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Do flea combs get rid of eggs?

Flea infestations can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and difficult to get rid of. A common question for pet owners dealing with fleas is whether using a flea comb can help get rid of flea eggs. Flea combs are specialized fine-toothed combs designed to help remove fleas and eggs from an animal’s fur. But do they really help eliminate flea eggs and control an infestation? Here is a look at how flea combs work and their effectiveness against flea eggs.

How flea combs work

Flea combs have tightly spaced, fine teeth that allow them to comb through an animal’s fur and trap fleas and flea eggs near the base of the hairs. The spacing between the comb’s teeth is narrow enough to catch fleas, but wide enough to not catch or pull on the animal’s fur.

To use a flea comb:

  • Brush the animal’s fur first with a regular brush to remove dead hair and tangles.
  • Wet the comb and work in small sections, combing against the fur’s growth pattern.
  • Dip the flea comb in a bowl of soapy water periodically to collect and drown any fleas or eggs caught in the teeth.
  • Rinse and replace the soapy water frequently.
  • Comb the entire animal, including the head, neck, legs, tail, and belly.
  • Pay close attention to areas around the neck, base of the tail, and groin where fleas often congregate.

The fine teeth of the flea comb are able to catch adult fleas and flea eggs in the animal’s fur as you comb. Dipping the comb in soapy water kills the live fleas and rinses debris from the comb. This thorough combing and soapy water treatment can help remove many fleas and eggs. However, the effectiveness depends on the severity of infestation and how diligently the combing is performed.

Are flea combs effective against eggs?

Flea combs can help remove some flea eggs from an animal’s fur during the grooming process. However, they have limited effectiveness for a few reasons:

  • Flea eggs can be hard to see – They are tiny, white, and blend into the animal’s fur, making it easy to miss some during combing.
  • Eggs may get stuck deep in the fur – Eggs can be laid close to the skin where the comb may not reach.
  • Not all eggs are removed – Studies show combs remove only about 34% of eggs present.
  • New eggs are constantly laid – Adult fleas remaining on the animal continue to lay more eggs, leading to ongoing infestation.

While flea combs can help reduce the number of eggs, they do not remove all eggs or address new eggs being laid. For severe infestations, flea combs alone are not adequate to combat the number of eggs and new eggs continuing to be produced.

Getting rid of flea eggs

To get rid of flea eggs more effectively, flea combs should be used along with other treatments. Some steps for attacking eggs include:

Use an insecticide product

Products like flea sprays, shampoos, collars, spot-on treatments, and oral medications that contain insecticides can kill adult fleas and also often contain compounds aimed at reducing eggs and larvae. For example, insect growth regulators prevent eggs and larvae from developing into adult fleas. But insecticides alone may not fully eliminate an infestation.

Treat the animal’s environment

In addition to treating pets, also use sprays and powders containing insecticides and insect growth regulators in the animal’s bedding, carpets, floors, and surroundings. This will help destroy eggs and developing fleas where pets spend time. Be sure to treat under furniture cushions and in cracks and corners.

Wash bedding

Wash the pet’s bedding regularly in hot, soapy water to remove eggs and kill any fleas or larvae.

Vacuum thoroughly

Use a vacuum on floors, carpets, furniture, and anywhere fleas could hide. Make sure to discard the vacuum bag afterwards to prevent re-infestation.

Maintain yard

Turf and shrubs can harbor flea eggs and developing fleas outdoors. Mow the lawn regularly, clear away leaf litter, and treat your yard with insecticides if necessary.

Continue combing

Keep using the flea comb regularly along with other treatments for thorough removal of new eggs. Combing once or twice per week is recommended. You may catch hatching adult fleas before they can reproduce.

Consistent, diligent treatment with insecticides and insect growth regulators, combined with thorough combing, vacuuming, washing, and yard maintenance will be the most effective approach against flea eggs. A flea comb can be a useful addition but is typically not sufficient on its own against a heavy infestation and ongoing egg laying.

When to call a professional

If you still see live fleas and signs of eggs after diligently combing, cleaning, and using insecticides for several weeks, the infestation may be out of control. At that point, contact a veterinarian or professional pest control company. They have access to stronger products and treatment methods. For severe infestations spreading to your home, professional extermination services may be needed to fully rid your house and yard of flea eggs and developing fleas.

