Why I Really Like Diatomaceous Earth

Last year I stumbled upon a product in the pet section of our local health food store. It had a weird name I could hardly pronounce and it was supposed to be a natural alternative for pet flea prevention. Instead of purchasing it, I snagged the product name/info and headed home to do some research… I was pleasantly surprised by what I found!

Fossilized Diatoms (Harvesting Diatomaceous Earth)
{photo source}

{Enter diatomaceous earth}

Food-grade diatomaceous earth aka DE. One of my favorite supplements/natural products used regularly at my house! I use it, the hunk uses it, I put it on and feed it to my pets, I brush my teeth with it, sprinkle my carpet with it, dust my garden with it (when I remember), have friends and family using it… yeah, it’s that awesome :)

Okay, okay! I know you are dying to know what I am talking about {please don’t die, I can’t bring you back, hold on – I’ll tell you more!}, so let’s start with what DE actually is.

What DE Is

Diatomaceous earth is not “earth” at all. It is actually fossilized diatom shell that has been ground into an off-white powder. Billions of diatoms live in water and produce a necessary food source for aquatic life. Diatoms are unique among phytoplankton in having a hard, glass-like exterior made of silica. As they die, the mineral deposits left wash up to dry land creating huge mounds of silica fossils that are harvested as diatomaceous earth or fossil flour. DEs natural silica content is an important resource for humans and their health. It is also beneficial for pets, farm animals and gardens.

Microscopic Diatom
{photo source}

Now, before I get into all the benefits and uses of diatomaceous earth, I want to clarify something! There are two types of DE… food-grade (good) and pool filter grade (bad). The only kind you ever want to use is food-grade diatomaceous earth.

“Food Grade DE often gets confused with filter grade DE. Filter grade DE starts out as food grade, but it is heated to about 1000 degrees and chemicals are added to crystallize it. This works great for filtering but is dangerous to people and animals. Breathing the crystallized product in over long periods of time causes a disease called silicoses. The world health org. has said that DE needs to be less than 2% crystalline silica in order to be considered safe. The filter grade DE is 60% crystalline!! — Stay away from it — it is dangerous!! Perma-Guards food grade DE on the other hand is less than .50% crystalline silica. As you can see, that is more than 4 times less than it needs to be to be considered safe! Daily use of Food Grade DE for people, pets and around the garden is perfectly safe. Food Grade DE should be treated like any other dusty product, if you are going to breathe it in over long periods of time, wear a dust mask —- but it should in no way be compared to the dangerous crystallized filter grade.” –Earth Works Health.com

Benefits and Uses of Diatomaceous Earth

Insect Control

Some of you may know that DE is a fabulous natural insect-killer. I use it to take care of ants, fleas, spiders, and like I said, when I remember, a plethora of garden pests! This is honestly the best, completely natural and safe insect control out there.

Basically, it works like this: the dust of the diatomaceous earth lands on the exoskeleton of the insect, the sharp edges of the fossilized diatoms cut through the hard surface exposing the moist tissue. DE is extremely absorbent, so the particles that cut through also pull the moisture out of the insect… essentially dehydrating the insect to death. Interesting, huh?

You can use DE on your pets and farm animals to reduce and prevent pesky bugs like fleas, ticks, lice and mites. You can also add it to their food to de-worm them. The DE does the same thing to parasites internally as it does externally.

Human Benefits

Purchase Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth at Bulk Herb Store
{photo source}

Speaking of taking DE internally, humans can consume food-grade diatomaceous earth too! There are many benefits of taking DE internally. I personally have experienced:

  • More energy
  • Cleaner gut and BM
  • Better attitude (happy, less stress)
  • Stronger, longer nails and hair
  • Clearer skin

Others, including personal friends and family, have experienced the above-mentioned plus:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Healthy (lower) blood pressure
  • Less joint pain

“Diatomaceous Earth (DE) has been reported to absorb methyl mercury, E. coli, endotoxins, viruses (including poliovirus), organophosphate pesticide residues, and drug residues. DE is a natural organic colon cleanser and detoxifier. This cleansing and detoxification alone has a myriad of positive effects in the human body….Adding to this is the widespread deficiency in human dietary sources of what is called “the most important trace element in human health” – Silica, and how rich DE is in this substance, we begin to understand the basis of the health benefits that so many have attested to. Only a trace amount of the DE silica is absorbed into the blood stream, and just that amount is a substantial gain for the user.” -Earth Works Health.com

I am telling ya, this is good stuff!

