How to Get Rid Of Fleas on Clothes and Bedding

Fleas hiding in clothes and bedding cause disastrous effects – like intense and annoying itching and may transmit diseases like Bubonic plague and Rickettsia prowazekii.

Fleas may live on clothing (dirty areas) for ~ 24 hours. But the critters cause flea bites, which many people are allergic to, and cause skin infections or blisters (pus-filled). 

The short answer on how to kill fleas in clothes and bedding –  detergent-launder the fabrics, heat-treatment, and turbulence produced by your washing machine will exterminate fleas, flea eggs, pupae, and larvae. 

See these flea sprays.

Details: How to Get Rid Of Fleas on Clothes and Bedding

1. Dawn Dish Soap for Killing fleas

Do fleas die in water? Generally, flea eggs and adult fleas won’t kill fleas – just like most insects eggs will survive underwater for days. Just taking your pet for some swim won’t kill fleas effectively.

But cleaning the pet using dawn dish soap mixture – the soap helps break the water’s surface tension – enabling the tiny fleas to sink and drown. Place a lamp near the water to attract fleas. 

  • Dawn will kill the bugs within five minutes – and thus you’ll be ready to rinse the clothes and bedding. For your pet, you may use a handheld showerhead or a cup of water to rinse the dawn soap. 

Further, if you thoroughly wet and lather the pet’s fur with dawn soap and flea comb, you’ll drown most of the files eggs. The soap mixture will destroy the bug’s exoskeletons leading to drowning. 

Wash all clothes & bedding for 10 minutes ( in cold water): 

  • Undertake routine washing and dry clothes and bedding. If there are clothes that can’t be washed but can be dried, then you’ll need to put them in the dryer and run it on a hot cycle for about 30 minutes – which will kill the fleas too. 

How to Get Rid of Fleas on Clothes and Bedding

  • Flea eggs and adults will not die easily when immersed in water. Fleas will survive in water for about seven days. Further, fleas will only drown in water after 24 hours when submerged as they sit on the water and not break water’s surface tension. Fleas have cuticles that are covered with wax, and hence its skin is non-wettable with water.  
  • However: Dish soap drops have surfactants that reduce water’s surface tension and hence make the flea sink in water and drown. Therefore, washing the fabric with your detergent for ~ 10 minutes would make adult fleas drown but not the pre-adult fleas
  • Flea eggs + larvae in your bedding and clothes will require the use of more rigorous laundry methods: This drives us to tactic #2… 

2. Max Washing Machine Settings + Soap 

Using a washing machine with water + soap will help remove fleas from your bedding and clothes. The water turbulence and heat plus that laundry detergent helps in exterminating the fleas.

  • The fleas in all the life stages are either exterminated during the washing process, or they’ll eventually end up in your drainage and sewer.

Also, any of the fleas or other insects that’ll remain in the initial stages of the washing will be killed by the machine’s or water turbulence and the heat. 

All you have to do is wash the clothing. The challenge is getting the right ingredients/ temperature and transporting the clothing and bedding to the laundry area (without dropping some fleas), either in your home or elsewhere.

Wash Clothing and bedding in Hot Water: 

  • Depending on the type of fabric: Cotton, Silk, Wool, etc… Wash the clothes in a washing machine or just hot water in a basin.
  • However, including a detergent (the mild-type) to the hot water. Check these vacuums for fleas
  • Adult fleas are exterminated at temperatures surpassing 35 °C (95°F) and when it is under 13°C (55.4°F). Also, Flea larvae will die in their cocoon at a temperature of over 35 °C. 
  • The mechanical action and the hot water in the washing machine would definitely dislodge the fleas from the clothes and beddings and send them down the drain. The flea adults, eggs, larvae, and pupae would not survive through the laundering & drying process.

3. Clean with Bleach Water

You can efficiently end the flea cycle on your bedding and clothes using bleach – you’ll exterminate both fleas and also adult fleas. Fleas jump off the get to the dark, moist, and warm places. 

You’ll find fleas hiding in the house where pets sleep and live. So, you’ll also need to bleach-clean the pet carrier and crates, floors, couches, and bed. 

  • Take the bleach and clean your nonporous surfaces like floors and crates or carriers – water plus bleach – put this in your spray bottle or also use some cleaning rag or paper towel. 

Wipe the surfaces upon applying the bleach water – you may through the fabrics into your washer with bleach – as opposed to just using the regular detergent. 

Check the bleach bottle instructions to know the amount to use on your bedding and clothes – depending on the load. Also, use bleach that’s color-safe to protect all colored fabrics. 

  • For safety, ensure pets and humans (including kids) won’t ingest the bleach as it’s harmful.
  • Vets recommend keeping kids and pets away from bleach-treated surfaces, bedding, and clothes for a minimum of three hours. 

But use bleach only on fabrics that can withstand it, but ensure it is well diluted. Mix water (16 gallons) and chlorine bleach (1 cup) – this will disinfect and kill fleas in clothes. 

  • For bedding, fabrics, and clothes that won’t be bleach-safe, use phenolic disinfectants, pine oil, or different antimicrobial detergents. 
  • Remember to wash the fabrics and clothes at maximum temperature, wash cycle, and water setting.

4. Quarantine & Flea Treat the Pets

Most fleas (~ 90% of fleas) fleas (whole life cycle) in shady areas, carpet, clothing, and fabric, furniture, plus pet fur. 

So, practice persistence and vigilance but use a flea fogger if you have a massive flea infestation. So, ensure to groom and examine the cats and dogs for fleas. 

  • There is a different technique for flea treatment on pets including oral medication and topical medication. Also, check to keep the yards and homes free from fleas. 
  • Shampoo and wash the pet bedding, sofas, and carpets regularly using steam and hot water. Some of the medications will target flea eggs and larvae while others will exterminate adult fleas. 

Groom the pets to unearth fleas and ticks following every walk you make. For ticks, check the pet’s ears, neck, and paws and undertake flea-treatment when you’re traveling. 

5. Flea-Clean the Yard

Housekeeping is a great line of defense against fleas in your house and property. Therefore, trim the shrubs, mow the grass, and clean the yard to control fleas – also try the flea spray for the yard

After doing the landscaping, undertake processes that’ll dissuade wildlife and feral pets from getting into the yard – as this may allow them to drop fleas. 

While at it, control the entry of feral cats, raccoons, and Chipmunks, Opossums. Also, don’t leave feeding bowls used by cats and dogs in the yard. 

  • Trim the high shrubs and trees that may allow the wild animals to crawl into the attic. Also, seal the under decks, sheds, garages, and crawl spaces – try flea and tick killers
  • Further, for shrubs planting, ensure the trees will be separated enough from each other and away from the structures including the house. 

You must undertake flea prevention through spot-on flea extermination on your pets. Clean the pet carrier and brush plus flea comb the pets (including the long-haired pet) once they get home. 


You don’t want the fleas to spread. What you want to do is to put the laundry (clothes, blankets, bedsheets, e.t.c) in a nice sealed plastic bag and take them straight to the washing machine. 

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