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Does Bleach Kill Fleas on Cats? Vet Reviewed Safety Guide

Vet approved

	Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM) Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Lauren Demos (DVM)


The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Just spotted fleas crawling all over your favorite furry friend? Don’t reach for the bleach bottle just yet! Bleach can effectively kill fleas that are on hard surfaces, but you must never apply bleach to your cat!

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about using bleach to kill fleas, but before you read any further, it’s important to understand that bleach (Sodium Hypochlorite) is hazardous to cats. If you think your cat has been in contact with bleach, especially if it may have ingested some, or if there’s a chance that your cat got bleach in its eyes, you should call a veterinarian immediately.

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Is Bleach Safe for Cats?

Bleach is not considered to be safe for cats, just as it’s not safe for humans. That said, it will kill fleas that are on hard surfaces such as hard flooring and counters.

The fumes from the bleach can cause breathing difficulties for your cat. Direct contact can result in bleach poisoning, causing symptoms such as skin and tissue irritation, vomiting, drooling, and coughing.

To prevent bleach poisoning, follow these tips:
  • Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation when you’re working with bleach
  • Keep your cat away while you are cleaning
  • Dilute the bleach with water
  • Rinse down and wipe all surfaces when done

If you think your pet has been in contact with bleach, wash the area with water, give them clean water to drink, and call a veterinarian immediately.

A wiper in rubber gloves wrung out a green rag
Image Credit: EkaterinaSid, Shutterstock

Can Fleas Survive in Bleach?

Bleach, or Sodium Hydrochlorite, will kill both fleas and flea eggs, but its effectiveness will depend on the concentration of the bleach. The more diluted the bleach is, the longer it takes to work. If you’re using diluted bleach to clean a hard surface, it may be a good idea to leave the bleach to soak the surface for around 10 minutes before rinsing and wiping it away.

The problem with using bleach, however, is that it is very likely that flea eggs will be hiding in dust spores all around your house, including on soft furnishings such as seats, cushions, beds, blankets, and rugs. If you really want to get rid of fleas, you’ll need to address all the areas in your home that could be harboring hidden fleas!

What Will Kill Fleas on Cats Immediately?

The fastest and most effective way to kill fleas that are currently on your cat is by giving them an oral medication prescribed by your vet called nitenpyram. Nitenpyram will begin to kill the adult fleas on your cat within 30 minutes.

Unfortunately, any flea eggs will remain on your cat, and once they’ve hatched, they can begin to reproduce within a couple of weeks. Additionally, this medicine won’t get rid of any fleas that may be hiding around your house.

close up fleas on cat
Image Credit: KanphotoSS, Shutterstock

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How to Get Rid of Fleas

Depending on the severity of a flea infestation, it can take weeks to months to get rid of fleas entirely but take heart: if you stay on top of a flea-control routine, you should be able to keep a flea-free home and pets.

1. Sanitation

If you’ve noticed that your pet cat has fleas, the first thing you need to do is clean your home. Wash your cat’s bedding, rugs, and other soft furnishings that your cat likes to spend a lot of time in. Sweep and vacuum your floors, and dust all around your home, including skirting boards. Continue this weekly to keep your environment free of subsequent fleas that may hatch and risk reinfecting the environment.

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2. Bathing Your Cat

The second step in your flea-control process is to treat your cat with a suitable flea product for cats designed to kill fleas. The most effective ones are prescribed by your veterinarian. Remember, if you have multiple pets, you’ll need to treat them all! Treatments will need to be reapplied as directed by your vet. Remember, most flea infestations take many months to completely eradicate, so pets must be treated for the duration of this timeperiod.

british shorthair cat taking a bath
Image Credit; Zulkarnieiev Denis, Shutterstock
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3. Home and Pet Treatment

If you suitably treat your cat longer than the life cycle of the fleas, and keep your home clean, home treatment such as flea bombs, are generally not needed.

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4. Maintaining the Routine

Using a spot-on treatment, washing your cat’s bedding, vacuuming, and dusting your home regularly, will help to prevent a future flea infestation.

cat near vacuum
Image Credit: Mr_Mrs_Marcha, Shutterstock

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Final Thoughts

While it’s true that nobody likes fleas, remember that the occasional flea infestation is a completely normal part of having a pet. Even if you clean your home excessively, your cat, or you, could bring fleas home from outside.

You can use bleach to kill fleas on hard surfaces, but you’ll need to combine this effort with other steps to get rid of fleas entirely. You must never use bleach on your pet. Instead, use a recommended insecticide, such as a spot-on treatment, and make sure to treat your home as well. Regular vacuuming, dusting, and washing of the cat’s bedding will help to prevent fleas from spreading through your home.

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