If you own pets such as dogs and cats, you must have come across fleas. If not yet, then you should brace yourself for the invasion of these tiny, jumpy vermin. Fleas are normally brought to the house by pets.
They thrive best in bedding and carpet or other soft surfaces. Your clothes are one of the places fleas can hide while enjoying the warmth of your body.
These pests become a nuisance by constantly causing intense itching on your skin. If you are allergic to their bites, your skin will develop rashes and blisters. For you to eliminate these parasites from your home, you should kill as many as you can by treating the washable items, pets, and flooring.
Better still, you can remove fleas from your clothes or pet bedding by dry cleaning. Before we get to that, let’s look at how these small insects get into your closet, how long they can survive on your clothes and how to kill them on anything that is dry-cleaned only.
Will Fleas Get Into Your Closet?
If fleas can get inside your clothes they can as well get into your closet. This happens especially when you keep your unwashed clothes in the closet. Also, they can get into the closet when you allow your pets to spend their time there.
Mature fleas survive on blood meals from their hosts ( animals). Therefore, they will rarely leave their hosts to settle anywhere. Instead, they leave behind their eggs and larvae when they reproduce.
The larvae, however, feed on discarded skin, dandruff or human waste found on clothing. As such, the same clothing takes the flea larvae with them into the closet where they develop into adult fleas if conditions are favorable for their survival.
Flea eggs drop into crevices, cracks or other hiding places inside the bedroom. One of the likely places to find them is your bedding, carpets, and clothes inside your closet. For that reason, you need to understand the best ways of removing and killing fleas in your clothes.
How Long Can Fleas Survive in Clothes?
The answer to this question depends on a number of factors. Key among them is the conditions under which fleas thrive. These conditions go hand in hand with the life-cycle of these tiny insects.
Most of the homeowners will tell you that fleas can’t live on clothes but that also depends on the presence of pets. Normally pets are hosts to these pests because they provide them with food and a conducive environment to survive.
However, these small bugs are not able to stay long in your clothes. Fleas, just like other animals, require warm temperatures in the range of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity to reproductive and complete their life cycle.
Human clothing can provide these conditions if they are worn more often. So, to answer the question of how long these pests can survive on clothes, it’s wise to explore their life cycle.
To begin with, you should be familiar with mature fleas. Adult fleas represent the final stage of the flea’s life cycle. The first stage starts with laying eggs. Mature fleas lay several eggs with one female laying over 500 eggs in her lifetime.
Once laid, the eggs drop off and come to rest on any surface they fall on. Often, they find their way into carpets, sofas, bedding, and clothing. These eggs don’t stay dormant for long, instead, they hatch into larvae in a matter of weeks.
After hatching they enter the second stage which is actually the larval stage. This is the time they feed on organic matter found in human clothing or other surfaces. Besides, they prefer darkness rather than light and that’s why they often burrow themselves into bedding, carpets or clothes.
From larvae, they transform into pupae where they lie dormant for a week or even a year if conditions are favorable. Eventually, the pupae emerge from the cocoon as mature fleas, ready to feed and reproduce again. This means, if you keep your clothes unwashed, the pupae will stay there for so long.
How do You Kill Fleas on Something that is Dry-Cleaned Only?
You can eliminate fleas from your clothes or other fabrics by washing them in a washing machine and then drying them in a hot dryer.
You can start by washing your clothes in a machine using hot water and regular detergent. The two cleaning agents will remove most of the fleas and their eggs.
Then load the dryer with the damp clothes and set it on the highest temperature to kill all the remaining fleas and eggs. Finally, run the dry cleaner on a full cycle to dry your clothes completely.
Do You need to Wash all Your Clothes to Get Rid of Fleas?
It is right for you to get rid of fleas by washing your clothes in cold or regular temperature water. While this is an easy way to kill these bugs, you can adopt some stringent and effective laundry techniques to eradicate flea eggs and flea larvae completely.
These techniques are as follows:
- Use of bleaching agent and water
- By use of maximum settings on the washing machine
- By use of antimicrobial detergent
Apart from using the above-mentioned techniques, you can also turn to integrated pest control programs. Most of these programs will help you eliminate all fleas, their eggs, and larvae from your home. The programs allow you to manage habits of fleas’ host animals, prevention of new infestations and destruction of resident fleas.
To accomplish this feat, you must use the following effective ways:
- Vacuum daily to get rid of fleas naturally
- Wash and launder your bedding and clothes regularly
- Protect your pets
- Use natural flea products such as borax powder and diatomaceous earth powders.
Even though fleas will not stay longer on your clothes or other garments, they are more likely to become a nuisance if they overrun your home. This calls for drastic measures at the right time to eliminate these bugs from your clothes, carpets, bedding, and sofas.
In this case, you can dry clean your clothes to kill adult fleas, larvae, and eggs. Likewise, you may apply the integrated pest control programs designed to eliminate all fleas from every section of your home.