Ins and outs of vacuuming fleas with bagless vacuums

illustration of bagless vacuum cleaners next to the flea infestation

Cat fleas, dog fleas, rabbit fleas and even human fleas… Whatever the type may be, nobody likes them. They are there to suck blood, pass diseases and cause allergic reactions. If your house happens to host some of them surely it needs to come to an end.

There are a number of measurements you should be aware of when you battle the flea infestation such as the use of chemicals, treating the source, which often happens to be your pet, as well as performing disciplinary household hygiene cleaning. The latter one won’t be complete without vacuuming.

Bagless vacuums are a common household option people possess. The main advantage of it is that it has a removable container so you don’t need to replace the filter bags. In addition it’s also an eco-friendly option since the HEPA filtration system will serve you for as long as your bagless vacuum cleaner functions. But regardless of the vacuum type you have – this article will be just as helpful. So let’s dig deeper and learn how to eliminate fleas effectively!

Can vacuuming get rid of fleas?

To everyone’s relief – yes it can! According to Ohio State University vacuuming kills fleas in all stages of their life. In fact on average 96% of adult fleas and 100% of flea eggs, larvae and pupae will be destined to perish after being vacuumed. Mostly that’s due to the fact that a fragile flea body doesn’t stand a chance against the powerful suction and spinning vacuum brushes. But in case they happen to survive that, the harsh dust and dirt environment and lack of food inside the vacuum will result in fleas starving to death which normally won’t take more than 4 days.

bagless vacuum cleaner in action

Can Fleas Crawl Out of a Vacuum?

Fleas will not crawl out of a vacuum since they will be already dead or won’t properly function after the initial suction trauma. Keep in mind that some of the flea eggs still happen to develop inside the vacuum but hatched flea larvae or adult flea survivors won’t find their way out of the vacuum cleaners by themselves unless you choose to help them by carelessly opening the vacuum storage container. Therefore, attentive disposal of your bagless vacuum’s dustbin content should be an obligation. 

How to vacuum fleas?

Unlike vacuuming most other bug types, where the insect will be killed after a single vacuuming session, vacuuming fleas requires an organised strategic approach since most likely you’re dealing with an infestation. Abandon this process too soon and fleas will be all over your house again in no time. Note that the most effective outcome will be combining vacuuming with other flea removal methods so let’s break it down into steps.

#1 Treat the flea thriving outdoor environment

In order to succeed, first and foremost you must focus on the source. Fleas mostly thrive in highly humid, warm areas so wood piles and tall grass in your yard might be a perfect setting. Keep the lawn grass low and start with a yard spray designed to eradicate fleas outdoors. If your pet’s house is also outside make sure to visit and treat it with a pet friendly chemical too.

#2 Treat the flea host

Fleas cannot survive longer than 2 weeks without a host and pets will usually be it. If your pet is constantly scratching, has areas of hair loss and redness on skin – that’s already a strong indication that it has fleas. If still in doubt, you can also use a pet grooming comb over a white surface. Pour a few drops of water over the surface and if they turn reddish-brown it’s likely your pet has fleas.

Once you know your pet is a flea host – talk to your vet to discover the most appropriate pet friendly treatment product.

Dog outdoors chewing on a stick

#3 Treat your home

Now that you took action on the previous two steps, it’s time to cure your home. Here is where your bagless vacuums come to an aid. Start with one area at the time where you suspect the most help is needed and vacuum thoroughly everything you can. Generally this should be the area where your pet likes to hang out the most. After you ensure thorough vacuuming efforts have been taken you are ready to move to the next area.

#4 Extra emphasis on the carpets

Carpets are one of the most common hiding locations for fleas. When flea larvae hatch from their eggs they move away from light sources. Because of that they often end up moving deep within carpets. Therefore, here is where you should really put your extra cleaning attention to. Vacuuming not only gets rid of fleas but also removes organic matter and fecal blood that’s essential for larvae to grow. So even if it takes more time, make sure to vacuum carpets slowly and be careful to not miss any section. Don’t forget to also vacuum items that are normally placed on that carpet. 

