How to Get Fleas Out of Your Car

Dealing with a flea infestation in your car is frustrating and can be a challenge! Learn the best ways to kill fleas in a car here.
Written by Amber Reed
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
If you’re dealing with an infestation, you can try to get fleas out of a car by vacuuming, setting traps, or using flea powder. But if you’ve tried DIY methods and still find yourself swatting at fleas while you drive, you might need to hire an exterminator.
No matter how often you bathe your dog or how careful you are about ensuring they get a regular dose of flea prevention medicine, Fido might track a few fleas into your car. Because these pests reproduce extremely fast, it’s only a matter of time before a few dozen fleas turn into a few hundred.
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How to get fleas out of your car

Finding fleas in your home is bad enough, but a flea-infested car can be even worse! If you act fast, you can usually get fleas out of a car using DIY methods. However, depending on your vehicle and the size of the infestation, you may need to call an exterminator.
Here are some of the best ways to kill fleas in a car.

Vacuum the car interior

The first step to getting rid of fleas in a vehicle is to vacuum the interior. You can choose to rent a steam vac from your local hardware store, but any vacuum with powerful suction can get the job done. Make sure you vacuum the car’s upholstery and floor—and don’t forget the hard-to-reach corners and crevices between the seats. Repeat the process daily until all the fleas are gone.

Use a flea powder

Flea powder can be purchased at any hardware or big-box store and is another great option for getting fleas out of your car. To use the powder, lightly layer it over the interior of your vehicle, leave the windows open, and let the fumes ventilate for 24 hours. Afterward, you’ll need to vacuum the car to remove the dead fleas.
Do not use flea powder if you have leather seats in your car—the chemicals can damage the upholstery!

Set flea traps

Traps work by using a light or color to attract fleas and trap them in glue. In most cases, one or two traps should be enough to handle a flea-infested car. Just set the traps and leave the doors shut and windows rolled up for a few hours. If the infestation is severe, however, you might need to replace full traps with fresh ones in order to kill all the fleas.

Extreme temperatures

Although a flea infestation is always unpleasant, you might consider yourself lucky if you find fleas in your car during the middle of summer or the dead of winter. Fleas can’t survive in temperatures under 46°F or over 95°F, so in these weather conditions, you may be able to kill them simply by leaving your vehicle outdoors for a few days.


For this method, you’ll need to use refined salt—the crystals should be powder-like, not coarse. Sprinkle the salt throughout the interior of your car. Then, let it sit for 12 to 48 hours before vacuuming up the salt and dead fleas.
Avoid salting your car if you live in a hot and humid area, though—the salt can melt and damage your car’s seats and floor! 

Diatomaceous earth

You can find food-grade diatomaceous earth at most hardware and big-box stores, as well as some pet stores. Diatomaceous earth kills 99% of live fleas overnight—just sprinkle it over your car’s interior, and let it sit. You’ll still need to vacuum your car thoroughly, however, since DE only kills live fleas—not flea eggs. It’s usually a good idea to repeat the process two or three times in case any eggs hatch.
MORE: How to get bugs off your car: A handy guide

Hire an exterminator

If you’re still finding fleas after trying DIY methods—or just don’t want the hassle of dealing with the infestation yourself—you can hire an exterminator to get rid of the fleas in your car. Costs vary depending on the size of the infestation and your vehicle, but you should expect to spend between $75 and $400.
Key Takeaway To get rid of fleas in your car, try DIY methods like vacuuming or using flea powder first. If that doesn’t work, call an exterminator.
MORE: How to wash a car at home

How do fleas get into a car?

Most often, fleas make their way into your car by hitching a ride on your dog and transferring to your vehicle’s seats and carpet. But even if you don’t have a pet, it’s possible to track fleas into your car if you parked in a flea-infested area or unknowingly came into contact with an animal that had fleas.
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How to prevent another infestation

If you’ve dealt with a flea-infested car once, you’ll never want to deal with one again! Here are some tips to help you make sure the fleas don’t come back:
  • Wash everything that was in the infested vehicle—like floor mats, seat covers, and your dog’s car blanket—in very hot water, and dry them on the high-heat setting.
  • Bathe your dog regularly, and ask your vet about medications that prevent fleas.
  • Have your dog ride inside a kennel or carrier while they’re in the car.
  • Clean your vehicle often.
  • Try not to track debris into your car, but when you do, clear it out ASAP.

Does car insurance cover vermin damage?

While fleas probably won’t do any lasting damage to your vehicle, if you need to repair your car due to damage caused by insects or rodents,
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Yes! If you want to flea bomb your car, place a single bomb on the floor of the vehicle, and detonate it with the windows rolled up and the doors shut. Don’t drive your car for at least 48 hours to avoid inhaling toxic fumes and chemicals.
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