Salt For Fleas – Does It Really Work For Killing These Pests?

In addition to enhancing the flavor of your favorite meal, salt is a powerful and affordable way to kill those horrible, tiny, blood-sucking fleas in your home. It’s also widely available and completely safe. For these reasons, I personally recommend it for flea control. In this guide, I will teach you how to use it effectively (step by step) to get quick results.

  1. Does salt actually kill fleas and how does it go about doing it?
  2. How long does salt take to have an effect on the flea population?
  3. How can you use salt on your dogs or cats to get rid of fleas?
  4. How to eliminate fleas from your home using salt (carpets, etc.)?
  5. Can salt control fleas in the yard? (including a few other tips).

Does salt kill fleas and how does it do it?

Salt has been used for many centuries and in so many ways. It was such a valuable commodity in the past that it was even used as a currency and interestingly; the word salary comes from the word “salt”. Besides its use in cleaning products, deodorizers, toothpaste, exfoliators, etc, it is the dehydrating function of salt that is of great interest to us. Why?

Because one of the ways that salt is able to kill fleas – yes, salt does kill them – is to dehydrate their bodies. Sounds gross, I know, but think about how those fleas torment your pets! So, how does it work? Salt draws water out of the cells of an organism via the process of osmosis. Salt works by pulling the water from the organic layer, and if you add enough salt, too much water will be removed from the flea for it to stay alive.

The second reason why salt is so effective for flea control is the fact that it is has a crystalline structure, and this makes it very abrasive. This means that salt can penetrate through the hard exoskeleton of the resilient flea so that it can perform the dehydrating process.

How long does it take to actually work?

Bearing in mind that those dreadful fleas are going to meet their sticky – or should I say – their dry end – by being dehydrated, this will not happen instantaneously. It will take some time for this process to occur, and some factors will determine how quickly it works.

If the salt entirely covers the flea, it can meet its demise within an hour, whereas it can take several hours if it is merely in contact with the grains (e.g. if you rubbed it into the carpet).

With this in mind, when we are using salt for fleas, our goal is to always leave a residue of salt behind so that enough time passes for fleas to come into contact with it. I will cover this in more detail for specific pets and areas in your home later in this article.

How to use salt on your dog or cat to control fleas:

Salt is a safe, natural product that can be used on both cats and dogs, but too much of a good thing can be just that! If your dog or cat ingests large amounts of salt, it would be detrimental to his health. It can result in increased thirst and urination, and extreme cases can even result in sodium ion poisoning. Always be aware of any dangers that are present (even for natural products), so how do we use it safely?

Step 1: The first step is to prepare an area or container to dip your dog or cat. Instead of repeating the same information here, please take a moment to read my flea dips article on how to do it.

Step 2: Once that’s sorted, prepare a solution of one cup of salt to 33oz (1L) of lukewarm water. Unless you have a very small pet, it is likely that you will need to repeat this a couple times as the goal is to soak the fur completely).

Step 3: Before pouring it on your pet, please check your doggie or kitty for any scratches or raw patches on his skin, as you don’t want to cause your pet any discomfort. Once this is done, start pouring from his neck down to his tail, making sure that his coat is saturated to the skin.

Step 4: Wrap your pet up in a towel (if it’s small enough) or just use it to dry up most of the excess water and then let his coat air dry. The salt needs to dry before it starts to work, so leave it on for a couple hours.

Step 5: I recommend giving your pet a plain water rinse after leaving the dried salt residue on him for a couple hours. The salt will be very drying too for your pet’s skin, so you don’t want to leave it on for too long.

PRO TIP: If you want to make sure that your pet’s skin stays moisturized and you want to get some extra flea-zapping action, alternate your salt water dip with a coconut oil massage. Fleas are smothered by the oil, so if there are any pests left hanging around they will be obliterated, and your pet will be left with beautiful, moisturized skin.

PRO TIP: If you are thinking about applying the salt directly without water, I advise against it as the salt usually just falls off their coat (therefore rendering it useless for your pet). If you are determined to try it, please use a food processor to turn the salt into a fine powder before apply it. After about 2-3 hours, I recommend that you apply a bit of coconut oil to keep your pet’s skin moisturized.

PRO TIP: While salt is good for killing these pests, it won’t proactively keep them away in most cases. If you want to repel them and you have a dog, please consider using peppermint oil as they absolutely hate it. If you have a cat, there is an extensive list of alternatives in my essential oils for fleas article. As usual, I am always here to help if you get stuck, so let me know in the comments section.

Using salt to get rid of these pests from your home:

Using salt for sorting out fleas in your houseWe aren’t the only ones who like the feel of a warm, plush carpet under our feet or to sit on some comfy furniture. Those minute, ugly pests simply adore them. What better place for them, their eggs and their larvae to lie undisturbed and undetected – waiting to hatch out to infest your home.

Treating your carpets: As mentioned above, it is essential that you treat your carpets if you have any hope of breaking the life cycle of fleas that are infesting your home.

The first step is to make a sizeable homemade shaker out of a plastic container with a lid. Punch holes into the top, big enough to sprinkle the salt over your carpet. Fill up with salt and start shaking, making sure that the entire carpet is covered with a fine layer.

