What Kills Fleas on Contact

What Kills Fleas on Contact?

The question is; what kills fleas on contact? Will the remedy be safe for me and my pets? What product will tackle the flea infestation effectively?

In this article, I’ve detailed the answer to this question. There are many flea-killing products like medicated drops, shampoos, repellents, and sprays – but they take time to work.

But what kills fleas on contact? Well, rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) will kill adult fleas on contact – it’s best applied on flea-infested bedding or yard. Also, dawn dish soap kills flea eggs (via suffocation); thus, they won’t reproduce, infest, or hatch. 

  • NB: Large % of alcohol may be toxic to your pets and other animals – particularly if ingested but it may also be absorbed via the skin. Related: Where do Fleas Come From?

If you’re curious how fleas (and their eggs) look, well see this article that outlines the images and pictures of fleas.

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Details: What Kills Fleas on Contact? – Rubbing alcohol? 

Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is popular as a disinfectant or germ-killing product. 

But as a pet owner, you’ll better love rubbing alcohol for its flea-killing ability – kills fleas on contact to finish that flea infestation in your house – fast.

But should I use rubbing alcohol on my pet? Well, plucking the fleas from the cat’s or dog’s fur and dropping them into a rubbing alcohol bowl will kill the bugs.

  • However, washing the pet with some soapy hot water would still kill the fleas (and their eggs) but it won’t endanger the health of your pet or the home.

Danger1: Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl alcohol) May be Toxic to pets

Avoid pouring the rubbing alcohol on the cat’s or dog’s skin in an effort to examine the fleas as it can be toxic. Isopropyl alcohol will be toxic to the pets if absorbed into their skins in large amounts.

However, it is critical to realize that some commercial flea killers also have a little percentage of alcohol. Therefore, over-spraying with such alcohol-containing products may lead to pet poisoning too. 

In addition, ingesting the rubbing alcohol could also be toxic to the cat or dog. You’ll not the poisoning within 1/2 an hour after ingesting – under5take emergency treatment to avoid fatal outcomes. 

The ASPCA outlines that from 2016, accidental swallowing of cleaning products ranked top 10 among the pet toxins reported. But how would you know that the cat or dog (pet) ingested rubbing alcohol? 

  • Stumbling
  • Shaking
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation

Therefore, if your pet has any or most of these signs, it’s highly likely they’ve ingested rubbing alcohol, and so you should contact your veterinarian or APSCA for an emergency pet assessment and treatment. 

Danger 2: Pure Rubbing Alcohol is Very flammable 

In its pure form, rubbing alcohol (or isopropyl) is not just toxic to pets but is also very flammable – if there is an open fire flame, sparks, or heat. This is especially when sprayed on fabrics, pet bedding, and furnishings. 

The fire hazard will increase if there are open flames, fireplaces, incense burners, cigarettes, or candles around the pure isopropyl. The vapor and fumes from the alcohol may reach the flame – but may dry fast too. 

For example, some home flea spray that contains isopropanol or isopropyl alcohol requires that you adhere to usage guidelines. Some of them include using the insecticide in a non-occupied space.

While rubbing alcohol will control fleas from your home. It’s critical to act fast since fleas may transmit diseases and organisms like tapeworm and heartworm or typhus and plague to pets and humans.

5 Alternative Flea-Treatment Methods?

Therefore, if the rubbing alcohol isn’t safe for the situation or it’s not available for flea treatment, here are the 5 alternative methods to rid your pet or home of these bugs.

Method 1: Wash Pets with Flea Shampoo

First, most pet parents consider dish soap for fleas control as its readily available. Dawn dish soap suffocates (or drowns) the fleas by reducing the surface tension of water. 

But flea shampoo for dogs or cats contains flea-killing ingredients like dinotefuran, imidacloprid, and permethrin or IGRs ( such as methoprene or pyriproxyfen) that’ll be lethal to adults fleas, and eggs + larvae respectively.

