Although adult fleas call your dog or cat home most of the time, they can also infest carpets, bedding, drapery, furniture, and any other place your pet spends a lot of time in. Not only do the adult insects live in these areas, but so do their eggs, worm-like larvae and pupae. Fleas in various stages of development burrow deep into carpet fibers and other fabrics, making it essential to vacuum your home thoroughly if you're facing an infestation. Even though vacuuming alone won't rid your house of all of the fleas, it's an important step in controlling the problem. Vacuuming can also get rid of any ticks that may be brought indoors via a pet.

Why Vacuum?

According to researchers, vacuuming fleas is as effective as using toxic flea-killing chemicals, as it kills 96-percent of adult fleas and 100-percent of younger fleas due to damage to the insects' waxy outer layers. This means that fleas likely don't survive and multiply in a vacuum bag or canister. Regular vacuuming can grab up to up to 30 percent of flea larvae and as much as 60 percent of eggs.

Although ticks don't multiply and thrive indoors as fleas do, they can be brought inside your home on your pet after it's been outdoors. Make sure to vacuum any areas, such as living room carpeting or a pet's bedding, where ticks were spotted.

Before Vacuuming

Prior to vacuuming your carpeting or rugs, remove any small furniture items, toys, or other items from the area so that you can treat the entire flooring. Remove or cover any nearby pet food or water bowls to protect them during the treatment.

Treat the carpeting or rugs with either natural or commercial flea-killing products. If you opt for a more eco-friendly treatment, sprinkle the entire carpet or rug with an even layer of either a boron-based product, such as disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, which is less toxic to human and animal skin than boric acid, or diatomaceous earth powder. Diatomaceous earth dehydrates fleas and is especially helpful in killing flea larvae. Keep pets and children off the carpeting until the treatment is vacuumed up.

During Vacuuming

When vacuuming a carpet, make sure you reach all around the perimeter of the room and under any furniture items or rugs, being careful not to miss any spots. The vacuum's vibration will stimulate flea larvae to emerge from their treatment-resistant cocoons earlier, making them easier to treat with insecticides.

Equip your vacuum with the appliance's brush attachment when vacuuming curtains, draperies, cushions, bedding or any other non-carpet item.

After Vacuuming

Immediately after vacuuming, remove the bag from the appliance, place it in an air-tight garbage bag, and throw it away in an outside trash can to prevent reinfestion, even though the insects will most likely be dead due to the abuse they received while being sucked up. If you your vacuum is bagless and has a plastic container instead, empty the contents into a garbage bag and dispose of it in an outside trash can. Wash out the container with hot, soapy water and allow it to air-dry before replacing it.

Vacuum your carpet daily or weekly, as fleas will continue to hatch for approximately two weeks after the initial insecticide treatment. You can re-treat the carpeting again after several weeks if needed .