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Home > General > Does Febreze Kill Fleas? Vet-Approved Risks, Alternatives, & FAQ

Does Febreze Kill Fleas? Vet-Approved Risks, Alternatives, & FAQ

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Dr. Karyn Kanowski

Veterinarian, BVSc MRCVS

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

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There are many amazing things to enjoy as a cat owner, like late-night cuddles in bed and interactive evening games in the living room. However, there are not-so-great things to be experienced too, such as fleas. If you’re like most cat owners, you are always looking for ways to keep fleas from taking over your kitty and your home. You might have heard rumors that Febreze kills fleas. Is this true? The short answer is that Febreze might kill fleas, but it shouldn’t be relied upon to do so. Read on to learn more!


About Febreze

Febreze is a Proctor and Gamble product that’s designed to refresh clothing, bedding, furniture, and more by encapsulating odors so they can’t be smelled by the human nose until thorough cleaning takes place. It’s important to note that while Febreze does help balance the pH of odors, it does not eliminate them nor does it actually clean the surface that it is sprayed on. Febreze comes in a wide variety of scents that can help keep your home smelling pleasant and inviting. The active ingredients in Febreze include sodium citrate, cyclodextrin, and beta-cyclodextrin.

Does Febreze Kill Fleas?

Fleas are bad news for various reasons. First, they are a nuisance to pets and humans. They feed on the blood of their hosts and can cause skin irritation and itchiness. Fleas can also carry diseases that can be passed on to our cats. Basically, they are a health and cleanliness concern. It would be great if Febreze could magically make fleas disappear whenever it is sprayed on furniture, clothing, and pet bedding.

Unfortunately, it can’t, and in fact, there’s nothing that we know of that can instantly rid cats and houses of fleas in one go. Depending on the severity of the infestation and the quality of the anti-flea products used, it can take days to get rid of fleas, and weeks to months to ensure their eggs and larvae are dealt with too. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that Febreze can at least help keep fleas at bay, and a few fans of Febreze have also attested to the product’s effectiveness when it comes to killing them.

This may happen because the Febreze dries out the exoskeletal system of the flea due to the alcohol content in the product. However, keep in mind that no studies or tests have been done to verify the efficacy of this product as a flea control agent. The product is not advertised to kill fleas, and Febreze nor Proctor and Gamble have claimed that the product is effective as a flea killer.

Never Spray Febreze Directly on Your Pets

Febreze is not designed for use on animals and should never be sprayed directly on your cat at any time, for any reason. If you want to try using Febreze to kill fleas, you can do so on surfaces, but you will have to find another option to use on your cat. Also, make sure any surfaces that you spray with Febreze are completely dry before letting your cat lie on or lick said surfaces. According to the Febreze website, the ASPCA states that if your pet does lay on a surface that has been sprayed with Febreze and has not yet dried, they may experience mild skin irritation, though there should be no reason for alarm.

Spray With Cleaner Artificial Grass
Image Credit: _Kitch Bain, Shutterstock

How to Safely Use Febreze in a Household With Pets

Febreze works best when the surface being treated is sprayed until damp and then allowed to completely dry. Since this product should not be directly applied to your cat, try to keep them from walking or lying on any furniture or bedding that you treat until it has dried. Work in one room at a time so you can keep your cat away from treated areas until they dry. Start in the bedrooms and close the doors behind you. Once the Febreze dries, put your kitty in one of the rooms, and then treat the rest of your home. You can spray pet bedding, but make sure it’s out of reach until it is thoroughly dry.

Effective Ways to Kill Fleas on Cats

There are multiple ways to treat your cat for fleas so they don’t end up having to deal with a serious infestation, the best one being prevention. The option that works best for your pet will depend on things like whether they have allergies to common pest control ingredients and how bad their flea infestation is.

Common options that your vet may recommend include:
  • Topical Solutions— Products that are applied directly to the skin, typically on the back of the neck, usually applied once a month.
  • Flea Collars— These can be purchased at pet stores, drug stores, and even grocery stores. They are treated with ingredients designed to kill fleas and must be constantly worn to provide any amount of protection.
  • Tablets/Chews— These products work like topical solutions and can provide anywhere from temporary protection to about 30 days’ worth of protection.

The active ingredients found in these medications include Fipronil, Pyrethrin, and Imidacloprid, but dozens of others could be present in any given treatment. Also, certain active ingredients used to kill fleas are meant for dogs and are not suitable for cats. Therefore, make sure to never use flea treatments designed for dogs on your kitty. Check that any product that you choose to use is specifically labeled for use on felines.


A Quick Recap

Febreze is not designed to kill fleas in the home, and the company has never claimed that it will do so. While some people have reported that it works to kill fleas on carpets, furniture, and bedding, there is no proof to support said claims. Talk to your veterinarian for other options that are designed to effectively kill fleas without endangering your feline family member.

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