Suited for homes of up to 2,000 square feet, this spray uses heavier-than-air molecules to settle into carpets. Effective against a variety of pests, including ticks and cockroaches. Customers love that this spray has little to no odor.
Not a natural spray. May harm pets if they are sprayed directly.
Kills fleas and other pests on surfaces throughout the house, and can deter new infestations for as long as seven months. Great for fabrics and carpet. Can contains enough product to treat fairly large areas or numerous pieces of furniture. Scent isn't too strong.
May take several applications for major pest problems. Not for use on pets.
Uses natural ingredients to kill fleas and stop new infestations from developing. Smells great. Available in varying sizes based on your need. Affordable price point.
Can be sprayed on dogs, but should not be used on cats – there's separate formula without clove oil for cats. May not kill all fleas and ticks.
This spray has minimal scent and is effective at eliminating intense infestations. The spray can be directly applied to beds and furniture with no risk of stains. Kills fleas at all stages of life and works against ticks as well.
Uses toxic chemicals that may be harmful to pets. Should not be sprayed directly on pets.
Formulated with natural plant-based oils that control fleas and eliminate most ticks. In addition to upholstery and carpet, it can be used on pet items like crates, kennels, and bedding. Most users find the scent pleasant.
Some pets experienced digestive upset after being in sprayed areas. Not for use on animals. Won't control all infestations.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
If you have pets, your home may have fleas. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just spray the fleas away? With a flea spray designed for home use, you can.
The best products are those you can safely apply to floors, carpets, and furniture to kill fleas and keep them from returning. There are two primary types of flea sprays: those with chemicals and those with 100% natural ingredients. Natural sprays may be safer for pets and people, but they may also be less effective. Chemical sprays tend to kill fleas at all stages of life, but some pose hazards for pets, especially if the pets contact the spray directly.
Once you decide whether you’d prefer a chemical or natural formula, it’s time to scrutinize your product options. Some sprays kill bugs on contact; others act more slowly but provide lasting protection. Some sprays can be applied directly to pets; others must never be touched or inhaled.
Safety should be your number one concern when shopping for flea home spray. Yes, you want to rid your home of pesky fleas, but you certainly don’t want to harm people or pets in the process.
Cat owners should take note here. Some flea sprays contain essential oils that are safe for dogs but toxic for cats, like clove oil. Others contain essential oils that are hazardous for cats and dogs. Always read the label, and avoid products containing oils that could harm your pet.
Note: While we’re on the subject of toxicity, we’d like to talk about topical flea medications for a moment. Topical flea meds containing high dosages of permethrin are hazardous and potentially fatal to cats. Never give a cat a flea medication formulated for dogs. Some flea sprays also contain permethrin, although the concentration is usually much lower. If you use permethrin spray, read the label to make sure it’s safe for the type of pet you have.
Some flea home sprays serve more than one purpose. If you have limited space in your cabinet and want a bottle that tackles multiple issues, you may be able to find it. For example, some flea home sprays also eradicate other bugs, such as mosquitos, flies, ticks, and cockroaches.
Perhaps you want a home spray that doubles as a topical solution for your pet’s fur or skin. There are formulas that can be applied directly to pets. These formulas tackle bugs head-on, and some soothe irritated skin as well. We encourage you to read the directions before applying flea home spray to your pet. Although some sprays are completely safe, others are highly toxic when inhaled or absorbed through the skin.
As we’ve stressed, you should read the label before purchasing and using any flea home spray. Here is a partial list of the active ingredients you may see listed.
Cedar oil: Cedar oil is a natural flea and tick repellent that suffocates the bugs to help end the infestation. It’s found in many preparations designed for homes with dogs and cats.
Clove oil: If a product contains clove oil or eugenol, a substance derived from clove oil, read the directions carefully. As mentioned, clove oil can be toxic to cats if ingested or absorbed through the skin. If the product is formulated for cats and receives good reviews, the concentration is likely a safe one. If the product is formulated for dogs but not cats, don’t use it on cats. The concentration is likely unsafe.
Etofenprox: This insecticide belongs to a class of chemicals called pyrethroids that kill adult fleas quickly.
Nylar: This growth regulator is an insecticide that also goes by the name pyriproxyfen. It prevents flea eggs from hatching and hatchlings from developing.
Permethrin: Like etofenprox, permethrin belongs to the pyrethroid family. It is used to treat a range of parasite-induced conditions, including scabies and head lice. It’s a common ingredient in flea home sprays.
(S)-Methoprene: Like Nylar, this insect growth regulator interferes with the maturation of fleas. It is used to destroy flea eggs and disrupt the life cycle of hatched fleas.
You’ve decided on a product, but how much should you buy? Flea home sprays come in a range of quantities, from 8-ounce bottles to gallon jugs. The easiest way to determine how much you need is to compare your home’s square footage to the manufacturer’s stated coverage area.
