Does Lemon Juice Kill Fleas?

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As soon as you identify a flea, it’s time to spring into action, as they’re carriers of many nasty diseases.

There are a lot of home remedies out there claiming to help get rid of fleas which might be nothing more than old wives’ tales. However, some have proven quite effective against these little blood-sucking insects.

Today we’ll take a look at lemon juice, a popular flea remedy, and whether or not you’re better off making lemonade.

See Also: Does Rubbing Alcohol Kills Fleas?

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Does Lemon Juice Kill Fleas?


Unfortunately, you can’t kill fleas with lemons.

The good news is that this natural product is still useful in the fight against those tiny jumpers.

As with many insects, fleas don’t like the smell of lemon or other citrus fruits. While there’s no scientific proof that lemons will work as well as citronella or lemongrass, plenty of pet owners swear by it.

Just remember, everyone’s mileage will differ on any home remedy.

Read Also: Can Fleas Be Found In Human Hair?

How to Make a Lemon Juice Flea Spray

peppermint oil wasp spray

When you want a natural flea repellent, nothing beats a good homemade spray. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

  1. Take 1-2 fresh lemons and cut them in quarters.
  2. Add the lemons and about 1 quart of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and boil approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and allow the lemons to steep in the water for about 8 hours (or overnight).
  5. Pour the lemon water into an empty spray bottle.

This solution will last for about a week in the refrigerator if you used fresh lemon juice. To use, just spray it where you’ve spotted adult fleas to chase them away.

Related: What Bit Me? (How to Identify Bug Bites)

Boosting the Potency

Lemon juice probably won’t have much effect if you already use cleaning products containing citrus oils. This is why you may want to add more natural ingredients to the lemon juice spray.

Some great additions include:

Essential Oils

You’ll have to be careful using essential oils around pets, because many are toxic to them. These can be added directly into your lemon spray or you can use them with lemon essential oil.

Some great choices include:

  • Citronella Oil
  • Eucalyptus Oil
  • Lavender Oil
  • Peppermint Oil
  • Tea Tree Oil


While the smell of vinegar is attractive to fruit flies, fleas hate the smell and taste. Use apple cider vinegar for a more pleasant smell that can be paired with lemon.

Otherwise, you can use a tablespoon of lemon juice with a cup of white vinegar. This makes a natural furniture polish fleas will hate, and it’s good on salads as well.

If adding vinegar to your lemon spray, use equal parts of water and vinegar.

See Also: 11 Bugs Often Mistaken for Bed Bugs

Natural Flea Collar

Another popular use for lemon is a homemade flea collar. Flea collars tend to have little or no effect and some can harm or kill your pets.

Pet owners can use citrus to male collars a more safe and natural flea remedy.

Simply soak your pet’s flea collar in a cup of lemon juice. The lemon won’t harm your pet and may help repel fleas.

You can also dip a flea comb is the juice to help chase fleas away as you remove the flea eggs.

Why Lemon is a Popular Home Remedy for Fleas

So, if lemon won’t kill fleas and is only somewhat effective as a repellent, why is it so popular?

The truth is in the smell. Citronella and lemongrass are both effective repellents and smell like lemon oil.

Even though the citric acid of lemons isn’t as useful as these popular repellents, the similarity of smells is enough to convince most people that they also act the same.

Some Alternatives to Lemon Juice

While lemons may help in some minor cases, it’s not going to have any effect on a bigger infestation.

Thankfully, there are several anti-flea home remedies out there that actually do work quite well.

Here are some of our favorites.

#1 – Dish Soap and Water

make soapy water to kill wasps

Add a few teaspoons of Dawn dish soap to a bottle of water and spray in any areas where fleas have been spotted.

The soapy water will essentially act as glue and trap the fleas and it works much more effectively than simply trying to drown fleas in plain water.

While it’s very safe, it’s still a good idea to keep the mixture out of the reach of small children and pets.

#2 – Baking Soda

baking soda

Baking soda is another non-toxic solution available to get rid of fleas. It’s quite cheap and works well on pet bedding and furniture (including your bed).

In order to use it effectively, baking soda should be rubbed with a hard brush well inside the fabric. Vacuum the house after this to suck up flea larvae, dead fleas, and dirt all at once.

#3 – Salt

This method can be used similarly to the baking soda method. Some say salt works better than baking soda and others say opposite. It’s worth trying both methods.

#4 – Flea-Repelling Plants

lavender plant

Many plants have the natural ability to deter or even kill fleas through their smell and oils.

Here are three that are proven to repel human fleas (Pulex irritans) and may work on other species:

When Natural Flea Control Fails

We love the idea of natural flea treatments, but they might not always work.

Using lemon juice or other natural home remedies are best as a preventative instead of a replacement for flea control treatments.

Most commercial flea treatment products are designed to pose minimal risk of adverse reactions in your pets while destroying flea populations. These treatments may include flea powder, flea baths, or even hiring an exterminator.

Don’t be afraid to make use of these methods when necessary, as fleas cause far ore than some skin irritations when they bite. Remember, a moderate cat flea infestation can kill kittens or spread deadly pathogens, so flea bites need to be taken seriously.

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Our Verdict

There are many good arguments for wanting to use lemons to fight fleas. The main argument is that the smell will repel fleas, but some suggest the acidity of lemon juice will cause harm to these pests.

Unfortunately, there’s no scientific evidence of any effective properties of lemon juice.

It can still be worth trying lemon remedies out, as they do work against other pests, but you shouldn’t rely on lemons alone to fight fleas.