One of the biggest problems pet owners and people who live in rural areas run into in the warmer months is the arrival of fleas. You can spray homes, and pets can take flea medication, but what about clothes, bedding, and other items? How do you get rid of fleas on those types of things?
Does the dryer kill fleas? The dryer kills fleas and is one of the best weapons against them. The high temperatures inside the dryer are enough to kill fleas on bedding, clothes, stuffed animals, and other cloth or fabric items. When set on the highest temperature setting, dryers can even kill flea eggs before they hatch.
In this article, we’ll go into more detail about how to use your dryer to kill fleas and their eggs. Hopefully, it should eliminate any remaining questions you have on the subject of fleas and the dryer.
Does the Dryer Kill Fleas?
The short answer is yes; the dryer will kill fleas if you have the temperature set on high heat. Fleas are sensitive to extreme temperatures. That’s why you don’t see many of them in the colder months. They also don’t do well in extremely hot environments, so as long as your dryer reaches temperatures of 95°F (35°C) or above, the fleas should die.
Will the Dryer Kill Fleas on Pillows?
As long as you have pillows that can be washed and dried, then yes, the dryer should take care of any fleas you have on your pillows or your animals’ pillows. Make sure you remove the pillowcases before washing your pillows. You can clean both the case and the pillows, but it’ll be more effective if you separate them first.
Will Putting Blankets in the Dryer Kill Fleas?
It doesn’t matter what you put in the dryer; if it has fleas on it, the dryer’s heat should kill them as long as you leave them in there long enough for the dryer to reach the correct temperature. This logic applies to anything you might want to wash and dry, including:
- Pet bedding
- Stuffed animals
- Pet clothes
- And more
As long as it can be washed and dried safely, throw it in to get rid of those fleas.
Can You Kill Flea Eggs in the Dryer?
There are four stages to a flea’s life cycle:
During their breeding season, female fleas can produce up to 50 eggs a day. So it’s easy to see how a flea problem could get out of hand with those kinds of numbers. That’s why it’s so essential that you not only get rid of the live fleas in your home but also any eggs that may be present.
The dryer can also kill flea eggs, but some eggs can survive the 95°F (35°C) temperatures that destroy the adults. Experts recommend exposing the eggs to temperatures higher than 103°F (39.44°C) to kill eggs. Again, as long as you’re using high heat and letting your dryer run a complete cycle, it should get hot enough to kill the adults, larvae, and eggs.
How Long Does It Take for the Dryer To Kill Fleas?
People often ask how long they need to run the dryer to kill fleas. However, killing fleas in the dryer is less about time and more about temperature. They cannot survive temperatures above 95°F (35°C) for any length of time, so that’s the temperature your dryer needs to reach to kill them.
The problem is that you don’t know precisely how long it takes your dryer to reach that temperature. For that reason, we recommend turning your dryer on high heat and letting it run for at least 30 minutes or longer to kill fleas. Of course, the best option is to wash the items first. Putting them through the wash cycle using hot water will destroy or remove lots of the fleas.
If any fleas make it through the wash cycle, a complete cycle in the dryer on high heat should take care of them, as well.
Do You Need to First Wash the Clothes? Or Will Just the Dryer’s Heat Kill Fleas?
The high temperatures of the dryer should kill fleas and flea eggs without you first having to wash your clothes. However, unless you’re dealing with fabrics that you can’t put in the machine, we highly recommend washing things first.
For one thing, washing the clothes first helps ensure the fleas die. That’s because it exposes them to the heat of the washer first (not to mention the vigorous washing and spinning) and then the high heat of the dryer. That’s a double whammy for fleas, and ensure that not many of them will survive.
Secondly, even if the dryer kills all the fleas on your clothes or bedding, that doesn’t mean it cleans the clothes and bedding. If you have fleas in something, chances are it probably needs to be washed.
Can Fleas Somehow Live Through the Washer and Dryer?
Another common question that people have is, “Will a high heat dryer kill fleas, or can they somehow live through the washer and dryer cycles?”. As long as your dryer reaches the above-listed temperatures and remains at those temperatures for at least 15 to 30 minutes or longer, fleas shouldn’t survive.
If all you’re doing is washing things, then there’s a possibility fleas will live, especially if you’re washing in cold water. However, once you add the clothes or bedding to a dryer, they shouldn’t be able to survive after that.
