How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Carpet: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Fleas are annoying little creatures and an infestation is everyone’s worst nightmare. If you’ve got carpet in your space, it becomes twice as hard to get rid of them. They burrow into carpet just like they burrow into the shaggy comfort of your pet’s hair. 

Don’t worry, in most cases, you won’t need to call an exterminator. If the infestation is mild and began recently, you can take care of it yourself. 

On the other hand, if it’s a more extreme case that isn’t going away with the standard measures shared below, I advise you to call an exterminator to take a look. 

Let’s talk about how to get rid of the fleas in your carpet, beginning with how you can identify the infestation. 

How to Identify a Flea Infestation

The first thing you need to do is see if you even have a flea infestation or if it’s something else. It’s easy to confuse one household pest with another. 

If you have a pet or multiple pets, take some time to thoroughly examine them. Fleas burrow in areas that have folds or thicker fur. Check the scruff of their necks, chins, the base of their tail, and around their ears. 

If you don’t see the insects themselves but notice black-brown powdery deposits, you’re seeing flea dirt. Flea dirt is the excretion of the fleas, since fleas suck blood, it’s the dried-up blood of your beloved pet. Yikes! 

Next, take a closer look at your upholstery and carpeting. By a closer look I mean really get in here, flashlights and everything. Typically, fleas have a brownish-red appearance, they’re extremely small but not microscopic. You should be able to see them with your naked eye. 

Adult fleas have a flat, dot-sized body and jump from one spot to another. Flea eggs, on the other hand, look whitish or even translucent. Their bodies have a rod-like shape, like grains of rice. 

Lastly, pets with flea infestations tend to have thinning fur. On humans, a flea bite looks like a small, itchy red bump. It’s different from a mosquito bite which is more raised and irregular in shape. 

If you’ve successfully identified the infestation as a flea infestation, it’s time to get to work. 

How to Get Rid of Fleas In Carpet

Step 1: Treat Your Pets

First and foremost, you need to treat the infestation in any pets you have. Whether it’s your cat, dog, rabbit, etc., the protocol for them remains the same. Call up your local veterinarian or pet supply store and purchase a flea treatment. Flea treatments are available in the form of shampoos, sprays, and flea collars. 

The treatment you go for depends on how extreme the infestation is and how cooperative your pet is. For more squirmy fur babies who will not bathe, a flea collar or spray may be better. 

It’s important to remember that flea treatment is an ongoing process that requires consistency. Once you’ve applied the treatment, use a flea comb to comb out the dead fleas from the fur. The infestation won’t be taken care of within one application. Take your time and apply the flea treatment every day for at least a week. 

Step 2: Vacuum Up a Storm

Simultaneously, you’ll need to start working on getting the fleas out of your carpeting. Clear the room and vacuum the floor thoroughly. Make sure you leave no spot untreated and keep the vacuum on its highest setting while you’re doing it. 

As an additional step vacuum any couch cushions and curtains you have around your space. Change out the vacuum bags after each vacuum session, and be sure to do this outside. We recommend vacuuming every day for a week as a baseline for getting fleas out of your carpet.

Step 3: Steam Clean

Steam clean your carpets and the upholstery around your place after you’re done vacuuming everything. Just like the flea treatment on your pets, you need to do this consistently for at least a week until you’ll see results.

Steam cleaners can be a bit tricky to work so follow a guide like this one. Make sure to clean out the steamer and vacuum cleaner after each session. 

Step 4: Flea Treatment

Between and after the vacuuming and steam cleaning sessions, use a diatomaceous earth treatment for your carpet. Diatomaceous earth is developed from the fossilized remains of diatoms. Diatoms were aquatic organisms. 

Diatomaceous earth helps ‘purify’ substances. It’s most commonly used to clarify contaminated water. It’s also often used as a household flea treatment. Make sure to only use food-grade diatomaceous earth within your household. Filter-grade diatomaceous earth can be harmful if ingested by your pets or children. 

While this does work on carpeting, it won’t work on your pets and can even harm them. So, for your pets, use a pet-safe flea treatment and only use this for your carpet. Diatomaceous earth dries up the exoskeleton of the fleas, depriving them of moisture so they die. Repeated use will not only help kill fleas but prevent future infestations. 

In addition to diatomaceous earth, you can use carpet sprays to fast-track the process. 

Step 5: Laundry! 

Next up is laundry for all the stuff you can’t vacuum or is easier to wash than vacuum. Wash your bedding, curtains, and rugs, and dry them on high or hang them to dry outside where they won’t attract the fleas again. This also goes for any bedding or toys your pets or children have. 

Pro tip: Make sure to wash the clothes you’re wearing while cleaning as well. 

Step 6: Check Your Plants

Pets often catch fleas and ticks from playing outside in the grass and carrying the pests indoors in their fur. If you have a lawn with grass or even indoor plants, you’ll need to take extra measures to make sure they don’t exacerbate the problem. 

For outdoor vegetation, trim it and apply a pesticide. For indoor plants, use alcohol to spray on and wipe down the leaves. 

Step 7: Rinse and Repeat 

As I keep reiterating, consistency is key here. I know it sounds exhaustive, but only repeated rounds of these steps will ensure your space is completely flea-free. Be as thorough as possible and leave no stone (or piece of furniture) unturned. Fleas are stubborn creatures and an infestation can easily get out of hand. Catching it and treating it early is instrumental. 


How long do fleas live in carpets?

Fleas can live up to 3 months in a carpet. If they have a host like a pet or a person, they can live forever. Yes, terrifying. 

What kills fleas best on carpet?

Diatomaceous earth treatment for your carpet will kill fleas on your carpet the best. You can find many carpet sprays on the market that kill fleas so be sure to read the reviews for each before making your final purchasing decision. The most important thing when it comes to killing fleas is consistently cleaning up your space and applying treatment regularly. 

Does baking soda kill fleas in a carpet?

Yes, baking soda dehydrates the fleas as well as their eggs and kills them. This is a more mild approach to killing fleas so start here if you have a minor infestation but be prepared to level up to a heavier solution if the infestation worsens.

Will vacuuming the carpet get rid of fleas?

Vacuuming alone won’t get rid of fleas in your carpet. You’ll need to apply special treatments (such as baking soda or diatomaceous earth) to kill the eggs and adult fleas so they don’t continue to reproduce. 

Soon To Be Flea Free

A flea infestation can sound daunting, but it’s manageable. Follow the steps above diligently and you’ll be flea free before you know it! 

Good luck!

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Joe McGuinty
I’ve been working with floors for over 12 years. I started as a flooring contractor, primarily in materials selection. Then, I switched careers into accounting, so my wife and I began buying, renovating, and re-selling homes on the side. You’d be surprised how much value you can add to a home simply by adding new floors.

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