Can Fleas Survive the Washing and Dryer Machine?


A flea infestation at home is one of the most difficult situations that most home or apartment owners will encounter. They are hard to get rid of due to their small size and their evasiveness (fleas are surprisingly mobile despite their size). Using the washing machine is one solution to containing a flea infestation but does it actually help to kill all the fleas that get trapped inside?

The Role of the Washing Machine

One of the very first steps to get rid of fleas is to collect all possible clothes and bedding items that may be infested (including your pet’s). These household items should be contained in tightly-sealed bags until they have gone through a round of washing and drying.

While we can’t guarantee 100% that all fleas that find themselves in the washing machine and dryer won’t survive, you can feel rest assured that their chances of survival are very low. The mix of hot water and detergent should be enough to kill the fleas and the eggs that they may have been laid on the clothes or bedding items.

Here are some quick tips to give yourself the best possible chance of getting rid of the fleas that have contaminated the clothes and bedding items.

Use the Highest Water Temperature

Use the highest water temperature that the laundry items will be able to handle. Each clothing and bedding item should come with a tag that provides washing machine temperature suggestions. Laundry items that go through a cycle with too high of a water temperature may suffer from damages like shrinking and fading.

Don’t Do Too Much Laundry at Once

Don’t stuff the washing machine with too many laundry items in one cycle. You don’t want the laundry items to get “stuck” in the container, which may prevent the hot water and detergent from getting properly distributed in the washing machine tub. If there’s a lot of clothes and bedding item that you need to wash then you may be better off going to a laundromat where you will have access to larger-sized washing and dryer machines.

Use Laundry Additives for Pest Control

There are laundry additives that may boost the effectiveness of the washing machine when it comes to eliminating pests like fleas. These liquids can be added along with the regular detergent and typically leverage non-toxic chemicals, such as essential oils, as an active ingredient.

Common Questions on Fleas & Washing Machines

Here are some other commonly-asked questions that people have when it comes to using washing and dryer machines to deal with fleas.

What Temperature Kills Fleas in Washing?

A washing machine temperature of 95°F (35°C) or hotter should be enough to get rid of the fleas and the flea eggs. Some washing machines may allow you to set the water temperature of 60°C or higher, but note that it isn’t necessary to use such a high temperature as it may come at a cost of damaging fabric that can’t handle the heat.

How Long Can Fleas Live on Clothes?

Actually, fleas won’t dwindle all that much on people’s clothes. They need to feed periodically so they will most likely remain on people’s clothes for up to a day before they start to find their next blood meal. That said, it’s still very important to wash all the clothes in your house along with using other flea control tactics to deal with the infestation.

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