Sleeping With Fleas? How to Can Get Rid of Fleas In Bed

Do you know that the fleas on your pet only make up 5% of the flea population infesting your home? This pesky pest feeds off the blood of animals and can very easily become a menace in your home. If not nipped in the bud quickly, you can end up with fleas in your beds, and the problem can become too big to control. Read on to prevent a full-blown flea infestation in your home.

In this guide, you will learn about:

  • Can Fleas Get in Your Mattress
  • How To Tell If You Have Fleas In Your Mattress
  • Types of Flea Killers and Repellants
  • Natural Home Remedies To Get Rid of Fleas In Mattress
  • Preventive Measures To Keep Fleas At Bay

Can Fleas Get in You Mattress?

Dog can carry fleas into the home

Fleas, relative to their size (just 1.5 to 3.2 millimeters) can jump higher than any other insect in the world. They can jump vertically up to 7 inches and forwards up to 13 inches, because of their long hind legs. This ability makes it easy for them to leap up onto your beloved pet, while it is taking a stroll in the lawn. The fleas then proceed to lay their eggs in the shag of your cat or dog. These eggs soon slip off the fur and can get in your carpet, sofas, beds — and any and all places where your pet chooses to roll itself. These eggs hatch into larvae, feed on flea feces and then wrap themselves in a cocoon. This is the worst stage since many insecticides cannot penetrate the cocoon and kill the insects inside.

How To Tell If You Have Fleas In Your Mattress

Fleas do not typically attack humans unless they are removed from their primary host, i.e., your pet. But when they do, they leave small red sores and welts all over their host’s body. An adult flea bite can cause intense itchiness and irritation to a sensitive or a person with allergies. The human flea is also responsible for the transmission of tapeworm, according to the Entomology Department at the University of Florida.

Another sign of fleas in your bed are strange unexplained black, brown or white spots or mounds. The white spots are flea eggs while the brown and black spots are their droppings.

Types of Flea Killers and Repellants

A person using a flea bomb

Here are some effective types of flea killers and repellants that are available in the market.

Electric Flea Traps

Although flee traps won’t eliminate the eggs and cocoons, it is effective in killing off the adults. These traps have a small space that holds a sticky mat, and they lure their prey by offering them warmth and light. Depending on what type of brand you choose, some also emit odors to attract adult fleas. When fleas jump onto the traps, the sticky surface glues them in place. Some people say some brands even attract fleas from 25 to 30 feet away!


Flea Bombs

Flea bombs or flea foggers contain neurotoxins, Pyrethrins, and Pyrethroids, which affect the nervous systems of insects. The spray can take several hours to work, and you need to be cautious when using this substance because it is toxic. All pets and people should be removed from the room to avoid exposure to the toxins. However, even some of these flea bombs may not be able to penetrate the shield of cocoon around the pupa, and the spray cannot go into the nook and crannies that bed bugs hide in. Hence, flea bombs should be used as a last resort.

Concentrated Insect Growth Regulators

Concentrated IGR contains chemicals like Methoprene and Pyriproxyfen, which stops the development of larvae and eggs into biting adults. The substance usually needs to be dissolved in water and sprayed on the surface of the bed to get rid of fleas in the mattress. Concentrated IGR retards the growth of fleas and makes them easier to kill.

Insecticide Sprays With IGR

This is a hybrid of IGR and flea foggers and contains ingredients from both these flea killers, including Methoprene, Neonicotinoids, Pyrethroids, and Pyrethrins. The insecticide kills the adult biting fleas while the IGR prevents the eggs and larvae from developing; hence they are twice as effective. The sprays should be applied to get rid of fleas in beds, and all people and pets should be kept out of the room for at least 24 hours.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled protest, which can be crumbled into a fine white powder. This substance is an organic desiccant and can kill fleas and other insects on contact, causing severe dehydration and cutting open their exoskeleton. Spread Diatomaceous Earth on your mattress to get rid of the fleas that are making your bed their home. Make sure your room is not too humid as that is counterproductive. The great thing about this substance is that it is non-toxic; however, it can cause slight irritation of your eyes and throat.

