Can Fleas Live in Clothes? The Itchy Truth Behind Fleas Infesting Clothes

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Having mysterious bites on your body can lead to speculations of some type of insect hiding there. One pest that might pop into your mind is the flea. However, since we already know that bed bugs don’t have the ability to make our clothes their home, it makes us wonder, are fleas any different? Can fleas live in clothes?

These bugs can live in fur, so it would make sense for them to live in clothes too. Well, here are some details that might surprise you.

Can Fleas Live in Clothes? The Itchy Truth Behind Fleas Infesting Clothes

Clothes can’t give fleas the environment they need to survive.

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Fleas can’t live in clothes

Generally, animal fleas don’t reside in clothes. According to Flea Science, aside from the fact that they don’t like to leave their hosts, these bugs don’t stay on human bodies for long periods of time. Once they’ve had their fill of blood, they jump off from their human host to find a better spot in the house. So they definitely don’t lay their eggs in what we wear.

Fleas can, however, occasionally hide inside the seams of our clothing. But that only happens when their meals are interrupted. The longest time that a flea can stay in your clothes is 24 hours.

Additionally, these bugs prefer to live in environments with a stable supply of moisture and humidity. Something that clothes just can’t support. Instead, fleas stay in our carpets, rugs or even in the pile of leaves left outside.

How to Remove Fleas from Clothes

Though it’s reassuring to know that fleas don’t stay in what we wear, it doesn’t diminish the fact that the same insects can still attack humans and hide out in our clothes for a couple of hours.

Waiting for the time to pass and for fleas to get off can be unbearable. So here are some things you can do to remedy the situation:

Wash your clothes a few times with warm water

Take off your clothes and put it directly into the wash. Putting the infested clothing in a laundry bin could set the fleas free to transfer into other places of the house.

Wash your clothes a few times. Set your machine to the highest temperature and to the longest wash cycle. This will absolutely get rid of the fleas stuck in the seams of your shirts and pants.

Use pine oil and other disinfectants

Use detergents with antimicrobial substances in them. For, pine oil and phenolic disinfectants work well. All you have to do is load 1/2 to 1 cup of any of those cleaning agents into your machine, and let them do their job. You’ll get fresh flea-free clothes after that.



For white clothes and extreme cases, bleaching may be the way to go. As with most insects, fleas die when exposed directly to bleach.

Dilute the bleach with water in a basin, and soak your clothes into it. Cover the basin so fleas won’t be able to escape (in rare cases that they’d be lucky enough to survive the initial soaking and jump back up).

So, can fleas live in clothes? Of course not. Posts about them laying eggs and having larvae on human clothes are either myths or special rare cases. These bugs have specific preferences when it comes to where they should live. And knowing these preferences will help you find and treat the most vulnerable places in your house.

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