Does Steam Cleaning Kill Fleas and Their Eggs?

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Whether you have pets or not, fleas can become an annoying problem to deal with. Their bites can cause irritation and serious allergies in both humans and animals. For this reason, many people are looking for effective ways to eliminate them once and for all. One method in particular, is steam cleaning.

Does steam cleaning kill fleas and their eggs? Steam cleaning does kill fleas in all stages of development, including adults and larval fleas, as well as some eggs. The high temperature of steam is lethal to fleas as they can’t survive extreme heat. In fact, all flea life stages die when temperatures exceed 100.4°F (38°C).

Nonetheless, there are more considerations when looking to exterminate fleas from your house once and for all. Most of the time, the best route is to prevent the issue before it happens. In this post, we will answer: does steam cleaning kill fleas and their eggs? We will also explore how to steam clean fleas properly. 

About Fleas and Their Eggs

Fleas are one of the most prevalent parasites that feed on warm-blooded animals. The most common species is the cat flea, which will bite humans, dogs, cats, rats, and even chickens. There are an estimated 2,000 species of fleas worldwide, and more than 300 types are found in the United States alone.

Fleas lay eggs on its animal host. When the eggs hatch, the larvae drop off the fur, residing onto carpets, blankets, or furniture. The larvae live by feeding on adult flea droppings. This larvae stage can last from seven days to over a year. Only when a host is present will a larvae emerge as an adult flea. 

Regardless of whether there are pets or not, fleas can become a problem in buildings, especially houses. Their bites cause irritation and serious allergies in both animals and humans. Fleas often manifest in unused parts of buildings and cause serious problems for urban wildlife including cats and dogs.

Moreover, fleas not only cause discomfort from biting, but they are also responsible for the bubonic plague. While there are few cases reported today, this rare disease wiped out one-third of Europe in the 14th century. Because of this, it’s important to exterminate them if you do have a flea problem.

Now that you know the characteristics of fleas and their eggs, let's look at how steam may help take care of your flea problem.

Does Steam Cleaning Get Rid of Fleas?

Steam cleaning is one of the most effective and non-professional ways of getting rid of fleas, larvaes, and their eggs from carpet and furniture. Experts agree that the extreme heat from the steam is enough to kill them. However, there are certain steps you need to follow in order for a steam cleaner to be effective against fleas.

How Do You Steam Clean Fleas?

1. Start by Vacuuming

Before steam cleaning, it’s a good idea to vacuum your carpet and furniture thoroughly. To get better coverage, use the nozzle attachment. Because fleas like to hide in dark and humid areas, you need to vacuum neglected areas like the baseboards, room corners, and underneath furniture entirely. 

2. Dispose the Vacuum Bag Properly

Once you have done vacuuming, you need to dispose of the vacuum cleaner bag properly. This simple, yet crucial step is often neglected by many homeowners, causing remaining fleas to go back inside their homes. Never throw the vacuum cleaner bag away inside your house. Instead, tie it inside a bag and throw it outside.

Fleas can easily jump, so they could re-infest in your house if not removed properly. If your vacuum cleaner uses a canister instead of a bag, take out the canister and empty the contents into a plastic bag. Tie the plastic bag up tightly, making sure it is sealed, and throw it away outside.

3. Steam Clean Carpet and Furniture

Once you have done the arduous task of vacuuming your carpet and furniture, you can begin steam cleaning. With enough exposure, the high temperature produced by the steam cleaner will kill both adult fleas and eggs. Test the steam cleaner on a hidden piece of the carpet to check for discoloration.

Just like steam cleaning bed bugs, use a triangular nozzle which is often found on most steam cleaners to steam fabric and upholstery. This ensures the most coverage. Avoid using the narrow nozzle because it may blow the fleas around the room. You may also consider hiring a steam cleaning company to clean for you.

4. Make a Flea Trap

A simple flea trap can catch fleas. Image sourced from FleaScience.

Alternatively, if you do not know where the fleas reside, you can lure them into a flea trap. Simply fill a small bowl with water and add a few drops of dish soap. Once stirred, put the bowl on the floor, close to a wall, and place a lamp next to it. During night time, turn the lamp on and voila, the trap is set.

Surprisingly, the fleas will hop towards the light and land in the water. Because of the soap, they cannot hop out of the water. You can simply pour the water out the next morning. Make sure to not let your pets get to the bowl of water. If you don’t have a lamp, you can also try using a bright night light instead.

Steam Cleaning Alone Is Not Enough

While steam cleaning is a useful technique to kill fleas in the environment, it is not the most effective control strategy. According to Flea Science, steam cleaning is a useful component, but other measures must be done to fully end an infestation. Steam may also reduce the effectiveness of insecticides. 

The problem is that adult fleas live permanently on their host. Consider this: A female flea lays an average of 25 eggs a day. The eggs may drop into the environment because they are not sticky. After 2 or 3 days, the eggs hatch into larvae. Therefore, without treating pets, there will always be continuous flea infestation.

PRO TIP: Although steam can kill fleas, you may not be as thorough as a professional exterminator to completely remove fleas and their eggs. For the best results, hire an expert. They are more than capable of solving the problem because they have effective tools, like insecticide, to effectively kill fleas.

Bottom Line

And there you go, everything you need to know about: does steam cleaning kill fleas? The simple post above should help solve your flea problem. If you apply it the right way, steam cleaning can kill fleas in all stages of development, including their eggs. Here’s hoping you and your pets are free of fleas. 🙂

See also: Steam Cleaners