How to Get Rid of Fleas on Stuffed Toys: 5 Steps for Success

  • Written By: Phil Hawes
  • Time to read: 10 min.
teddy bear next to flea

Fleas are pesky little insects that can make your pet’s life miserable. They not only affect the health of your pet, but also create discomfort for you and your family members.

The last thing we want is to take our children’s favorite toy away from them because it has become a home for flea larvae!

If you have found yourself wondering “how do I get rid of these pests on my kid’s toys?” then this article is just what you need!

The most effective way to get rid of fleas on children’s soft toys is through very high temperatures. For the average homeowner, this means using a washing machine although a steamer may also be effective. Lower temperature treatments, such as freezing toys may not kill off both adult fleas and eggs.

Getting rid of fleas is straightforward, but not easy as they are very elusive creatures which multiply quickly.

So, I will discuss some simple but vital solutions to getting rid of fleas on stuffed toys so that everyone in the household can be happy again!

So, please read on for more information.

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5 Steps to getting rid of fleas on soft toys and other toys

The thought of having fleas crawling over the very toys that bring your child joy and companionship is horrible. Especially because this can bring your darling little one directly in contact with a lot of terrible diseases carried by the common flea.

So, here is a sure-fire 5 step plan to quickly rid your home of fleas and to keep them out permanently.

Step 1: Flea detection

Although if you are reading this article you are pretty sure you have fleas in the home, mistakes can be made. So, detecting the pest you have invading your home is vital before you try and get rid of it.

The best way to detect fleas is by looking for flea feces or eggs. If you find any, then chances are high that they have been in your home for some time.

The obvious place to start looking is on your pets if you have any. Look for brownish black eggs around the animal’s fur or on its bedding. You may also see some reddish marks around the neck and ears ( those hard to reach places for pets) or even some fur loss.

Fleas also survive off their hosts, even on soft toys.

Have a look at your children’s teddy bears and really examine between the fibers. if you see black specks, those are probably flea feces and eggs are also easy to see with the naked eye.

You will also need to look at areas where pets sleep and hide- especially under couches, beds, and carpets. Flea eggs can be found in these places too so you should get down on your hands and knees (or use a flashlight) to search for them.

Another neat trick is to put on some high white socks and wander around your house for a couple of hours, especially over the soft furnishings. If you have fleas they will likely hitch a ride and will be easier to see on the white material.

If for some reason you can’t spot fleas with these methods, but you are convinced that you have them, there is another option.

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You can use a flea trap which is a container with a sticky strip inside. Fleas, who jump on the trap to try and feed off of it will get stuck there for you to dispose of them quickly before treating your entire home for these pests!

Step 2: Flea treatment

Some of the best methods for getting fleas out of your kid’s soft toys, and the rest of the home, are using a washing machine and vacuum cleaner.

Before you wash toys or other soft furnishings, bag them up to minimize the further spread of fleas around your home.

Put the toy inside of it, add some soap, and turn it on. You need to wash the toys at the highest temperature possible but without damaging them.

To kill fleas on clothing, bedding, and stuffed toys, wash the items for 10 minutes at 140°F and dry at the highest heat setting. Combined factors such as extreme heat, extreme dryness, flooding, detergents, and the physical tumbling action will put a swift end to those pesky fleas.

While you are washing ALL the soft furnishing in your home, along with all your kid’s teddy bears, you need to treat the rest of your home.

Vacuuming your carpets, drapes, and other items which won’t fit in the washing machine is effective. But, make sure you empty your hoover bag out into a sealed bag and throw it in the trash immediately.

You should also be vacuuming your pet’s bedding and toys. This will remove flea eggs, larvae, pupae as well as adult fleas.

In addition to using fairly basic treatments like laundering and vacuuming, you may also want to double down with a carpet flea spray.

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This will ensure that you reach all of the fleas and their eggs that escaped your vacuum. Alternatively, you can use the spray first and then vacuum to clear up the resulting carnage. Make sure that you get everyone out of the house when you do this, both pets and babies.

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If you do have pets, you should also give them a wash. This will kill off any fleas that have burrowed into their fur. A good shampoo or soap is best, as just water does not provide enough of a barrier to stop the bacteria carried by fleas from spreading back onto your pet’s coat and skin. Fleas can also survive a bath with normal shampoo, so get something dedicated to flea and tick removal.

Step 3: Flea prevention

Fleas are very common, even in your backyard, and they will usually come into your home as a little passenger on pets or clothes.

The best way to prevent more fleas from getting on your kid’s favorite soft toy is to start with your pets.

Washing them regularly with an anti-flea and tick shampoo is best. With my dog Mia, I normally give her a wash any time we take a long walk through the forests and she has been off the leash.

Also, get a good flea collar for your pets and ask your vet about anti-flea medication. This will not only protect your kids and their teddy bears but also your pets.

Step 4: Anti-flea verification

After you have gone through all the treatments and prevention methods you can, you should double-check that your efforts were successful and no fleas remain, especially newly hatched fleas that may be in their first stages of life.

Have another close look at likely areas for flea activity, such as your pet’s fur and sleeping spot. Also, take another look at the soft toys you cleaned and carpets around the home.

If you have vacuumed thoroughly, there shouldn’t be any new flea feces or eggs. If you find any more signs of fleas, go back and start again just to be 100 percent sure of success.

Step 5: Anti-flea observation

A little bit like the previous step, just keep an eye out for fleas in your home. I like to make this a scheduled thing, especially for my dog.

