Ugh fleas again.  I live in a bug zone, plenty of swamps and bogs the perfect breeding ground for all manner of creepy crawly things and while mosquitoes are irritating, gnats are annoying and spiders just plain creepy the worst is fleas. Flea season begins the moment the ground freezes and ends only after the ground has been frozen for 3 days straight. Of course unless they’re in your house then it’s never ending.  Keeping them under control is a must and not as easy as some would have you believe.  

If you talked to a conventional vet they would tell you to put some poison on your pets and around the house.  Of course they will charge you a fortune and don’t tell you all the side effects or that it might not work as fleas are becoming immune to these chemicals.  They do tell you, however, that if you don’t use these you’re a horrible pet parent. 

So what’s a pet parent like you (and me) to do? We, for obvious reasons, don’t want to douse our beloved fur kids in poisons and we don’t want them to have to deal with fleas either.  In my search for than answer I have tried many home remedies and before I get to what works let me tell you some of the crazy things I have done to get rid of fleas.

Blue Dawn Dish Soap 

Used on pet as shampoo, on floors and everything else that doesn’t fit in the washing machine.  This was recommended by a local vet. I was told the soap would suffocate the flea and was safe for use on even the most sensitive skin.

Does it sound too good to be true? That’s probably because it is.  First yes soap put directly on any bug will kill it, however, dish soap was meant to remove grease, oil and stubborn stains from dishes; and it does a very good job of that. Humans and pets have a layer of protective oils that are important not only to keep skin hydrated and from flaking but for providing a barrier from unsavory organisms. The dish soap that is so good at removing tough oils has no problem when it comes to the delicate protective oils. And once the dish soap has washed away it’s flea killing powers are gone too.

Essential oil blends

While essential oils can be very powerful I find in most cases they are over mixed a and thus do not target fleas very well.

Apple Cider Vinegar 

Tried both topically and orally, neither seemed to have much effect.


Orally, this showed some promise until I ran out of organic garlic and couldn’t find anymore.


Topically diluted, smelled great but showed no improvement

Diatomaceous Earth

Topically, once again showed some promise but was a bit messy.  However works great around the house and was amazing for the deer mice who roomed with me last summer.  Not so great for my big shaggy girl.

DIY flea shampoo

This was just a horrible mess and smelled even worse.

So what actually worked (and has worked more than once)? A bath and Coconut oil and lavender oil diluted in water.  Pretty simple eh? 

1. First soak for 8 min make sure all areas out of water are soaped up with a pet safe shampoo.

2. Rinse off and allow shake off (just make sure you pull the curtains across as fleas will be flying)

3. Squish any fleas you see even if they appear dead (they need to pop)

4. Grab an oil squeeze bottle run the tap so the water is very warm

5. throw in a few tbsp of coconut oil (not liquid)

6. about 30 drops of lavender

7. fill the rest of the bottle up with warm tap water and shake well.

8. Use oil dilution as leave in.

Why does it work?

The bath helps to reduce the amount of fleas hiding. Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is very effective  at killing fleas, lavender has been proven to repel fleas.

What do you do/use for fleas?