Fleas are very difficult to eliminate, especially with commercial products. This difficulty goes double for the young fleas and the eggs. Because of that, many people look to rather local means to solve their flea problems.
For some, Lysol and vinegar are wonderful substances to kill fleas. For others, Dawn soaps would do the job. Whereas, a few others believe a simple household dryer is enough to kill fleas.
But in earlier articles, we’ve verified and debunked many of these local methods. In this one, we’d like to confirm as well: Does Dryer Really Kill Fleas?
Do Fleas Die in Dryers?
The short answer to this is yes; dryers can indeed kill fleas and even flea eggs as well.
Fleas, despite their hard exoskeleton, can only bear a certain level of temperature. If it’s too cold, fleas may die off. If it’s too hot, it is very certain that the fleas will die.
Often, a temperature above 95oF will kill a flea. Now, the average working dryer should have a temperature between 123 -134oF.
Of course, that’s way above what fleas can tolerate. So, putting fleas and their eggs in a dryer would kill them off by removing their body water.
Aside from that, the dryer would remove the fleas no matter the non-living surface it finds them. As long as the material is washable, then a dryer would work well to kill the fleas.
Common surfaces and materials where dryers can help kill fleas include washable pillows, pillowcases, blankets, bedsheets, clothes, and many more.
Do Dryers Kill Flea Eggs?
Earlier, we clarified dryers would not only kill fleas; they kill flea eggs as well. However, flea eggs are built to be resistant to harsh conditions; whether hot or cold.
The eggs and the pupae of fleas may likely survive above the 95oF that marks the climax for adult fleas. To kill them in a dryer, you would need to make sure that you keep the dryer at the average temperature of 1350F for about two cycles.
That way, the dryer would get and remain hot enough to kill off both the fleas, their pupae, and the eggs. In case you don’t know, the pupae stage of a flea is just the immediate stage after the larva stage.
In most cases, this stage doesn’t eat or move. It just remains enclosed in a hard and waterproof exoskeleton similar to the ones you find in the eggs.
Can Dryer Alone Kill the Fleas or Would You Need to Wash the Materials?
Yes, and Not-so-yes because there are two sides to this question. So, try to follow this explanation closely, okay?
The heat in a dryer is enough to kill fleas. So, you don’t really need to wash the materials to kill the targeted fleas.
However, pre-washing the suspected materials is an excellent strategy because of many reasons. For one, some fleas would drown as you wash them either manually or in a machine.
For the ones that survive, it’s most likely that the laundry detergents (like Dawn) would kill some of them. But if they still survive, the heat in the dryer would surely help to kill the others.
So, with that, you can be rest assured that the fleas in the targeted materials would die off. But the fleas that would die are the ones on the clothes, beddings, pillows, and other washable materials you put inside the dryer.
However, the thing is; fleas lay many eggs; about 50 eggs in one day. So, for the fleas to have infested your materials so much that you feel the need to get rid of them, then you probably have them in other places.
For instance, places like your carpets, your beds, your furniture, and even your pets often serve as home to fleas. So, if all you do is just wash and dry suspected clothes, beddings, and pillows, what of these other places?
Take your bed, for example. If fleas infest it, there’s a high chance that your beddings, pillows, and even your visiting pets may get infested.
If all pillows and beddings are what you take care of, then the moment you return these materials to the infested bed, the fleas would only re-infest these materials. So, all efforts would be futile.
When dealing with fleas, you may need to launch a full-scale flea treatment to rid yourself, your pet, and your house of fleas. But don’t fret just yet friend; we’ll tell you some tips that can help you. Just keep on reading.
How Long Does It Take a Dryer to Kill Fleas?
Well… there’s no standard time for this. But we can make some educated estimates.
On average, you would need to wash your materials in a machine for about 10–20 minutes before you can think of drowning the fleas or killing them with your laundry detergents.
Once you’re done with that, you can then put the materials in a dryer at 140°F. You may need about 2 -3 cycles before the heat would be enough to kill the fleas.
So, that should take about 30–40 minutes. To sum all that up, we think one hour should be enough to kill off your target fleas in a washing machine and dryer.
Can Dryer Sheets Repel or Kill Fleas?
Let’s answer the pressing question first.
