Have you heard of D.E. but wonder about the many uses of diatomaceous earth in your home and garden?
I learned about diatomaceous earth a few years ago when we had an infestation of ants in my kitchen. We couldn’t stop them, no matter how many tricks I found online or different ant traps I bought.
Then my friend suggested that I try diatomaceous earth, and I was SHOCKED! Within days, I couldn’t find a single ant ANYWHERE!
That’s when I realized that I had something amazing on my hands, and I had to find out more about diatomaceous earth.
Are you in the same shoes? Well, let me tell you about how to use diatomaceous earth and why you need some on your homestead.
- Have you heard of D.E. but wonder about the many uses of diatomaceous earth in your home and garden?
- What is Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
- How Diatomaceous Earth Works
- Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe?
- How to Use Diatomaceous Earth
- 1. Clean Your Toilet Bowl
- 2. Homemade Toothpaste
- 3. Homemade Deodorant
- 4. DIY Facial Scrub
- 5. Kill Bed Bugs
- 6. Kick Flea Infestations
- 7. Organic Garden Pest Control
- 8. Cockroach, Tick, and Spider Control
- 9. Fridge Deodorizer
- 10. Garbage Can Deodorizer
- 11. Natural Stain Remover
- 12. Add to Chicken Feed
- 13. Homemade Scouring Powder
- 14. Use on Lice
- 15. Compost Pile Deodorizer
- 16. Natural Dewormer for Pets
- 17. A Natural Deodorizer
- 18. Internal Parasites in Livestock
- List of Bugs that Diatomaceous Earth Kills
- Where to Buy Diatomaceous Earth
- How Should I Store Diatomaceous Earth?
- Final Thoughts
- What are your favorite ways to use diatomaceous earth on the homestead?
What is Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
Before we look at how to use diatomaceous earth, you need to know what diatomaceous earth is.
Diatomaceous earth is a fine powder created from diatoms, which is a type of fossilized phytoplankton. It’s composed of 80-90% pure silica and 10-20% other minerals.
Something else that is unique about D.E. is that it carries a strong negative ionic charge. Some believe that this feature could attract parasites, viruses, and bacteria just like a magnet. That means it traps pathogens in the center.
The 2 Forms of Diatomaceous Earth
1. Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth (Amorphous Silica)
For D.E. to be food-grade, it has to be comprised of 99% amorphous silica and less than 1% crystalline silica.
2. Filter Grade/ Pool Grade Diatomaceous Earth (Crystalline Silica)
To make crystalline silica, manufacturers super-heat amorphous silica to temperatures over 1832 degrees F. The heat changes the structure of the silica.
This grade of D.E.is best for industrial purposes, like removing heavy metal from water, but it should not be safe to ingest or inhale.
How Diatomaceous Earth Works
When you use D.E. on bugs, they need to ingest or inhale it. Then, the sharp edges cut into their bodies, causing the bugs to die of dehydration. That’s why it’s best to use this in dry conditions.
You might need to puff it into cracks and crevices to reach the insects. After, you might notice the pests more because they’re seeking a water source. D.E. isn’t as effective wet, but it does kill some bugs still.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe?
Of course, one of the major concerns that I had was whether or not diatomaceous earth is safe for my family. Could I use it around my family without worries that it would harm my kids? Would my animals be hurt if they ingested any D.E.?
Is D.E. Safe for Humans?
All evidence that we have shows that D.E. is safe for humans and even safe for consumption. If you don’t feel comfortable taking D.E. internally, then don’t! There are so many great ways to use it without ever have to ingest it.
That only apples to food-grade diatomaceous earth!
Also you want to be sure not to inhale D.E. It could irritate your lungs, similar to inhaling dust. Silica, when inhaled, can cause inflammation.
For this reason, I do use it away from my kids. I like to be cautious, as I am sure you are too! Luckily, food-grade D.E. is less than 2% crystalline silica, but it could still potentially cause damage.
How to Take Diatomaceous Earth
It’s recommended that you take food-grade diatomaceous earth on an empty stomach, so you can try a few ways to take it.
- Take it the first thing in the morning and wait 30 minutes to eat.
