Diatomaceous Earth has so Many Uses
If you have not come across diatomaceous earth before, you might want to know what it is.
Diatomaceous earth, DE for short, is a porous, ground dust made from the fossilized remains of algae-like organisms called diatoms. This dust or powder comprises eighty to ninety percent silica with trace clay minerals and a minimal amount of iron oxide (rust).
It has a very high absorption rate, making it an excellent health-promoting supplement used in toothpastes, lotions, cosmetics and exfoliators. It is also used in paints to alter the sheen and gloss, added to non-toxic cleaners and filters of various kinds.
Although diatomaceous earth is well known as a strong parasite cleanser, taken internally, for pets, livestock and humans, there are plenty of other uses that might interest you!
- Improving levels of energy and digestion
- Boosting our immune systems
- Strengthening our bones
- Helping to improve our nails, skin and hair
- Detoxifies the body
- Helps to get rid of parasites, bed bugs and viruses in the home
- Provides a natural flea control for dogs and cats
Diatomaceous earth is mined all over the world but it is important to know more about the quality.
Food-grade DE - Always buy the best quality and choose food-grade diatomaceous earth because it contains less than 1%, or even 0.5% crystalline silica. In addition and to meet safety standards, it cannot contain more than 10 mg of arsenic or 10 mg of lead per ten pound bag.
Feed-grade DE - The silica content varies making it suitable for the garden but not for human or animal consumption.Pool-grade DE - This grade of diatomaceous earth is only suitable for some industrial use.
Only purchase food-grade diatomaceous earth from reputable sources.
Using DE in the garden
- Slug prevention is one use. If you are a keen gardener, you probably already have your own natural slug prevention methods but sprinkling some DE around your vulnerable plants is another method.
- Aphid control is another use. You can dust an aphid invested plant with powder or mix it with water in a hand sprayer and apply it wet, remembering to rinse any garden produce well before you eat it.
- Discourage rodents by placing small jars along with a few drops of lemon essential oil in your garden.
- Mix it with your potting soil. Because DE is lightweight and porous, it makes a good substrate for hydroponic growing and Bonsai cultures. Adding to your standard potting soil will help to increase drainage, as well as air circulation around the plant roots.
Using DE in the home
- As a natural deodorizer. Just like with baking soda, diatomaceous earth can be sprinkled inside smelly sneakers and left overnight, to rid the shoe of unwanted odors.
- As a fridge deodorizer. Place a small container/box of diatomaceous earth in the fridge or freezer to neutralize odors, replacing every couple of weeks.
- Garbage can deodorizer when you sprinkle in the bottom of the can to help neutralize odors.
- As a stain remover. With its highly absorbent nature, diatomaceous can be sprinkled on oil-stained clothes to help soak up the oil.
- It can be used on carpets and rugs as well (combined with 10 drops or more of lavender oil or lemon oil for a greener clean, making sure to vacuum thoroughly after an hour or so while leaving the windows open for some fresh air.
- DE is a natural and non-toxic ways to get rid of bed bugs. Declutter, clean, apply diatomaceous earth, and repeat, for as long as it takes.
- Chemical free cleaner especially in the bathroom and kitchen. Make a paste with vinegar to keep faucets, sinks and showers sparkling clean.
- DE will help to absorb spills up to twice its weight. Sprinkle the dry powder over a wet spill, then vacuum or sweep it up. If necessary, you may need to take additional measures with hot soapy water, but it can soak up the bulk of the spill.
- DE can be used as a non-toxic flea and tick repellent for dogs and cats. Gently apply it to the animals’ fur, bedding and any other places they may spend a lot of time. Use sparingly to avoid creating a dust cloud, and reapply it as necessary especially after a bath or a swim.
How to use diatomaceous earth safely
Any kind of dust or powder can be hazardous if inhaled in any quantity, and DE is no exception. The fact is, diatomaceous earth particles have sharp edges that can irritate the lungs and throat.
If you are sprinkling it in the house or out in the garden, it is recommended that you wear a mask that filters dusts - and even a pair of properly fitting safety goggles as well.
Where to buy diatomaceous earth?
If you live out in the countryside, your local feed store should carry food grade diatomaceous earth in larger quantities. As a food supplement, it can be found online or at health food stores.
1. ClearOff Minerals. What Is Diatomaceous Earth? Retrieved from https://www.clearoffminerals.com/de-specs
2. Danil de Namor, AF et. al. (2012) Turning the volume down on heavy metals using tuned diatomite. A review of diatomite and modified diatomite for the extraction of heavy metals from water.. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23062514
3. Blaettler, Karen (2018) Differences Between Fuller’s Earth & Diatomaceous Earth. Retrieved from https://sciencing.com/differences-fullers-earth-diatomaceous-earth-8432515.html
4. GAPS Diet: Natural Digestive Healing. Detoxification. Retrieved from http://www.gapsdiet.com/detoxification.html
5. FDA. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Retrieved from https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=573.340