8 Ways to Get Rid of Fleas in Bed (Mattress)

If you are wary of using chemical substances on your sleeping place, here are some natural homemade remedies that are some of the best ways to kill fleas in mattresses.

1. Washing the Bedding

The first thing you need to do is to wash your bedding, which includes blankets, pillowcases, and comforters in hot, soapy water. Fleas and their eggs cannot survive in the hot temperature of the washer and dryer, so it should at least do the trick of getting your bedding rid of fleas. However, if the infestation has spread to the mattress, you will have to opt for other techniques.

2. Vacuuming

Vacuum beds to get rid of flea

The next step is to thoroughly vacuum your mattress, as well as the carpet, drapes, and pillow in your room, on a daily basis. This can help not just get rid of adult fleas but also suck up the eggs and cocoon from the top surface of the mattress and hence disrupt their life cycle. After every vacuuming, make sure you dispose of the vacuum bags; otherwise, the eggs will hatch inside them due to the vibration and will spread throughout the house.

3. Baking Soda

A great way to improve the effectiveness of your vacuuming is through baking soda. Sprinkle some baking soda onto your mattress, take a hard brush and rub the powder into the fabric. Then use your vacuum cleaner to suck up the insects from your bed. This will not just get rid of fleas in your bed but also take away the nasty dark discoloration left by flea poop.

4. Salt

Like diatomaceous earth, salt is a wonderful dehydrating agent. What’s great is that it is safe for humans too, so you can easily use it on your bed. To treat fleas in mattresses, sprinkle a generous amount of powdered salt all over their surface. The salt will dry out the fleas’ bodies. After 1 or 2 days, vacuum the mattress and suck out all the tiny dead bodies.

5. Lemon Flea Spray

lemon flea spray as a repellant

Another great-smelling way to treat fleas in beds is to make a citrusy solution and spray it on your mattress. Lemons contain D-limonene, which kill and repel fleas. Take a few lemons and slice them very thin with their peel. Add them into a pint of water and bring to boil. Let the solution steep overnight and then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto your mattress, sofa and anywhere you suspect fleas may be hiding.

6. Rosemary Herbal Powder

Rosemary acts as a natural repellant for pesky fleas and is effective with light infestations. To make herbal powder, ground some rosemary, rue, wormwood, peppermint, and fennel together. Sprinkle the mixture onto your mattress and anywhere with flea activity. The rosemary may not effectively kill the fleas but will help repel them and prevent them from coming back.

7. Natural Essential Oils

Some natural essential oils like peppermint oil, cedar oil, clove oil, and citrus oil can kill fleas on contact and help repel them. You can apply these oils to your bed, mattress and other furniture where fleas have been seen crawling.

8. Water and Soap Trap

Unlike the electric trap, which operates with the help of sticky baits, these traps only require some water, soap and a light source. If you suspect you have fleas in your mattress, place a shallow pan filled with water and soap in the middle of the bed and lean a light source on it. Fleas do not drown in regular water because they barely weigh anything, not enough to break the surface tension. However, by mixing water with soap, you can break the surface tension. Once the flea hops onto the water to inspect the light source, they will immediately drown in it. This is one of the fairly effective remedies but does not get rid of flea eggs and larvae.

Preventive Measures To Keep Fleas At Bay

As with all problematic issues, prevention is key. Once you have got rid of the fleas in your home, make sure they do not come back. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Keep your house vacuumed, swept and mopped to get rid of any flea eggs, larvae or pupae on the surfaces.
  • Throw away the vacuum bag after each vacuuming
  • Keep your pet’s fur washed and clean and give the shag a through brushing with lemon juice, once in a while
  • Wash your pet’s bedding and toys as fleas love to nest close to their prey
  • Keep your lawn clean and trimmed and use insecticides if there is an infestation issue.


Home remedies and store-bought solutions can help with a flea infestation. However, if the problem has spread, they may not be 100% effective, and you may need highly toxic products or the intervention of exterminator. To reduce the risk of an infestation, keep your pets, home and yard clean. With sufficient prevention, these pesky pests may never be able to make their way into your safe haven.

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