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What naturally kills fleas on furniture?

Getting rid of fleas in your home can be a frustrating process, especially when they’ve infested your furniture. While chemical pesticides may seem like the quickest solution, exposing yourself and your family to the toxic residues they leave behind carries risks. There are several effective, non-toxic methods to naturally kill fleas and their eggs on furniture without using harsh chemicals.

Vacuuming Thoroughly

One of the first steps in any natural flea removal process is vacuuming thoroughly. This helps remove adult fleas, larvae, eggs, and flea dirt from infested furniture. Focus on areas where your pets sleep or rest, under and around cushions, and in crevices or seams. Use a vacuum with a hose attachment to reach into cracks and crevices.

To ensure you remove all life stages, vacuum daily and immediately dispose of the vacuum bag afterwards. You may also want to tape it shut to prevent any living fleas from escaping back into your home. For an added measure of protection, you can put some flea powder or diatomaceous earth in the vacuum canister and bag.

Heat Treatment

Fleas, larvae, and eggs cannot withstand temperatures above 95°F. Using heat is an effective, chemical-free way to kill fleas on furniture.

There are several heat treatment options:

  • Use a professional steamer on upholstered furniture, allowing the steam to penetrate fabrics for 20 seconds.
  • Rent a heating chamber and place small furniture items inside to raise the temperature high enough to kill all life stages.
  • Hire a professional heat treatment service to come steam clean your infested furniture.

Take care with heat around leather, wood, or delicate antiques. Start on a low setting and monitor the effects.

Diatomaceous Earth

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural mineral dust that can eliminate fleas in your home. It is abrasive and absorbs oils and fats from insects’ exoskeletons, causing dehydration and death. DE is non-toxic for humans and pets.

To use on furniture:

  1. Remove cushions and pillows to expose all crevices and seams.
  2. Wearing gloves, use a hand duster to apply a fine layer of DE across all surfaces, regularly shaking the duster to release the dust.
  3. Leave DE on for at least 2-3 hours before vacuuming up any visible excess.
  4. Reapply weekly until infestation is gone.

Borate Powder

Borate powders contain low concentrations of borax or boric acid that are toxic to fleas but safe for humans and pets. The fine particles penetrate deep into furniture fibers, cracks, and corners. Fleas ingest it when grooming, slowly poisoning them to death.

Follow a similar process as with DE by applying a fine layer across all furniture surfaces, allowing it to sit for a few hours, and then vacuuming up any visible excess. Reapply regularly until all signs of infestation are gone.

Essential Oils

Natural essential oils like cedarwood, lavender, peppermint, citrus oils, and others have insecticidal, repellent effects against fleas. They can be used alone or blended together into a spray.

To make a homemade essential oil flea spray:

  • Fill a spray bottle 3⁄4 full with water.
  • Add 30-50 drops of your chosen essential oil(s).
  • Top off with more water, shake well, and spray onto furniture.

Focus on carpets, pet beds, floor and furniture cracks, and anywhere fleas are seen. Reapply daily until fleas are gone. Spot test oils first, as they may stain certain fabrics or finishes.


Beneficial nematodes are microscopic worms that attack and kill immature flea life stages in carpets, pet beds, and other infested areas. Once introduced, they seek out and infect flea larvae and eggs with deadly bacteria.

Follow package instructions for mixing and applying nematodes. Vacuum before and after use. They require high humidity levels to work well, so mist areas with water if your home is very dry.

Flea Traps

Traps lure adult fleas in with light, warmth, and/or vibrations that mimic a host. Once inside, fleas become trapped on sticky boards or are unable to escape.

Place several around infested furniture. Traps alone will not eliminate a major flea problem but help capture some adults to reduce the population.


Killing fleas naturally takes patience but can be done without toxic chemicals. Focus on frequent vacuuming and safe but effective treatments like heat, diatomaceous earth, borate powders, essential oils, nematodes, and traps. Integrating several methods at once increases success. Reach out to a professional exterminator if natural options have not resolved a severe infestation.