Craft & Design
Homemade Flea Repellent

Homemade Flea Repellent
By Jessica Wilson

Flearepellent Step4B
Every summer I succumb to the wailing meows of our calico cat and let her roll around outside in the garden, and every summer the calico witch-baby becomes lousy with fleas. Making your own flea repellent will not kill those pesky fleas, but it does a dandy job of keeping her less full of them after we bathe her and apply that awful toxic vet-obtained goo. Rather than reapplying that stuff when the first batch loses potency, we mist the witch-baby with this homemade lavender and lemon infusion so she can be flea-free until the next summer. This works on both cats and dogs, though some cats are not fans of lavender. Before you make it, waggle a small sprig of the purple buds near your kitty and watch for her reaction. If she runs away, omit the lavender and just use the lemons or substitute rosemary. Lavender oil can be too strong so I use fresh lavender from the garden.
Flearepellent Cat

Flearepellent Materials


Small squirt bottle 3–5 ounces works fine.
2 cups water
2 Tbsp alcohol-free witch hazel
1 large lemon sliced
Handful of fresh lavender sprigs or 1Tbsp dried lavender
Small saucepan


Flearepellent Step1
Step 1: Gather your ingredients and add everything except the witch hazel to your saucepan.
Flearepellent Step2
Step 2: Simmer on a stove top for 30 minutes. Remove to cool. The water will have turned a light lavender, and it should give off a citrusy sweet aroma.
Flearepellent Step3
Step 3: Once cooled, strain the infusion through a small-holed colander or mesh sieve. Discard the lemon and lavender.
Flearepellent Step4A
Step 4: Add the witch hazel to the mixture and fill the bottle. Add a sprig or 2 of lavender to make it pretty, and admire. We use a small squirt bottle because the cat is not a fan of the thing. We store whatever is left over in the fridge and use about one small bottle a week.
Flearepellent Step4B
Step 5: To apply the infusion to your pet, gently mist along his/her back and massage into the fur. Sometimes you will see fleas jump ship — make sure you squash ’em! While the noise and pressure of the initial squirting makes my cat jump, she doesn’t tear off to hide after the whole process is done, so I like to think she appreciates it. Also, the infusion is spiffy enough to use on yourself on a hot day, not for fleas of course but just as a relaxing pick-me-up!
About the Author:
Author Jessicawilson
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as ‘jek in the box’ and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.

67 thoughts on “Homemade Flea Repellent

  1. I know this is an infusion but just in case someone thinks about using essential oils instead I wanted to make sure folks are aware there are potential safety issues with cats and essential oils. Apparently cats have a hard time dealing with essential oils and it can do bad things to their liver. The Lavender Cat website has some great information to keep your kitty safe.

  2. Cats generally hate the scent of citrus. It is often used as a scratching deterrent or repelant (putting citrus rinds in your garden can keep the cats out).

  3. How can I get in touch with Jessica Wilson “Jerk in the box”? I need to ask her a question.
    Lisa Betts

  4. Thank You for sharing this with us. We don’t want to put chemicals on our dog or ourselves, I believe God intended us to us nature as he created it for.

  5. I have 11 cats, 4 of which are newborn kittens. You can imagine we became pretty flea infested, including the infants. What worked the best for us is going to the country store and buying a 50 lb bag of diatomaceous earth, or fossil shell flour. Put cats and kids (and other animals) outdoors, open doors and windows in the house, WEAR A MASK, and sprinkle liberally onto the carpet. We then used a broom to brushing into the carpet and this is why you need the mask. It’s not good to breathe all the fine powder into your lungs. After it clears out, it’s fine to walk on, and have the animals lay on, completely non-toxic. We waited til the next day, vacuumed the house twice and haven’t had a problem since. We also take t h e cats outside about every 5 days or so and rub the powder into their fur. The earth cuts into the exoskeleton of the fleas and then dries them out. They cannot live after touching it. Much safer than the boric acid treatments they sell for carpets and hella cheaper.

    1. I believe sprinkling Salt in the carpeted areas where your little buddies have access to & leave it for a – day or 2? Will dehydrate the fleas & they will die. Then vaccum! Hope this may be of help also.

  6. What kind of witch hazel do you use? I’ve seen distillates and I have seen Thayer’s alcohol free toner with aloe Vera formula? It seems hard to find, so I want to make sure I get the right one. Thanks!

  7. Remember to DO YOUR RESEARCH when it comes to essential oils and animals. Many that are safe for us are toxic to them. Just because a product is “natural” does not make it safe…hello, arsenic is also natural! And as for it being a flea repellent, fleas are easily the mos elusive and difficult parasites to prevent and treat. There’s a good chance they are all over your house. One adult can lay 50 eggs a day. People, I would seek the advice of a vet before delving into DIY products for your pets (this includes food). And yes, I am a registered veterinary technician so I know what I am talking about.

    1. I would look into the regular ole Salt treatment. It dries out the fleas … Cheap Too! Salt is not going to hurt your carpets etc if you do not leave it down more than a few days. It will work it’s way down into the carpet. Cracks in wood flooring if you have them and the base boards, A little in your floor vents too. I might plan a trip, holiday vacation or something & leave it down all week w/no pets or anyone walking on it! One might want to do some research on it, I heard this years ago. ;0)

  8. You can find witch hazel in the pharmacy section at Walmart. It is a mild astringent you can find near the rubbing alcohol and hydrogen peroxide…usually in the same area and the same type of bottle.

  9. For anyone wanting a way to kill the fleas in the process, try adding some diatomaceous earth to the mix. It is non-toxic and won’t harm your pets. It scratches the exoskeleton and with the witch hazel mixed in it the fleas will dry out and die.

  10. the diatomaceous earth works great but you have to keep applying it every three to four days to kill the hatching fleas. Once you’ve killed them all, then use the repellent to keep them away.

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  20. Does your cat still clean herself with this mixture sprayed on her fur? My beasties have such delicate tums, I don’t want to make them nauseous!

  21. Can Make Magazine please indicate somewhere in this article how the efficacy of “that awful toxic vet-obtained goo” is backed by published, reviewed scientific research and its toxicity is specifically labelled with the product?

    Also, can somebody please provide some links to the safety and efficacy of this concoction, preferably by an expert in veterinary medicine and toxicology?


    1. Well.. she says they still do use the vet supplied stuff so I’m not sure your vitriol is waranted. It’s not like she is using this article to promote anti-vaccination BS or anything terrible like that.

      I think that pretty much every medicine known to man has some amount of side-effect or at least something bad that happens if you are continuously using it long term. It’s just that that bad is usually minor, often even unoticed while the alternative is much worse. Do you pop a Tylenol every 4-6 hours just in case you might have a headache coming later? She is just using this so she doesn’t need to use the vet’s soap as often, she isn’t forsaking all modern medicine… at least as far as I can tell from this one article.

      As for the contents of her concoction. Those are things people have been using on themselves and their pets for a very long time. Most of them you can even eat. If you are worried about the toxicity of that I wonder if you get out much.

      1. Leif, if you would read my comment again, you will notice that my “vitriol” is specifically against her claims that the modern medicine used by her vets are “awful toxic vet-obtained goo”. That is fear-mongering of modern medicine – nearly on par with anti-vaccination lunacy — and *that* is the toxicity that I’m concerned with.

        All I asked for was some material safety data, and you quickly jumped on the attack.

        So, no, Leif: you are barking up the wrong tree.

  22. They recently found lice at my kid’s school. It wasn’t on my kid and I’d like to keep it that way. I don’t suppose this would help….

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