Can Washing Machine Kill Fleas?

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 Can Washing Machine Kill Fleas?
Can Washing Machine Kill Fleas?

Water machines have gotten so fancy and more important in the lives of human beings today. The amazing inventions have super-fine features that are able to presoak, deep-fill, rinse, and sanitize different types of clothes with minimal hustle.

Modern machines feature steam setting option that allows for internal heating for customized water level. Additionally, the systems have automatic detergent dispensers that can accommodate non-corrosive sprays.

They are not only able to remove dirt and stains, but also kill germs. But, can a washing machine kill fleas? Can it sanitize flea infested clothes? And, if at all it kills the tiny pests, do you need to add any detergent, spray or liquid in the machine? Stay tuned as we are going to answer all these questions without leaving anything untouched.

What to Wash if You Got Fleas

Fleas live off the blood of their hosts. Cat fleas–the most popular ectoparasite–depend primarily on the blood of cats and dogs for reproduction and survival. They will live inside the fur of your pests and their bedding.

Oftentimes, the fleas will migrate and lurk inside the furniture, upholstery and carpet. You may also bump on them on your clothes, more so those piles that you hardly use.

If your house is infested, then it won’t do you any harm to wash all clothes including covers, beddings, area rugs and sheets. You will be required to use a turbulence circle and hot water for washing. Whatever you choose to wash should not be affected by the settings of your machines.

Can a Washing Machine Kill Fleas?

Fleas cannot survive high temperatures in the dryer. Secondly, most of them normally drown and get a free ride down the drain. The turbulence in the washer dislodges most fleas rendering them vulnerable to physical destruction and other severe conditions that dehydrate.

However, fleas are real survivors. They are strong enough to survive even the most extreme conditions. To exterminate them fully, you must be smart enough and use the most effective detergents. Simple washing and drying will not remove all the adult fleas, larvae and their eggs.

1. Add a Dish Soap to Your Water

Fleas tiny bodies hardly break the surface tension in water. They will remain afloat even inside the machine. Dawn dish soap, when added into the water, will break the surface tension and allow them to sink and drown.

2. Use Hot Water

Fleas will not survive a temperature range of more than 35 degrees celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit). Set your machine to the highest temperature possible. Some machines can easily achieve a temperature of up to 65 degrees celsius. Just make sure that whatever you choose to do with does not affect the fabrics of your clothes by causing them to shrink or fade.

3. Add Some Bleach into the Water

Chlorine bleach in water is able to disinfect the clothes and kill most fleas. 1 cup of bleach per 16 gallons of water is recommended during most washing. However, make sure that the fabrics will not be affected by the bleach.

4. Use Some Detergents

If at all your clothes are not bleach-safe, use an antimicrobial detergent over them. Pine oil and Phenolic disinfectants are ideal for this process. Make sure to follow the recommended method of application for better results.

5. Put the Clothes in Bits

It is no doubt that your indoor or outdoor washing machine is small to medium-sized. It may not be able to hold a good chunk of clothes at once. Do not overload it. With more clothes, washing will not be thorough and even for every piece of cloth. As a result, the small pests may easily juggle their way through both the washer and dryer.

Now that you have known all the rules to effective washing and drying for flea extermination, here is the step-by-step process you need to follow.

  1. Separate the garments based on their fabrics and insert the first slot into the washer
  2. Add bleaching agent or antimicrobial detergent
  3. Set the machine at a temperature of about 130 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and wash the clothes for about 10 minutes.
  4. Repeat step one 2 times to enable thorough washing and removal of any fleas that may have survived step one
  5. Put the garments into the dryer and set it at the maximum temperature that the fabrics can withstand. This helps to kill the remaining fleas, larvae and eggs that survived the washing process
  6. Repeat this washing and drying process every week until you are satisfied that your homestead is free from fleas

Can Fleas Survive in a Drying Machine?

Under normal washing conditions, most fleas will survive in any washing machine. However, the agitation or turbulence in the machine will declaw them from clothes. Most of them will be swept down the drain.

Fleas are able to live inside a drying machine for some days without food before they die. With a blocked drain, you risk carrying them back in your next washing session. You can use drain snakes to unclog your drain to prevent their survival in the machine. Otherwise, under extreme conditions due to high temperatures, maximum turbulence and use of detergents, most fleas will not survive in the washer or dryer.

How Long can Fleas Live on Clothes?

Fleas hardly exist on clothes. They can only survive on human blood but cannot reproduce. Adult fleas spend 80% of their life on animal hosts such as dogs or cats. This enables them to access blood easily at any given time.

Secondly, the hairs on human beings are not dense enough to provide an ideal  environment for fleas survival. You will hardly see them on your clothes.

However, fleas in their larval or egg stages can survive on clothes for some weeks or months. The vast majority of them can be found on carpeted floors and pet’s bedding.


To human beings, fleas are not more than just mere bites. On the other hand, to pets, their infestation can become a huge problem that results to death. Wash all your clothing using the above method and stand a chance to completely removing the nuisance pests.

Updated: January 7, 2020

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