What Smell Do Fleas Hate? Best Natural Repellents

What smell do fleas hate?! If you’ve ever dealt with a flea infestation, you know how frustrating and persistent these small pests are. One effective way to prevent and repel fleas from invading your home or bothering your pets is by harnessing the power of scents they can’t stand.

Fleas dislike smells, including eucalyptus, lavender, cedarwood, and peppermint. If you see your pet scratching, it may be time to do a thorough flea inspection.  In this article, we’ll dive into what smells fleas hate and how you can use them to your advantage.

what smell do fleas hate

Natural Flea Repellents and Their Effects

Flea bites can transmit disease and cause dermatitis, so getting rid of fleas as soon as you notice them is imperative. If you have flea problems, do not spray any of these flea treatments directly on your dog’s fur.

They can cause skin irritation. It’s best to use them to treat the yard, furniture, and other places your pet hangs out.

Citrus Fruits – What smell do fleas hate?

lemons boiling on a stovetop: Smells that fleas hate_ citrus fruits

Using citrus fruits as a flea repellent is a friendly and natural way to tackle the problem. What smell do fleas hate? Lemon and orange are at the top of the list. 

You can make an easy citrus spray by boiling a sliced lemon or orange in water and allowing it to steep overnight if you don’t have time to make the DIY flea repellent, buy a bottle of lemon juice.

Once you have prepared the mixture, spray it on your pet’s bedding and furniture. The citrus scent has the added benefit of being unbearable for fleas and pleasant for you. 

Apple Cider Vinegar – What smell do fleas hate?

Smells that fleas hate apple cider vinegar

Did you know that apple cider vinegar is another natural flea repellent that is effective? Mix two parts apple cider vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle to make a homemade solution.

Gently spray the solution around the home. You can also add this smell that fleas hate to your pet’s drinking water, which can help repel fleas from the inside out. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per one quart of water – it’s that simple!

  • Note: Apple cider vinegar may not benefit all pets, especially those with allergies or sensitivities. Please consult your veterinarian before using it on or near your pet.

White Vinegar as a Flea Treatment

concentrated white vinegar: Smells that fleas hate_ white vinegar

You can also use white vinegar as a natural flea repellent near your pet and home.

Mix equal parts white vinegar and purified water in a spray bottle and spray it on their bedding and the areas where they frequently play or sleep. White vinegar has a strong scent that fleas dislike, but it also helps to balance your pet’s skin pH, making it less attractive to fleas.

Remember, while these natural remedies can help repel fleas, it is essential to maintain proper hygiene and grooming for your pets and to clean their environment regularly to reduce the risk of flea infestations.

Best Essential Oils: Smells That Fleas Hate

If you don’t want to use toxic chemicals for flea control, consider some of these smells that fleas hate. Many are unsafe for topical use, as they can cause skin irritation. However, you can apply them to your furniture, floors, and bedding. Learn more about essential oils and fleas here.


lavender oil drops : Smells that fleas hate_ lavender

Lavender is a natural flea repellent due to its strong scent. To use this essential oil, mix a small amount with water and spray it on your pet’s bedding and other areas where fleas may hide. Always dilute lavender oil, and be cautious before using it all over.


Smells that fleas hate eucalyptus

Eucalyptus oil is another effective flea deterrent and is one of the plants that keep fleas away. Add a few drops of the oil to your pet’s shampoo or mix with equal parts water to create a spray solution.

This natural remedy helps prevent fleas from infesting your pet and home. However, be cautious – not all pets can tolerate eucalyptus oil, so consult your veterinarian beforehand.

Lemongrass Oil

pouring lemongrass oil into a bottle Smells that fleas hate_ lemongrass

Lemongrass oil is another essential oil that works wonders in repelling fleas. Its strong citrus scent confuses and repels them. Mix it with water, spray it around your home, or add a few drops to your yard and laundry.


Smells that fleas hate_ peppermint

Peppermint oil has both a strong scent and a cooling sensation that fleas dislike. To use this oil, mix a few drops of peppermint with water and spray it around your home, focusing on areas where fleas may congregate.

Alternatively, you can add several drops to your washing machine and dryer to distribute the fragrant herbs in your laundry.

Rosemary Oil

Smells that fleas hate rosemary oil

Rosemary oil emits a fragrance that repels fleas due to its strong, natural scent. This makes it a practical and eco-friendly alternative to chemical-based flea deterrents. Please do not rub it into your pet’s coat, which can irritate it.

Tea Tree Oil

Smells that fleas hate_ tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is another popular natural insect repellent, but you should use it cautiously. While effective, this essential oil can be toxic when ingested by pets, especially cats. To use tea tree oil:

  1. Mix two drops with a carrier oil, like jojoba oil or coconut.
  2. Apply it to select areas where fleas may hide in your home.
  3. Always consult with your veterinarian before using tea tree oil around your pets.


Smells that fleas hate_ Citronella

Due to its strong scent, we commonly use Citronella oil as a flea repellent. Mix several drops with water and spray the mixture around your home, focusing on flea-prone areas. If you notice a lot of fleas on your pet, plant some citronella plants in your yard for added protection.


making cold pressed cedar oil with the text: Smells that fleas hate Cedar

Cedar oil has long been used as a flea repellent because it kills and repels insects. Mix one drop of cedar oil with water and spray it around your home or your pet’s bedding to help keep fleas at bay.

