How to Kill Fleas With Dawn & Vinegar

By Amanda Harris

Flea control is so important for both you and your pet. These itchy pests have a tendency to stick around, but luckily there are many ways to kill fleas. While most commercial flea treatments contain harsh chemicals or pesticides, there are several home remedies that are safe, effective, and cheap. One such remedy only calls for Dawn dish detergent and vinegar, two ingredients you may already have in your home. This flea eradicating lifesaver will eliminate the worry of harsh chemicals harming your pets or — even worse — your family.

Beagle dog  in the wiild flower field.
credit: kobkik/iStock/GettyImages
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Vinegar in Dog's Water

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Fleas are repelled by the smell of vinegar. Put a teaspoon of vinegar in your pet's water bowl to help prevent fleas. Since some pets do not like the taste, you may need to adjust the quantity of vinegar. You can use all-purpose vinegar or apple cider vinegar. An alternative to adding vinegar to your pet's drinking water is to give your pet vinegar pills. Fleas will be repelled by the smell radiating from your pet's skin. An added bonus: This simple remedy also acts as a natural deodorizer and boosts an animal's immune system.

Dawn & Vinegar Bath

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Bathe your pet using Dawn dish soap of any scent. Fill the tub with warm water and pour in ½ to 1 cup of Dawn. Soak him in the soap and water for at least five minutes. Use the Dawn to lather and clean your dog, cat or any other flea covered furry friend, starting at the ears and working your way to the tail. After he is dry, use a flea comb to groom and find fleas attempting to abandon ship. Drown any fleas on the comb by placing it in a bowl with soapy water. Flea combs can be purchased at any pet supply store and are an inexpensive must-have for pet owners.

Additionally you can pour ½ to 1 cup vinegar to the Dawn bath solution. The smell will eventually wear off, but you can add scented oil to the bathwater to cover it up. In fact, there are several essential oils that may actually repel fleas without repelling your family, such as lavender oil. Just be cautious, because both dogs and cats may respond differently to different scents.

Dawn & Vinegar Testing Bowl

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To see how bad the flea problem is, fill a shallow bowl with soapy water and vinegar and put it next to a light. Leave it out overnight, then check to see if there are any fleas that have drowned in the water. This will give you a good idea of what kind of infestation you are looking at so you can take the next steps in eliminating your home's flea problem.

Dawn Soap for Flea-Infested Furniture

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Fleas live not only on your pets, but on your furniture as well. If you have furniture that can be cleaned, use a solution of Dawn dish soap and water to wipe off the upholstery. Use Dawn to clean all of your flooring. Put a drop or two in a steam cleaner to clean your carpet. Do not add more, as it will create too many suds. This will help to rid the carpets of flea debris.

Vinegar & Water Spray Bottle

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Fill a spray bottle with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar and water. Use this on your pet between baths. This can also be misted on furniture, pillows, curtains and bedding. Adding different essential oils will make it a natural deodorizer.