9 Home Remedies for Fleas and Ticks That Actually Don t Work

1. Dish Detergent

Many people use dish detergent as a home remedy for fleas, but it s not effective enough. Dog and cat skin has a different pH level than human skin, and using dish detergent can dry out and irritate their skin.

2. Baking Soda

Baking soda does not kill adult fleas and does nothing to protect your pets. Though it s great at absorbing smells and has been suggested for drying out flea eggs and larvae, there is no evidence to support its effectiveness.

3. Garlic

Some home remedies suggest garlic, especially mixed with brewer's yeast, will repel fleas. The theory is that garlic s scent, emitted through a dog s sweat, makes them unappealing to fleas.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Using apple cider vinegar to kill fleas is not recommended. Forcing your pet to drink vinegar or spraying it on them will not repel fleas and ticks. It is unsafe for pets to consume, and they may ingest it by licking themselves or their bedding.

5. Alcohol

Alcohol can kill fleas only if they are submerged in it. Picking fleas off one by one and dropping them into a container filled with alcohol is not effective flea control. Never pour or spray alcohol on your pet, as it can harm them.

6. Cedar Oil

Cedar oil may repel some bugs, but it can be very irritating to a pet s skin. Dr. Hutchinson advises against using it. Even if not applied directly, cedar oil can cause skin problems

7. Tea Tree Oil

Like cedar oil, tea tree oil should never be used as a home remedy for fleas. Pure tea tree oil is highly toxic to dogs and cats, and even small amounts (10-20 milliliters) can be fatal.

8. Salt

Using salt to kill fleas is both dangerous and ineffective. The amount needed to kill flea eggs and larvae would be toxic if ingested or inhaled by pets. You would need an impractical amount of salt throughout your home to eliminate.

9. Boric Acid (Borax)

Boric acid, found in some flea powders, can kill flea larvae in carpets or rugs, but it s not effective against adult fleas, flea eggs, or flea pupae.