You can also purchase pre-made cedar oil products explicitly designed for flea control but always check with your veterinarian before using them on your pet.

Commercial Flea Repellents

Flea Sprays

There are numerous commercial flea repellent sprays available on the market (like Wondercide) for you to choose from. By spraying these products directly on your pet’s fur, you can help keep fleas from taking up residence. Many sprays contain essential oils that fleas find repulsive, such as:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Cedarwood

Always follow the directions on the label and consult with your veterinarian. If you need clarification on the best product for your pet or your pet has a history of skin sensitivities, you’ll want to be careful.

Flea Collars

Flea collars provide another popular method for keeping fleas at bay. Typically made from plastic, these collars release repellent chemicals slowly over time. As they wear the collar, the chemicals are distributed across your pet’s skin and coat, creating an environment that fleas find unappealing.

When choosing a flea collar, keep an eye out for the following:

  • Active ingredients: Look for flea collars that contain ingredients known to be effective against fleas, like imidacloprid, flumethrin, or tetrachlorvinphos. Check out this study on cat flea collars and their active ingredients.

  • Tick Repellents: Choose a collar (like Seresto) that also works to ward off ticks since they can transmit Lyme disease.

  • Size and fit: Choose a collar designed for your pet’s size and weight to ensure it’s practical and comfortable for them to wear.

  • Water resistance: If your pet frequently gets wet or enjoys swimming, consider a water-resistant collar so it remains effective regardless of exposure to water.

Investing in a trusted commercial flea-repellent spray or collar can help protect your pet from these external parasites’ discomfort and potential health risks.

Preventing Flea Infestations

Regular Cleaning

To prevent flea infestations in your home, it’s essential to maintain a clean living space. Regularly vacuum your floors, carpets, and furniture, especially in areas where your pets frequent. Vacuuming will help eliminate flea eggs, larvae, and adult fleas hiding in the fibers. 

If you are wondering how to tell how bad a flea infestation is, you’ll need to look for the signs while cleaning. If your house is infested with fleas, it may be time to call a pest control company and visit your veterinarian. 

Additionally, wash your pet’s bedding, toys, and belongings in hot water at least once weekly to kill lurking pests. Check out the actual size of the flea larvae on bed sheets for tell signs.

Another step to consider is using natural flea deterrents. We listed many essential oils above that are known to repel fleas, including:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Lavender
  • Tea tree
  • Lemongrass

You can incorporate these home remedies into your cleaning routine. Please do this by adding a few drops to your vacuum cleaner filter or mixing them with water and spraying them on your pet’s bedding and belongings.

Remember to dilute the oils appropriately and be cautious around pets, as some essential oils can be toxic to animals.

Control Fleas with Pet Care

Taking care of your pet is a crucial aspect of flea prevention. Groom your pets weekly with a flea comb to help remove fleas or flea dirt hiding in their fur. Using a flea comb is an easy and non-toxic way to keep fleas at bay.

Make it a routine to groom regularly, have bath time, and inspect your pets for any signs of fleas or irritation.

Talk to your veterinarian about the best flea prevention products for your pet. These may include monthly tablets, spot-on treatments, or flea collars. Remember that fleas can develop resistance to specific treatments, so it’s essential to rotate the products you use to ensure their effectiveness.

Lastly, maintain your pet’s overall health with a balanced diet and regular exercise. A healthy pet is more resilient and less susceptible to flea infestations.

Combined with regular cleaning and attentive pet care, you should be well-equipped to prevent flea infestations and keep your home and pets flea-free.

What Smell Do Fleas Hate? Frequently Asked Questions


Which essential oils can repel fleas effectively?

Several essential oils can help repel fleas effectively. The most commonly used oils include lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, and citronella.

These oils contain unpleasant compounds for fleas, causing them to avoid areas where they are applied. Remember to dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil before applying them to prevent skin irritations.

How does cedarwood oil work against fleas?

Cedarwood oil is a natural flea repellent because it contains toxic compounds to fleas. These compounds can interfere with the insects’ nervous system, making it difficult to function and survive.

Using cedarwood oil in your home or your pet’s bedding can help repel fleas and keep them at bay.

Do fleas get repelled by the vinegar smell?

While the smell of vinegar might not be a strong enough repellent for fleas, it can still be an effective solution to deter them. Vinegar can disrupt the fleas’ sense of smell and taste, making it difficult to find a host.

Diluting white vinegar with water and spraying it on your pet’s fur or in areas where fleas are present can help keep them away.

What smells can keep fleas away from humans?

Several smells can deter fleas from coming near humans. Essential oils like lavender, eucalyptus, and lemongrass can all help repel fleas when applied to the skin after proper dilution.

In addition, wearing light-colored clothing and maintaining good personal hygiene can make you less attractive to fleas.

Is tea tree oil an effective flea repellent?

Tea tree oil is known for its repellent, antiviral,  antifungal, and antiseptic properties, which can help to repel fleas. However, it is imperative to note that tea tree oil can be toxic to pets, especially cats, if ingested or applied in high concentrations. If you use tea tree oil to repel fleas, use it sparingly and keep it out of reach of your pets.

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