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Vinegar Kills Fleas: Effectiveness of Vinegar for Fleas

Vinegar Kills Fleas: Effectiveness of Vinegar for Fleas

vinegar kills fleas

Vinegar is one home remedy that a lot of pet owners want to know about. It is cheap and readily available, but is it true that vinegar kills fleas?

Unfortunately, the rumor is not true. Vinegar doesn’t kill fleas, it merely repels them. Vinegar smells bad, it tastes bad and it’s very acidic, so it’s no surprise that fleas don’t like it. The most common way to use vinegar is as a diet supplement but its also used topically as a spray or an ingredient in a flea bath. Supposedly, once the fleas smell or otherwise sense the vinegary aura emanating from your pet, they steer clear.

However, with its flea-repelling properties come a few health concerns that are important for pet owners to be aware of.

For one, the logistics of getting a dog or cat to willingly drink vinegar are somewhat challenging, to say the least. You have to sneak it into the water dish and hope that he drinks enough to make a difference, but not too much.

Moreover, another name for vinegar is Acetic ACID. Drinking too much of it can be bad for some animals, especially old or overly sensitive pets, because vinegar can drop bodily pH to harmful levels. For example, if a cat’s pH drops below 6.00 or thereabouts it can start forming calcium deposits in its urine that lead to kidney stones.

If you have a finicky pet it may refuse vinegar water altogether, no matter how diluted the mixture. A better option would be natural Brewer’s Yeast & Garlic Tablets

that can easily be slipped into food or a treat. Brewer’s yeast is very rich in minerals and B vitamins that promote good health, and garlic has the same repellent properties as vinegar but without the pH altering effects.

External vinegar treatments can also work as a preventative measure, but they don’t last very long. They can also dry out your pet’s skin and coat, so it’s not the best choice for those pets with sensitive skin. Luckily, there are much safer and more effective Herbal Defense Sprays available that use gentler ingredients like citronella, citrus and other natural oils.

The natural supplements and herbal sprays recommended above will work much better than vinegar at repelling fleas from your pet. However, fleas don’t just reside on your dog or cat, they live in your home and yard as well. Simply repelling them from your pet will not rid your flea problems.

This is where an All-In-One Flea Powder can help. Comprised of natural powders including diatomaceous earth that are safe for pets but lethal to small insects like ticks and fleas, this natural flea powder kills fleas using a purely physical process that doesn’t involve chemicals at all. You can use it on the carpets and pet bedding in your house as well as the popular areas your pets hang around outside.

The rumor that vinegar kills fleas probably came about out because people want a natural, inexpensive cure for fleas. Though the product doesn’t work, the idea is excellent, so give some of the natural flea killing products that we’ve discussed today a try!

21 Responses to “Vinegar Kills Fleas: Effectiveness of Vinegar for Fleas”
  1. Leah says:

    Do not use essential oils on your cat. Cats cannot appropriately metabolize the oils, which can lead to a toxic level of the oils in their systems.

  2. Buh says:

    Fears of vinegar and low PH levels are unfounded. Acetic acid is one of the components of the Krebs cycle and is therefore already in virtually any oxygen breathing organism. Further, many homeopaths recommend apple cider vinegar for its ALKALIZING byproduct once it is digested. If you would still rather not feed your pet vinegar, you can still spray vinegar on your pet’s fur to repel fleas with no side effects whatsoever.

  3. Yoga_girl says:

    I tend to disagree that vinegar does not kill fleas, just repells them. Perhaps it is because people are not using AVC…Apple cider vinegar. I use organic, non-filtered. And I noticed it kills many bugs on contact. I have been spraying it inside and out of my house with it…especially downstairs where I also have a moisture problem. I don’t spray it directly on my cats..just rub a little on their neck and lower back (sacrem area)…and when I fumigate the house with it, will cause sneezing temporarily to me and my pets. That’s why I tend to do one room and close it off. I have been using it in my vents also. Two days of vinegar and peroxide…no more sneezing and my nose is clear. I am going to continue to spray it on my decks and exterior too.

  4. Brenda Town says:

    I have been using vinegar and the fleas are killed almost immediately. Leave vinegar on the dog for 3 to 5 minutes. I see them going down the drain. Then I wash them with Dawn. I have yet to find a live flea afterwards. Given a teaspoon for small dogs and a tablespoon for large dogs in their water prevents further infestation. Comb out every day until all flea eggs are gone

  5. C. says:

    Vinegar absolutely will kill fleas. Months of commercial flea medications and shampoos did not manage to deflea our pooch. Vinegar has been the only thing that worked. A 50/50 solution on apple cider vinegar and water in squirt bottle would kill fleas in seconds when they were directly sprayed. We used it mixed with Dawn Detergent or reg. puppy shampoo in the same 50/50 solution as a bath treatment. Combing the dog afterward revealed the effectiveness- All fleas were found dead.

  6. Cece says:

    Ummmm? I think you are mistaken. The acid in vinegar works as a anti fungal, germicide and pesticide. For years people have used vinegar ( both apple cider and white) to kill: lice, fleas, ticks, mites, fungus, and many other types of annoying pests. The high content of the acid renders any small organism useless as it effectively burns them to death. And kills off any larvae and eggs….

  7. DB says:

    Initially I did not believe that vinegar had any effect on fleas, I used it because it made my dogs coats easier to comb through when he was wet. I use a flea comb on my dog and noticed that when I did NOT spray the dog with the vinegar prior to using the flea comb I rarely removed a flea.

    However when I apply the vinegar spray the fleas are easily swept up in the comb and for whatever reason they do not leap away. I can then dip the comb into a water and soap solution to finish them off.

    It works well and is inexpensive. Moreover my dog gets a bath once a week and his coat is never dry or dull but shinny and smooth when I use the vinegar spray.

