Will Soap & Water Kill Fleas?

by Victoria Lee Blackstone
    A simple soap-and-water bath suffocates fleas on your dog.

    A simple soap-and-water bath suffocates fleas on your dog.

    Al Barry/Valueline/Getty Images

    No pet owner wants to hear the word “fleas"; the mere mention of the word causes itching. Unfortunately, fleas are a part of most pet owners' lives, especially in the summer months. Your pet store offers a wide variety of flea shampoos and powders, but not all of them are necessary.

    Bathing and Grooming

    For the most part, a simple soap-and-water bath and a good flea comb are enough to kill any fleas residing on your dog. Soap, be it dish-washing soap or your dog’s regular shampoo, removes the waxy coating on a flea’s body. When this coating is gone, so is the flea’s protection from injury, dehydration and parasitic attacks. Soap clogs up the flea’s breathing tubes, leading to suffocation. Begin washing your dog’s head, as this is a typical flea hiding spot. Work the soap into your dog’s coat and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. Run a flea comb through your dog’s coat to pull out fleas. Submerge the fleas in a bowl of soapy water.

    Don’t Forget the Bedding

    Simple laundry detergent and hot water is enough to kill any fleas or flea larvae in your dog’s bedding. Place the bedding in your washing machine and run it through a full cycle. Do this at the same time you wash your dog.

    Photo Credits

    • Al Barry/Valueline/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Victoria Lee Blackstone is a horticulturist who propagates heirloom and native plants for her nursery. She has authored research-based scientific/technical papers, plant care sheets and magazine and newspaper articles. Blackstone studied botany and microbiology at Clemson University and is a former University of Georgia Extension Master Gardener Coordinator.

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