- Take three hours after eating.
Everyone has their own opinion about the right dosage for diatomaceous earth, but you can start by mixing 1 teaspoon in an 8-ounce glass of water. Over time, you can work up to 1 tablespoon, but let’s be honest, it’s an acquired taste.
It’s best to take breaks and not take D.E. all of the time. You might take it for a month continuously and then take a 1-2 week break.
Is D.E. Safe for Pets?
Absolutely! That’s why D.E. is regularly recommended as a way to naturally remove fleas from pets. You can give this to make different pets and livestock.
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth
While I’m listing the most common ways to use diatomaceous earth, you can be sure that there are dozens more that I missed or have never heard of trying. To get you started, here are some of them along with links to get you started!
1. Clean Your Toilet Bowl
Due to the abrasive nature of D.E., you can use it to scrub your toilet. So, say bye-bye to those nasty stains. It has great scrubbing power!
2. Homemade Toothpaste
You can make a diatomaceous earth toothpaste or you can make a homemade tooth powder for deep cleaning. D.E. is gently abrasive, so brushing teeth with diatomaceous earth won’t hurt your mouth.
It’s effective at removing stains from your teeth, and you only need to use it once in a while.
3. Homemade Deodorant
Did you know that antiperspirants are bad for your body? You want to keep your underarm fresh, but blocking your body’s ability to sweat is a bad idea.
D.E. is great for homemade deodorant recipes. It’s not as alkaline as baking soda, which many people use in their homemade deodorants. If you’re prone to rashes or irritation, give D.E. a try!
4. DIY Facial Scrub
The powder is fine, so D.E. makes a gentle facial exfoliant and mask, and it contains calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, phosphorus, and other trace minerals. Your skin can absorb these minerals!
5. Kill Bed Bugs
The FDA listed diatomaceous earth as an approved way to fight bed bugs in the home. Compared to some of the other products used to kill bed bugs, D.E. is the safest way to eliminate bed bugs, especially if you have kids and pets.
6. Kick Flea Infestations
Not only can you use it for bed bugs, but you also can learn how to use diatomaceous earth for fleas. My older dog always has flea issues; he has a flea allergy, so we have to be vigilant. We have conquered several flea infestations with D.E.
You can make a natural flea power with D.E. or purchase a pre-made natural flea powder. I like using a natural flea powder for dogs and cats since we have two outside cats as well.
7. Organic Garden Pest Control
If you have unwanted pests in your garden, you can use diatomaceous earth to kill many of them, such as slugs and beetles.
You do need to use D.E. wisely because it can kill beneficial bugs, and you want to keep those in your garden beds.
If your plants are frequently visited by honeybees, you need to be particularly careful. You should cover treated plants with an old sheet to stop bees from visiting those plants and coming in contact with the D.E.
So, how do you use diatomaceous earth in the garden?
All you need to do is sprinkle dry D.E. on the soil around the plants where you have the pest problem. Spread more after rain or heavy dew.
If you want to use D.E. on potted plants or as pest control, you’ll need a bulb puffer, which lets you blow it into crevices.
8. Cockroach, Tick, and Spider Control
Ready for more? It’s hard to believe that this one product can be used to fight even more home pests, like cockroaches, spiders, and ticks.
You can use diatomaceous earth on ticks, and we all know that ticks are a serious problem nowadays.
9. Fridge Deodorizer
Do you have a box of baking soda inside of your refrigerator to soak up scents? You can do the same thing and put diatomaceous earth in the fridge.
All you need to do is add a small container of D.E. in your fridge to help neutralize odors. You do need to change this every 1-2 weeks.
10. Garbage Can Deodorizer
Instead of sprinkling baking soda on the bottom of your garbage can, try using D.E. to neutralize odors!
11. Natural Stain Remover
D.E. has an absorbent nature, so you can sprinkle it on oil-stained clothes. That helps to soak up any of the oils. It might not completely remove the stains, but soaking up oils is over half of the battle for stain removing.
12. Add to Chicken Feed
Remember when I mentioned that D.E. has a strong negative ionic charge? There is a theory that adding this to your chicken feed can help reduce internal parasites, trapping them in the center and removing them out of your chickens.
