Diatomaceous Earth

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Diatomaceous earth is an amazing all-natural product with multiple uses. From health and beauty to garden care. The benefits of this powder will amaze you!

It has been used as pest control for many years. But nowadays, it is used for several other purposes. You can even get food-grade diatomaceous earth that is safe for human and pet consumption.

But why would you want to consume diatomaceous earth, and what else can you do with it? Keep reading to find out!

What is diatomaceous earth?

It is a naturally existing sand that is extracted from the earth. It has been used across different parts of the world for a very long time.

Diatomaceous earth is made up of diatoms – skeletons of algae that have become fossils. Over thousands of years, these diatoms accumulate in lakes, rivers, and oceans turning into the natural substance – silica. This silica (diatomaceous earth) is processed and used in different ways all over the globe.

It is a powder used by all kinds of people for various reasons. Everyone from homeowners to gardeners have found uses for this sand. Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE, is a very effective remedy against pests such as slugs, beetles, worms, fleas, mites, etc.

Let’s talk about the types of diatomaceous earth!

Food grade and filter grade are the two major types of diatomaceous earth. Food-grade is suitable for consumption. The filter grade is not edible but still has many uses. The treatment of diatomaceous earth determines whether it is one or the other.

The food-grade DE is uncalcined and contains less than 1% crystalline silica. It is used in the food and agricultural industries as an insecticide and an anti-caking agent. It is considered safe for humans.

Filter Grade, which is also known as non-food-grade, contains up to 60% of crystalline silica. It has many industrial uses, including water filtration and dynamite production. It is toxic to animals and humans.

The filter grade is normally calcined and activated for use in filters. This process turns the silicon dioxide within the DE into crystalline silica. Because crystalline silica is dangerous and can be harmful to both human and animal health, pool/filter grade DE should only be used for filtration.

Using diatomaceous earth for pest control

DE is great for indoor pest control. It’ll help you get rid of pesky insects in your home. It works by removing the outer layer of the insect’s exoskeleton. This will cause them to dehydrate and eventually bring them down.

You can use it on your carpets, cupboards, or anywhere you’ve seen these menaces lurking. Vacuum the area you intend to use it on first. Then spread some of the diatomaceous earth over the surface. Ensure you leave it for at least 5-12 hours before vacuuming the area again.

For optimum performance, repeat this procedure once a week for 3-4 weeks. You can also use this outside in areas such as the patio, porch, etc. You’ll find this procedure much cheaper and better than harsh chemicals.

How to use diatomaceous earth for pest control

Diatomaceous earth is effective for both indoor and outdoor pest control, but how does it keep pests away? The exoskeleton of these pests is protected by an outer layer that keeps them hydrated. DE works by penetrating this outer layer. This causes them to dehydrate and eventually die.

The way you would use DE indoor is a bit different from how you would apply them around your yard or in your garden. So for this reason, we’ll need to discuss them separately.

How to use DE for indoor pest control

Diatomaceous earth is great for indoor pest control. It helps you get rid of pesky insects in your home. There are certain steps you must take to ensure excellent results. We’ll talk about them briefly.

  • You’ll need to be sure of the particular pests you are dealing with and their hideouts. Most times pests like fleas, ants, bedbugs, and roaches love to hide in dark areas of the home such as the bark of cupboards, fridges, and even in tiny crevices.
  • Once you’ve identified their hideout, the next best thing to do is to vacuum the area and make sure to dry up that space.
  • You can now apply some of the diatomaceous earth over the surface. Spread the powder in areas where you’ve seen these insects lurking. DE may not work if you only sprinkle it lightly. This is because the more DE these pests come in contact with, the better the effect.
  • Most importantly, do not add water to this powder or vacuum the area when you’ve already used it. Ensure you leave it for at least 5-12 hours before vacuuming it up.
  • For optimum performance, repeat this procedure for 3-4 weeks. You’ll find this pest control procedure much cheaper and better than harsh chemicals

How to use DE for outdoor pest control

DE is very popular among gardeners as a powerful natural pest control remedy. It can also be used by people who don’t have a garden but enjoy their yard, patio, porch, etc.

There are two ways you can apply DE outside the house. First, you can simply spread it in affected areas such as the edges of your patio, the flower beds, etc.

Simply toss a handful on those areas or use a regular dust spreader to make sure your DE gets to the affected areas. It’s best to apply this when it’s sunny. You don’t want your DE to get wet. If it does, you’ll have to redo the treatment.

Gardener sprinkles diatomaceous earth powder for non-toxic organic insect repellent on salad in vegetable garden
Sprinkle DE in your garden

You can also decide to create a DE spray. It’ll make the DE stick and not get blown away by the wind easily. You just need to mix it with water. At least 4 tablespoons of DE should be okay for a cup of water. But ensure you shake well before applying them to the affected areas.

However, this procedure may take a long while to work, because it’ll have to dry to become effective.