Once a month, just pencil in a time to look over your pet properly for signs of fleas as well as the rest of your home. This is best to do, especially as a pet owner, when you have to give your pet their anti-flea medication anyway. The quicker you spot a problem, the easier it is to solve.

Do fleas lay eggs on stuffed animals?

Fleas can lay eggs almost anywhere, including on stuffed toys, but they prefer to do it on warm-blooded hosts. Adult fleas can survive for weeks without a food source, so finding eggs and feces on soft toys is more than likely. The best treatment is a high-temperature wash and vacuuming.

If you have a particularly bad infestation of fleas and especially if you don’t own any pets, your soft furnishing will be a prime target for these pests. So, if you notice any fleas in your home, treat toys as if they already had fleas just to be safe.

Can fleas live on plastic toys?

Plastic toys would not provide fleas with a food source or habitat to lay their eggs, so a permanent inhabitation is unlikely. You might see fleas on these types of toys, but they are probably just moving around your home rather than actually infesting the item. Fleas can become stuck in plastic items, such as toy boxes, and this may explain their presence.

Basically, fleas are looking for a place to eat and raise their young. For this, they need a blood source and a place to lay eggs that is dark (between fibers) and warm. Pets and people are the first choice, but most of these things can also be found in carpets or furniture but not usually on plastic toys.

How do you clean dog toys after fleas?

If your dog has had a recent flea infestation, you should wash all of their soft toys ( and bedding) at a temperature of 140°F for at least 10 minutes. Follow this by drying the toys at the highest temperature you can. Plastic dog toys are low risk for fleas, but you can also throw these in assuming they won’t melt.

Just like soft toys for children, fleas can migrate and live in the soft toys that dogs love. As these toys are so close to an ideal host of fleas, they are top of the list for items to clean.

If you’re looking for a simple way to clean dog toys, and your pet has had fleas in the past, use boiling water or hot soapy water. Make sure that all surfaces of the toy are soaked in this solution before rinsing it out with warm tap water. It’s as easy as that!

What should I wash if I have fleas?

If you have detected fleas in your home, wash all of the soft furnishings you can get into a washing machine at a high temperature, from bedding to clothing to soft toys. For bigger items like carpets, mattresses, and drapes, you can buy special flea sprays and treatments to kill adults and eggs. Also, don’t forget to attack your car if a pet travels in it.

Pests such as fleas can spread into every corner of your home, but they like areas that simulate a host the most. This means that you should discover where the fleas are, and then treat those areas with a proven home remedy or special anti-flea product.

For extra protection against future infestation, use long-lasting insecticide sprays on carpets and furniture to kill any adult fleas hiding there.

Can fleas survive the washing machine?

Fleas will only survive a cycle in a washing machine if the temperature wasn’t sufficient. Any attempt to wash flea-infested items below 140°F may leave some fleas and eggs alive. Always use the highest washing and dryer temperature you can to ensure that you wipe out any fleas in your soft furnishings and clothes.

Fleas are most efficiently killed by a combination of high temperatures (in the high 140s), dehydration, chemicals in detergents, and the rolling action of the machine. fleas can actually hold their breath for a significant amount of time, so you can’t rely on the water alone to destroy them.

If you want to be double sure that you have killed off any fleas present in the items you’ve just washed, I’d recommend you run it for another cycle.

What temperature kills fleas?

Fleas will perish when exposed to temperatures below 30.2°F (-1°C) and above 95°F (35°C), though for washing it’s recommended to increase this to 140°F (60°C). But, apart from when exposed to washing machines and dryers, fleas will take up to 5 days to die in the wild at these temperatures. Therefore, other treatment measures may need to be used.

When fleas don’t have a host, they can be vulnerable to winter conditions and hot summer days. However, they rarely encounter these conditions in the home.

Your best defense against fleas that appear on your pets, kid toys, and other soft furnishings is to use effective measures to combat the infestation.

Beware, flea eggs can survive for up to 10 days in a home that has had an infestation. This is why it’s important to vacuum and steam clean carpets as well as wash pet bedding. Fleas jump from surfaces onto your pets so the whole house needs treating with effective products.

Can fleas live on cat toys?

Fleas can survive on any soft cat toy, but they will rarely choose it as a long-term residence. Fleas want to have access to a warm host with a plentiful blood supply and somewhere to lay their eggs. However, if you detect fleas on your cat make sure you wash their toys at a hot temperature to fully exterminate the flea population.

As with all types of soft toys, fleas may be present but it’s not really where they will flourish. That being said, it’s easy to totally eradicate fleas from your feline friend only to have a renewed infestation because you didn’t tackle the bedding and toys.

Make sure you clean and vacuum your home from top to bottom whenever you find fleas on your cats.

How long fleas survive without host

According to researchers, the average flea will live for only 7 days without a host at room temperatures. This life span is significantly decreased at higher temperatures but can be extended in some species to as long as 10 weeks at constant temperatures of 50°F (10°C). Significantly Colder temperatures will kill them, however.

Studies carried out to determine just how long fleas can survive without a host found that they live longer in winter conditions than summer ones. It was also observed that not all fleas behaved the same, with smaller percentages living longer than their counterparts at similar conditions.

This means that a flea infestation could, in theory, reestablish itself 7-14 days after treatments had been carried out. This is why a secondary round of treatments and precautions is advisable no later than 2 weeks after the first attempts.

Hart, R. W., and E. R. Pelikan. “Life Span of Fleas without a Host under Normal Atmospheric Conditions Occurring in Manila.” Public Health Reports (1896-1970), vol. 49, no. 24, 1934, pp. 699–711. JSTOR, Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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