How do I kill fleas on something that is dry-clean only?

Sarah e-mailed in this question:

"How would one go about getting them out of a dry clean only comforter???"


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This is actually something that was very difficult to find information on. I do have a couple of suggestions for what might work:

1) Dry cleaning - I can't say I'm 100% sure - but I think it's very likely that if you have the comforter dry cleaned, it's going to come out with all of the fleas dead. There are two reasons I suspect this is the case: First, because a chemical solvent is applied to the garment during the first part of the dry cleaning process. That's got a pretty good chance of killing them on its own just because it is a pesticide. Second, heat does kill fleas. Part of the dry cleaning process is a drying cycle that is about 150 degrees Fahrenheit. I couldn't find the exact temperature that will kill off fleas, but their eggs will die from prolonged exposure to heat as low as 103 degrees. The amount of heat in dry cleaning is probably going to be enough to do the job.

One potential hitch - some dry cleaners may not take the job if they know it's been flea infested.

2) Put it in the dryer - This depends on the kind of garment. If you can't wash it, but you can safely dry it, then I would run it through a few times, because temperatures can range from 130 degrees to 190 degrees. It depends on what model you're using - but even at the low end, if you can keep it in there for an hour or more without damaging the garment, any eggs will be dead.

3) Run a vacuum hose over it - This would take more time, but you can probably safely run the tip of your vacuum hose over the comforter, which will get any adults if you are thorough about it. The heat is low, but it will encourage eggs to hatch - which you want, so that they will eventually die off. Remember to throw the bag away immediately outside your house - or use a little bug spray in it if it's bagless.

While these will get rid of fleas in the short term, if you haven't solved the problem in your home in general, they'll be right back onto the comforter. Focus on the pet first, preferably with flea medicine. After you get the comforter dealt with, it might be a good idea to keep it up in a closet for a few weeks so that the infestation has time to die down. It usually takes at least that long for all the eggs around your house to hatch, even if you've dealt with the adults.

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