Additional Uses and benefits of diatomaceous earth

There are several benefits of this useful sand that are worth learning about. You will find this in many products and its uses may cause you to add it to your shopping list. For this list, we’ll be focusing on the benefits of food-grade DE.

Food preservation

DE can also help you preserve your legumes and grains. Mix a small amount of your DE in with them. You won’t notice it in your dried goods, but the weevils or other insects will.

1 tablespoon is perfect for a 5-gallon bucket. It’ll help you keep weevils away.

Body detox

It can also serve as a body detox. It helps you attract harmful toxins and flush them from your body. Take at least one teaspoon of food-grade DE once a day to maintain optimal gut health and detoxify your body.

Ensure you drink plenty of water after taking it to stay hydrated. You can mix it with other things such as smoothies, yogurt, juice, etc. It’s best not to use it continuously for long periods.

Kills parasites and viruses for humans

DE helps to kill parasites and harmful viruses. When you take it as part of your detox procedure, it can help you improve your overall health.

Improves plant health and growth

Amazingly, DE also helps to improve plant health and growth. You can add it to potting soil to help retain the moisture and nutrients of the soil. It allows oxygen to move freely and fights parasites.

Promotes animal health

DE is very beneficial for keeping pests away from your animals. You should include it in your animals’ dust bath or feed to prevent lice, fleas, worms, and other parasites. You can also give your pets a light dusting to avoid allergies.

Teeth whitening

DE can help with teeth whitening as it is a gentle abrasive. Simply sprinkle a bit of it on your toothpaste once in a while for deep cleaning. You don’t want to do this every time, though, or you could destroy your teeth.

Natural garden pest control

You can keep unwanted pests away in the garden using DE. You’ll just need to sprinkle it on areas where you usually find pests like beetles, bees, and other insects.

Most importantly, DE is used dry in this instance. It will not be effective when used wet. If the area where you’ve used it gets wet, repeat the treatment.

Skin exfoliation

You can add DE to your facial scrub routine. Simply mix 1 tablespoon of DE with water, milk, or diluted honey. It’ll form a thick paste and act as a great exfoliator.

Massage the paste into your face in circular motions and leave it for 1-2 minutes before washing with warm water. You can do this once in a while to exfoliate your skin.

Diatomaceous earth may lower cholesterol levels

According to a small human study, diatomaceous earth may lower cholesterol levels. The researchers only conducted a small study of 19 people with a history of high cholesterol. The participants took DE as a dietary supplement three times daily for eight weeks.

At the end of the study, total cholesterol went down by 13.2%, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides decreased slightly, and “good” HDL cholesterol increased.

But then, this study didn’t include a control group and was very small. It does not completely prove that diatomaceous earth was responsible for lowering cholesterol. So this use requires further research.

Is DE safe for humans?

Knowing if diatomaceous earth is safe or what the side effects might be is hard to say since there isn’t enough valid information available. However, there are a few side effects that have been observed in people who work with diatomaceous earth in large amounts.

When inhaled, DE irritates the nasal passage and may cause coughing and shortness of breath. Continued inhalation of diatomaceous earth has been linked with several diseases, including lung cancer, silicosis, and nonmalignant respiratory diseases.

If you have a special condition like asthma or any other type of breathing condition, avoid directly breathing in the diatomaceous earth. You can put on a nose mask while using it.

Diatomaceous earth might cause wounds when rubbed on the skin. It can also cause skin dryness and eye irritation.

If you are pregnant or a breastfeeding mother, you might want to avoid using it to stay on the safe side. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking DE in these conditions.

Is DE safe for dogs and other pets?

While diatomaceous earth is harmful to insects, it is relatively safe for pets. If you decide to use DE in your dog’s food, ensure you mix it in with wet food instead of sprinkling it on top. Just as with humans, inhaling the powder can also irritate their respiratory system.

Make sure it’s food-grade DE. You don’t want to feed your pet DE that is not meant for consumption.

What’s the right dosage for diatomaceous earth?

The proper dose of diatomaceous earth depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and many other factors.

While you might think that all-natural products are safe in every quantity, you must keep in mind that the dosages are very important. Ensure you follow the directions on the product labels and consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider before using them.

Where to buy diatomaceous earth

You can find DE in most hardware or home supplies stores, such as Home Depot and Lowe’s. You can also order it online (link below) if you want to skip the hassle of driving to the store.

As previously mentioned, you should go for food-grade DE, even if you are using it for pest control. This way you don’t have to worry about you, your family members, guests, or pets getting accidentally poisoned.

The most popular brands include DiatomaceousEarth.com, Harris, and Garden Safe. All are great choices but we still have a preference.

Top choice of food-grade DE: DiatomaceousEarth.com

We recommend DiatomaceousEarth.com’s product because it contains 100% organic food-grade DE and it’s fully produced in the USA. They offer different bag sizes (2-25 lbs) so you can start with a small bag and buy in bulk when you fall in love with DE.