Does rubbing alcohol kill fleas?

Dave Campbell

Fleas are small parasitic insects which are fortunately incapable of taking flight, but they can jump really high. To survive, a flea feeds off a mammal or bird’s blood once it has successfully managed to gain access to its host usually through the skin. Once the flea has made contact with the skin, it is capable of moving through the host’s fur or feathers because of its long and flattened body. Fleas are brown and have extremely strong claws which makes them really difficult to just dislodge. They develop in a 4 stage lifecycle. From an egg, then larvae, a pupa, and finally an adult flea which can only start reproducing once it has had its first bite of blood. Adult fleas can lay more than 5000 eggs in the span of their life, so you definitely want to get rid of this insect.

How can fleas affect my pet?

You know how you have hands to easily and gently scratch yourself anywhere when you itch? Dogs and cats have paws with claws and rough surfaces to use which may lead to scratches and sores. And since flea bites can be painful and itchy, this seems unavoidable, especially when pets go berserk on the itching. Fleas can consume large volumes of blood, thus a flea infestation can severely drain large amounts of blood from your pets leading to anaemia due to reduced red blood cells. This will show if your pet starts exhibiting symptoms like pale gums and a lack of energy. Some pets can even develop allergies to fleas which may lead to extreme itches, hair loss in the affected areas, and red skin as well. Since fleas also carry tapeworms, grooming activities from your pets could lead to them ingesting these.

There are many ways of getting rid of fleas, some are more suitable than others. In the remainder of this post, we focus on using rubbing alcohol as a way to get rid of them and some other methods are discussed as well.

Where do fleas come from?

It doesn’t take much too many fleas to produce an infestation. Though they cannot reproduce before they have eaten after transforming from a pupa to an adult flea, they can survive for long periods without having eaten and when they have, the female flea can deposit 20 to 50 eggs each day. Most fleas come from other pets and some linger quietly in the environment. Outside, they tend to hide in bushes or near long grass waiting for a potential host to colonise as it passes by. Indoors, fleas can hide in curtains, carpets, cracks in wooden floors, upholstered furniture and even your bed.

What kills fleas instantly in the house?

To reduce chances of your pet being infested with these little critters, consider taking the following actions, in and around the house:

Tender to your garden regularly; mow the lawn, remove weeds, fallen leaves and debris. You can also spray your garden with diatomaceous earth, which is a natural flea killer or plant flea repellent plants like peppermint, spearmint, lavender or rosemary which are safe for humans, but unpleasant for fleas.

Vacuum around the house every day.

Wash bedding every two days.

Steam clean upholstered furniture and curtains regularly.

You may also consider using a flea spray around your house, though this may just send them into hiding, or leave out fleas that are already in hiding. It also leaves an unwelcomed residue that isn’t good for people or pets.

picture of rubbing alcohol

Will alcohol kill fleas?

Rubbing alcohol is a well-known disinfectant and it makes sense for one to assume that it may work well against fleas on pets. Some commercially available flea sprays for pets do contain alcohol, but usually in small quantities, and the method of delivery is also limiting. But does alcohol kill fleas? It is certainly true, that dropping a flea in rubbing alcohol will kill it. This, however, doesn’t necessarily mean it is safe to use on your pet.

Can I use rubbing alcohol on my pets?

Rubbing alcohol can be toxic to your pets; dogs and cats alike. According to Healthline, it easily gets absorbed through your pet’s skin which could lead to alcohol poisoning. Symptoms of alcohol poisoning can manifest themselves within 30 minutes of ingestion. Some of the symptoms of alcohol poisoning in pets are vomiting, diarrhoea, shaking and shortness of breath. Rubbing alcohol is also generally flammable and it thus poses a fire hazard, so you do not want to spray or apply it on your pet’s skin. It is then therefore ideal to not use rubbing alcohol on your dog or cat to kill fleas, and below we discuss other alternatives. In fact, if you have just removed fleas from your pets and would like to kill them, it’s probably more ideal to just throw them in very hot water; this is probably the most ideal flea killer home remedy. Drowning fleas in water though, is very difficult, to guarantee certain death, one would have to wait for close to 24 hours.

What can I use to remove fleas on my pets?

Natural and easy remedies.

One of the easiest, most affectionate things you can do to remove fleas from your pet is to use a flea comb which is designed to brush through your pet’s hair but pick up on fleas as it moves along. This will work quite well for a flea infestation. Make sure to do this outside and on focus areas that they are most likely to hide like the neck area and the base of the tail. While doing this, you can dispose of them in hot soapy water so make sure to keep it nearby as you brush.

Give your pet a warm bath with mild soap to help get fleas off their skin. Using any other abrasive or harsh chemical product may harm your dog if there are open wounds or allergic reactions to them so consult with a vet beforehand.

One natural remedy is a lemon bath. Just simply dilute half a cup of lemon juice into two cups of water and mix it into your standard dog or cat bathing solution with gentle soap.

Diluting apple cider vinegar or vinegar in your dog’s drinking water can also be helpful in fighting and preventing fleas from the inside. Pet owners can use a ratio of one teaspoon of vinegar or apple cider vinegar to four cups of drinking water. Make sure your dog doesn’t hate the taste though beforehand.

With your dog, you can add small portions like a few drops of garlic oil to their food or use one or two garlic capsules. Be sure to not overdo it because your dog may not react that well to garlic and cats are definitely sensitive to it.

You can also mop your floor with natural solutions guaranteed to repel adult fleas. One thing you can make is a mixture of essential oils (1/2 teaspoon), 4 cups of warm water, and 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. If you have a cat, you should also be careful with these solutions because cats aren’t too fond of the smell of essential oils. Examples of essential oils you can use in the mop solution are:





sweet orange





or geranium

At the end of the day, prevention is always better than cure, so make sure to always keep your house tidy and neat. Regularly clean on all surfaces and under furniture. Regularly attend to your garden and get rid of debris and leaves and wash your dogs and cats on a regular basis in warm soapy water. Above these basic measures, of course, one can always make use of the natural remedies suggested and visiting your pet’s vet is never a bad idea.


Related posts:

How to get rid of fleas

Dave Campbell

I'm Dave Campbell and the owner of You can read more about me and my background on my About Me page.

Recent Posts

Dead Pestz