Here’s our article to teach you how to kill fleas that live in carpets.

dirty carpet from up close

#5 Pay attention to cracks and crevices

In case your carpet or rug doesn’t cover the entire floor, put some emphasis on floor cracks and corners where fleas may also hide. For best results, consider using one of the greatest combinations that goes with your bagless vacuum cleaner – Diatomaceous Earth.

This natural substance is completely non-toxic and gives you yet another weapon that fleas will fall to. Pour it in the gaps and rub it in with a broom. Once fleas come into contact with the powder, they should die in about 4 hours, however to ensure the best results it is recommended to leave it for 24 hours and afterwards vacuum it all together.

#6 Treat your furniture

Your furniture is yet another area where fleas will happily thrive in. Start by taking the covers off and washing them in hot water if that’s a possibility. Proceed by vacuuming the cushions and couch, with special attention to the gaps and crevices. If your bagless vacuum comes with upholstery brush attachments make sure to utilise those here too.

#7 Empty the bagless vacuum’s storage container

Even if most fleas should be killed after being vacuumed, different circumstances may bring exceptions. The best precaution after vacuuming fleas with bagless vacuums is to always empty the container content into a plastic bag, tape it tight and dispose in an external rubbish bin. Finally, consider washing the container with hot and soapy water to maximise the removal of any flea remains.

emptying bagless vacuum container into the trash bag

#8 Repeat daily for two weeks

The final critical step to win the battle against flea infestation is to continue with the above mentioned home vacuuming process daily for at least 2 weeks. Even if you did a marvellous job on your first day, chances are that there will be fleas in their different life cycles that still managed to avoid their encounter with you.

As previously mentioned, vacuuming is especially effective against the flea eggs that take around 14 days to hatch after being placed. To ensure the best chance of success it is best to vacuum your home areas every day for the duration of the egg’s lifecycle.

That being said, it may not always be a possibility for you to give the necessary daily attention at your home to fight fleas. Consider some bagless vacuum types such as robot vacuums that can be controlled and managed remotely when you are away.

Can you vacuum fleas off cats or dogs?

Vacuuming your pets is completely safe but keep in mind that each pet reacts to a vacuum differently. Some may be completely terrified while others will not mind it at all. Never proceed with the process forcefully as it can traumatise your animal. Instead if you notice your cat or dog to be resistant, spend some time training them towards vacuums.

Lastly, consider quieter vacuum settings and special pet vacuum attachments which will make it a much smoother process for them.

Small dog relaxing on a carpet

Vacuuming alternatives to get rid of fleas

Vacuuming is not the only solution, and there are certainly other ways to get rid of fleas without vacuuming. We bring together some of the alternatives that will increase your chances to succeed:

  1. Steam-cleaning the combination of high steam temperature and soap will leave no chance to survive to any encountered fleas. Sources suggest that all life stages die when the temperature exceeds 35°C (95°F) .
  2. Mopping – effective on floor types such as linoleum, tile, hardwood, or concrete.
  3. Laundry – perform regular laundering of blankets, rugs, bedding, couch covers and pet beds. Washing and drying at the high heat setting will eliminate all the fleas hiding inside.
  4. Diatomaceous Earth – this powder is non-toxic and instead of poisoning it cuts the insect’s exoskeleton and sucks the water out its body. It can be effectively used in any environment such as garden, storage, carpets or floor gaps. Use it together with your vacuum cleaner for best results.
  5. Baking soda and salt – equal parts of these ingredients combined will be a deadly combination to fleas. Similar to diatomaceous earth, the fine particles of this mixture will latch on the flea’s body and as the flea moves create cuts that will lead to insect bleeding out. The solution should be used in combination with the vacuum cleaner.

    You can follow our guide to learn how to get rid of fleas with baking soda and salt solution.
  6. Precor – Insect growth regulator that destroys flea eggs and larvae as well as offers up to 7 months of protection.
  7. Professional pest control – sometimes it’s better to be critical. Ask yourself whether you are capable of investing the necessary time to battle the fleas? Reaching out to professionals may often be a better investment with guaranteed results.

What to put in the vacuum to kill fleas?

We’ll finalise this by answering one last common question people ask. There is no need to put anything into your vacuum cleaner to kill fleas. We have already established that vacuum bristles are more than enough to do the job and by putting chemicals in the vacuum cleaner you only threaten yourself. Have patience, trust the process and you’ll soon enjoy your flea free house again!

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