Not only that, but the FDA lists D.E. as an approved anti-caking agent for commercial livestock feed. It can be used at 2% of the overall weight. So, if you buy 25lb bags of chicken food, you could add 1/2 pound of diatomaceous earth to chicken feed.
13. Homemade Scouring Powder
Everyone needs a good homemade scouring powder in their cleaning cabinet. You can use it on sinks, countertops, and bathtubs.
Just realize that it does turn brown when wet, so it won’t look as appealing as cleaning with other products. It does work well, and you’ll notice the difference immediately.
14. Use on Lice
First, just so you’re aware, D.E. could dry out your scalp and hair, but D.E. is a great way to help as a natural remedy for lice. You can use it to dry out the nits and eggs.
15. Compost Pile Deodorizer
The biggest factor to keeping a compost pile stink-free is by balancing your green and brown materials. That doesn’t mean you can’t add some diatomaceous earth to your pile to keep the odor down.
So, sprinkle it on there! It can definitely help to keep the scent down and absorb extra moisture as well.
16. Natural Dewormer for Pets
When mixed with your pets’ food, D.E. acts as a natural dewormer. It can get rid of roundworms, whipworms, pinworms, and hookworms. It isn’t as effective against tapeworms as it is with other ones.
Within a week of feeding, the worms should be dead. You should continue to feed this to your dog for a mouth to help kill hatching eggs and worms moving in and out of the stomach.
Be sure to mix it well with his food to be sure your dog doesn’t inhale it. I’ve found adding a bit of water makes it much easier!
Recommended Dosage for Deworming Pets with D.E.
- 1/2 TSP for puppies and small dogs
- 1 TSP for under 50lbs
- 1 TBSP for over 50lbs
- 2 TBSP for over 100lbs
NOTE: Some people claim that D.E. is an excellent dewormer for humans, and that may be true. I’m hesistant to make claims that I’ve yet to try myself, but feel free to comment and let me know your experience!
17. A Natural Deodorizer
I love to use D.E. as a natural deodorizer. I mix it with my chicken’s bedding when I’m stirring the deep litter. It really seems to help keep any stink away!
Another trick I found is to sprinkle it on my carpet before going to bed then vacuuming it up the next day. It really takes stink away. You can mix it with your kitty litter to neutralize odors as well.
18. Internal Parasites in Livestock
D.E. isn’t just for dogs and cats; you can use it on all of your livestock. It can kill worms and other internal parasites. All you have to do is sprinkle it over your animal’s food.
Here are some suggested dosages.
- Cattle: 1 ounce daily
- Horses: 5 ounces daily
- Hogs: 2% of feed ration
- Goats & Sheep: 1 TSP per 150lbs of body weight
- Llamas: 1 TSP per 150lbs of body weight
List of Bugs that Diatomaceous Earth Kills
Are you wondering if D.E. is a good option for organic pest control? Let’s take a look at a list of bugs that it kills.
- Bed Bugs
- Carpet Beetles
- Japanese Beetles
- Squash Bugs
- Mexican Bean Beetles
- Colorado Potato Beetles
Where to Buy Diatomaceous Earth
So, you decide that you want to give D.E. a try, but where can you buy it? Some people said that they have luck finding diatomaceous earth at Lowe’s or Home Depot, but I honestly have not.
I have been able to find it at my local Rural King and Tractor Supply Co. Typically, I purchase it online because, well, I purchase everything online.
You can try this Organic Food-Grade Diatomaceous Earth. It’s affordable, made in the USA, and comes in a 10lb bag.
How Should I Store Diatomaceous Earth?
Most importantly, you want to keep your D.E. out of the reach of kids and pets. Even though we know food-grade D.E. is safe, that doesn’t mean you want your child bathing in it.
Store it on a high shelf in its original container. Make sure the location is dry. In the right conditions, it has an indefinite storage life.
As you can see, there are many different ways to use diatomaceous earth on your homestead. This list is far from exhaustive. It’s a verstaile and safe product that all homesteaders, gardeners, and homeowners should have with them.