How to Use Vinegar as a Homemade Flea Repellent

cat near flea repellent

The Spruce / Krystal Slagle 

If you want a cheap, natural flea repellent to keep fleas off your pet and out of your home but aren't keen on using chemical-based flea collars and sprays, vinegar is an option. Vinegar is fragrance- and chemical-free, environmentally friendly, and safe for pets and children.

Along with vinegar, many pet owners opt for diluted essential oils to deter fleas. These natural flea repellents include oils like lemongrass, citronella, peppermint, tea tree, and rosemary, which can all be diluted in water and misted onto the pet's fur. However, since not all essential oils are recommended for use on pets, vinegar makes an effective alternative to ensure dogs and cats are safe while keeping fleas at bay.

Here, learn how to use vinegar as a homemade flea repellent.

What You'll Need


Using Vinegar

Like many pests, fleas hate the smell and taste of vinegar, so they'll do their best to avoid it. Use this information to your advantage by making a vinegar-based flea spray to use on your pet.

To make your homemade flea spray, you'll need white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Either is fine, though some people feel their pet prefers the scent of apple cider vinegar. Just know that cats may not stand for any vinegar being sprayed or wiped on them.

Creating your flea spray is as simple as diluting the vinegar with water. Some people recommend mixing equal parts vinegar and water. Others recommend mixing one part vinegar with three parts water. Experiment with both formulas to see which works best for you. The more concentrated formula (1:1) will have more flea-repelling power. If you find your pet is resistant to the smell, start with the more diluted formula (1:3), and step up once they're used to it.

Before You Spray

Before applying your homemade flea repellent, be sure to check your pet for any open cuts or sores. Applying vinegar to broken skin stings, so you want to take care not to apply it to any wounds. Be careful not to spray it in your pet's eyes either. If you want your pet to accept your new form of flea repellent, you don't want them to associate it with any discomfort.


To apply the vinegar solution, use a spray bottle, or apply it with a cloth that has been dipped in the solution. Cats may prefer the rub-down method, especially if you've previously used a spray bottle for training and discipline purposes.

If you are using a spray bottle, get a clean spray bottle that has not been previously used for other chemicals. Vinegar is an acid, and it could react with chemical traces that remain in a used spray bottle. Mix the vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and apply the mixture directly to your pet's coat. Finish by working it in with your hands, Allow the solution to dry; do not wash it off.

After 20 minutes, you can use a flea comb to brush out any fleas. Repeat every couple days to maintain the effectiveness. You can also spray bedding, carpets, and furnishings as a preventative measure.

  • How often can you spray vinegar as a flea repellent on your pets?

    It is okay to spray homemade flea repellent made from vinegar every couple of days on your dog or cat. After spraying it on, work it into their coat with your hands.

  • Should you use white or apple cider vinegar as a flea repellent?

    While you can use either kind of vinegar, it is thought by most people that pets prefer apple cider vinegar.

  • Can you spray vinegar flea repellent on pet bedding?

    Absolutely! Spray your pets' bedding with homemade vinegar flea repellent to help keep the fleas away. The bedding should be dry before letting your dog or cat sleep on it.

Article Sources
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  1. Vinegar. National Capitol Poison Center.