As a lover of animals, I have recently found myself in an interesting double-bind- I don’t currently have a pet of my own, but after moving house last year was adopted by my neighbor’s irresistible cat. You know the sort- the handsome tom who winds his way from around your ankles into your heart. You spend languid afternoons together, and a few months later can’t imagine your life without him. Then the season turns, and suddenly- FLEAS. Every where. All the time.
As this lovely fellow is not mine, I have hesitated to dunk him in a flea bath, whether it be rosemary, lavender, or lemon infused; I attempted to adopt a zen approach to the experience of the odd flea bite. The flea-friendly heat and his endless shedding, however, have forced me into a more proactive stance (the odd fleabite has since turned into a skin-tattooed brail rendering of the Odyssey).
While all of the below should happen in conjunction with flea-care for your pet, I have found these tips have saved both my skin and my sense of humor. So, I offer you a roundup of the best natural solutions to ye olde “lay down with the dogs and get up with fleas” conundrum:
1. Start by removing all bedding/fabrics that your beloved flea-carrier has occupied. Move it directly into the laundry.
2. Vacuum everything. (Seriously, everything). If you do not have a vacuum, sweep and mop with hot water. Add a dash of lemon juice to the mixture for good measure.
3. Once you have done the above, set out some “flea traps.” These are shallow dishes filled with soapy water to be placed in particularly itch-ridden areas of your home (under the bed and couch, for example). Placing them next to a lamp will increase the number of floating fleas you find in the morning.
4. Try Salt- regular old salt, running the gamut from rock to sea to kosher, can be effective at dissuading fleas. Create satchels (an excellent use for torn hose yet to be thrown out) and place around your home, or sprinkle it over the floor overnight and vacuum in the morning. If you have a yard, sprinkling it with salt can also help discourage flea infestations.
5. Consider a dehumidifier. Like myself, fleas prefer a warm and balmy environment. As they outdo rabbits for reproduction, and their seemingly infinite eggs hatch every three days, be prepared to repeat this process as necessary.
(If this seems like too much effort, try walking around your home in white socks for half an hour. The number of black flecks seeking your blood will remind you it is worth it).
For more on natural ways to rid your house of fleas, click through the links below: