How To Get Rid Of Fleas In Bed

  • Written By Dan Edwards on November 10, 2018
    Last Updated: December 10, 2020

Fleas on your pet are one thing, but fleas in your home are another. Just the thought of it can make you itch, and the possibility of having fleas in your bed may result in you never wanting to sleep again. It doesn’t mean you need to run for the hills, there are simple and effective ways to deal with fleas in the bed and in the home.

While most of us know that our beloved pets are the perfect targets for fleas, leaving our homes susceptible to infestations. Many people don’t even consider that they may also be in our beds. This article aims to give you some valuable information for spotting a flea problem in your bed, what to do if you find them, and how you can prevent it from happening at all.

How Do Fleas Get on Your Bed?

If you have pets who spend time on your bed, then they are probably the reason you are now finding fleas in your bed. You could also be playing a role in their transfer to your bed too as they may be hitching a ride on you while looking for a host.

Adult fleas will not live on your bed and if you do find them there, it will probably be a result of them falling off their host. They will move off as soon as they find a new host, or use you as a mode of transport to help them get closer to one.

Maybe you have discovered some dead fleas on your bedding, this is likely to happen when your pet grooms itself while on your bed. Fleas then become trapped in the bed sheets, and although you may have a few bites from them if they don’t find a host, they won’t survive for long.

Fleas that live on your pets will reproduce and lay eggs which will then fall off your pet, thereby infesting your home. They like nothing better than carpets, upholstery, cushions, and beds. They hide deep in the fibers, seams, cracks, and crevices to hatch into larvae. As the larvae hatch, they will then remain there feeding on flea dirt and other flea eggs until the pupae stage. From there they emerge as adult fleas and will immediately seek a host. This is the only place they are well-adapted to live.

Flea Eggs On Carpet
Flea eggs in the carpet – CC Image courtesy of Denni Schnapp

It’s quite easy to see how fleas can get onto your bed when you realize what the life cycle of a flea is. It is also easy to see why your bed could become a prime target, particularly if your pet joins you in bed for snuggles or sleeps on the bed when you’re out.

Signs of Having Fleas in Your Bed

If you have actually spotted live bugs in your bed, it is unlikely that you have a flea problem. Fleas like to live on our beloved fur babies and not in our beds, as they cannot survive for long without a host to feed from. If you have noticed small dark spots on your bedding, they could well be dead fleas, but you should consider other possibilities as well.

As mentioned above, fleas could be there through transfer or after being dislodged from the host, but the fleas will not actually be living there. To make sure you are giving your bed the right treatment and that fleas are the real problem, you need to make sure your infestation is not down to the other bloodsucking parasites, bed bugs.

To check whether you are dealing with fleas or bed bugs there are a number of things to look out for:

  • Check the mattress, if there are signs of insects, you will most likely be dealing with bed bugs, not fleas
  • Check your pets, if they are scratching more than usual, and you see fleas moving through their fur, chances are you did spot one on your bed
  • If you have bites, check out the differences between them. Flea bites are small, red bumps surrounded by a halo and are usually quite itchy
  • If you see live bugs, watch how they move. If they are crawling, then you may have bed bugs, fleas jump to move around instead
Flea Bites
Flea bites – CC Image courtesy of Michael Voelker

How to Get Rid of Fleas in Your Bed

If you’ve ruled out bed bugs and are sure you’re infested by fleas, don’t panic. There are certain steps that can be taken to eradicate fleas from your bed.

To rid your bed of fleas is not a quick process, but it is possible. By following these steps, your bed will become a flea-free zone, allowing you to sleep in peace once again.

  • Remove all bedding and wash in the washing machine on the highest temperature possible
  • Wash all nearby rugs and throws
  • Vacuum all carpets and upholstery
  • Vacuum the entire surface area of the mattress several times
  • Use a homemade flea spray on the mattress, once dry put on a mattress cover and seal it up. You can still sleep on it, but this way the fleas are trapped until they die
  • Leave the mattress sealed for a month before taking off the cover and vacuuming the dead fleas away. This ensures flea eggs and larvae will also be killed
  • Use the spray on the bed frame, making sure to get in all the joints and crevices where larvae may be hiding
  • Take your vacuum cleaner outside to empty it, and make sure you clean the cylinder and filters, or discard the bag and replace with a new one
  • Make sure your pet has been treated
  • Treat your entire home to reduce the risk of future infestations

Make sure when treating your home that you pay particular attention to the areas where your pet often sleeps or spends the most time, and make sure to clean all pet bedding and any soft toys which they may have.

How to Prevent Flea Infestations in Your Bed

Now you have taken care of your flea infestation, you are going to want to control the risk of any future flea infestations occurring.

You also want to stop fleas from bothering your pet. As they are generally the main reason fleas are introduced into your home, their treatment should be a top priority. Make sure they receive regular, veterinarian-approved flea treatments, and follow the instructions correctly to ensure your pet receives the right dose.

flea prevention

As we know, it is not only our pets that may bring fleas into our home. Fleas may also hitch a ride on us humans in the process of finding a host. Whichever way fleas get into your home, there are ways to reduce the likelihood of it happening.

If you own a yard, make sure your lawn is mowed and shrubs are trimmed to give fleas fewer places to hide. Don’t leave any food outside, be it for your pet or for birds and other local wildlife, as those cute little critters may also be bringing fleas into your yard.

Take a look at the outside of your home, seal any openings to crawl spaces and fences to prevent cats, dogs, and critters from entering your yard. Cut down large trees which are close to the home, which could help a critter get access to your home.

Inside the home, vacuum all carpets and rugs regularly, making sure to get around those baseboards and under furniture and cushions. Flea larvae like to hide in cracks and crevices, and deep in carpets or fibers of upholstery. Pay particular attention to areas where pets spend their time and don’t forget to wash pet bedding and any soft toys they own.

3rd Instar Cat Flea Larva
3rd Instar Cat Flea Larva

Don’t allow your pets onto the bed (or even in the bedroom!), but if you can’t resist having your pets in bed to snuggle up to, make sure to wash your bedding frequently. Vacuum your mattress on a regular basis and keep it sealed in a mattress cover. That way any fleas that do happen to get on your bed will be restricted to the bedding, which is easier to control than a mattress infestation.

By following this advice, you will be preventing the possibility of fleas infesting your home. However, remember that your main priorities are to keep your pets’ flea treatment up to date and to perform regular grooming of your pet to check that the treatment is working correctly.


Fleas in your home are not nice to even think about, let alone experience, and getting them in your bed is even more frightening. Your bed is where you sleep and relax, and the place where you are most vulnerable to things happening without you knowing as you sleep.

Don’t let fleas become a problem in your bed, but if they do, just follow the guidelines above to get rid of them so you can sleep peacefully once more. Having fleas in your bed can be a stressful and traumatic time, so you need to do everything possible to prevent it from happening. You don’t want to wake up to discover your unwanted guests have been feasting on your blood as you sleep.