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Does Deet Repel Fleas

Person spraying orange can of bug repellent onto arm


Fleas are tiny bloodsucking insects that feed on the blood of animals and humans. These insects cause discomfort and can be very itchy. Fleas can transmit diseases to humans and pets, such as typhus and lice.

The effectiveness of Deet in repelling fleas is debatable as there are no conclusive studies. However, based on research, it is most likely that Deet only repels fleas temporarily.

To find out more about if this product does or does not repel fleas, just continue to read our article.

You will get the answer to this question and more helpful information that you can use to fight off a flea infestation.

What is Deet?

This product is made from a man-made chemical called N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. It is normally a chemical ingredient found in many bug sprays and flea repelling products.

This chemical’s main duty is to repel mosquitoes and ticks. But the good news here is that it will repel fleas as well. It is an effective flea repellent chemical that is used in over 30 bug-related sprays and defenses.

Does DEET Bug Spray Kill Fleas?

Person holding orange can of bug repellent straight out in front of them.

As you know, repelling and killing are two different actions. The former just drives the fleas away while the latter does end their lives. Both actions are acceptable except with repelling the flea invader, they have a chance to return to your home and your pets.

Unfortunately, Deet is not strong enough to kill fleas. It only repels them, giving the flea a chance to live another day. How Deet works is that it masks any odor that would attract fleas to your body.

This product does have some side effects, but we will get to that later in the article.

Did you know that there are a lot of plants the repel fleas? Check out our post “Plants that Repel Fleas” to learn more.

How to Use Deet to Effectively Repel Fleas

Child bending over scratching their legs

The first step in this process would be to read the instructions. Those instructions help you apply this product in the right way in order that fleas are driven away from you or cannot identify where you are.

Follow the instructions closely to make sure you do not harm yourself when applying it to your skin. The second step would be to not spray this product on your clothing.

Just put it on your exposed skin areas to make sure the fleas cannot smell or identify you.

If you do happen to get Deet on your clothing, make sure to wash them as soon as possible to remove the spray and its odor. The label should provide some guidance for when this happens to you.

Some Tips for Using Deet

Man, outdoors covering face with a hand towel

1. Do not spray Deet directly on your face. Instead, spray it on your hands and then wipe your face with your hands. This will protect you from experiencing some side effects.

2. Use this product in well-ventilated areas. This cuts down the risk of inhaling the chemical.

3. Do not spray on your body if you have any open cuts or other wounds.

4. Avoid spraying this product on plastic and leather. The chemical formula inside Deet is known to damage both materials.

The Negative Aspects of Using Deet

Person hiking, stopped to spray bug repellent on their legs

While Deet is good for repelling fleas, you need to be careful of how you use it. There are some negative aspects that make using this product a little risky.

The Spray Can Cause Skin Irritation

Before you use the spray, pick a small part of your body and spray the Deet onto it. If you do not get any irritations, then go ahead and use the Deet with confidence.

If you do get skin irritations, do not use this product but find something safer for your skin.

It Damages Certain Other Products

Plastics and leather are just two products this flea repellent can damage. It will also damage vinyl, rubber, crystals, lenses, shoes, and combs.

It Has an Unpleasant Fragrance

You may not like the way it smells but the odor has to be powerful to mask your scent.

Has Some Serious Side Effects

Deet can be very toxic to your pets and if it lands in their eyes they can contract conjunctivitis, scleritis, corneal ulceration, and blepharospasm.

Or it can trigger some skin allergies if you are prone to allergies or have sensitive skin. Finally, it can lead to seizures or harm your brain if inhaled or if you spray too much on yourself.

Harmful For Children

A man spraying a small blue bottle on a child's arms

Do not use on children younger than 2 months and that minimum age limit may be extended to 1 year to be on the safe side.

Some Final Words

Deet is not just for mosquitoes, nor does it kill that insect. This is a repellent product, not an insect killer. Keep that in mind when you want to get rid of fleas in your home or yard.

Plus, you may only get up to 8 hours of protection so apply it wisely. Just be careful in how you use this product and where you spray it. You do not want to make yourself, your family, or your pets sick.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.