Fleas are an undesirable yet common part of having a pet, and ridding your companion of these pests will also keep your home bug-free. While many people opt for preventative flea treatment, like medicated drops, some are left to deal with a flea infestation after the fact. When it comes to rubbing alcohol, its uses for fleas should be limited to spraying on hard surfaces since it can be toxic. Alcohol is a home remedy used to kill fleas, and while effective, it is important to understand how to use it in the safest way possible.
Rubbing alcohol uses for fleas
Rubbing alcohol can be used to kill fleas on contact, and is best done on infested bedding or areas of the home or yard. According to Veterinary Partner, isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, can be found in some pest-control products, but the active ingredient can be incredibly harmful to pets, especially if a lot is ingested on an empty stomach. Pets who lick even a diluted alcohol mixture from their fur can become ill. Signs of alcohol poisoning in dogs include nausea, vomiting, hypothermia and low blood pressure, among others.
While the rubbing alcohol uses for fleas do exist, it's highly recommended that you only use the material on surfaces in the home and not your pet, as rubbing alcohol can be toxic when ingested or absorbed in the skin. Rubbing alcohol can be mixed with water in a spray bottle and sprayed onto surfaces, where it will kill adult bugs. Additionally, although alcohol is effective in killing live fleas, it won't do anything to prevent the occurrence or recurrence of bugs burrowing in the fur of your pet, and will do nothing to eliminate flea eggs. The best way to keep your dog, cat, and home flea-free is to implement preventive measures, like medication and regular baths.
Killing fleas with alcohol
To kill fleas living on surfaces like pet bedding or blankets, you'll need two basic household ingredients: rubbing alcohol and dish soap. The rubbing alcohol will kill any adult fleas living on the material, while dish soap will suffocate flea eggs before they are able to hatch, infest, and reproduce. Start by mixing equal parts rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle, then add several drops of dish soap, and shake well so that all is mixed thoroughly, says VerminKill. Spray the solution onto the affected area — if you have a heavily infested item it is recommended that you place it in a plastic bag, spray the material, then seal the bag to allow all bugs to die off.
Flea prevention tips
If your dog is often in communal areas with other dogs, like dog parks, kennels, or day care centers, or if you have a cat who is allowed to roam outdoors, consider adding a medicated flea prevention treatment, which can deter fleas and their eggs. Regularly washing bedding and other fabric items, like harnesses, collars, leashes, and pet beds, can also reduce the risk of a flea infestation in your home or on your pet. Vacuuming and steam cleaning carpet, fabric furniture, and structures like cat towers is a great way to rid areas of any fleas or flea eggs that may already exist, as well as keeping your yard trimmed and cleaned of debris. To kill fleas naturally, sprinkling food-grade diatomaceous earth onto affected areas will kill fleas and is safe for pets if accidentally ingested.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.