Flea infestations are not only a frustrating nuisance, they can also cause health concerns for you and your pet. While there are many effective chemical treatments on the market to rid your home of these pests, a natural and cost effective treatment is ordinary table salt.
Breaking the Cycle
Fleas develop through four stages: egg, larva, pupae and adult. Depending on environmental conditions, the complete cycle can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Adult females feed on your pet and lay clusters of eggs, each of which is slightly smaller than a grain of sand. These eggs hatch into the larvae stage in 2 to 14 days. The larvae then feed on pre-digested blood from adult fleas and organic debris before forming a cocoon and developing into the pupae stage. When conditions are right, the adult flea emerges from the cocoon and the process begins again.
The Simple Salt Solution
Although fleas prefer the warm refuge of a live host, carpets, pet beds and upholstered furniture can offer cozy refuge to fleas and their larvae. While regular vacuuming will help to a point, using salt will greatly improve your chances of getting an infestation under control. Fleas need moisture to thrive and salt works as a drying agent to cause dehydration and death in adult and larval fleas.
Treating Your Home
To begin treating your home with salt, thoroughly vacuum your carpets and upholstered surfaces. Flea larvae can live for up to a year before feeding so make sure that you empty your vacuum canister into a bag that can be sealed and taken to the outside trash. Liberally sprinkle the salt into your carpets, pet beds and any other upholstered surface that your pets frequent. Using a brush or broom, gently work the salt into the carpet fibers. Allow the salt to sit over night or for several hours before vacuuming again. The longer you can leave the salt in the carpet, the more likely it is that that fleas or flea larvae will come in contact with it. The treatment should be repeated from time to time, as any fleas that are inside cocoons when the rug is treated will be safe from the effects of salt. Once they emerge, however, they will be vulnerable to it.
A Safe, Cost Effective Treatment
A large container of table salt will treat a good sized room and can be purchased for a few dollars making it a very cost effective solution. Chemical treatments, on the other hand, can be a possible danger to you and your pet and can also be very expensive compared to salt. Treating your home with salt is effective in killing fleas, but it's important to remember to also treat outside areas and your pets. Regular flea baths and spot treatments will help control the adult fleas on your pet while regularly vacuuming, washing bedding and toys in hot soapy water, and applying salt to areas that your pet frequents will help remove eggs, larvae and pupae. Bedding can also be soaked in hot salt water before washing.