A well known home remedy for how to get rid of fleas in your home is borax. Basically, it involves spreading borax powder, found in the laundry aisle at your local grocery store, in your carpet or upholstery, working it into the fibers, leaving it for 48 hours, and then vacuuming it up.
There are a few caveats though when using borax for fleas. Such as, ensure no people or animals go near the area while the borax is still in the carpet/furniture. Also, you should always spot test the rug or upholstery first to make sure it does not damage it in any way before widespread application. And never use borax directly on your dog for flea control.
How Does Borax Kill Fleas?
So how does borax kill fleas? Borax is made from a material called boron and is a natural pesticide, but is also widely used in many products, such as soaps and laundry detergent, and even cosmetics. The borax powder is abrasive and when an insect, such as a flea, touches it, the borax causes abrasions on the exoskeleton. This in turn causes the insect to dehydrate and die. Borax and fleas just don’t mix, lucky for us!
Toxic Effects of Borax
Borax for flea control can be very effective depending upon your situation. If you have a small area that is infested, then you might have great luck with it. But if you have to cover a large area, since you must keep all humans and animals away from it for 2 days, might be a little bit harder to control.
While still better than using synthetic flea bombs, if you feel you need to treat an entire room, you might instead want to go with a specially formulated borate mixture designed for this use, rather than straight borax. These are less toxic than borax, so they don’t have as severe adverse problems.
While much must be ingested for death, there are many problems that can arise with direct exposure to borax. These include:
“respiratory and skin irritation; ingestion may cause gastrointestinal distress including nausea, persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Effects on the vascular system and brain include headaches and lethargy, but are less frequent. “In severe poisonings, a beefy red skin rash affecting palms, soles, buttocks and scrotum has been described. With severe poisoning, erythematous and exfoliative rash, unconsciousness, respiratory depression, and renal failure.” Source: Wikipedia
Borax to kill fleas can be very effective, but just like every medication does not work on every person, some people may find no luck in its use. The borax needs to really be worked into the fibers to get down to where the fleas are. It is only by direct exposure to the borax will the fleas be affected and die. It also needs time to work, and while 24 to 48 hours is recommended, in some instances it may just take more time.
Tips For Effectively Using Borax
- Vacuum before applying the borax. The vibration encourages the larvae to move which will help with exposing them to the borax. Fleas that do not come in direct contact with the borax before it is vacuumed up, will not die.
- Then sprinkle the borax on your rugs, floors, and upholstery (spot check first to make sure it does not damage any material) and work it into the fibers.
- Work the borax into the fibers and into cracks and crevices with a broom. Just spreading it on the top of the carpet is no where near as effective.
- You must keep everyone, people and pets, off the treated parts for 48 hours. Then vacuum to remove the borax and dead fleas.
- Avoid getting the borax wet as it makes it harder to vacuum back up.
- Repeat the application every 2 weeks until all the fleas are gone. Don’t despair if you see your dog scratching after the initial application. You may miss some of the fleas depending upon the life cycle and by repeating the process a couple of times, you are more likely to get rid of the flea problem once and for all, rather than having it rear it’s ugly head again.
A more viable option is a remedy found in many natural health pet stores which use borate powder with other natural agents, such as FleaGo or FleaBusters. These products can be left in your rugs and you do not need to keep living things away from it. It is statically charged to stay in your carpet, even when you vacuum. This allows the borax to stay in the rug for around 6 months, and keep killing fleas as they go through their life cycle. Try one of these products to get rid of all those fleas and help keep your dog from itching so much.