How Do Flea Sprays Work?

First and foremost, we need to understand that effective flea control is about treating both a cat and a home. And given that a flea life cycle consists of four stages, – egg, larva, pupa, and adult – we need products that would address all those stages. Such flea sprays save us from hungry insects and their descendants that bite us and feed off our (and our felines’) blood.

Flea sprays work as direct contact killers. They come in either bottles or aerosol cans, with neurotoxins influencing the nervous system of fleas. Sprays also contain insect growth regulators (IGR), preventing eggs and larvae from growing and our pets and homes – from future infestations.

And while most sprays use natural insecticides such as chrysanthemum flower extracts, we still need to avoid physical contact and inhalation when introducing flea sprays into the environment. Even the best professional flea spray for a home contains some chemicals, so be sure to read the guidelines for application directions before using it.

4 Types of Flea Sprays Available 

Flea sprays may be of two types: chemical and natural. The most popular brands among chemical flea killers are Raid, Frontline, and Vibrac; for those choosing natural, consider Nature Plus or Vet’s Best. Others are available too, and I’ll review the best of them in this guide below.

Also, types of flea sprays differ depending on the way of their usage. Thus, you can find the following products on the market:

  1. Sprays for furniture
  2. Flea sprays for home
  3. Insect killers for a pet’s fur
  4. Flea spray for furniture and carpets, safe for bedding and other fabrics too

Besides, some flea sprays come as foggers. They may be useful, but please be very careful with them: Foggers require vacating homes for two or three hours; plus, you’ll need to clean all the surfaces afterward. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Choose the Best Flea Spray for Home?

Before you choose the best flea spray for home, consider a few moments:

  • Some products aren’t okay to use on the skin of your cats.
  • While some sprays with pyrethroids are safe for dogs, their residual effect can be toxic to cats.
  • Natural oils and permethrins also may be toxic to cats, so make sure yours aren’t allergic to that.
  • The larger infestations a spray treats, the more chemicals it may contain.

So, please read the product label carefully to check if it fits your situation best, and make sure you’ll apply it as safe as possible.

Here’s how to choose the best flea spray for home:

Step 1: Decide On a Flea Control Option

First of all, decide on what you need: treat a cat, clean your home, prevent fleas from coming, etc. Flea sprays’ influence and application ways vary, so you need to make sure you choose the right product for your situation.

For homes and furniture, choose natural oil-based sprays. Chemical IGR will work too in case of large infestations; more than that, chemical sprays are the best treatments for carpets.

For cats, combine sprays (make sure your chosen one is not permethrin-based!) and spot-on treatments (drops, collars, shampoos, combs). Also, consider natural sprays for treating your cat’s bed.

Step 2: Check the Ingredients

While most flea sprays are somewhat safe for pets and humans today, make sure to check the ingredients before buying. Some products are still far from natural, containing harsh chemicals that may harm your health.

Step 3: Remember About a Method of Application

For better and longer results, use a chosen spray as is right and proper. Don’t just pulverize it every here and there as it may not only kill fleas but poison your respiratory apparatus. To get insects under control, you need to follow all the directions, keep off the treated things for a couple of days if needed, and then vacuum everything thoroughly.

Step 4: Consider Precautions

Never ignore the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use a flea spray and what to do to stay safe. Even if natural, it can be not that pleasant for your skin and lungs.

Step 5: Treat Again If Needed

Getting rid of fleas can be not that fast and easy. So, if you still notice insects after following the above steps, wait for 14-28 days and repeat the round of cleaning again.

If you live in a warm climate and a private house, make sure to treat your yard too because fleas can happily exist outdoors all year-round. Also, try a flea comb on your cat and examine her fur and skin for eggs and bites regularly.

Natural Flea Sprays for Home 

While some may choose chemical flea sprays for their powerful ingredients and, therefore, faster results, most pet owners look for a natural flea spray for home. No wonder: They want to secure pets, family members, and themselves from the toxic effects of this product.

Most of the sprays I’ve reviewed above are natural flea sprays for furniture and pets. So, if looking for a non-toxic flea spray, consider the products from this guide:

Flea sprayActive natural ingredients
Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray for CatsA unique blend of Peppermint Oil and Eugenol
TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Home SprayClove Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Cedarwood Oil
Wondercide Flea and Tick Killer for HomeCedarwood Oil, Lemongrass Oil, Sesame Oil,
Dr. GreenPet Flea SprayCedarwood Oil, Clove Oil, Peppermint Oil, Cinamon Oil
Natural Care+ Flea and Tick SprayPeppermint Oil, Eeugenol

Please consider these sprays if you need a product usable on pets and safe to use for all the furniture, beddings, carpets, and other fabrics.

For applying a flea spray directly on your pet, bathe them first. Then put a spray lightly, starting from a head to a tail. Avoid spraying into the face! Use a cloth and rub the cat’s face avoiding eyes, nose, and mouth. For applying a natural flea spray for home on your pet’s bedding, please clean it up as much as you can. Then apply until the area is wet from the spray.

But no matter how natural your flea spray is, I’d advise you to check its label anyway. The manufacturer provides us with detailed instructions on how to use the product right for better results, and you’ll know all the information about its ingredients to make sure there are no harmful chemicals inside.

How to Use a Flea Spray for Your Furniture? 

Unfortunately, fleas don’t live on your pet’s fur only. Well-adapted to environmental conditions, they can hide during most of their life cycle so you can’t see flea eggs, larvae, or pupae on your carpet, couch, or bed. So, once you’ve noticed a flea, it’s time to choose and buy a flea spray for furniture.

