What Smells Do Fleas Hate? (Top 20 Scents)

What Smells Do Fleas Hate? (Top 20 Scents)

Fleas quickly become an absolute nightmare once they come inside your home. You can expect them to enter through openings and cracks or sneak into your pets’ fur. Luckily, there is no need to use chemicals to get rid of these tiny insects.

Instead, you should discover what smells do fleas hate and use them as repellents. It is on you to use one of the essential oils or grow flagrant plants, combining your pleasure and their repellent properties. Let’s take a look.

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Smells fleas hate

Cedarwood chips and oil
Peppermint essential oil

Lavender essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil
Citronella essential oil
Tea Tree essential oil
Geranium essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Coconut essential oil
Clove essential oil (eugenol)
Lemon and lemongrass
Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar

Reasons to Repel Fleas

Reasons to Repel Fleas 1

The problem with fleas is that only one insect attached to your pet’s fur can turn into a horrible infestation after a short period. Besides, they quickly move from one host to another and may spread diseases like typhus and plague.

1. Fleas quickly reproduce

The flea life cycle, including phases of eggs, larvae, cocoons, and adults, lasts 20 to 35 days. They have a highly developed sense of smell capable of quickly detecting an accessible food source. Your only chance is to take advantage of this fact and deter them using smells these insects hate.

2. Fleas effortlessly latch on to your pets

Most pets, particularly dogs, are highly vulnerable to fleas. You can expect stray cats and dogs and unprotected free-kept pets to pick up these insects in the spring.

These parasites feed on animals’ blood and often attach to humans during direct contact with an infected pet. Besides, fleas can occupy the entire house, making their elimination tiring, long-lasting, and exhausting.

3. Fleas are difficult to remove

Getting rid of these wingless insects can be challenging because no insecticide can kill both larvae and adults. Additionally, most products are inefficient against eggs, and only a few quickly establish a new scratch.

Since only one female lays 40 to 50 eggs daily, they stay hidden in couches, beds, and carpets until they develop into adults. Since eliminating fleas is often a mission impossible, your best shoot is to repel them and force them to leave your home.

In the worst-case scenario, when nothing helps, your final option is to call pest control. These professionals have the knowledge and equipment to clean your house from these uninvited guests.

What Smells Do Fleas Hate?

You can find many natural remedies that repel or kill fleas more or less effectively. Your best options include the following:

1. Cedarwood chips and oil

Cedarwood chips and oil 1

Atlas Cedarwood and Virginia Cedarwood chips and oil are highly effective natural insecticides. The best solution is to make a diluted cedar essential oil since it kills flea eggs and larvae almost immediately.

You can also drip a few drops in the water and spray your home and the outer surface of the dog’s collar and leash. Sprinkle heavily diluted cedarwood oil over your dog’s fur but never do it before consulting your vet to prevent allergies.

2. Peppermint essential oil

This essential oil is a standard natural repellent that is efficient against fleas and ants. It can be even more efficient when mixed with other oils and water and sprayed throughout the house. Apply it every so often for the full effect. You should add a few drops on the dog’s collar to protect your pet from these menaces.

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3. Lavender essential oil

Besides numerous other purposes, the lavender essential oil is an efficient repellent against fleas. Mix a few drops with water, pour it into a spray bottle, and spritz the solution over your bedding. Another option is to plant lavender around the house to prevent fleas from entering.

Be careful if you have cats since lavender contains linalyl acetate and linalool toxic to these animals. Some owners apply diluted lavender oil directly on their dogs’ fur, but the ASPCA considers this plant potentially toxic to these pets.

4. Eucalyptus essential oil

Eucalyptus essential oil 1

Many people enjoy adding eucalyptus essential oil to an oil diffuser since its earthy scent help improve concentration and reduce stress. Besides these calming properties, it is an efficient flea repellent. Make a water solution and spray carpets and pet bedding. Carefully dilute it since this oil can be toxic to cats and dogs.

5. Citronella essential oil

This powerful natural insecticide successfully repels mosquitoes and fleas. You can apply water citronella essential oil solution at crucial points in your home or light a citronella candle for this purpose. Another option is to drip a few drops on cotton balls and arrange them in your bedroom.

