Products such as FleaGo, Flea Busters RX, or even Twenty Mule Team Borax laundry booster present a less toxic alternative to liquid pesticides and “flea bombs” for ridding your home of fleas. They contain borates and work by dehydrating fleas and their offspring, and they need to be applied with care to floors and upholstery to be effective. However, they must not be put directly on the pet or the pet’s bedding, and if you have a sensitive pet, please confirm with your vet that these products are safe to use around your home.
You may either let the powder sit for up to 3 days and then remove it completely (as described below), or remove visible traces while letting the remainder stay in the carpet’s fibers for continued effect. I prefer the former option because boric acid can be irritating to the skin and respiratory tract. If you don’t mind borate in the depths of your carpet, or if your infestation persists, you’ll find detailed instructions for the latter option on the Flea Busters RX website.
Be sure to keep your pets in another room for the duration of the treatment. I wear rubber gloves and a dust mask while spreading the powder. Since I keep Twenty Mule Team Borax laundry booster on hand for smelly dog towels, it’s usually what ends up getting used here, too:
- Vacuum the floor to remove pet hair and dust bunnies. This will also catch flea eggs, so remove the bag and seal it in plastic afterwards. Discard, or save it for the final vacuuming step.
- Cover up electronic appliances.
- Sprinkle a coating of Borax over the carpet, including under the couch. You can poke holes in the top of the box to turn it into a “dispenser.” With a brush or broom, work the powder into the carpet and under furniture and sprinkle it along baseboard trim and the bottom of furniture that touches the floor.
- On hardwood floors, sprinkle and work the powder into cracks between the boards.
- To treat upholstery, remove and sprinkle all sides of the cushions, then treat the couch or chair itself, paying extra attention to the crevices.
- Let the powder sit for 1-3 days, the longer the better. If people need to access the room, cover all treated areas with sheets – don’t let them stir up and track around the powder.
- Very thoroughly vacuum carpets and upholstery and wipe powder off of furniture, baseboards, and floors.
This procedure was enough to end two fairly small infestations I’ve had. More than one treatment may be required if the fleas have had some time to multiply in your home. To understand why fleas can be tough to combat, see Biology and life cycle of a flea for a few interesting facts.