Let’s say a manufacturer states that a gallon jug treats approximately 1,600 square feet. If your home has that much square footage, the fit may be perfect — but don’t forget to factor in any furniture or drapes you’ll be treating. To have enough, you may want to purchase a gallon jug and a half-gallon container of product.
You might catch a better price if you buy in bulk. Let’s say the above-mentioned product provides half a year of protection. After that period, you’ll need to do another application. It makes sense to buy a 3- or 4-gallon bundle of jugs now, especially if they sell for a lower price.
If you’re trying a new product, however, you might want to start small. Consider purchasing an 8-ounce or 16-ounce container and testing it in one room. If you like the results, you can buy in bulk in the future.
Home sprays with essential oils often smell like the oils they contain. Citrus, cedar, and minty scents are common. Chemical sprays may be “unscented,” but people often complain of the smell anyway, saying it reeks like “kerosene” or “chemicals.” (To combat this, the manufacturer may advise you to ventilate and vacate the area for several hours after application.) Scented chemical sprays may smell like flowers, soap, mint, or other artificial fragrances.
One way to save on flea home spray is to buy a small quantity. However, you may defeat your purpose if you don’t buy enough to cover your home. Here, we take a look at price brackets for 16-ounce containers of flea spray. Most homes will need more than one 16-ounce bottle for full coverage.
Inexpensive: A 16-ounce container of flea home spray could cost as little as $2 to $5. Customer reviews tend to be mixed when it comes to effectiveness. You’re more likely to find bottles containing permethrin or another synthetic chemical in this price range; products with essential oils cost a bit more.
Mid-range: A 16-ounce container of spray that sells for $5 to $15 falls in the middle of the price range. Products on the lower end of the range may contain synthetic chemicals and receive mixed reviews on effectiveness. Products on the higher end are often rated positively by consumers. You’ll find both chemical and natural formulas here.
Expensive: The priciest 16-ounce containers of flea home spray cost between $15 and $30. Many of these are highly rated natural sprays that repel fleas, ticks, and other bugs naturally.
Read the directions thoroughly. As we’ve mentioned, some products are safe for dogs but not cats. But that’s not the only safety concern. Some products must be allowed to dry for several hours before human or animal contact. Some products can go directly on pet bedding while others should not touch bedding. Scrutinize and understand the directions for any spray product, chemical or natural, before use.
Note the expiration date on the bottle. Flea home spray loses effectiveness over time. The average shelf life spans a year, but this varies from product to product.
Read the label to find out how long the formula lasts. Stronger chemical formulas may promise to keep fleas at bay for half a year. Others promise effectiveness for a few months. Still others require reapplication “as needed,” which means you could be squirting some spray every day.
If you don’t find what you need in our matrix, we have a couple more products for you. The TropiClean Natural Flea and Tick Spray kills bugs on contact. We like the fresh citrus scent and the fact that this product contains no harsh chemicals. The company has stated that it’s safe for dogs that are 12 weeks of age and older.
Though not a spray, the Adams Flea and Tick Carpet Powder is worth a look if you want a product that penetrates carpet fibers. After sprinkling it on your carpet, wait at least an hour (and up to 24 hours) before vacuuming the surface residue. Pets and people should not be allowed back on the carpet until you have thoroughly vacuumed the area.
Q. Will this spray also work on ticks?
A. A lot of flea home sprays shield against ticks, but it’s not a universal trait. Check the label for product specifics. Some sprays provide protection against a host of pests, including ants and cockroaches. However, if fleas are your only concern, you may want to stick to a specialized and pet-friendly formula.
Q. Will flea spray stain my upholstery?
A. It depends on the type of furniture you have and the spray you’re using. As always, we advise you to read the bottle’s fine print. For example, the fine print might tell you the spray is suitable for water-safe fabrics only. This wording implies that the spray would stain a leather couch, since leather is not water safe.
Some people who use essential oil-based spray have observed staining on their white-coated pets. This is often the result of exposure to cedar oil, a yellowish essential oil found in some natural sprays.
Q. With all these warnings, I’m nervous about using flea spray around my cats. What should I do?
A. We don’t blame you, as the internet supplies lots of conflicting information. As a cat owner, you need to know that essential oils, including citrus, clove, cinnamon, and lemon oil, can be toxic to cats.
Whether you’re buying a natural or chemical spray, it’s best to check the ingredients and their toxicity before making a purchase. A heavy dose of permethrin is also risky for cats. As we’ve said, you should never use a product formulated for a dog on a cat. Don’t try to compromise and use a smaller amount of a dog product on your cat, either. Veterinarians denounce that practice.
With these cautions in mind, it’s important to note that having fleas isn’t healthy for your cat (or dog), either. A flea infestation can lead to skin irritation and hair loss. It could also lead to anemia, infection with other parasites (like tapeworms), and death. In short, you have to get rid of the fleas. Your job as a pet owner is to find the safest way to do that.