5 Ways Fleas Get Into A House And What To Do About House Fleas

by | Fleas, Insects

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If you’re finding fleas or signs of fleas in your home, you’re probably wondering how these fleas got there (especially if you don’t have pets!). There are many ways that fleas get into a house…

Fleas get into a house as eggs or adult fleas. Eggs are dropped in a house by animals or pets that have fleas. Adult fleas come in through gaps in the walls, in floors, under doors, and around windows, or through open windows or doors. Sometimes fleas and/or eggs are brought in on objects or clothes.

Knowing how fleas are getting in will help you to stop them from coming in and give you a better idea of how to get rid of a flea problem because you’ll know where to look for fleas.

By the end of this article, you’ll:

  • Have a list of the 5 ways fleas could be getting into your house
  • Know how to get rid of fleas in the house

How fleas get into a house

Fleas can enter your home in different ways. Below is a list of the 5 most common ways fleas get into a house:

On pre-loved furniture, carpets, rugs, upholstery

All fleas go through a lifecycle:

  1. Eggs that are small, white, and oval in shape
  2. Larvae, which hatch from the eggs and look like white worms
  3. Pupae, which are cocoons that cover the larvae while the larvae turn into adult fleas
  4. Adult fleas
Illustration showing the flea life cycle
All fleas go through four stages in their life cycle, but fleas come into a house as eggs or adults.

If fleas are in a house, they often live in the furniture, carpets, rugs, drapes, and other fabric items. They could even be hiding in wood furniture. And that’s not only adult fleas – there might be eggs, larvae, and/or pupae living there too.

If you buy second-hand items, bring something in from off the street, or are gifted something that has fleas living in it, then you are bringing fleas into the house.

Pre-loved furniture is also a common way to bring in bed bugs. If you’re not sure if you have fleas or bed bugs, click here to find out how to tell the difference.

On pets

Most fleas come into a house by hiding on pets. Pets might pick up fleas outside, perhaps in a yard, from other animals, or in a public park. When a pet walks close enough to a flea, the flea jumps onto the animal and hides in its fur.

The flea soon starts sucking the animal’s blood and lays eggs. These eggs are dry and loose, so they don’t stick to the animal’s skin or fur. When the animal goes into a house and walks around, shakes itself, or rolls around in its sleep, the eggs drop off and larvae later hatch from the flea eggs.

Fleas can be brought in by your own pets or by anyone’s pets who come to visit you and are allowed in your yard or house.

On wild animals

The most common fleas in houses are cat fleas and dog fleas, but these fleas don’t live only on cats or dogs – they live on many different animals such as mice, rats, raccoons, opposums, squirrels, skunks, bats, and others.

If a wild animal with fleas comes into your house, such as in your roof, attic, or crawl space, flea eggs may drop in the area and soon hatch.

By hiding in clothes

Fleas don’t live on or in clothes for two reasons:

  1. Fleas need to suck blood from a host to live and breed, and clothes don’t have any blood.
  2. Fleas like to hide in an animal’s fur for protection. Clothes are much smoother than animal fur and don’t hide fleas like fur does.

Even though fleas don’t like to live in clothes, they might still jump onto a person’s shoes, socks, pants, or shorts, and hold on until that person goes indoors. When fleas jump onto someone, the first thing they do is look for a dark place to hide – and they often find this in clothing seams, inside socks or shoes, or in the legs of pants.

In the house, fleas might continue hiding on the person’s clothes or drop to the floor and live in floorboards or on furniture until an animal walks past. As soon as an animal comes within 13 inches (33 cm) of the fleas, the fleas jump onto the animal and start sucking its blood.

Through openings in and around the house

Fleas are opportunistic and often walk or jump into a house through open windows or doors.

Because fleas are so small at less than an inch long (2 – 4 mm), they can easily squeeze through tiny cracks in floors, walls, or around windows to enter a home. They also come in through gaps under doors.

Photo of a flea with labels on traits of a flea for identification
Fleas are tiny, which makes it possible for them to crawl through very small openings and gaps in houses.

Once fleas are in your house, they may be able to travel from room to room. Click here to find out how fleas spread (and how to stop them).

How to get rid of fleas in your house

Below is a list of the best methods and products from Amazon to get rid of fleas in your home:

  • Keep windows and doors shut, at least until you can get rid of the fleas.
  • Don’t bring home any second-hand goods, such as drapes, sofas, bedding, rugs, etc. If you do want to bring something home, inspect it carefully for signs of fleas and wash it on the hottest setting possible, if it’s washable.
  • Stop all wild animals, such as squirrels, rats, opposums, etc. from entering your house. If you’ve tried to stop them and are not having any luck, call in a professional pest removal company to help you.
  • Sprinkle flea powder, like this one, in the cracks and crevices of floorboards, cracks in tiles, and in carpets and rugs in your house. This powder should be left for 24 hours to kill live fleas and their eggs.
  • Vacuum the area, including the floorboards, trims, carpet, furniture, and drapes. Make sure to vacuum in the corners and under all furniture. Once vacuuming is done, seal and dispose of the vacuum bag so you don’t spread fleas to other rooms. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning a bagless vacuum cleaner.
  • Mop floorboards and tiles with soapy water and a damp mop – you can try using this homemade dish soap solution that kills fleas and other pests. If possible, use a disposable mop head that you can seal and throw away after.
  • Treat all pets for fleas using products recommended by your vet. This may include a:
  • Don’t let anyone bring their pet over to visit you, or at least check with the owner first to make sure the pet does not have fleas.
  • Find an indoor spray that kills all stages of the flea life cycle and is made from natural ingredients that are safe for the family – here’s a home spray that works. Spray it directly onto floors, pet bedding, leashes, furniture, carpets, rugs, and anywhere else you want to kill or prevent fleas. Move furniture and spray areas where the furniture normally sits.
  • Replace or seal cracks and gaps in tiles, walls, and between wood floor boards to stop fleas from settling there again. Use draft stoppers to seal gaps under doors that open to the outside, which fleas might be crawling under to get in.

I'm Monique. I love gardening and spending time in my backyard growing things. Here's where I share what I know about backyard pests and what to do about them, so you can enjoy your yard too.

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Monique loves gardening and spending time in her backyard, where she grows flowers, succulents, herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Monique spends a lot of time researching how to protect her backyard from harmful pests and trying to attract beneficial insects and animals.

She shares everything that she learns and tests here at Backyard Pests.


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