Many people out there claim that dryer sheets can help to kill fleas on pets like dogs and cats. Well… the thing is, there has been no scientific evidence to support this.
In fact, there are several reasons to believe that using a dryer sheet on your pet is a dangerous act. So, let’s explain.
The thing is; fabric softener sheets, aka dryer sheets, are made of polyester materials, fragrance, and softening agents. Often, many brands use fatty acids, alcohols, benzyl acetate, chloroform, camphor, montmorillonite, and ethoxylates to make their softening agents.
These softening agents, when ingested or chewed by pets like dogs and cats, can mess up their digestive canals. If not immediately treated, it could even be fatal.
However, sometimes, the fragrance used in dryer sheets could be made from essential oils like peppermint, mint, lavender, and many more. For decades now, these essential oils have been known to have insect repellent properties.
So, in such conditions, dryer sheets may repel fleas. But as said earlier, you need to be careful when using dryer sheets around pets.
Do Laundry Detergents Kill Fleas?
Yes, but only to a certain extent.
Some laundry detergents and soaps like Dawn often come with anti-microbial properties. Because of this, some detergents can kill adult fleas. However, the flea eggs may not be affected.
Besides that, most detergents cause fleas to sink and drown by reducing the surface tension of water. Normally, this surface tension allows light-bodied insects like fleas to float and walk on water.
By adding detergents, surface tension on the water, which causes the water surface to act as an elastic skin reduces, and the skin breaks off. When that happens, the fleas that rely on that skin would get submerged.
Along the line, some fleas can drown, but not all. This is because the exoskeleton on the fleas is waterproof. Because of it, water finds it hard to leave or enter their bodies.
However, the components inside laundry detergents often wear off the fleas’ exoskeleton. So, on adding the detergents, the integrity of that exoskeleton reduces and water finds its way to penetrate.
When that happens, most of the affected fleas would drown and die because of excess dehydration for those that escape drowning.
Does Hair Dryer Kill Fleas?
Like normal cloth dryers, hair dryers usually have a temperature of 80–140°F.
Now, since the average temperature tolerance limit for fleas is around 90 – 100°F, then hair dryers should be able to kill fleas. But there’s a catch-22 to this.
As we all know, hair dryers don’t really have the compartment to house clothes and other materials. That means you would have to hold the infested material throughout the entire process of drying.
Aside from that, you may not simulate the rotation inside cloth dryers. But to some extent, some fleas in the target materials would die off. It’s only a very assiduous task.
How to Kill Fleas in a Dryer.
In previous sections, we clarified that ordinary washing and drying may not be enough to rid your house completely of fleas. To do this, you can employ the following step in tandem:
- Start With Hot Washing
Grab every piece of infested or suspected clothing. Clothes, pillows, pillowcases, bed sheets, tablecloths, and rugs might be choices to start with.
Wash the items with a mixture of hot water, laundry detergents, and vinegar. If you are using a machine, wash for about 20–30 minutes. This will help remove dirt and kill some fleas.
- Pass the Washed Materials into the Dryer.
Allow the dryer to make about 2-3 complete cycles at about 140°F. This will help kill all or the relative majority of the fleas.
Afterward, you can even sundry for additional protection.
- Vacuum Your Entire House.
After washing and drying, head on to your room or anywhere else. Vacuum the beddings, beds, furniture, carpets, and every other place rich in pet visitation.
After that, remove the vacuum trash bag, freeze it for an hour and empty the content somewhere far from your house. The freezing is to help kill the eggs and any adult flea that refuses to die.
- Visit a Vet for Pet Treatment.
Your flea infestation is most likely initiated by an infected dog or cat. So, it’s always advisable that you take them to a vet for examination.
Before then, you can bathe the pets with flea shampoo. But before using it, make sure you read the labels.
- Use preventive methods.
To do this, you can opt-in for commercial flea repellents. Or rather, you can opt-in for natural repellents like essential oils (lavender, peppermint oils), diatomaceous earth, and others.
These will help prevent fleas from coming back for a future re-infestation.
In this article, we clarified that the heat from the dryer can kill fleas. However, it is most advisable that you wash the infested materials with hot water, soap, and vinegar before drying.
With pets, try to avoid using dryer sheets because it is toxic to them. And make sure you carry out a general flea treatment extended to your entire house. This will help eradicate all fleas in your house.