Can Fleas Survive in a Car? [How to Kill Them]

Fleas will live and lay eggs in your car especially if the temperatures are always regulated. All they need for a host is you or any pets in your car. Fleas thrive in shades where there is warmth and moisture. They do not like it when the car is too hot or cold.

Fleas can survive in a car if the interior is humid with temperatures between 75-80°F. They hide in seats, carpets, or under the seats. To kill fleas in your car, park it with the engine on and roll all the windows up. Ensure there is nobody inside and run the AC at 90°F for 1 hour.

However, fleas hate living in the car trunk (boot) because it is always extra hot in there. In most cases, the trunk’s temperature is rarely regulated. It has minimal ventilation and it can get extra hot and stuffy in there for fleas to survive.

Fleas in car and how to Kill them
Fleas in a car and how to Kill them

Causes of fleas in a car

Pets: are the number one cause of fleas in the car. If you always have pets in the car, fleas can easily jump from them and settle on the car seats. From there, they will hide in the cushion joints between the backrest and the seating area. Pests are the major flea carriers and any slight negligence on them can even make it worse.  

Passengers: Fleas can stick on people and especially those from the countryside where there is a lot of bush and farming activities. Fleas on them can easily hop from them and remain in the car.

Infestation: When your house is infested by fleas, you can easily carry them to the car. When your car is parked in an infested area (I.e farm) for a long time, fleas can hop into it. Fleas can come into your car even without hanging on a host. They can enter through open windows and ventilation as long as the car is not on the move.

How long can fleas live in car

Fleas can live in a car for 1 month or more if they find all they need like a host to feed on and a moist environment to hide in. However, fleas will not survive in your car for more than 1 week if it is always clean with no pests to feed on.  

Fleas cannot survive in a hot car and they will die if the windows are up with a temperature of 85°F for 3-6 hours. In most cases, this happens when the car is parked in direct sunlight on a hot day. They higher the temperatures, the faster they will die.

If the car interior is cold between 45-55°F for 4-8 hours, adult fleas and their larvae will become immobile and die. This will also kill their eggs because they need to stay warm to hatch. This information makes it possible to use the car conditioning system to get fleas out of your car.

Removal: How to get rid of fleas in a car permanently

Killing fleas in the car is an involving task since those bugs are tiny and you will need to get to the details. Get a free day when you have all the time to do a detailed cleaning. Here is a complete guide with steps on how to remove fleas from an infested car:

Step 1

Park the car on an open space to start a thorough cleaning. Remove anything that is made of fabric from the car. Those that can’t move should be let but try and move those that you can like the mats or extra covers at the seats.

If possible, unscrew the car seats as well since most car seats can be easily removed. Check your manual on how to do it. In most cases, this should be as easy as removing the screws along the rails. This is important because most fleas hide under the car seats.

At the back, remove everything from the trunk including the carpets and the mats. Take out all the spare tires in there and ensure that the space is left empty. If you always carry farm products in there once in a while, do not forget that some fleas may have remained in there.

Step 2

Put a vacuum cleaner bag inside the storage chamber them start vacuuming. Vacuum every single inch and corner of the car after removing the carpets.

Ensure you touch on the hidden corners on the floor boards and the joints. This will help in sucking up any fleas that are still hopping in there. Do not forget to tie and dispose the vacuum cleaner bag after the process.

Step 3

Wash all the fabric carpets and mats with warm soapy water and let them dry at high temperatures above  95°F to kill all the fleas larvae and eggs as well. Remove the seat covers if there is any and wash them as well. The following steps will help you in cleaning the car seats without any hustle:

  1. Pour 3 gallons of warm water in a large bucket
  2. Add 2 cups (16 ounces) of dawn dish soap to it so that it becomes a concentrated solution
  3. Add 20 drops of clove essential oil (optional but effective)
  4. Drop in a had towel in there, let it soak
  5. Remove and wring the hand towel just a little bit to remove extra water
  6. Use this to wipe every surface and corner of the seats without leaving a single inch
  7. Take your time while at it and gently squeeze the towel as you wipe
  8. If the towel becomes too dry, soak it again in the soapy water and wring
  9. Repeat the process until all the seats are clean
  10. Let the seats stay out to naturally dry

This may look like a long process but it is a sure way of getting rid of fleas in your car. This is best done in the morning so that you have enough time for the seats to dry before you install them back. If you feel the car seats are still wet, keep them indoors for the night and aerate them again in the morning.

For best results, see more on how to use clove oil for fleas. Clove oil is one of the best essential oils for killing and repelling fleas in your car or at home.

Step 4

Install the seats back and every necessary material after they are dry. Try and keep your car tidy by removing unwanted clothing and extra carpets. Let the car have space and room for a good air floor to prevent fleas from hiding in there.

Prevention: How to avoid fleas in a car

Avoid extra fluffy and heavy seat cover in the car because they can easily keep fleas. Seat covers made from cotton materials or any cloth are warm. They also trap moisture and this will encourage fleas to breed in them.

Do not install wet seats back to the car because they will remain moist and damp for a while and this will encourage fleas and other pests like ants in your car. If the weather is cold with no sun, you can use a blower or a hand dryer to increase the drying process.

Spay flea repellents like peppermint or lemon spray on the seats and carpets to keep fleas away. Avoid any unclean pets like cats or dogs in the car. If you have to bring them in, ensure they are washed with the best shampoos for killing fleas. This will help to avoid fleas re-infestation in the car.

Do not use flea repellent in the car if you have not yet done a thorough cleaning. This is because most of them will not kill the eggs and it will be a waste. Fleas will not live in a car without a host for long and this is why it is important to keep unclean pets away.

Can I use a flea bomb in my car?

The answer is no. Never use flea bombs (foggers) in your car because they have been proven to be a hazard to you inhale them. You spend a lot of time in the car while in traffic or in a long journey and if you use a flea bomb, the gas and the pesticides will stick around.

Flea bombs will also leave your car seats stained and full of pesticides and this can be a great hazard for you and your pets. They are also not effective for killing fleas in the car because they will not get into the fines details of seats and mats where the eggs are hidden.

It is tempting to get foggers or flea bombs for a quick shortcut solution but just don’t use them in your car. If you want a permanent solution for a flea infestation in your ride, follow the above steps provided above. They may look detailed and hectic but they are your best shot while at it.

Reference:

  1. Terminix: Flea bombs safety
  2. Library of congress: Fleas life span