Are any natural insect repellents effective against fleas?

Although very effective, DEET products are controversial and many people have shied away from their use in favor of natural products with herbs, lemongrass, and eucalyptus.

Are any DEET-free insect repellents effective against fleas?

Clearly related to this question but not a duplicate (in fact, the exact opposite). I'm asking about natural alternatives.

  • possible duplicate of Are DEET-based insect repellents effective against fleas?
    – nhinkle
    Sep 17, 2015 at 15:07
  • 1
    Why did you post your question twice?
    – nhinkle
    Sep 17, 2015 at 15:07
  • 4
    @nhinkle One question is asking about DEET products, the other asking about natural products. I updated the question title and body to try to prevent the confusion by changing "DEET-free" to "natural". Sep 17, 2015 at 15:14
  • Seems redundant. Why not post a single question, "what types of insect repellent are effective against flees"?
    – nhinkle
    Sep 17, 2015 at 15:32
  • 3
    @nhinkle I was trying to be specific Sep 17, 2015 at 15:38

1 Answer 1


This answer focuses on management not repelling, fleas have a complex life cycle, If you repel 99 of 100 fleas, that one is going to be living on you with it's family.

The internet has LOTS of yes answers to this question, random example. most are focused on animals because, well... I don't know why. People get fleas also. As rule there is a different species of flea for each type of animal they feed on (ref). But when they are hungry will snack on anything available.

There are a couple of questions on the pets.se sister site that address treatment for animals.

But when you really start to research any internet solution, (example Can dish soap really be used to kill ticks and fleas? ) you tend to find that there is more hype than fact for most claims.

The most effective solution is regular bathing and grooming. You either have fleas or not, if you are in a place that has fleas they will be on you. The most effective non-man-made-chemical-solution is to wash them away with a bath and pick or comb off any that remain. I am not sure if you want to classify soap as natural, but as the dish soap answer shows it is effective remover of fleas (not a killer of fleas).

FYI - one of the currently most popular "Natural Solutions" is 'Diatomaceous Earth (DE)' which has some health concerns. Natural does not mean without possible adverse side effects.

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