We all love our four-legged family members but they often have their own drawbacks – like bringing fleas into your RV! And there is nothing quite like a nasty flea infestation in your RV. So here are some ways to help kill fleas in your RV.
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Most RVers love temperatures in the 65-80 degree range. Unfortunately, fleas thrive in the same temperatures that we enjoy the most. Fleas are quite pesky – causing itching and irritation that leads to scratching which can lead to greater infections and other problems. Fleas are also responsible for spreading many diseases harmful to pets and humans. In other words, we need to work to keep fleas to a minimum!
Did you know that one adult female flea can lay up to 20-30 fleas in one day? And then, the flea eggs hatch, become larvae and then molt twice into pupae. Once in this stage, they can wait until the best conditions before they emerge from their cocoons and immediately infect a waiting host (ie your dog). This is why sometimes you’ll treat your RV to find fleas back in a few weeks or months.
Prevention is Key
The best way to handle fleas is to prevent fleas. Regular treatments of flea medicine to your dog is important. Most prescription flea preventative medicines will actually stop flea eggs from hatching. This will kill a flea infestation before it ever starts!
The mosquito repellent Permethrin also works on fleas. You can spray Permethrin your outdoor tailgating chairs and other gear to keep fleas out of the tailgate and out of your RV. I’ve also mentioned ultrasonic pest repellers as a good way to keep ants out of the RV; ultrasonic pest repellers are also effective against fleas!
Regular vacuuming of carpets and washing of linens is also very important. Vacuuming alone is estimated to remove 50% of flea eggs. So don’t skip out on these regular cleaning chores to prevent a really bad flea infestation in your RV.
Some plants are known to repel fleas as well. Sage, rosemary, and mint are all popular herbs that secrete oils that repel fleas. Grow mint in the RV for a mojito and keep fleas away at the same time! Now, I just need some rum! 🙂
Vinegar to Kill Fleas
Some people claim that apple cider and even regular vinegar is a great way to get rid of fleas. According to research I’ve found, it is not so great at killing fleas as it is at preventing fleas. Fleas don’t like the smell or taste of vinegar. And it provides a more acidic environment which the fleas don’t fare as well in.
If you can get your pet to drink the vinegar, you can mix it in their water bowl – about a teaspoon per quart of water. Because it has a distinctive taste, you may have to slowly introduce it to the water bowl to get your dog to drink it. But this will lower the pH in your dog as well as give them a distinctive odor to prevent fleas.
You can also use it as a spray on the dog, particularly before they go out into possibly flea infested areas (think hikes). Avoid the eyes, ears, and mouth area to avoid irritation. Added bonus: vinegar is a natural deodorizer. Once vinegar dries, it doesn’t leave a smell for us humans. And it will take away that hot dog smell that is so gross. I’ve been known to spray it on the dog bed and the couch instead of Febreeze.
Borax Laundry Booster to Kill Fleas
Yes, it’s your favorite laundry booster yet again! Borax seems to be a miracle worker in the RV, with it being a major component in the RV Black Tank Bombs and the GEO Method. And sure, you can always use it for laundry too. But now, there’s another way for you to use Borax: to kill fleas.
Killing Fleas on Rugs, Couches, Etc
Borax is awesome at killing fleas – sprinkle this on your couch, rugs, beds, and other upholstery. Borax kills fleas by dehydrating their little bitey bodies. Of course, this will take some time. Make sure to leave the Borax for at least six to twelve hours. 24 to 48 hours is even better! After that, just vacuum everything up. Make sure you dispose of the bag immediately to keep flea eggs from starting a new infestation.
It’s non-toxic to humans in small doses. However, it’s highly recommended that you keep the kids and pets away from Borax as it can cause breathing problems if inhaled.
Borax won’t kill the flea eggs. So if you have eggs, you might find a reappearance of fleas a few weeks later. In which case, you’ll need to repeat.
If you have cats or dogs that regularly RV with you, then a Borax application should be part of your RV winterization process. Then a follow-up treatment upon opening the RV up in the spring.
PS Did you need another reason to get rid of the carpet in your RV? If you have a dog or cat in your RV, flea prevention is a good reason!
Killing Fleas on Washables
Blankets, sheets, and curtains should all be washed in warm, soapy water. Don’t forget about the dog’s bed and blankets or towels. Again Borax can help you there, in the laundry. After the washing, use a clothes dryer on some high heat to make sure to kill off any remaining fleas.
Overall, not bad for a product that most RVers already have on hand! And we all love our multi-use products.
If you get a flea infestation, you may also want to try a flea fogger. The fog will be able to get in some harder to reach areas, like behind or under the couch. Spend some time concentrating in those areas and then a general spray of the RV for best results.
Killing Fleas Can Be A Tough Job
Killing fleas is sometimes a difficult job. For really tough infestations, you may have to try several different ways over several weeks to really get rid of fleas in your RV. This is one time that being a part-time RVer is nice – you have somewhere to go, for both you, your pets, and any children, while the different methods are working.
What have you used to kill fleas in the RV?