Now comes a little elbow grease. The second step is to brush the salt down into the carpet using a broom, making sure that the salt gets right down between the fibers. You will be leaving the salt in the carpet for at least twelve hours (preferably 24 hours).

Lastly, once this time has passed, vacuum up the salt and repeat these steps two more times with a two-week interval between each treatment. This will ensure that you catch any new fleas that might have otherwise continued the infestation. If the room isn’t used very often, you can leave the salt down for around 3-4 weeks before vacuuming it up, which means that you won’t need to repeat the entire process.

Treating your couches: These steps are pretty much the same as your carpets. Just make sure that you think about how you will suck up all the salt (before you start pouring it everywhere), otherwise it can be a bit of a nightmare to clean up afterward.

Speaking from personal experience, you might even get away with not treating them, just take 20 minutes or so to check if there are fleas on them. In the recent past, I had to deal with a fairly bad infestation and despite having to treat my pets and home, I didn’t worry about the couches and it didn’t result in the flea problem coming back. Just my 2 cents! 🙂

Treating wooden floors: If you see fleas jumping around on your wood floors, you may have various stages of the flea life cycle hiding where the planks join together, especially if there is some space between them.

With this in mind, our primary goal is to simply “drop” some granules into these joins, and doing that is as easy as covering the floor with some salt and using a soft brush to move it around. Personally, I just leave it like that, as I don’t see the harm in the salt remaining where it is, but feel free to vacuum it up after a couple weeks if you want to.

Treating your floor tiles: I must admit, I haven’t had a problem with fleas that I could nail down as being on my floor tiles, but since many people have asked, here is how you can use salt to kill fleas on them.

Simply mix about 3x cups of salt into a bucket of water and use a mop to distribute it. When it dries, you may see very fine granules of salt on the floor, but will act as a deterrent and kill any new fleas that the mopping process didn’t reach (they might have jumped away). I also want to point out that any soap will kill fleas, so as long as you are mopping your floors regularly, you probably don’t need to treat your tiles with salt.

PRO TIP: While you are going to all the trouble of treating your carpets, add some baking soda to your salt in equal quantities. Baking soda will add to the efficiency of your salt, and because it absorbs odors and dirt, it helps to keep your carpets fresh and clean. To read my in-depth article on how to use baking soda for fleas, please click on that link and let me know if you need help.

PRO TIP: You may prefer to grind your salt into a powder form in a blender (or coffee grinder) when using it to kill fleas in your carpets. I personally don’t think it makes any difference – and it might even be a little more difficult to vacuum it up – but use whichever way suits you. Either way, I highly recommend you give salt a try as it’s incredibly effective against fleas.

Can you use salt in the yard to get rid of fleas?

Salt can be used in the garden to combat a flea problemSalt has been used for decades, particularly in farming, to remove fleas from outdoor areas. Chicken runs, pigsties and even stables for horses were treated for fleas by putting salt on the ground and then wetting it. As the salt water dries, it removes the moisture, including the fluids inside fleas and other parasites – thereby killing them.

This documented proof that salt has been successfully used to clear outdoor spaces of fleas makes it plausible that we can use it in our yards to kill the blighters. A word of caution, though – water with high levels of sodium can destroy plants. In fact, a natural weed killer can be made using a potent mixture of table salt and water.

To avoid losing some prized plants in your enthusiasm to destroy fleas, use a salt water solution of one cup of salt to 33oz (1L) of water. Spray in and around dog kennels, any paved spaces, and sandy areas that don’t home your desirable plants. It will also help to clear out any piles of old logs and garden rubbish, as fleas often hide in these places.

PRO TIP: Although I have used this in the past (especially for areas without plants), I personally prefer to use beneficial nematodes in my yard. I am not saying that a salt solution is a lousy option for fighting fleas in the garden, I just find nematodes are a bit more effective. If you are interested in learning more, check out my article on this topic (link above) and let me know if you have questions.

A few more tips and my final words on this flea control method

This section contains some additional tips for you to review. I plan to add more when I discover them (after making sure that they are correct of course), so please let me know in the comments if you have anything to add to this article.

Remember that your pet will not benefit from ingesting salt. It is not poisonous, but just as you will get extremely thirsty if you eat a whole load of salty snacks, the same thing will happen to your pet, and this can cause various problems. Although I would still recommend that you keep an eye out to make sure that salt is not being licked up, also put out some fresh water for your furry friend (just in case).

In addition to your couches and floors, if you have a nasty infestation, it’s worth putting your bed linen, cushion covers, blankets (especially if your pet has been on them) in the washing machine. In this case, you don’t need to use salt, just the regular washing powder will do. I personally don’t think it is necessary to wash your curtains, as I have never found them to be a place where fleas try to hide.

So next time you are sprinkling a little salt on your dinner, just think about the amazing, desiccating ability of this crystalline substance and its effect on fleas. Thank you for reading this article, and I hope that I’ve been able to give you some ideas on how to use salt in your home and on your pets. If you have any suggestions or questions, I would love to hear from you.

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