How Long Does it Take for Bleach to Kill Fleas?

Fleas are annoying insects that come into our homes, steal our blood, and in the process, infest every inch of our living space. Needless to say, any home remedy that can kill these nasty insect intruders is welcomed.

I have tried various products for flea prevention and elimination, but one everyday cleaning product mixed with water ended up being a surprisingly good solution.

Quick Answer:

Bleach kills fleas almost instantly, but it’s not recommended for flea control. Being a toxic chemical, it can harm pets, humans, and the environment. It can’t reach hidden fleas in carpets or upholstery. For flea control, use specific products and consult professionals for severe infestations.

Read on to learn how long it takes to kill fleas with bleach and how to use chlorine-like liquids to kill these annoying pests. 

Can Bleach Kill Fleas?

Both traditional white bleach and color-safe bleach are fatal to fleas and will rapidly wipe them out if utilized correctly. It stands that during a pest infestation, washing fabric and bedding with bleach will kill fleas of all stages; adult fleas, flea larvae, and flea eggs in the machine. Pet bedding especially can benefit from monthly bleaching while being washed. 

While it is safe to rub soapy water on pets, and some soap is formulated to kill fleas, never apply bleach directly to your pet’s skin. Both cats and dogs are susceptible to skin burns and painful rashes if bleach is applied.

Licking or accidental ingestion of bleach can lead to dire health issues for animals, so all products containing hypochlorous acid should be used on surfaces only and cleaned never in the flea shampoo or soap blend for your pet’s coat. 

In ideal conditions, bleach will spread quickly on flat non-porous surfaces and kill all adult fleas, flea larvae, and the eggs of fleas. If enough bleach is laid down and there are not many deep gaps to hide in, the chance of survival for fleas is very slim.

The fumes from bleach in a high enough concentration can be enough to kill a female flea low on blood and stunt or kill other stages of development as well. 

How to Eliminate Fleas with Cleaning Chemicals?

Clorox Splash-Less Bleach, Concentrated Formula, Clean Linen, 40 Ounce Bottle - Pack of 2 (Package May Vary)

If you want to use a solution of bleach to wipe out a flea infestation, you can absolutely do it. But just like when working with any potentially hazardous chemical, you must use common sense and caution to avoid injuries.

Things like protective gear and working in a well-ventilated area will help you mitigate the worst effects of working with bleach while still being effective at killing fleas. Here is how to use bleach as an effective flea control method. 

Get Materials

Gather everything you need before you start. It is important to keep pets and children out of the areas you will be working, and constantly running in and out to get things invites a mishap. Remove the possibility of working smart and getting everything you will need first. 

You will need your bleach, a bleach sprayer or bleach mixture for scrubbing, and PPE. Other materials like buckets, a hook-up for water, and towels to dry can also be placed nearby for the final steps of flea removal using bleach. Once everything is together, you will become the enemy of fleas. 

Locate Fleas

For bleach to be most effective, it needs to come into direct contact with fleas and flea eggs. You will want to find the flea-infested areas and remove all pets, children, and objects or things vulnerable to bleach before beginning to clean.

This can be done as you are bringing in the materials you can be taking out the obstructions. 

Be sure to wash and sterilize anything removed from the area before returning it and at the end of the process. Find the place the fleas are most likely hiding and laying their eggs, and try to figure out how much of the mixture you will need to treat the area. Then decide if a spray or scrub will be a more effective flea killer. 

Put on Protection

Wear a mask, eye protection, and gloves before working with bleach, especially in the concentrations needed to effectively kill fleas, or you may suffer health effects. Bleach can burn the skin, and the fumes are toxic and irritating to the lungs and nasal passages.

Any splashes or drops in the eye could lead to blindness, so all of these body parts need to be protected. 

Apply Bleach

Use hot water and your specific bleach concentration spray, or scrub the flea-infested areas thoroughly. Only direct contact will kill the flea eggs, so really pay special attention to any nook or cranny, gap, or chip that a flea could squeeze into and leave no spot unbleached.

Keep applying bleach until you are certain there is a steady saturation of bleach, and the conditions for fleas to survive are gone. 

Let it Soak

Leave for 2 to 3 hours to allow the bleach to penetrate deeply into any space. The sodium hypochlorite that is so deadly to adult fleas takes time to enter flea eggs.

Much like using diatomaceous earth to kill pests, the longer the toxin is on the ground and the more times fleas come into contact with it, the greater chance the toxicity will wipe out the population. 

Rinse it Off

Make sure to wash all bleach off of every surface to make sure that all traces of toxic sodium hypochlorite has dissipated. Since the compounds in bleach are harmful to pets and children, make sure to clean everything thoroughly before reintroducing it to places they will be.

The same goes for treating materials removed prior to bleaching, so the flea infestation is not brought back into the home immediately.

Surfaces to Use Bleach On

Flea on Fabric

Bleach is a strong solution that can be used on many surfaces to prevent flea infestations and subsequent flea bites. It is the most effective on surfaces that are smooth and don’t have pores or other deep places for fleas to flee into.

Surfaces that can be rinsed and wiped down quickly respond well to bleach and can be relied on to kill fleas if they happen to nest there. 

SurfaceApplication MethodResult
WoodDo not useFleas under the surface grains will be unaffected, and bleach will destroy the appearance of your floors 
ConcretePour or scrubKills fleas in cracks and gaps as well as under and around the base
VinylSpray or ScrubFleas have nowhere to hide and are killed almost instantly, let soak on older plastic floors with warping or cracks and peeling
CarpetSpray and ScrubKills fleas and flea eggs if allowed to sit for several hours but use color-safe bleach to avoid discoloration 
FabricWash in Bleach or SprayCan kill fleas if direct contact is made when spraying, washing and soaking can be more effective for fabrics that fleas can hide deeply inside of
GlassSpray and WipeFleas have nowhere to hide and are unable to escape the spray or the wipe that follows to evenly spread out the bleach 
MetalSpray and WipeFleas have nowhere to hide and are unable to escape the spray or the wipe that follows to evenly spread out the bleach
StoneSpray and WipeFleas have nowhere to hide and are unable to escape the spray or the wipe that follows to evenly spread out the bleach

How Quickly Will Bleach Wipe Out Fleas?

Killing fleas with bleach can sometimes work instantly, but other times it can take days for flea eggs to die completely. In most cases, a single application is enough to heavily reduce the infestation and interrupt most of the flea’s life cycles.

But it is not always an instant solution meaning steps should be taken to prevent reinfestation or the fleas escaping and spreading to other rooms in the house. 

To ensure that the environment for fleas has changed from pleasant to hostile, you will want to allow the bleach to sit for 2-3 hours to fully kill the eggs of fleas and the female fleas that would lay more eggs.

This will greatly reduce any animals in your home’s exposure to fleas and make future generations less likely to survive and thrive. 

Due to the toxic and hazardous nature of bleach chemicals, after soaking for a few hours,  fully rinse or wash out the bleach before returning the pet bedding or other flea-free fabrics to their homes. This will make sure that the area is safe for creatures that put things in their mouths and prevent any harm from the bleach used to kill the fleas.

If done correctly, you can kill the fleas in your home with bleach in just a few hours.