Does Washing Clothes Kill Fleas?

When fleas infest your home, they will commonly lay eggs in carpets. However, sometimes they will choose clothes for their breeding grounds. Just the thought of having fleas on your clothing is uncomfortable.

So you want a way to kill fleas on your clothing? This can be done simply by putting them in a washing machine. Here we will go over how, and other tips for getting rid of fleas on clothing.

does washing clothes kill fleasImportance of Killing Fleas on Clothes

Obviously we do not want fleas on our clothing because it is disgusting, but it is also an effective flea control method. It is important to eliminate the fleas in all their stages of development, from eggs to adults, wherever they are found. Otherwise the life cycle will continue, and the infestation will go on.

washing machines kill fleasHow Washing Machines Kill Fleas

Washing clothing in a washing machine will kill fleas in a few different ways. These factors are heat, water, detergent, and sometimes borax. Combined, these factors will not give fleas even a chance of survival.


The first way that washing machines kill fleas is through the high temperatures in the water. Make sure you are using the hottest water cycle, because the heat is important in effectively killing the fleas. They only withstand moderate temperatures. Of course, follow the instructions on the label to ensure that the clothing can withstand the temperature.


Fleas will drown if submerged in water for too long. A washing machine will quickly drown fleas, because of the spinning action. This will remove a lot of surface tension of the water, and air will not be able to reach the fleas.


Also use a regular laundry detergent. While detergents do not contain harsh chemicals, they will help to suffocate and drown fleas. Almost all detergents have surfactants, which remove surface tension from water. This causes the lipids on the flea’s exterior to have no effect in repelling water.


You can also add in some borax into the water. Borax is used as a home insecticide for all kinds of pests. The borate salts will cut into their exoskeletons and cause the fleas to dehydrate.

does the sun kill fleasDrying Clothes

If your washing machine doesn’t kill the fleas (which it should), then drying your clothes definitely will. Dryness it really bad for fleas at all stages of life. Extreme dryness causes desiccation, the drying out of a living organism. In dryers, the combined dryness and heat will create the perfect environment for desiccation of fleas. Make sure the clothes are COMPLETELY dry before taking them out.

Sometimes clothes might shrink when drying them in a dryer. In these cases, you can dry clothes outdoors in the sun. This is also effective in getting rid of fleas. The natural light, heat, and UV rays from the sun will kill flea eggs.

Does Dry Cleaning Kill Fleas?

Some clothes cannot be cleaned in water, and they might be have fleas on them. In these cases you can get them dry cleaned. The chemicals that dry cleaners use will kill any fleas that may be on the clothing. You can also leave these clothes out in the sun to kill fleas.

How Often Should You Wash Clothes?

If you have detected fleas in your house, start washing clothing more frequently. You might not see any visible fleas on your clothes, but keep in mind the eggs and larvae are very tiny. It is a good idea to wash clothes every three days. Continue this until you are sure that the flea population in the house has been eliminated.

Don’t Leaves Clothes on the Floor

Also, make sure you are not leaving clothes laying around in piles on the floor. This will create the perfect environment for fleas to lay eggs in. Always hang up clothes in a closet, and shut the door. Put dirty clothes in a laundry hamper.

Other Items To Machine Wash

Clothes are not the only items that you can machine wash to kill fleas. Here are some of the other things you can wash:

  • Sheets
  • Comforters
  • Pillow Cases
  • Blankets
  • Throws
  • Pet bedding
  • Drapes
  • Curtains
  • Stuffed animals
  • Furniture covers

Related posts:

  1. How to Kill Flea Eggs & Larvae
  2. Does Salt Kill Fleas?
  3. What Kills Fleas
  4. Flea Prevention
  5. Fleas in Bed