What is a non-toxic, children safe way to kill fleas?

Carol has children coming through her house and e-mailed asking about ways to kill fleas that would be safe around kids (i.e., keeping any toxic chemicals out of the mix):

"I care for children and have found fleas in one of my rooms. I have no pets and no idea how fleas came to be
here unless a child carried them in. Are there any safe products to use on my carpets? Since children play on the floor I want to be very careful. Thank you."


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Here's my response:

"As far as how they got in there, it could well have been on a child - all it really takes is one female adult, and that one can lay a hundred eggs or so a day. So a couple of weeks later, you get an infestation. For stuff to use on the carpet - you can do some damage to them by vacuuming, but it usually doesn't get rid of all the fleas. The least toxic chemical I can think of to put down there is boric acid:


The "acid" part may sound scary but if you get a commercial flea dust made from it, they are diluted enough that they don't affect people. It's a natural substance that comes in a powder. Just be careful if you buy generic boric acid that isn't made for fleas - it often needs to be diluted.

If you want to spend a little more money - my suggestion for absolute safety is diatomaceous earth.


There is no possibility of that hurting people. It is basically dumping dirt on your carpet, though, so you'd probably have to vacuum a few times to get it up.

Finally, you might look at flea traps:


They aren't 100% effective but they will reduce the population of adult fleas."

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