  8. TG says:

    I had an infestation summer before last. I used white vinegar and lemon juice to clean up my floors and porches and areas in my house. Having hardwood floors I thought fleas would go away quickly with simple pesticide for the home but only the vinegar and lemon juice worked. I also used white vinegar and Dawn Dish Detergent on my cats and the fleas would be dead when I rinsed the cats after a 3 to 5 minute soak. I would also spray them with a 50/50 white vinegar and lemon juice spray and haven’t had a flea since. Now I use the same 50/50 spray inside my home and on the cats and still no fleas.

    • Theresa says:

      Nice! Thanks for sharing that with us – a non-poison way to kill them! :)

  9. Theresa says:

    Apple cider vinegar is extremely effective on my Chihuahua too, though I’m careful not to use it if she has any nicks or scratches because it does burn.

    I’ll use it in her bath water that I soak her in before I soap her up with Dawn but I don’t spray it on her afterward because I don’t want her to smell like vinegar. Instead, I spray a bit of 50/50 lemon juice/water mist on her after her bath. She smells great and the fleas stay away!

    Perhaps the reason that some people don’t see results from the ACV is because they’re not treating the house, too. That’s just as important as treating your pet because it doesn’t do any good to de-flea your dog or cat, then turn them loose in a flea-infested house.

  10. amy says:

    ACV worked on my dog, I mix it w/salt and baking powder too. Just used it 1/2 hr ago and found a dead one on him.

  11. Jim McCracken says:

    Excuse me but your statement Vinager does not kill fleas is a out right lie. I have setting before me here on my desk a cleare glass container that has 100% pure vinager in it. And in the container are 8-10 very dead fleas. The fleas died within seconds of being dropped in the the vinager they sank to the bottom. And die within seconds. So now if you make another false claim you may be sued.

    • Shelley says:

      When fleas get wet it looks like they are dead. They can live for 24 hours in liquid. So if you test again take the fleas out of the liquid before 24 hours and she if they start jumping around again in several hours.

  12. Hans says:

    I have been rinsing my own hair with 50/50 white vinegar/water solution for years. No more conditioners. my hair is soft any silky, I have tons of hair and always dreaded the 45 minutes it would take to blow dry my hair. Not so after rinsing with vinegar. Don’t worry about smelling like a salad either, the scent does not linger. I am actually seeing new hair growth as a result. Do not rinse afterwards.

    So it’s not just our baby’s who benefit from this natural product. I haven’t purchased conditioner or hair products for years!

    To stay on topic…I also rinse my full length coat Yorkie with the same combo after each bath. He is quit the looker!

  13. Jerry says:

    all the reader comments seem to indicate that vinegar DOES kill fleas. I guess the article is actually a push to use something more expensive? I would never think to have my pet drink vinegar…and not sure why anyone would, but I would think since vinegar kills so many other things why not fleas? and it’s perfectly safe for animals and the environment. I will be trying this soon!!thank you readers!!

  14. Danny says:

    Vinegar is also good for control of flies on Horses just mix a little in the feed ,also kills weeds and grass I use it to kill fleas on my dogs and cat plus I spray it around my dogs pen and yes it kills fleas on contact and it’s great for sun burn also
    just have to try your own mix [that weed and grass killer is right from the bottle no mix ]

  15. Margaret says:

    I was told by a carpet cleaning man to use vinegar, water, and a squirt of dawn detergent in a spray bottle on pee spots on the carpet. I had a very dumb puppy. I used it so much that it actually seems to have killed the fleas in the carpet. My animals are no longer bothered by fleas in the house. I would not use vinegar in the yard as it does kill plants. However, I am totally convinced that the solution not only works for puppy accident spots but kills fleas, too. My puppy and 3 cats are completely free of fleas.

  16. Melissa M says:

    Ah the wonders of vinegar! I’ve not used as a flea preventative, but I am going to give it a try today. I don’t have a flea problem as I treat my backyard yearly with a pesticide, but my dogs were staying with my brother-in-law while my sister’s, my son, and I were on vacation and they came home with fleas. So I thank you all for your insight into this problem.
    I use to use Avon’s Skin-So-Soft on my dogs years ago and it worked well on my MinPin, I’d never tried it on a long-haired dog, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I stopped using it because it is an oil based product so the smell really hung in there and I became too sensitive to it.
    Vinegar poured or sprayed on weeds in your yard will kill the weed. I use it with great benefit. After reading the tips here I think I’ll put some dawn in with the spray for better effect.

  17. Joshua says:

    A stray kitten showed up a couple days ago, and I had the idea to try alcohol on her to get rid of her HORRIBLE flea infestation since I couldn’t use any of the usual drugs. Alcohol actually works really, really well at both killing them and repelling them — they were abandoning ship onto ME almost immediately! You probably guessed what the problem is though. Cats lick, and even though alcohol evaporates quickly, ten minutes or so of trying to keep one from doing it is exhausting. That’s when I decided to try vinegar, and it didn’t seem to work. It DOES seem to keep her coat looking nice and helps hurry the alcohol on it’s way as an alcohol followup though.

    • RIC says:

      Peppermint Extract and liquid Ivory hand soap mixed….bathe the kitten in it…kills the fleas right away. No chemicals, perfectly safe…used it for many years on tiny little ones that are too young for any chemicals. Doesn’t have much residual killing power, but gets rid of the adult fleas until you can use another product.

  18. angeltompkins says:

    used a comb, took the flea to the kitchen counter, sprayed it with white vinegar, it wiggled and stopped, dead. there you have it, it works on the ant trail marching everywhere in search of water, food and me to bite. killed the trail after several new fine mist sprays with each net group…thanks for the conversations. I forgot about dawn.

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