No one wants to buckle up in a flea-infested car, but if your dog catches a ride with you (and frankly, it's hard to avoid when he needs to visit the groomer, the veterinarian, or the pet store), fleas could take up residence. When a pet rides in your car, he can easily transfer fleas to the upholstery, floor mats, and interior carpeting. Fortunately, you can eradicate fleas in just a few steps, including vacuuming the car, applying an insecticide, and spraying insect growth regulator.
Rather than pray that fleas die in a hot car or wondering, "how long can fleas live in a car?" take charge of this vehicular infestation and learn what you need to know about fleas in a car as well as how to prevent fleas on your dog in the first place.
Wash in hot water
To fight fleas in a car, know that anything that can be laundered should be removed from the vehicle, such as floor mats, seat covers, and the blanket your pet snuggles on in the back seat. Clean these items in the washing machine in hot water and then dry them on a high-heat setting. If your car mats can't be run through the washer, take them out of the vehicle and place them on the ground next to your car for scrubbing or vacuuming.
Protect your skin
Before handling insecticides, flea powder, or other potentially toxic substances, dress yourself in a long-sleeved shirt and long pants and don disposable gloves to protect your skin. Be sure to remove clothing if you accidentally become exposed to these insecticides. Rinse the affected area with a strong stream of water for several minutes. Some people experience allergic reactions to these products, so read labels carefully and seek help if a rash develops.
Vacuum to remove fleas from a car
Vacuum the seats, trunk, and floorboards of your car with a handheld or household device, paying close attention to the area under the seats (dogs love to curl up in these tight spots). Thoroughly vacuum both sides of the floor mats and then empty the vacuum cup outdoors in a garbage can.
Then, be sure not to open the vacuum in your home so the fleas you just removed don't escape! You can also seal and toss out the entire vacuum bag when you're finished and even use a steam cleaner if you own one (or want to rent this appliance).
Apply flea powder
Flea powder can be sprinkled where you're vacuuming (try a few teaspoons), as it will treat the fleas as they travel up the nozzle and into the vacuum bag. Alternatively, fill the bulb applicator or other device that comes with your flea powder, point the applicator tip downward, and squeeze it to target flea powder in your car.
To remove fleas from a car, don't forget to insert the applicator tip into crevices and cracks on the floor and between the seats of your car to target flea eggs and larvae. Then, treat both sides of the car mats with the powder.
Inhibit insect growth
The next step to get fleas out of a car is to use insect growth regulators that disrupt the life cycle of fleas. By applying this type of spray, you'll keep fleas from growing to maturity and reproducing. Use a sweeping motion with this spray to apply a light, slightly damp mist on all surfaces inside the car and then treat the floor mats on the ground on both sides the same way.
Close the doors of your car and allow the insecticide to remain in the car for 30 minutes. Then, open the car doors and let out the car air. If you spot new fleas hatching after a week or so, repeat the process of applying insect growth regulator and then sealing the car.
Treat your dog to prevent fleas in a car
If you're really wondering how to kill fleas in a car, the fix is to not allow them to nest on your dog at all. If you think your pet has fleas, speak with your dog's vet about oral or topical flea treatments to remove the fleas so he doesn't transfer these critters to your car again. Your vet will also likely suggest a chewable or topical monthly flea and tick preventative that contains effective insecticide for flea control.