Does the Dryer Kill Fleas? Expert Insight

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I know firsthand how difficult it can be to get rid of a flea infestation.

Once fleas make it into your home, they can be extremely stubborn pests to eliminate entirely.

No matter how thorough you are with sprays, powders, and pesticides, it seems like one or two always manage to survive and keep the infestation going.

But through years of experience in the field, I’ve learned that one of the most effective weapons against fleas is right inside your own home – your clothes dryer.

The high heat from the dryer is extremely effective at killing fleas in laundry and bedding.

However, you need to use your dryer in the right way to make sure every last flea is destroyed.

In this article, I’ll share the proper techniques I use to kill fleas through drying and Other pro tips for maximizing your dryer’s flea-killing power.

With the right drying strategy, you can eradicate a flea infestation without resorting to risky chemical treatments.

So keep reading to leverage your dryer as a safe, affordable way to kill fleas and finally get rid of them for good.

Does the Dryer Kill Fleas?

I can definitively say that yes, the clothes dryer is an effective way to kill fleas.

The key is exposing them to sustained heat above 104°F.

Fleas are very susceptible to high temperatures – they start to die off at around 95°F.

Most dryers easily surpass this, operating between 125-135°F on a typical cycle.

At these temperatures, fleas rapidly desiccate and cannot survive more than a few minutes.

I always recommend my clients run their dryers in the highest heat setting when trying to kill fleas.

It may seem excessive, but it’s the surefire way to reach lethal temperatures.

While the dryer can wipe out adult fleas, as well as eggs and larvae, it has its limitations.

The dryer alone is usually not enough to fully eliminate an infestation.

That’s because fleas in cocoons are protected from the heat.

Plus, fleas can re-infest straight from your pets.

So I suggest using the dryer as one part of a comprehensive treatment plan when battling these pests.

But overall, yes – the sustained high heat of a clothes dryer is an excellent line of defense against fleas.

Just be sure to use it properly and safely as part of your extermination strategy.

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How Long Does It Take for the Dryer To Kill Fleas?

As I mentioned earlier, the dryer is effective at killing fleas thanks to the sustained high heat it generates.

But you might be wondering exactly how long it takes for the heat to finish them off.

Based on my experience as an exterminator, I recommend drying items for at least 30 minutes after they are already dry.

This ensures every single flea is exposed to the lethal temperatures inside the dryer drum for an adequate amount of time.

Fleas can only survive for a few minutes at the peak temperatures reached by most dryers (125-135°F).

However, it’s important to note that temperatures may vary throughout the dryer.

Some spots, like the corners, maybe slightly cooler.

Running the dryer for 30+ minutes gives time for items to tumble and fleas to be eliminated even in these variable spots.

I also suggest the following steps to max out your drying time for complete flea elimination.

  • Only dry a few items at once so there is plenty of space for rotation and air circulation. This prevents cool spots.
  • Only dry a few items at once so there is plenty of space for rotation and air circulation. This prevents cool spots.
  • Use high heat on a long timed cycle, not auto dry, so the drum runs for the full time regardless of moisture.

Following this approach helps provide the maximum flea-killing power from your clothes dryer.

Simply put, the longer you run it, the more sure you can be that every last flea is toast.

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Do Dryer Sheets Repel Fleas?

Now that we’ve covered using dryer heat to kill fleas, you may be wondering if adding dryer sheets to a load can help repel these pests.

The short answer is no – dryer sheets do not effectively repel fleas or prevent infestations.

Their main purpose is to reduce static cling in clothes, not act as an insect repellent.

Some brands may claim flea-repelling properties from added fragrances or oils.

However, there is no scientific proof that dryer sheets actually work to repel fleas once the laundry is removed and dried.

The chemicals simply don’t adhere well to fabrics.

In my opinion, dryer sheets are not worth relying on as a flea repellent.

There are much more effective products specifically formulated to repel fleas, such as sprays and powders.

I recommend these targeted products over dryer sheets for preventing flea spread.

The best use for dryer sheets is reducing static so clothes come out soft and lint-free.

They won’t hurt when also trying to kill fleas with heat but don’t expect dryer sheets to provide any meaningful repelling power once laundry is dry.

Focus on proven flea-killing techniques instead of questionable repelling claims.

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Can Fleas Be Washed Out of Clothes?

When dealing with a flea infestation, many people naturally want to wash all their clothes and bedding to get rid of the pests.

I totally understand this instinct! However, washing alone is not the best approach for removing fleas from fabrics.

Fleas grasp on tightly to fibers and can be difficult to dislodge with water alone.

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Their flattened bodies allow them to resist being flushed out.

So you may finish a wash cycle, only to find live fleas still clinging stubbornly to the wet laundry.

For the best results, I recommend pretreating laundry with a flea spray or powder before washing.

This will help detach fleas from fabric fibers and allow more to be rinsed away.

Use hot water for the wash cycle, and avoid overloading the machine so plenty of room for agitation.

Even then, some adult fleas and eggs may hang on through a wash. This is why the drying process is so important.

The sustained heat will finish off any fleas that made it through the wash alive.

So while some fleas may wash away with very hot water and pretreating, don’t rely on washing alone.

Make sure to follow up with a long, hot dryer cycle to take care of any stragglers that hold on.

That one-two punch is the best way to rid your clothes and bedding of fleas for good.

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Final Thoughts

After going over the ins and outs of using your dryer to kill fleas, I hope you feel empowered to leverage this simple yet effective tool in your flea eradication efforts.

While flea infestations can seem impossible to conquer at first, having the right techniques makes all the difference.

The most important takeaway is understanding the power of sustained heat from your dryer.

Reaching temperatures between 125-135°F and running cycles for at least 30 minutes beyond dryness is proven to kill fleas, eggs, and larvae.

Don’t bother with dryer sheets for repelling – they simply don’t work once the laundry is removed.

However, also remember that the dryer alone won’t completely eliminate an existing infestation.

Washing clothes won’t remove all fleas either unless you pre-treat and use very hot water.

But combining these laundry approaches is your best bet for getting rid of fleas in your fabrics.

Make sure to also treat your pets, vacuum diligently, and take other preventative measures.

Following an integrated pest management plan is key to kicking fleas out of your home for good.

It may seem endless at first, but staying vigilant and utilizing the dryer’s heat will pay off.

With some knowledge and elbow grease, you can definitely win your battle against these irritating pests.


How long can fleas live in a dryer?

Fleas cannot survive for any significant length of time inside a clothes dryer.

Does a hot dryer kill fleas and flea eggs?

Yes, a hot clothes dryer is highly effective at killing adult fleas and eggs.

The high heat of around 130°F will kill all stages of fleas if exposed for at least 30 minutes.

What temperature kills fleas instantly?

Fleas will die instantly when exposed to temperatures exceeding 162°F. Most clothes dryers reach slightly lower peak temperatures around 135°F.

Resources – (for further reading)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (.gov) – Fleas Home | Fleas

Britannica – Flea | Definition, Size, & Natural History

I'm Ernest M Noah, the founder of I have years of experience as an exterminator in Texas and Idaho, and I'm passionate about educating people on how to deal with pest problems effectively and safely.