigating a flea infestation that is spread about the house, when possible get dogs, cats, and even children out of the residence for a day or two.
Almost every residence with a dog or cat who ventures outside will, at some point, become a residence that is home to fleas. These pesky insects thrive on every continent of the earth, including Antarctica, so it's little wonder that there are hordes of the unwanted parasites waiting to find their way onto your pet and into your home. And as fleas will gladly use a human as a host, even the home without pets can see itself infested.
A good home flea spray can not only kill the living fleas that are plaguing your residence and its occupants, but can also help to disrupt the life cycle of the insects, destroying larvae and eggs that would soon enough perpetuate the infestation. When choosing which flea spray will best serve your needs, there is one major factor to consider first: will this product be applied directly to pets who are actively suffering from fleas, or is its primary purpose to treat the upholstery, carpets, linens, and other surfaces and items in the home?
If your pets are covered in fleas, they need to be treated for the insects or the infestation won't subside. Look for a flea spray that is safe to use on an animal and make sure to consider factors specific to your pet, as not all sprays may be safe for all animals, even if they are generally suitable in that capacity. Consider, for example, a dog's age; many sprays are not safe for use on younger puppies and may also be advised against for older dogs. Also take into account any medications a pet uses (or non medicated health issues they deal with) and discuss these with a veterinarian before commencing a flea treatment regimen. And even if a given flea spray seems perfectly safe for one pet, if that animal might come into contact with other dogs or cats living in the home, you must account for the health and condition of the party not receiving direct treatment.
For mitigating a flea infestation that is spread about the house, when possible get dogs, cats, and even children out of the residence for a day or two. That will allow you to use the most potent (but potentially hazardous) flea sprays without concern for pet or human health. If you can't clear the home, consider treating the space room by room.
There are also various flea sprays that are safe for use around pets and people if not for direct application to an animal's coat. These sprays may require liberal application due to their reduced potency, but they prove lethally effective on fleas nonetheless.
Ultimately, the best way to deal with a flea infestation is to never let one take hold in the first place. Many home flea sprays are rated to prevent fleas from inhabiting an area for approximately seven months. Thus with a bi-annual prophylactic treatment of your residence you should be able to prevent these insects from ever causing issues in the first place.
Other Tips For Dealing With Fleas
If your home has been infested with fleas, a home flea spray is the best weapon you will have in your arsenal when it comes to fighting back against the pests. But it is not the only proverbial arrow in the quiver. Another of your greatest assets is a washing machine. To fully knock out an infestation, it's a good idea to wash everything you can -- from towels to linens to clothing to smaller area carpets -- in hot and soapy water.
A flea will still pounce on and might even bite the treated pet, but in doing to they will seal their own death warrant.
For carpets that are too large (or delicate) to wash or for wall to wall rugs, run the vacuum over the surface myriad times, and then make sure to place the used vacuum bag in a sealed plastic bag. (Adding some flea spray into the bag won't hurt, either.) After vacuuming is the time to apply flea spray, as it's unlikely that even a powerful vacuum cleaner will remove every insect, larva, and egg.
When possible, you can also use the cold to your advantage in the fight against fleas. Fleas die quickly when temperatures drop to near freezing, so if you can leave your home quite cold for a period of time, it can eradicate flea populations potentially without the need for chemicals. Temperatures in the 30s Fahrenheit can interrupt the life cycle of fleas. If you can leave your home for a few days vacation and the cold won't damage any of your possessions, it is a clean and safe approach.
Even if you have applied a topical flea spray to your pet's coat, it may behoove you and bring relief to the animal to also give oral flea medication. Ironically, a flea's attraction to your pet can be the insect's own downfall: once your dog or cat has been given a topical and/or oral treatment, they become a lethal host. A flea will still pounce on and might even bite the treated pet, but in doing to they will seal their own death warrant.
A Few Words On Fleas
Flea species can be traces back many millions of years, with their earliest ancestors likely inhabiting the world at the same time as many types of dinosaur. They are highly adaptable survivors, a fact that anyone who has intimate experience with a flea will surely lament.
A few varieties are even known to bite other larger insects.
Many varieties of flea lay more than fifty eggs per day and may lay several thousand eggs during their average two to three month lifespan. With ample access to food -- which is to say a mammal's blood -- a flea may even live longer, with lifespans of more than a year noted on occasion.
The flea's remarkable ability to propagate itself is just one of the reasons they are so successful a parasite. The other primary reason is the wingless insect's impressive jumping ability. Most fleas can easily jump around a foot in distance. This may sound unremarkable until a basis of comparison is offered: could a human leap the same distance, it would constitute a jump nearly the length of a football field.
Beyond mammals, some fleas will also latch onto birds. A few varieties are even known to bite other larger insects.