Does mopping with vinegar kill fleas? Yes. Is it reliable? No. Here is what you should know.

Flea problems are most common with pet owners. These parasitic insects thrive on pets due to the cover provided by fur. As fleas draw blood, the pet’s skin gets irritated which results in scratching.

Seeing your pet in such a condition requires urgent attention. You want to apply something that works.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar Kill Fleas On Dogs & Cats?

Quite a lot of home remedies tend to be used for flea problems on cats and other pets.

However, the question is, do they kill or repel fleas? One of those we’ll be looking at is vinegar.

This is a common household item with a wide range of uses ranging from cooking, baking, weed control, cleaning, and even pest treatment.

What’s Vinegar Made Of?

To understand whether apple cider kills fleas or not, we’ll have to first look at what constitutes the product.

Vinegar contains about 5 to 8% acetic acid by volume and about 93 to 96% water. There are also trace minerals and vitamins contained in vinegar.

The unmistakable tart and pungent flavor of vinegar seem to be the reason why it’s considered for pest treatment. This product comes in varying types ranging from distilled white vinegar, cane vinegar, white wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, rice vinegar, and apple cider vinegar.

Others are raisin vinegar, apricot vinegar, sherry vinegar, malt vinegar, beer vinegar, red vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and black vinegar.

One of the most common types found in most homes is apple cider vinegar.

Will Vinegar Kill Fleas?

Technically speaking it does. When you fill a bottle cap with vinegar and drop a flea in it, it will hardly survive.

However, vinegar in itself isn’t a reliable home remedy treatment for flea problems when you need to exterminate these parasites. At best, it will serve as a flea repellent.

Even at that, vinegar won’t do much to resolve your flea problems.

Here, we’re not saying you won’t get results at all from vinegar use. At best, this product will have some repellent effect. However, the aim is to exterminate these parasitic insects.

Fleas are bound to hop back on after being forced off pet skin.

What Gives White Vinegar Its Pest-Repellent Effect?

Recall we mentioned that vinegar contains acetic acid.

When applied to fleas, it irritates them but never kills them. When irritated, fleas have to flee as they find your pet’s skin uncomfortable to stick around.

However, this only lasts a short while as they return to get their fill of blood.

Apple Cider Vinegar And Dawn For Fleas

Since vinegar won’t do much to kill fleas, ways can be devised to make vinegar more potent on these pests.

Although vinegar doesn’t have the exterminating effect required, Dawn dish soap can give it the extra punch needed to eliminate fleas. So how is this solution prepared?

Unlike most vinegar repellents used in spray bottles, this type doesn’t require pouring vinegar into a spray bottle.

Instead, it’s mostly used in conjunction with Dawn dish soap to bathe pets. Of course, things needed for this procedure include apple cider vinegar, Dawn liquid dish soap, and a flea comb.

First, pour sufficient warm water into your bathtub. Now, you’ll need to add about ½ to 1 cup of dawn dish soap. This should be followed with an equal amount of vinegar.

With this done, soak your pet (whether dog or cat) in the solution for about 5 to 10 minutes.

During this time, the lather formed should be worked into the pet’s fur. Starting from the ear and neck area, work the lather toward the tail. Of course, the dog’s body also needs to be covered later.

With this completed, get the pet out and allow it to dry before using your flea comb.

Before you use the flea comb, get a small bowl of soapy water and place it nearby. Now, groom your pet using the flea comb. Any escaping fleas will likely be caught by the comb.

Drown them in soapy water and repeat until you’re satisfied with the results. This treatment can be repeated until there’s a marked improvement.

  • How This Solution Works

The repellent effect of vinegar combined with Dawn dish soap creates a potent flea exterminator. Without understanding how it works, you won’t be able to apply this treatment method effectively.

Soapy water does a lot of damage to insects when it comes in contact with their bodies. The spiracles or tiny holes on flea bodies are used for breathing. Ordinarily, when vinegar and water alone are used, it won’t have much effect on these pests apart from irritating them.

With Dawn dish soap added to the equation, the impact on fleas is massive. To understand how it works, you’ll need to consider the fact that water naturally beads up on surfaces including flea bodies.

However, when soap is introduced, it lowers the surface tension of water, thus allowing it to soak in.

This is exactly what happens when your solution of vinegar and dawn dish soap comes in contact with fleas. Instead of beaded water rolling off flea bodies, as usual, the soap makes the water soak in and cover the spiracles.

This prevents them from breathing, thus killing them in the process.

The foam formed by mixing vinegar with dawn dish soap and water effectively distributes soapy water over the body of fleas. Before long, these pests should be dead.

Extend Treatment Beyond the Pet’s Body

It’s not enough to have your pets treated with a solution of vinegar and Dawn dish soap. You’ll need to treat your surroundings as well as pet bedding. For pet bedding, have such removed and vacuumed if possible.

Launder such using a hot water cycle. That should be enough to get the job done.

Using your vinegar and dawn dish solution, spray around your yard and entryways. Most times, fleas lie in wait along such points to hop on a potential target which is mostly pets. These pests won’t hesitate to hop onto humans too.

Repeated treatments using this strategy will give you relief from fleas. You’ll need to add Dawn dish to your vinegar solution to give it that extra punch it needs to kill fleas.


Vinegar indeed repels fleas.  It can also be used in several ways to achieve your purpose.

Vinegar can be applied after shampooing your pet with a vet-approved product. You need to apply it to your pet’s bathwater. It is then applied to its entire body.

Also, it acts as a preventive treatment to ward them off. Fleas hate the smell of vinegar and will keep off. After this bath, the pet should be allowed to air dry.

Pet bedding should also be soaked in a solution of water and vinegar. This should be left for a few hours before being washed. It will successfully destroy them in no time.

Vinegar can be added to your pet’s (except for cats) drinking water. This vinegar recipe for controlling fleas makes your dog’s skin and blood acidic. This, in turn, irritates fleas.

You only need a few drops of it to get the job done.

By itself alone, vinegar won’t kill fleas. It only serves to repel them. However, we’ve seen ways to add dawn dish soap to vinegar to make it more potent.

Also included is information on how this solution works.

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