6. Tea Tree essential oil

Besides having antibacterial and antifungal properties, tea tree essential oil is a powerful flea-repellent. You can also use it to get rid of lice, mosquitoes, ants, and cockroaches.

7. Geranium essential oil

Geranium essential oil 1

You can use geranium or rose geranium oil, but the second one is a bit superior thanks to its rosy floral fragrance. Besides contributing to your home’s pleasant smell, these oils are natural, and you can use them to prevent fleas from entering.

Once fleas infect your space, you can use this oil to kill adults. Avoid applying it to your cat’s and dog’s fur to prevent possible toxic effects.

8. Rosemary essential oil

Fleas have oversensitive senses and hate strong scents. That makes rosemary essential oil an excellent repellent. Since this plant is non-toxic to your pets, you can apply diluted oil directly on their fur. Be aware that this oil can repel fleas, but can’t kill them, so you should use it only outside.

9. Coconut essential oil

Coconut essential oil 1

This essential oil has a double effect on fleas. It keeps them away after spraying water solution on affected points or kills insects in direct contact. Even though some owners rub this oil into their cat or dog fur, some research shows it can cause stomach upset after licking it.

10. Clove essential oil (eugenol)

The Environmental Protection Agency registered clove oil as a pesticide. It is efficient against fleas, but applying a concentrated product can harm your pets. On the other hand, minute doses can work wonders for your infested home and yard after spraying.

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11. Lemon and lemongrass

Lemon and lemongrass 1

You can use lemon juice, its peel, and the essential oils made of lemon and lemongrass to eliminate fleas from your home. They are also pleasant, so you can use them to keep the house refreshed and fragrant. Never apply these oils directly to your pets, particularly not on open wounds.

12. Citrus

Fleas hate the citrus aroma, so you can eliminate these horrible creatures by applying the spray. Another option is to rub the citrus peel on the dog’s fur, protecting it from infestation.

Never try this method on cats since they can develop severe allergic reactions. Even citrus fruit extracts and some citrus-scented commercial cleaning products can deter fleas.

13. Mint

The most efficient method to use mint is to plant it in your garden or balcony. One of the excellent ways is to place pots with this herb near your door or on windowsills.

14. Marigold

Marigold 1

This flower emits an overpowering scent that quickly repels insects, particularly fleas. Keep them away from your home by planting easy-to-grow marigolds along the edges.

15. Catnip

The catnip plant causes joy in cats, but its effect on fleas is quite the opposite. The best you can do is to grow it around your house in full sun and let it repel these annoying insects.

16. Chrysanthemum

One of this plant’s compounds is pyrethrin which successfully deters fleas. Plant this colorful flower in your garden and enjoy a home free of these menaces. Another option is to choose one of a few commercial products based on pyrethrin.

17. Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar

Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar 1

Vinegar efficiently drives fleas out, thanks to its specific harsh scent. Mix it with water in equal proportion and spray the solution wherever you suspect flea infestation.

Remember that it can’t kill these insects but can keep them away from your home. You can also apply this mix on your pets’ fur and dog’s collar, but be aware that cats hate the smell.

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18. Nootkatone

Alaskan yellow cedar trees and grapefruit contain nootkatone, an organic flea repellent with a refreshing citrusy aroma. Since its concentration is relatively low, you shouldn’t expect this product to kill insects.

19. Colibri

This incense stick combining various scents can successfully repel numerous insects, particularly fleas. Their advantage is non-toxicity to kids and pets, but be careful about physical contact. Light sticks may cause skin burns when touched.

20. DEET


DEET is an excellent mosquito repellent, but you can also use this product against fleas, gnats, ticks, and chiggers. It masks the human scent, confusing their senses, making it tricky to determine the target, and preventing bites.


Even though fleas seem like a big problem when entering the house, there is an excellent way to get rid of them without using chemicals. Besides making your home fresh and fragrant, essential oils and scented plants successfully repel these annoying insects. They are also efficient in prevention and can help you never experience such horrible infestation.

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