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How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your RV


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RVing With Pets? Know How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your RV

Pests are an unfortunate part of RV life, especially if you travel with pets. Dogs love to roam around, socialize, and explore nature, but this means that they sometimes bring unwanted hitchhikers into your camper. Because this is a common problem, it’s smart for every RV owner to know how to get rid of fleas. 

Fleas can carry dangerous diseases that affect you and your pets. In addition, they’re unsanitary and hard to get rid of. These insects can lay vast quantities of eggs, which will multiply and cause even more problems for you. It’s best to prevent an infestation if you can, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of fleas once they appear. 

Below we have some effective ways to help you deal with these pests. Just remember that fleas are quite hardy and have a life cycle that makes them hard to defeat in one try. They are quite resistant to chemical treatments during some parts of their life, so you may need to try these methods a few times. If you catch the problem early on, it will be much easier to address.

Effective ways to get rid of fleas

Treat affected pets and people

First things first, you’ll want to kill the fleas at the source. In many cases, dogs or cats will carry these insects into your RV, so they are the primary source of the trouble. If the fleas go unnoticed for awhile, they may also spread to nearby people or surfaces.

Before you tackle the RV as a whole, start by removing fleas from any affected pets or people. You can do this by using a flea comb and an effective type of soap. Dawn dish soap is frequently used to kill adult fleas, but there are also prescription soaps and medications you can use. Carefully examine the entire body of yourself and your pets to ensure you don’t overlook anything. 

Use chemical treatments to kill fleas

Next up, it’s time to take action against these unwanted pests. Chemical treatments are often the harshest and most effective way to get rid of fleas. There are a variety of flea insecticides that will kill them, and most of these are easy to pick up from a pet store, vet’s office, or general store like Walmart. 

Some of the best chemical pesticides for fleas include Raid Flea Killer, Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Spray, and Cedarcide. Spray these pesticides on affected areas like furniture and flooring. Some options may not be safe for pets, so make sure you research each option before making a decision. 

Treat the RV carpet/flooring

A lot of fleas take shelter on the floor, especially if there are rugs or carpets. They can hide in the fibers and lay eggs here. As such, it’s important to treat the floor when you’re dealing with an infestation.

Thoroughly sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming your floors can get rid of a majority of the insects. However, some of them will be able to hide in nooks and crannies. It’s hard to get all of them by simply cleaning. 

If you need something more extreme, try using a steam cleaner on your floors. Even if it doesn’t remove the bugs entirely, the heat and soap can kill them. Finally, try sprinkling some baking powder, salt, or a carpet treatment for fleas on your floors. If they run into these substances, they will become cut up and dried out. 

Try natural flea remedies

If you’re interested in some natural solutions, you’re in luck! These insects try to avoid certain natural substances, so you can use this to your advantage. Just remember that your pets may also react badly to some of these treatments, so use them wisely. 

Essential oils can be used to irritate fleas or interrupt their pheromones. Cedar oil is a popular choice for repelling insects, and it can also be used to get rid of fleas in your RV. Other options include:

  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Citronella
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Diatomaceous earth

Apply these oils to affected surfaces or spray/diffuse them into the air. Fleas will avoid them if they can!

Clean and sanitize the RV

Once you’re satisfied with your treatments, it’s time to perform a deep clean of your RV. Fleas can hide easily, so you need to be thorough if you want to catch them all. Clean your floors as specified above and sanitize your furniture.

Wash any loose fabric items such as clothing, rugs, or cushion covers. Bedding should also be thoroughly washed with the hottest possible water. 

Perform follow-up treatments to catch stragglers

As we mentioned above, fleas are tricky to deal with. Any time you try to get rid of them, you’re probably dealing with a mix of adults, larvae, and eggs. Each of these has different levels of resistance, so it’s hard to kill them all at once. 

Performing follow-up treatments will enable you to kill any pests that survived the initial crackdown. After about a week, do all of the steps above again. Repeat this a few more times until you’re satisfied with the results. Keep a close eye on your pets and RV during the next month or two so you can tell if the pests start to return. 

Call a professional

It’s hard to get rid of fleas on your own, and sometimes professional help is necessary. If you just can’t seem to get rid of them for good, or if the infestation is particularly bad, exterminators can help. They have extreme methods that will help them flush the fleas out. It’s usually not necessary to call in professionals, but the option is always available!

How to prevent flea infestations

Frequently wash bedding

Although treatment is possible, it’s best to prevent flea infestations before they begin. You and your pets can get sick from their influence, plus the fleas tend to make your whole RV less sanitary. One of the best ways to prevent fleas is to wash your bedding regularly. 

If your pets are anything like mine, they love to get up on your bed and roll around. This is fine, except when they’re carrying unwanted passengers. Cleaning your bedding frequently will prevent large numbers of fleas or eggs from building up. Don’t forget to wash your pet’s bed as well because this is a breeding ground for fleas. Use the hottest possible setting because this will kill more insects. 

Groom your pets

Next up, regularly groom your pets. If you keep a close eye on them, you’ll be able to spot problems quickly. Look for any patches of irritated skin, reddish black “flea dirt,” or visible bugs in their fur. Using a flea comb will help you identify and pull out pests that have nestled in their hair. 

It’s also a good idea to give your dogs regular baths. This is good for their health, plus it enables you to kill any pests that may be hiding in their fur. Use soap that is harsh on pests but gentle for pets. 

Give your pet flea medications and high-quality food

Finally, you can improve your pet’s resilience by keeping them healthy. Fleas are often attracted to animals that have flaky skin, so you can keep them away by feeding your pet high-quality food. As mentioned above, brushing and bathing your pets regularly will also help you get rid of fleas.

If you’re traveling through a particularly flea-infested area, you may want to use preventative medications or sprays. These will stop the fleas from approaching you and your pet. 

One of the best parts about RVing is engaging with the community of traveling enthusiasts. iRV2 forums allow folks to chat with other RVers online, and get other perspectives on everything RVing, including products, destinations, RV mods, and more.

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Author Emily Lawrence Avatar

Emily Lawrence

Emily Lawrence lives in Idaho with her husband Nathan. Despite the cold winters in this area, it's Emily's favorite season! She loves to spend time skiing, roadtripping, and just exploring the outdoors.

3 thoughts on “How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Your RV

  1. Use 20 Mule Team Borax. It is a totally natural substance. We put it in a flour sifter to break up lumps, but you could use other means to do that. Spread it in the carpet, sweep it in with a broom, let it sit overnight or a day or so and then vacuum. It dries out the eggs and they don’t hatch. A flea’s life cycle is lay eggs and dye. It also helps in doing laundry. We used it in Florida in our home and got rid of the flea problem after one, maybe two, treatments. Use periodically for prevention. This was passed on to us by our vet who had two large dogs.

  2. If you don’t want your pet to get dry,flaky skin, don’t use Dawn. Dish detergent will take all of the oils from their skin and fur. I use a mild shampoo from the dollar store and bathe my dog twice a month. Yes, a mild shampoo will kill fleas if you can leave the soap on for at least 5 minutes..Even baby shampoo is harsh enough to dry out the animals skin. occasionally I will use a conditioner rinse but make sure you have rinsed your pooch well. Mine likes the drying with a big towel the best part.

  3. Great article! Six dogs here and a kitty. Be vigilant and start early. An ounce of prevention is worth five pounds of cure!

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