Flea comb tips

Here are some tips for effective use of a flea comb:

Get a quality comb

Look for a metal flea comb with long, fine, closely spaced teeth. Avoid plastic combs which can snap. Choose smaller combs for cats and puppies.

Check sizing

Make sure teeth extend deep enough into fur to reach close to the skin where eggs may be.

Comb thoroughly

Work slowly and comb all areas multiple times. Comb with and against fur growth directions.

Use good technique

Hold comb at a 45 degree angle pressed gently against the skin to catch fleas and eggs near the base of hairs.

Rinse comb frequently

Dip comb in soapy water to drown fleas and keep debris from accumulating between the teeth.

Disinfect between uses

Soak comb in hot, soapy water between uses to kill any eggs that may stick.

Replace combs periodically

Get a new flea comb every couple of months since tiny gaps can develop between used teeth.

Combine with other treatments

Use flea combs along with veterinarian-recommended products for most effective egg removal.

How often should you use a flea comb?

For best results, flea combs should be used as follows:

  • Active infestation – Comb every day or at least several times per week.
  • Light infestation – Comb 2-3 times per week.
  • Preventive combing – Even if you don’t see fleas, comb weekly to catch any new fleas before they reproduce.
  • After applying flea medication – Comb within 24 hours to remove dead fleas and eggs.
  • Before bathing – Comb to concentrate eggs for removal by soapy water.
  • After bathing – Comb to catch any remaining live fleas.

More frequent combing is needed to help control existing infestations. But regular combing year-round can find fleas before they multiply and also removes debris and distributes oils for a healthy coat. Work flea combing into your regular grooming routine.

How to clean a flea comb

Flea combs should be cleaned frequently during each combing session and disinfected between uses.

To clean a flea comb:

  1. Dip the comb in soapy water to drown caught fleas and rinse away debris. This should be done every few strokes as you comb.
  2. Remove hair, flea dirt, and eggs caught between the teeth by running an old toothbrush over the comb teeth.
  3. Soak the comb in hot, soapy water to kill any remaining fleas and eggs. Let it soak 5-10 minutes.
  4. Rinse thoroughly.
  5. Allow to fully dry.

Also replace your flea combs periodically or if they become bent or damaged. Inferior combs may not catch and remove fleas and eggs effectively.

Flea comb vs. lice comb

Flea combs and lice combs have some similarities but also key differences:


  • Fine, close-together teeth
  • Designed to catch tiny bugs and eggs
  • Used with soapy water to kill caught bugs


Flea comb Lice comb
Teeth spaced slightly farther apart Teeth typically closer together
Made of metal Often plastic
Won’t pull on fur Can tug hair
Used on pets Used on humans

The finer, closer teeth of lice combs help remove nits which are cemented to the hair shaft. Flea comb teeth are spaced slightly farther apart to avoid pulling fur as they comb through thicker pet hair. Both combs are effective for their intended purposes.

Pros and cons of flea combs


  • Non-toxic and chemical-free
  • Removes adult fleas
  • Can help reduce flea eggs
  • Affordable option
  • Easy to find and purchase
  • Safe for regular use
  • Works on all animals
  • Can be used with other treatments
  • Grooms coat during use


  • Time consuming to comb thoroughly
  • Does not kill or remove all eggs
  • Not effective alone for severe infestations
  • Must be used frequently and repeatedly
  • Easy to miss spots while combing
  • Eggs hatch into new fleas rapidly
  • Can injure skin if pressed too hard
  • Pet may resist handling and combing

Flea combs are a helpful tool when used properly but have limits in their effectiveness against eliminating a major flea egg infestation. Work them into your flea removal strategy rather than relying solely on combing.


While flea combs can help reduce flea eggs by catching some in an animal’s fur, they do not remove all eggs or address ongoing egg laying from adult fleas. To tackle a flea infestation and flea eggs effectively, use flea combs frequently as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This should include veterinarian-recommended insecticides, thorough cleaning of the pet’s environment, washing and vacuuming, yard treatment, and combing on a regular schedule. Consistent combing combined with other steps can help gain control over flea eggs and eliminate an infestation for good. Be aware that severe infestations spreading into the home may require professional pest control treatment.