Further, washing pets with dish soap may be less effective as you’ll require massive pet scrubbing using a flea comb. Besides, you must read the flea-shampoo usage instructions.

  • Remember don’t use do shampoo must never be used in washing the cats while you must also avoid using a shampoo meant for adult pets on puppies and kittens.

So, ensure to talk to the pet veterinarian while considering using the flea-treatment products available online or on Amazon – use age-appropriate flea killers. Use the recommended treatment since over-treatment may be toxic.

Finally, combing the pet’s hair or fur helps remove dead skin and adult fleas for better health. Comb keenly around the pet’s backside, belly., and neck as these are areas that fleas gather and hide.

While you’re combing the pets for fleas, place a bowl with soapy and warm water nearby where you’ll be dipping the flea comb – this will remove and drown the bugs from the comb.

Method 2: Install Flea Traps

You can also combine the flea shampoo, dish soap with a flea trap for better effectiveness. The traps may be light or glue traps that use light or lovely scents to lure the fleas to be electrocuted or caught. 

So, where should you put or position the flea trap? Well, place the flea trap near your bed or pet bed and bedding as this is where fleas frequent. But avoid placing flea traps near flammable objects, drapery, or walls. 

But, do they really work? How effective are the flea traps? Well, flea traps will attract and help reduce massive flea infestations but the fleas may still move jump onto another host like dogs or cats

The veterinarians will recommend pet-appropriate flea killers for your cat or dog. For instance, some of the insecticides might not be appropriate (causing adverse effects) on the health of pregnant animals, or small dogs.

Re-application within approved intervals will work great. Ensure to read the product instructions particularly of the isoxazoline class as they may cause neurological reactions and seizures. Some of the products in this class are Revolution Plus, Simparica, Nexgard, Credelio, and Bravecto.

The products approved for kittens and puppies include Lufenuron (killing eggs preventing their maturing) and the Nitenpyram (great for little pets that’s under 2 pounds). Using such age-appropriate pesticides will reduce the chances of damaging the pet’s skin. 

What Kills Fleas on Contact in Yard?

1. Pyrethrin-Based and IGR Sprays

Chemical treatments that have pyrethrin will exterminate the adult fleas in your yard. Equally important is that you exterminate the other flea stages including the pupal, larval, and eggs of the fleas.

For this, I recommend using the IGRs (Insect growth regulators) like methoprene and pyriproxyfen as they’ll exterminate the larval flea stages preventing these bugs from maturing into adults.

Therefore, combining the pyrethrin-based and IGR sprays to flea-treat your yard will help control the bugs in a fast way. For these efforts in the yard, the target also the doghouses as these are areas that the dogs and other pets will frequent.

Related: Removing Fleas in the Carpet

2. Diatomaceous Earth

DE or Diatomaceous earth will naturally exterminate the yard fleas without using harmful toxins – fossilized algae (fine dust) referred to as diatoms. 

Therefore, DE is safe for your pets and mammals as it’s a natural pesticide for flea treatment – a great alternative for rubbing alcohol.

To use diatomaceous earth in treating fleas in your yard, undertake the application during a calm day. But first, dampen the plants, flowers, and grass using some garden hose to allow DE to stick. 

But how long will the diatomaceous earth take to kill those fleas? Well, after getting contact with the DE, fleas tend to die within just 4 hours but I would say to leave the powder for 48 hours for better outcomes.

DE is a non-toxic, effective, and safe flea killer that you can apply on your lawn but you must adhere to the outline precautions. 

Related: Cat Fleas Versus Dog Fleas


So, on the question of “What Kills Fleas on Contact?”, I recommend using rubbing alcohol, flea-shampoo, and IGR foggers to exterminate flea larvae, eggs, and adult fleas.

Further, washing pets with dish soap can help suffocate (or drown) some of the adult fleas while flea traps can assist in reducing the flea population. Alternative me5thods include using diatomaceous earth as it’ll kill fleas in many stages.