Does steam cleaning kill fleas? This is something that you should ask whether you own pets or not.
Fleas can stick to your clothes whenever you go outside.
Without knowing it, you might be bringing these unwanted guests with you once you go home.
So, even if you do not have dogs or cats, there is a good chance you will find them inside your house.
Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with a flea infestation, and steam cleaning is one of them.
How effective is it in killing adult fleas, flea eggs, and flea larvae? Is steaming alone enough to manage a flea infestation problem?
Before we answer these questions, you must first understand what you are up against.
Knowing the Enemy
Fleas are parasites that feed on warm-blooded animals like cats, dogs, raccoons, and even rats.
They generally do not bite humans, but they will if the flea population is too high. You will see these bites as three to four red bumps in a row mid-calf and lower.
There are around 2,000 different species all over the world, and the cat flea is the most common.
Its name is a bit misleading, though, as it can also feed on dogs and humans.
Mature fleas are 1/16 to 1/18 of an inch long and have dark-reddish brown, wingless bodies.
Larval fleas are 1/4 of an inch long and have slim, straw-colored bodies and brown heads. They are very active but avoid light.
Does Steam Cleaning Kill Fleas?
By now, you should have a good idea of what a bout with fleas would look like. It is time to ask the question again: Does steam cleaning kill fleas?
The short answer is yes; you can use steam cleaners to deal with fleas in different stages of development.
In fact, extreme heat is effective against severe flea infestation, killing juvenile fleas and adult fleas on contact.
It can even eliminate some of the hidden flea eggs that are very hard to reach.
However, note that the combination of heat and humidity can encourage the remaining eggs to hatch sooner.
So, a day or two after hot steam cleaning, some fleas might reappear.
The good news is that these are probably the last survivors of the flea colony, and you can use a vacuum cleaner to remove them.
An Effective Cleaning Method
Using a carpet steam cleaner is an effective method of dealing with a colony of fleas.
However, its potency against egg-stage fleas and young fleas to adult fleas depends on proper execution.
To help maximize your chances of success, we have outlined the steps you need to take below.
The process should be the same whether you use a domestic or professional steam cleaner.
Step 1: Vacuum your carpet.
The first step is to vacuum fleas in carpet piles, floors, and other areas. Make sure that you pass over all cracks and crevices as well.
As much as possible, seal these openings permanently after vacuuming.
If you have a severe flea infestation, it is a good idea to vacuum every day.
The vibration of the vacuuming will encourage newly hatched fleas to leave their sacs, which you can then remove the next time you vacuum.
There is a good chance that the larvae will remain since they can coil their bodies around the fiber.
Nevertheless, vacuuming will get rid of some of the fleas and increase your chances of success moving forward.
Just make sure that you vacuum up a tablespoon of cornstarch during this step. Doing this will ensure that the fleas that end up in the bag die.
Once done, seal the cleaner bag with a plastic bag and dispose of it properly. If you have an empty type vacuum, take out the trash. Make sure to seal the trash bag.
Step 2: Steam clean your carpet.
Steam cleaners deliver pressurized, high-temperature steam at 200 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some professional steam cleaner models are even capable of providing a higher temperature of steam.
In other words, it can make short work of a flea colony and help you solve a frustrating flea infestation.
For reference, adult fleas will die within two days if the temperature exceeds 95 degrees Fahrenheit and the humidity is below 75%.
A deposit of flea eggs is a bit more resistant and able to tolerate temperatures of up to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
The key is to use the equipment as recommended by the manufacturer.
The good thing is that steam cleaners are fairly easy to use. Simply fill the water tank, plug the device in, wait for it to heat up, and you are good to go.
Most brands provide an array of attachments, which means you can clean virtually any surface.
One thing you should remember is that steam cleaning can dramatically reduce the activity of insecticides.
So, if you are considering an insecticide treatment, make sure you do it after steam cleaning.
Wait till the carpet is dry before applying an insecticide. What type of carpet you have will affect the dry time after steam cleaning.
Other Ways To Free Your Carpet From Fleas
Steam cleaning is one of the most effective techniques for killing fleas. However, it is only one part of a robust indoor pest control strategy.
There are many other ways to prevent a continuous flea infestation.
Aside from regular vacuuming, you could set up a flea trap by filling a small bowl with water and adding some dish soap.
Place a lamp next to it to lure the fleas.
Another option is to use an aerosol insecticide spray. Do not use carbamate insecticide, as it might leave a stain on your carpet.
If you have a pet, limit it to a single bed and clean this regularly to prevent the multiplication of fleas.
You could also feed your pet vitamin B1 to discourse fleas from feeding on them.
The Importance of a Comprehensive Flea Control Strategy
Steam cleaning is an effective control strategy for a flea colony.
It delivers hot, pressurized steam that can kill adults and some eggs on contact.
However, it is important to integrate other methods for a more comprehensive approach.
Doing this will help ensure that fleas will not disrupt your way of life.