How to Get Rid of Fleas from Clothing | 6 Proven Tips


The worst experience in the world is to wear a piece of clothing after a few months and constantly feel itchy. More often than not, it is due to flea infestation that we don’t even realize has happened. Like most other parasitic insects, they are hard to get rid of; they multiply quickly and pose risks of spreading infections that they are carrying.

If you aren’t aware, fleas are parasitic insects that feed off of human and animal blood for their fix. They are pretty common in the United States and are typically found in areas with warmer climates. They reproduce very quickly in such areas and commonly infest indoors and in areas with pets.

9 out of 10 tens, your clothing acts as a protective barrier from the wrath of the flea bites. However, things get complicated if you have visited areas with flea infestation and not washed your clothes after coming back. The fleas are hardy and tend to spend most of their time on the surface of these clothes.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Skunks from your Garden?

In this article, we will discuss the basic understanding of fleas in clothing and how to get rid of fleas in clothing.

Are Fleas Strong Enough to Bite Through Clothing?

This matters on the kind of clothing you are wearing. If you are wearing tougher material apparel like denim, the fleas might have difficulty penetrating through the fabric to bite the individual wearing it. 

However, if you wear lighter fabrics like stockings, flimsy see-through fabric, or skin-tight fabrics, there is a 100% chance that fleas will bite through the clothing material. Also, crocheted fabrics like sweaters and cardigans that have empty spaces in between can give flea entry to the skin.

The reason why fleas are often found on clothing is because of the grip it provides. Since skin has a smoother texture, fleas often find it difficult to latch onto the skin directly for longer periods. Instead, they latch onto the fabric, stay on it for some time and then try to navigate through to find an open patch of skin they can suck blood from.

Can Fleas Live Indoors?

Fleas can’t fly. However, they can latch onto anything that they find moving around. So, not just on your clothes, fleas can hitch a ride into your house with your pets too. If the fleas are latched onto your clothing that you have left behind and haven’t worn in days, then the fleas have a relatively shorter lifespan indoors. 

Without sucking on the blood, the fleas tend to live for a few days. However, the flea pupae can live indoors for a comparatively longer period. Fleas rely on warmth and carbon dioxide sources, so if you provide them with those ideal living conditions, they can live longer than you’d anticipate.

With the right living conditions, a flea can sustain itself indoors for up to 100 days. The insects rely on the blood to reproduce.

List of Ways to Get Rid of Fleas from Clothing

Experiencing any kind of flea infestation in the house, clothing, or even in your pets is not ideal. Not only does it impose risks of infections, but it also causes issues with one’s health in the long run.

Keep in mind that the fleas on your clothing can come from multiple sources. It can be from a crowded and forested area you visited, or it can come from your pets too.

That said, here’s what you can do to ensure that you get rid of the fleas from your clothing for good.

1. Start by Looking at Your Pet

Sometimes, one of the most common entry points of fleas into your house is through your pets. They cling into the fur of your pets, sucking out their blood and sometimes hopping out and crawling into your clothes to gain access to your skin too.

So, the best way to get rid of them is to check your pets for flea infestation. Since the pet’s fur is quite warm, it provides the flea with an optimal living condition, one that they don’t want to get over with. The best way to get rid of it is by bathing your pet in a flea-resistant shampoo and ensuring that you check them for similar infestations.

2. Use Bleach Mixed with Water

Washing your clothes with bleach and water can seem terrifying. Because, what if the cloth loses its color or, worse, it ends up getting damaged from the bleach? This is one of the few and effective ways to get rid of fleas in clothes. 

However, you need to ensure that you use this for clothes that can withstand bleach. Also, using diluted bleach with water is essential. The last thing you want is to use bleach on fabric types that lead to complete damage and make the color wear off.

Typically, if you use a bleach solution to wash your clothes, use one cup of chlorine-based bleach in 16 gallons of water. The strong chemical composition of the bleach effectively kills the fleas and disinfects the clothes too.

3. Use Max Washing Settings with Strong Detergent Soap

Another effective way to get rid of the fleas from your apparel is by throwing them in the washing machine at the max settings. The high-speed rotation paired with the strong chemicals from the soap is quite beneficial in removing the fleas from the clothes and even the bedding if you have any on them.

The water turbulence at the highest setting tends to generate heat in the machine, making it a lot easier for the fleas to be killed in the process. However, make sure that you don’t do this with gentle or delicate fabrics because the high washing settings will damage the fabric for good.

4. Clean the Yard

Besides treating your clothes, sometimes you need to nip the issue from the bud. The process isn’t as complicated, and you can achieve that by flea cleaning your yard. Since these parasitic insects tend to spend most of their time trying to scrounge through the yard looking for their victims to latch onto, cleaning the yard can get rid of their source of growth.

Also, while cleaning the yard, make sure you look for areas with stagnant water since those are the common breeding grounds for these insects. This is where the fleas tend to lay their eggs and multiply proficiently. 

While treating the backyard, use chemical repellents and spray them around the garden’s perimeter to prevent them from growing uncontrollably. 

5. Vacuum your House

Another easy and effective way to get rid of fleas from clothing is by vacuuming your house. If you have a carpeted floor in your home, it is a given that you need to thoroughly vacuum your house every time you enter it from outside. Typically, the fleas can enter through your shoes too.

So, make sure you clean out the carpets and steam vacuum the carpets every other day to ensure no remnants of the insect lying around. Vacuuming easily gets rid of the flea and the flea pupae for good.

6. Try the Natural Flea Repellents

If you aren’t necessarily fond of chemical-induced repellents, there are natural flea repellents that work equally well. You can effectively get rid of them using powders and sprays and even use natural repellents like borax powder to prevent them from infesting your home.

Sprinkling borax powder around the periphery of the house and even in the backyard and garden is quite beneficial in getting rid of the fleas in the long run. Just ensure that you don’t let kids or pets near that.

Getting rid of fleas from clothing can be a tough affair, especially if you don’t know how to do it. We hope this article gives you all the inputs on how to get rid of fleas in clothes and prevent them from re-emerging. Also, if nothing is working out for you and the infestation is getting worse, contacting professional pest management is your last resort.

Also read: How to Get Rid of Carpet Beetles from Home?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Can Fleas Live on Clothes?

If the flea can’t feed on the humans for extended periods after being on the clothes, they can hardly live for a few days. Typically, they need any type of parasitic correlation to be able to live comfortably. They can live for around 24 hours with a lack of blood sources.

What Kills Fleas in the Laundry?

The use of hot and soapy water is quite useful in getting rid of the fleas from the clothing. Also, a high-speed washing setting works well too.

What Kills Fleas in Pets Instantly?

If you want to kill the fleas instantly from your pets for good, the best way to do that is by using Nitenpyram. It is safe for pets and doesn’t harm them in any way.

By James Edwards

James Edwards is a writer & editor with almost 15 years of experience from Murphys, California. He earned his bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University.

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