I've been using diatomaceous earth in my garden and in my home for years with wonderful results.
Diatomaceous earth is an effective, natural, and cheap way to take care of your home, your garden, and the health of your pets. Just be sure to check with your country and regional requirements on the safety of DE.
Here's what we'll be looking at in this article:
- What are the many uses for diatomaceous earth?
- What is the best way to apply it to plants, household furniture, and animals?
- Where do I buy it?
What Are the Uses and Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth?
Diatomaceous earth is so wonderfully versatile and cost effective. Here are just some of the many things that it can be used for:
Outdoor Uses: Gardening and Farming
- Helps with composting moisture.
- Contains anti-fungal properties for garden growth.
- Can be applied to ponds, livestock water, etc. to prevent algae.
- Increases milk production in dairy cattle.
- Improves hoof conditions.
- Decreases scours in calves.
Indoor Uses: Around the Home
- Can be used as toothpaste.
- Deodorizes and absorbs funky smells, such as kitty litter, garbage cans, air odors, athlete's foot, and manure.
- Controls fly populations and prevents fly larvae from hatching.
- Kills many, many insects—including mites, ants, bed bugs, fleas, lice, and most anything with an exoskeleton—by cutting through their waxy coating and drying them out.
- Detoxes E. coli and other viruses.
- Protects against humidity damage in storage.
Medical and Cosmetic Uses:
- Lowers blood pressure in humans.
- Lowers cholesterol.
- Aids weight loss.
- Helps promote healthier hair, nails, teeth, and gums.
- Fades age spots.
- Repairs lung tissues and reduces inflammation.
- Regulates and normalizes bowels.
- Reduces back pain.
- Decreases vertigo, tinnitus, and dizziness.
- Helps diabetes.
- Improves elasticity of the joints.
- Can be used as a facial mask and cleanser.
- Helps control fleas and ticks.
- Filled with minerals to promote health.
- Fights pesky odors.
- Promotes shinier coats.
- Helps stave off various internal worms.
How Do You Apply Diatomaceous Earth?
There are many ways to use and apply diatomaceous earth: feeding, spraying, sprinkling, vacuuming, immersing in water bowls, and more.
Here are some of my preferred methods:
- I spray and mix DE in with my dogs' and cats' food, along with mixing it into their water bowls—but no more than 2 cups total sprinkled in about six food bowls. I have many animals, so this is why I put in that specific amount.
- After bathing my animals, I dry rub DE into their fur. I prefer dry rub, because wet spray leaves them greasy. I never bathe my animals more than once a month, but I do dry rub daily until flea and tick cycles have completely vanished.
- I wet spray the entire yard in the summer to drive out the parasites.
- Furniture also holds a lot of parasites that the animals bring in. Considering we want to break the cycle, we also include the furniture in DE cleansing. This means I dry sprinkle all furniture and flooring daily, leave them in for more than 20 minutes, then vacuum and clean them up. Usually, this ritual never lasts more than a week depending on the cycle and whether or not we've completely rid the house of parasites yet.
- For a human digestion aid, I use less than a tablespoon of DE in 2 cups of water.
- Dry sprinkle and wet spray works great on plants. The soil really enjoys DE (wet), and the plants are healthier after harmful bugs are killed off of them (dry).
Other techniques and methods for use can be found on the websites linked below, most notably Wolf Creek Ranch and Earthworks Health.
Warning: Do not inhale the dust! The sharp edges of dry diatomaceous earth can be very dangerous for your eyes, lungs, throat, and nasal passages. Also, be aware that this affects animals too. So make sure to rub it in gently, so as to avoid dust getting everywhere. Keep animals and children out of the house when doing dry sprinkles. This is also why wet application is usually recommended.
How Much Diatomaceous Earth Should You Feed Your Animals?
Here are the recommended daily feeding rates of diatomaceous earth for various animals, according to Wolf Creek Ranch:
- Kittens: 1/2 tsp
- Cats: 1 tsp
- Puppies: 1/2 to 1 tsp
- Dogs under 35 lbs: 1 tsp
- Dogs between 35–100 lbs: 1 tbsp
- Dogs over 100 lbs: 2 tbsps
- Cattle, dairy cows, and pigs: 2% of dry feed ration
- Chickens: 5% in daily feed
- Goats, sheep, alpacas, and llamas: 2% in grain
- Horses: 1/2 to 1 cup in daily ration
- Zoo animals: 2% in daily feed
- Humans: 1 heaping tbsp daily
Where Can You Buy Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
Though diatomaceous earth is relatively well known amongst gardeners, farmers, pool caretakers, and botanists, it is not as well known amongst the rest of the world. And further compounding this is the fact that it isn't always the easiest product to find and purchase.
