Fleas are everywhere. Some live on your pet where they lay eggs until they die. Most, however, live in our floors, backyards, fixtures, bedding, upholstery, and even the carpet where our pets frequently stay. One of the most important ways to effectively rid your home of these ectoparasites is by cleaning and treating the whole house. You can start with these 6 best flea carpet sprays and powders you can easily apply onto your carpet to kill those pesky little jumpers before you start vacuuming them for more efficient disposal.
Best Flea Carpet Spray and Powders Buying Guide
It is easy to buy a flea carpet spray or powder from your local pet shop. But if you’re looking for something that is both safe and effective, then you really have to study carefully the product that you want to buy. Here are a few of the more common concerns that buyers of flea carpet sprays and powders have. Hopefully, these will help you determine the best product to use on your carpet and other items at home.
Can It Kill Fleas Immediately?
Depending on the active ingredient or ingredients used in the formulation of the flea carpet spray or powder, fleas can be killed almost instantly on contact. For example, those that contain pyrethrins can kill fleas almost immediately upon exposure since these ingredients produce seizures in the flea’s nervous system, causing death. Products that contain permethrin, a broad-spectrum insecticide, can also kill fleas immediately. Permethrin is also sprayed or embedded onto fabric to give clothes some form of insecticidal property especially against mosquitoes and ticks. Technically, if you use products that contain these chemicals, then you are most certainly guaranteed instant flea-killing effects.
However, if the product contains insect growth regulators like pyriproxifen, better known as the Nylar brand, and s-methoprene, you will not be able to kill fleas on contact. These insecticides exert their insecticidal activities by either adversely affecting the various hormonal systems involved in insect molting or preventing the synthesis of a crucial element in the insect’s exoskeleton. Technically, what these chemicals do is that they weaken the protective defenses of fleas and other insects so that they will be more susceptible to environmental factors such as temperature and humidity as well as on the activity of other insecticides.
Then there are also those that neither kill nor alter the growth of fleas. Instead, these chemicals emit a very strong scent or they produce an environment upon which fleas simply don’t want to go. These chemicals make such environments intolerable for fleas so they won’t go near such environments. These chemicals are better known as insect repellents.
How to Properly Use Flea Carpet Spray and Powders
Even before you start applying flea carpet sprays or powders it is often wise to make preparations first. Ideally you would want to clean the entire room that you are going to apply these flea products on. Make sure to use a vacuum cleaner that comes with a crevice tool attachment since what you would want is to remove flea larvae that typically hide in cracks, crevices, holes, gaps, and other areas where there is sufficient shade from light. Vacuuming can also remove flea eggs, pupae, and adults that may be present on your floor, upholstery, pet beddings, rugs, and carpets. Make sure to dispose of the vacuum bag immediately without having to empty its contents into another receptacle.
Once you’ve thoroughly cleaned the room, sprinkle flea powder across the surface of your carpet or even upholstery. Get a broom and lightly brush the surface of the carpet to allow powdered granules to reach the very bottom of the carpet pile. If you’re applying it in upholstery, make sure sprinkle powder into the corners as well as along creases and folds. These are the areas where fleas would normally hide.
Leave the application for at least 60 minutes, although for better results you may want to leave it untouched for the next 24 hours. After 60 minutes or 24 hours, whichever you are going to use, vacuum your carpet as well as any other surface that you sprinkled with the flea powder. This will remove excess powder that may be left on the superficial layers of your carpet or upholstery.
If you’re using flea carpet sprays make sure to shake the aerosol can thoroughly before application. Spray in an inconspicuous area of your carpet or upholstery to check first if the formulation will not react with the fabric. If it doesn’t, then you can proceed to spraying the rest of the item.
Position the nozzle of the aerosol spray some 2 to 3 feet away from the surface of the carpet. Make sure to move in a sideways direction avoiding oversaturating any given area. Keep in mind that you have to be methodical and systematic in your flea carpet spray application. Any missed area will significantly affect the overall effectiveness of the application. Leave the upholstery or carpet untouched for a few hours up to 24 hours before you can allow your pet to start using it again. This is to allow any residue from the chemicals used in the product to dissipate completely into the surrounding air.
Things to Consider Before Choosing a Flea Spray
Generally, even before you start choosing a flea spray or powder, there certain things that you really have to think about.
- Severity of Flea Infestation
It is important to determine if you have severe flea infestation or not. The reason why this is very important is because using flea powders or sprays alone will not really help you get rid of these pests that easily. You will require a more multi-faceted approach to controlling flea infestation. The use of flea sprays is only one aspect of flea control programs.
- Kill or Repel?
What do you want to achieve? Do you want to kill fleas across the various life stages? Or do you simply want to repel them? This is closely related to the severity of flea infestation in your home. If it is not really that severe and you only occasionally encounter fleas as a problem, then perhaps a flea repellent spray is a much better option than one that is an insecticide. But, if your problem is severe flea infestation, then you would want to kill as many fleas as possible.
- Availability of Other Means of Flea Control
Do you have other means of controlling fleas? Remember, using flea sprays also has its limits. Some of these products cannot be applied directly onto your pet. There are also other considerations such as if you have other pets that might be harmed during the spraying of the product. As such it is imperative that you explore other means of flea control.
- Natural or Synthetic?
There are products that contain only natural ingredients while most contain synthetic chemicals. Although safer, natural insecticides may not be as effective as synthetic chemicals. The reverse can be said of synthetics. They can be especially effective, but their safety profile may not be that sterling either.
- Health Status of Your Family
The main issue with flea sprays is that most contain synthetic chemicals. These are insecticides that you spray over surfaces that can have serious implications to your health or the health of your family such as those who are vulnerable to the development of respiratory and allergic conditions. Do study carefully the active ingredients listed in product labels so you’ll be better informed as to their effects on your and your family’s health.
- Does It Pose Any Health Risks?
All chemicals, whether it is naturally synthesized or manmade, can have adverse effects on those who are especially susceptible to such substances. Both humans and pets can show potentially dangerous reactions because of the use of products such as flea powders and sprays.
For example, permethrin is believed to have the potential to cause liver and lung cancer while also possibly disrupting endocrine function in susceptible animals. Its nerve-irritating activity can also produce tremors as well as the possibility of aggression in pets and learning difficulties.
Pyrethrin, on the other hand, is a very potent insecticide. While it is highly valued because of its unusually fast degradation in the environment, its unique chemical structure makes it particularly toxic to animals as well as humans. There have been reports of young children having been exposed to flea shampoos that contain pyrethrin which led to an asthmatic attack within 2.5 hours after pyrethrin exposure.
One needs to understand that these health risks are present because of the means by which these products are applied. These are either sprinkled or sprayed onto surfaces that we and our pets often use. It is good if we aren’t susceptible to such chemicals. But what if we weren’t?
Flea control requires a concerted effort that includes managing the environment upon which these pests can possibly hide. Such is the goal of using flea carpet sprays and powders. However, it is important to realize that this is just one aspect of flea control.