Will a Hair Dryer Kill Fleas?
For hairdryers to kill fleas, they’d have to reach temperatures above 95°F (35°C), just like fleas in the dryer. There are hairdryers capable of reaching temperatures that high. However, you’d have to stand there, holding the hairdryer in place for an extended period to kill the fleas. Then, you’d have to move it to the next small clothing area to kill fleas in that section.
It would be a very tedious process that would take forever. It’s much easier just to throw the stuff in the dryer and let the dryer do its thing.
Can Dryer Sheets Kill Fleas?
There’s a widely circulated myth that dryer sheets can kill fleas, and some pet owners even wipe their dogs and cats down with dryer sheets to try to keep the fleas away from them. This myth is both erroneous and dangerous. Dryer sheets have many chemicals in them; that’s why they smell so good and do what they do for our clothes.
Those chemicals can be harmful and even toxic to pets, so please don’t use dryer sheets on your animals at all.
Do Dryer Sheets Repel Fleas?
Dryer sheets tend to have some insect repellent qualities, namely on fungus gnats, but there’s no evidence to support the claims that they repel fleas. Certain essential oils can somewhat repel fleas. These include:
- Tea tree
If your dryer sheets include these essential oils, then yes, they may have some small success repelling fleas. However, they won’t kill the fleas, and the limited success you’ll have with them isn’t worth the danger to your animals if you rub them down with the dryer sheets.
Related: Do Dryer Sheets Repel Bees?
There are much safer ways to repel fleas. For example, the Wondercide Flea, Tick, and Mosquito Spray is gentle enough to use on puppies and helps keep away the fleas. Additionally, you should give your pets flea pills regularly.
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Can Fleas Live on Clothes?
Fleas can only live on clothes for a short period. They need blood to survive, and they feed several times a day. Clothing has none of the nutrients they need, so fleas hanging out on piles of clothing will either try to find a human or animal to jump and feed on as soon as possible.
How Long Can Fleas Live on Clothes?
As we mentioned, fleas don’t usually try to live on clothes because they don’t have access to blood, which they need to survive. Fleas that land on clothes will bounce around until they find a human or animal to land on and bite. If they don’t discover a blood source of some kind, they’ll die in about 24 hours.
Can Fleas Travel on Clothes?
While fleas don’t live in clothes, they can definitely use them to travel. If you think you may have fleas in your house, one of the best ways to find out for sure is to walk through your carpet in a pair of white socks. If you have fleas, you’ll know it because they’ll jump on your socks, and you’ll see tiny black specks all over them.
Can Fleas Bite Through Clothes?
Fleas are tiny, and they have little mouths. For that reason, most fleas can’t bite through clothes. However, they can jump and crawl around on your clothes until they get underneath them and bite you. In short, although fleas can’t chew through clothes, clothes aren’t necessarily protection against flea bites.
Does Only Washing Clothes Kill Fleas?
If you run your washer using hot water, and the temperature inside the washing machine reaches the temperatures we’ve listed above, then yes, washing your clothes can kill fleas. However, it’s best to wash first, then dry.
How To Get Fleas Out of My Clothes With Washing (Laundering) and Drying? | Step by Step
Getting fleas out of your clothes through laundering is an easy process that doesn’t require many steps at all.
- Put the affected clothes into the washing machine.
- Add detergent.
- Set the washer’s water to “hot” and wash them in a complete cycle.
- Remove the clothes from the washer and place them in the dryer.
- Dry for a complete cycle on high heat.
That’s it. That should take care of any fleas you have on your clothes.
If you have a flea problem, you’ll want to take care of it immediately. There are medicines you can give your pets and sprays you can use to kill the fleas around your house. When it comes to clothes and bedding, throw everything into the washer and dryer and let them take care of the fleas. It’s a simple and effective solution.
Related: Do Glue Traps Work for Fleas?
List of Sources
Merchant, M., Robinson, J. Controlling Fleas. Texas A&M Agrilife Extension.
Houseman, R.M. Fleas. University of Missouri Extension.
Dryden, M.W., Payne, P., Zurek, L. (2003). Fleas Infesting Pets & Homes: Pests that Affect Human Health. Kansas State University.
Richman, D. L., Koehler, P. G. Fleas – What They Are, What To Do. University of Florida.
Hahn, J., Liesch, P.J. Fleas. University of Wisconsin.