Here are just some of the ways you can go about buying yourself some diatomaceous earth:
- Earthworks Health—This company sells food grade, organic DE taken from fresh water deposits and repackaged with permission by Perma-Guard. Their checkout cart shows only US orders.
- Wolf Creek Ranch—I can personally vouch for this company. I expected my package from them to arrive much later (based on the estimated shipping time), but it arrived within a week. They are true to their word on their product. They have a variety of packaging sizes and types, including jugs and sealed bags, ranging from 12 oz to 500 lbs. They ship within the US and to other countries as well, depending on the product. They also have a wealth of information on what DE is, how to use it, and how it is mined.
- Perma-Guard—They're the biggest company in dealing with diatomaceous earth. They sell food grade, freshwater DE and have distributors inside and outside of the US in various retail stores. I suggest calling for additional information on retail stores near you.
- Garden Harvest—An Australian company that deals with anything organic for gardening, pet health, livestock health, and other areas, they have untreated, unheated, agricultural diatomaceous earth.
Note: Most US stores do not ship diatomaceous earth to Texas or California. So be sure to check whether or not a particular company ships to your location.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
heartofhush on April 13, 2013:
Can you let me know the wet spray method please.
How much would you use to the amount of water or liquid.
I have read that it doesn't mix very well.
I would like to add the wet method to my pets water and to spray for my plants and around the yard.
Lady S on December 16, 2012:
Ok. I'm glad I decided to read this before my order came in. It is probably to late or I am not sure how much I can do in a few weeks, but I just noticed my two young cats have fleas. I'm pregnant and due on the 4th of January. You did post saying to keep pets and children out of the house when doing a dry sprinkle. It would be a little difficult on my part to do that when I'm home alone before the baby gets here and of course I want to make sure I have the flea issue under control before the baby gets here. Do you recommend another way other than the wet sprinkle to make it easier for me to keep my cats in... They are house cats.
Sunny Robinson (author) from Tennessee on November 14, 2012:
Sage, you can! Just be sure to shake it up before use and clean out after use. DE builds up in nozzle sprays because of its fine texture and density when clumped together. I would use 2 Tbsp to a cup.
LillyGrillzit, there are a lot of testimonies! Thanks for the idea.
MizBejabbers, it's a bit harder to find them locally. I got my 6 lb bag online from Wolf Creek Ranch. I can definitely vouch for them. You should ask around at stores that sell home improvement items. Actually, I have seen some health stores carry them, too.
Now, that's a good question re: your cat w/ diabetes. I don't know what effect DE would have on diabetes. There has been testimony and research stating that DE helps with diabetes, but there has been no mention of how it would work with insulin. I know more about how it helps with dehydrating and dealing with pest population than I do about how it works on diabetes, but it apparently does.
Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on October 25, 2012:
Wow, I learned something important today! I had no idea that a food-grade DE was available, or the many uses for it. I have never used DE around my pets because of all the licking they do. We used to use a DE filter when we had an aquarium and found it to be more efficient than other filters. I hope I can buy some food grade DE locally because I really want to try it. One question, though, our cat is diabetic and on insulin. Is it OK to use on or around him? Voted you up, useful, and interesting!
Lori J Latimer from Central Oregon on August 02, 2012:
I love learning about something new, and appreciate the hard work you put into this Hub. I am going to give it a try. I would like some testimony of people who have been using it for years.
Sage on June 09, 2012:
Can I use DE in a spray bottle mixed with water? And how much to a cup? Thanks!
Sunny Robinson (author) from Tennessee on February 15, 2012:
People, thanks for commenting! My apologies for being absent.
Tankadin, glad it helps!
truthfornow, yes, watch out for commercial grade! Food grade is the safest and can be used for just about anything.
yellow2mato, yes, there is a lot of information! I tried to compile them all in one place for people. But there is more and more to be found. I drank mine in water which looks muddy but really helps with a lot of things. Parasites in both animals and humans -- creepy thought, but true.
yellow2mato from Texas on February 14, 2012:
I bought some food grade DE last summer for insect problems. I think it was carpet beetles, and moths and I think they're back. I actually put some in juice a few times and drank it because I'd read that it can get rid of parasites that we don't even know are living in our body. There's a lot of information about DE and it's uses.
hanwillingham on September 03, 2011:
Marie Hurt from New Orleans, LA on May 19, 2011:
I use DE on my cat and on the furniture that she uses to keep away any pests that she might have on her or in my apartment. I got mind from a natural pet store. At first, I really did not think it would work. However, I must say that I do think that it is great for keeping away the pests. I was unaware of the food grade kind and that it could be digested. Thanks for the information.
Tankadin on April 12, 2011:
Very helpful information, I will look into this. Thank you