Can You Drown Fleas?

If you’ve got a flea infestation in your home or on your pets, you’re probably at your wit’s end. They are such a frustration, and can drive your pets (and you) nuts! What can you do to extinguish the infestation?

Can you drown fleas?

Yes, fleas will drown in water… eventually. Soapy water is an effective way to deal with fleas on your pets and in your home, as is your washer and dryer.

Here are the basics:

  • Fleas will drown if placed in water due to their poor swimming abilities, but it takes time.
  • Applying soapy water to beds will kill flea larvae as well as adults.
  • Fleas cannot settle down or lay eggs when you mix water with scents, such as citrus, to clean floors and carpets.

Time to make H20 your best buddy and get control of your flea infestation! We’ll explain below.

Can You Drown Fleas? Does Water Kill Fleas?

A flea can survive if placed in regular water, but if you submerge it in the water for at least 24 hours, it will eventually drown. As a result, swimming with your dog or giving them a quick wash are ineffective ways to get rid of fleas.

Swimming with your dog or giving them a quick wash are ineffective ways to get rid of fleas.

Because of their wax-covered cuticles, which repel water and render them protected from water, fleas are difficult to drown. The longer the flea stays in the water, the greater the likelihood it will drown. For instance, if you submerge a flea into the water, it won’t break the water’s surface because of its size and the water-repellent cuticle wax.

Instead, it will float on the water’s surface and thrash around until it can crawl and escape.

The main challenge, therefore, is getting the fleas to stay in the water for a long period to drown them.

To solve this problem, use washing liquid or soapy water.

Does Soapy Water Kill Fleas?

Fleas are tiny and weigh very little — hence their ability to jump so high! They float on the water’s surface rather than breaking the surface to go under. Since we want to eliminate them, the solution is to add soap to the water, such as dish soap.

When the flea is exposed to the added soap, it will break the water’s surface, fall to the bottom, and eventually drown.

When washing your pet in a basin of soapy water, letting fleas drown is an excellent way to get rid of them after combing them off your pets. However, one minor issue with this procedure is the amount of soap suds the fleas can climb on and prevent themselves from drowning.

To avoid this, when adding washing liquid to the water, swirl it gently rather than foaming it up.

If you implement this technique, let the fleas stay in the water for at least 24 hours because they don’t drown immediately.

How to Drown Fleas Around Your Home

Light and warmth attract fleas. Considering you want to eliminate them, use this information to your advantage and create a flea trap.

Here are the steps to follow.

  1. Fill a container with soapy water
  2. Place a lamp above it, so the light shines into the tray or dish
  3. The light will draw fleas, who will then leap into the soapy water and drown

Lamps that produce heat function better since they mimic the warmth of a warm-blooded mammal.

Does Bathing Your Pet Kill Fleas?

Fleas are incredibly resilient creatures. As soon as you start washing your pet, they will begin crawling or jumping out.

Considering you won’t leave your pet in the bath for an extended period, you could leave the water after your pet has finished its bath. Fleas might sink if the soapy water contains surfactants or float on the surface, but they won’t drown unless they stay in that water for a good amount of time. 

Is It Appropriate to Bathe Your Pets With Dish Soap?

While dishwashing soap isn’t created for use on animals, some people use it in place of pet flea shampoos. It removes protective oils from an animal’s coat because it is much harsher than pet shampoos.

Just be aware that your pet’s skin may become excessively dry and sensitive as a result. It’s advisable not to use dish soap to bathe pets, especially animals with skin illnesses.

How Long Can Fleas Survive in Water?

Fleas can live and survive on the water surface for up to 7 days, and up to a day underwater. Up to this point, you know how to eliminate them within the shortest time, which is a day.

After all, why would you want fleas to survive on the water’s surface for a week when they can drown within 24 hours in soapy water?

Fleas can only survive within a specific temperature range and will perish in high temperatures. As a result, using hot water will raise their body temperature and cause them to die rather than drown. T

Fleas will die at high water temperatures; conversely, if the temperature is too low, the fleas may live.

Can Flea Eggs Drown in Water?

Even when submerged, flea eggs are difficult to kill by dropping them in water. They can survive because of a unique structure called a plastron, which can draw oxygen out of water.

It also prevents water from entering the egg together within the shell. Washing liquid interferes with metabolism, preventing it from working and suffocating the embryo.

Does Hot Water Eliminate Fleas From Your Pets?

Hot water and soap are enough to get rid of fleas. One of the simplest ways to stop fleas from spreading to your pets is to give them frequent baths. You can remove fleas from your pet by giving them regular thorough baths in warm water that is not too hot.

Use of Surfactants and Soapy Water to Eliminate Fleas

Use of Surfactants

Surfactants found in dishwashing detergents help to reduce the surface tension of water. Lowering the water’s surface tension with just a few drops of detergent will cause fleas to sink and drown.

Additionally, using surfactants will counteract the fleas’ cuticle wax. Dish soap’s surfactant qualities can make insects easier to soak in water. The waxy cuticle we mentioned will no longer completely block water. 

Since air is forced out of their spiracles (those are flea lungs), water can get inside, drowning the insects. In addition, soapy water may plug the spiracles, obstructing airflow and leading to flea death.

Use of Soapy Water

According to some theories, soaps act as insecticides by dissolving cell membranes and eliminating cuticle wax. As a result,  insects can’t retain water and quickly dry out.

Additionally, soaps have the potential to control growth by interfering with insects’ biological metabolism.

For instance, glycerine soap experiments have had little to no effect on flea populations. In a mixture of 50% glycerin and 50% water, fleas can take up to four days to die.

Can Fleas Die in the Washing Machine?

While fleas can withstand a lot and are excellent survivors, a wash in a washing machine will kill them. Running a hot cycle with soapy water, followed by a few spin cycles, the heat of the water and the turbulence will kill fleas.

This is a great way to get rid of fleas on carpets and pet bedding (assuming they will fit in the wash!)

Any fleas that might have survived the washing process will die if your washing machine has a drier.

Final Thoughts

Fleas can survive up to 7 days in regular water, but it takes at least 24 hours to drown them. Adding some soap to the water will speed up the process. To prevent flea infestation, maintain cleanliness and keep a close eye on your pets.