But how to use it right?

The first and core piece of advice would be to read the instructions from your flea spray manufacturer. All products have detailed, step-by-step recommendations, so follow them carefully. The general information on how to use your best flea spray for home and furniture is as follows:

  • Fleas love dark and hidden places. First of all, they hide eggs, larvae, and pupae in carpets and mats, so make sure to treat them. If you don’t have carpets at home, treat all cracks in your floor.
  • The next step is to treat your fabric furniture: couches, beds, cushions, etc. The big chances are that fleas hide in fibers too.
  • Before spraying on furniture, vacuum it thoroughly to remove dust and therefore boost a flea spray’s effectiveness. Also, make sure to remove food and water, cover food preparation surfaces, hide your pet’s and kid’s toys, and keep them (your pets and kids, of course) out of the room during the treatment.

And even if your flea spray for furniture is 100% natural and efficient, don’t expect super-duper results right off the bat. Fleas are challenging to eliminate, and sprays may not affect all the eggs in your home the first time. That is why most manufacturers recommend repeating the application after a couple of weeks after the first use.

Flea sprays for a house: infographic

My Own Experience of Using a Furniture Flea Spray

When my Rambo was a 12-week-old kitten, I was “lucky” to meet with fleas in my apartment too. Flea products such as collars, combs, and shampoos were my major no-no’s because I understood they wouldn’t help me 100%: With two cats at home, I knew that fleas didn’t spend much time on their coat.

Sure, I began to look for the best flea spray for home with cats, that would be natural and safe for my felines. My choice was the following options:

  1. Vet’s Best Flea and Tick Home Spray for Cats
  2. Dr. GreenPet Flea Spray
  3. Flea and Tick Killer for Home from Wondercide

All had a quite pleasant smell, were pesticide-free, and came quite cheap. I did like Flea and Tick Killer for its aroma, Dr.GreenPet – for its essential oils, and it was comfortable to use Vet’s Best Flea and Tick on Rambo’s fur, massaging it lightly into his coat.

I would recommend all three unless you want to get rid of other insects in your home, not just fleas. Vet’s Best will be your choice then: It kills mosquitoes too. More than that, it has helped me forget about bed bugs, although the manufacturer didn’t promise anything here.

Also, I want to share this useful video where Dr. Andrew Jones, DVM shows how you can make an effective flea spray yourself:


And now, by tradition, let me answer the most frequently asked questions about flea sprays:

Can I avoid hiring pest control using a flea spray for furniture?

Sure, if the intensity of your home infestation is not that big. You don’t need pest control specialists when you just noticed one or two fleas on your cat’s coat or your couch. Try natural flea sprays for home, follow the instructions, and forget about insects once and for all. But in the case of intense infestation, please ask for professional help.

Does flea spray help to prevent reinfestation?

Yes, it does if having IGR (insect growth regulators) in its formula. This ingredient works to prevent flea eggs from growing, and it repels their larvae and pupae from our pets and homes. To boost the effectiveness of such sprays, make sure to treat your home every few months: As we all know, fleas are bloody challenging to eliminate.

What is a safe flea spray for home use?

A safe flea spray for home is the one with a minimum or no pesticides inside so that you could use it on furniture and carpets with no risks for intoxication. Such sprays are, in the main, natural and usable on pets. Also, a safe flea spray for home use is about careful reading and following the instructions from manufacturers.

What flea spray should I use for head lice on furniture?

Indeed, some flea sprays can help you deal with lice on furniture. As far as I focused on pet owners in this guide, I didn’t describe such products on my list. (The only one mentioned there, which is labeled to kill lice, is Advantage Flea Treatment Spray for Cats.) Another option could be NyGuard Plus Flea and Tick Premise Spray: It’s labeled to kill all stages of fleas, cockroaches, carpet beetles, dust mites, and lice. But don’t apply it directly on clothes, linens, or pillows; spray it on surfaces of upholstered furniture and mattresses, and make sure they’ve dried thoroughly before using them again after treatment.

What can I spray on furniture to kill fleas?

In a Word 

Now you know everything to get the best flea spray for home and furniture and prepare to kill all pests once and for all. Natural or chemical, for homes with cats or outdoors, for pet’s fur or carpets – flea sprays are different but efficient in a bid for a clean and safe environment all around us.

How to know your cat has got fleas? The most common symptom is her excessive scratching and grooming, as well as black dots on her skin under armpits or near the tail. (It’s flea dirt.)

Fleas don’t spend much time on a pet’s body. So if you notice an insect, the big chances are that your whole home has got infected. You can handle that early in the course of infestation: Choose a safe flea spray for home, read and follow the instructions carefully, and remember about precautions.

Also, I would recommend you to combine several products to keep the house and your pet’s fur clean. Use flea combs, wash your cat with shampoos, and limit her walks outdoors. Using a plastic couch protector not only saves your furniture from scratches but also it prevents it from being infested with fleas. Plus, vacuum the floors more often and consider treating the area around your house too.

Yes, these parasites are challenging to eliminate, but he that struggles will still and all win.

Active ingredientPercentage, %
Pyriproxyfen: 2-[1-methyl-2-(4-phenoxypnenoxy) ethoxyl pyridin0.02
N-octyl Bicycloheplene Dicarboximide1

I’m Kimberly Baumgart, a future veterinary physician from Manhattan, Kansas. Volunteering in animal shelters and assisting in the local vet hospital, I help pet owners learn more about feline lifestyle. Read my works on Catpet.Club blog to discover the world of healthy nutrition and well-being for your four-legged friend.

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