Vacuuming Fleas – The Benefits and the Drawbacks

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When fleas are around, the homeowner’s first line of defence is the humble vacuum cleaner. But not many realize how vacuuming fleas really work. There might be a lot of perks to using it, but you’ll also encounter snags along that way. Here’s what you should know about this famous flea killer.

Vacuuming Fleas – The Benefits and the Drawbacks

A vacuum cleaner can do wonders to a flea infestation. CC Image courtesy of Jessica Spengler on Flickr

The Benefits of Using a Vacuum

Vacuuming is one of the most common treatments for fleas. That’s because it doesn’t cost a thing, and it’s very accessible. All you have to do it roll it out of your cleaning closet, and you’re set.

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But in case you’re still trying to make up your mind whether vacuuming fleas is a good idea, here are some advantages that you should know:

  • It works on all surfaces. Whether it’s a hardwood floor or a carpet, a vacuum cleaner’s suction can take away fleas on any surface without ruining it. So, you’ll be left with less to no fleas in your house without the threat of expensive repair bills and professional cleaning jobs for your floors.
  • It can get rid of flea eggs and larvae. Treatments like adhesives and dish soap and light traps can only kill adult fleas. And since more than 50% of this bug’s population is made up of eggs, larvae and pupas, these traps won’t do you any good if they’re used on their own. Vacuums can easily suck in the eggs, larvae and pupas from where they’re hiding since they don’t have sticky substances that help them cling to something. Just remember to go through areas multiple times when vacuuming.
  • Vacuums force newly matured fleas to jump out of their cocoons. New adult fleas don’t automatically get out from their cocoon shells. They wait for vibrations or carbon dioxide from a nearby host before they jump out. Luckily, vibrations caused by vacuums can trick these fleas into getting out, increasing the number of fleas you can kill.
  • You can use it with several other treatments. This maybe the vacuum’s greatest advantage overall. Vacuum cleaning is usually treated as just the first step to other treatments like the boric acid method or the diatomaceous earth treatment.​

The Drawbacks of Vacuuming Fleas


No pest treatment is immune to disadvantages. Vacuum cleaning may be very accessible with a lot of advantages under its belt, but it’s got some bad sides too.

For us, we identified two. Here are the most troublesome things you will have to deal with when vacuuming fleas.

  • It needs a lot of time and energy. We’re not kidding. Vacuuming to get rid of fleas actually takes commitment. For most homeowners, pest treatments typically means dealing with an infestation once, and moving on with our lives once it’s over. But with vacuums, you have to turn this particular flea killing method into a daily habit (or at least 3 times a week) if you want it to yield good results. You don’t want fleas to multiply faster than you can suck them in.​
  • Vacuuming alone won’t get rid of all the fleas. Vacuuming’s greatest advantage is also a double-edged sword. You can’t use vacuums alone unless you’re dealing with a pretty minor infestation. Otherwise, you should always pair it with at least one other treatment. And if there isn’t any available, then that’s going to be a problem.

Bonus: How to Properly Use Your Vacuum for Fleas

As a bonus portion for this article, we’re going to show you how you should vacuum for fleas. It’s not as recklessly easy as moving back and forth with your machine. There are some important things that could decide whether this method will work for you or not.

  • Vacuum very nook and cranny. Leaving out even just a couple of inches untouched by the vacuum is equivalent to giving fleas a window to survive and multiply.
  • Don’t transfer the furniture. Resist the temptation of transferring your furniture out of the room that’s being treated. Some of the fleas may have already started living in them, so you’ll be spreading them around if you transfer some furniture to another room.
  • Run the vacuum for a good 3 to 5 minutes before stopping. Here’s a good tip. After you’re done, run the vacuum for a just a couple of minutes to make sure that all the fleas stuck somewhere in the nozzle and ridges of the hose are all sucked in.
  • Seal the vacuum bag tightly. Always seal the bag tightly after vacuuming. This prevents live fleas from making their way out.
  • Get rid of the bag immediately. Don’t give the fleas any time to escape. Throw the back immediately after treating a room.
  • Clean your vacuum. Finally, it’s all about making sure that no flea survived after the vacuum treatment. So check for stragglers and clean your machine every now and then.

There’s no doubt that vacuuming fleas can work. It just needs the right timing and the right commitment to make it work. Using vacuums may be great for your family’s budget, but you really have to put in the effort to get rid of all your flea problems in the house.

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