How To Use/Apply Diatomaceous Earth

First, let me start by saying this… natural things work and work well, okay. So, just because this works, doesn’t mean you should take a lot of it at one time. I always recommend starting at a lower dose and working up as you need to. :)

Take DE with orange juice for easy consumption
{photo source}

The recommended guideline for human consumption {DE is considered safe for adults, children and before, during and after pregnancy}:

  • Adults: 1 heaping teaspoon stirred in cup of water, juice, mixed in food or in anything you like.
  • Children: 1/2 to 1 level teaspoon per day.
  • I like to add equal amount of a fiber supplement with mine… this one is great!

{I haven’t needed to exceed the 1 heaping tsp, but my hunk is no small man so he can take 1 tablespoon. Each person will be different based on their personal needs}

The recommended guideline for animal consumption:

  • Kittens- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Cats- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
  • Puppies- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon
  • Dogs- under 50 lbs. 2 teaspoons, Dogs over 50 lbs. 1 tablespoon, Dogs over 100 lbs. 2 tablespoons
  • Cattle- 2% by weight of dry ration
  • Calves- 4 grams in morning
  • Dairy Cows- 2% by weight of dry ration (4 oz. )
  • Chickens- 5% in feed, also add to dusting boxes
  • Goats- 1% to 2% in grain
  • Hogs- 2% of weight in feed ration
  • Horses- 1/2 – 1 cup in daily ration
  • Sheep- 1% to 2% in ground grain

“For effective use, the Diatomaceous Earth must be fed long enough to catch all the newly hatching eggs or cycling through the lungs and back to the stomach. A minimum of 60 days is suggested at 2% of dry weight of the grain ration. It doesn’t have to be exact. More will not be harmful, but less may not give you the results expected.” -Bulk Herb Store

Recommended Guideline for Insect Pest Control

Earwig Garden Pest{photo source}
  • To protect the home, yard, animal housing, etc: Sprinkle a 2 inch wide border around the foundation of your house to stop insects from entering.
  • For DRY APPLICATION for gardens: use a duster and cover entire plant, apply to both top and bottom of leaf. DE will need reapplication after a rain. Applies best when there is dew or after a light rain. It is a long-lasting, effective powder.
  • For WET APPLICATION: DE can be sprayed or whitewashed by mixing 1 cup DE with 1/2 gallon of water. Stir frequently and spray/paint trees, yards, and fences.

Where to Buy and More Information

I bought my first bag of DE at Bulk Herb Store. It was cheap and it was a small bag, so I felt comfortable “testing” it out without wasting a bunch of money.

Once I was hooked, I began purchasing it in much larger amounts {#50 bag} and sharing it with friends and family. The best price and wealth of knowledge I found was at Earth Works Health (non-affiliate link)! Check them out for testimonies and FAQs about diatomaceous earth.


I use DE for some many things… What about you? What have you heard about DE? Do you use it or want to?


PS… Thankful to share at: Healthy2day Wednesday, Deep Roots At Home, Natural Living, … {see link-up list}
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Why I Really Like Diatomaceous Earth — 29 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing about DE! I have used it to add to my chickens nestboxes and in around the chicken coop, as well as adding it to the bedding of my goat pens, but I didn’t realize I could use it for me and my family or for my garden! I have 2 children that have mild autism and I am always looking for ways to help detoxify their bodies since kids on the autism spectrum have trouble eliminating metals and toxins from their bodies. Thank you for sharing all the benefits for DE! I had only known of the benefits regarding fleas/lice w/ my poultry and farm animals. I am so excited to use this for other things!

  2. Great article! We used DE to eradicate a flea infestation and then we started putting it in the dog’s food to prevent fleas. Worked like a charm!

  3. Just hopped over from the Natural Living Blog Hop. I have never heard of this, my cousin was telling me the other day she had bed bugs, will this help? I love your blog, and I am following some of your boards on Pintrest, you should create a board for your blog. I have one for mine, and get most of my traffic from there.

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  5. I bought a 50# bag at an Amish farm in Lancaster, PA 3 yrs ago for our cellar crickets. I couldn’t find it anywhere else nearby….we were on vacay there so it was no biggee. I didn’t know people could injest it…good to know. Thx

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  7. I learned about DE about 25+ years ago from Mother Earth News or maybe Rodales Organic Gardening.
    There were no local sources for it, so I went to a local farm store and had them order a 50# bag for me. I dont know what it costs now but back then it was about $12 or $15. :) I split the bag with a friend and used it forever.

    My friend’s yard was infested with Fire Ants and they were practically killing her dogs. They’re horrible things. I recommended she sprinkle DE all over her yard & to reapply if/when it rained (this was dry hot Texas) and she eventually got rid of the ants.

    I dont use it as much as I probably should, but I do use it in the garden & to keep ants out of the house. Its great stuff.

    I always loved saying about DE “Its a single cell algae fossil” :D

  8. I use it as a face mask by mixing a little with water, aloe, or honey. My kids laugh at me, but it does wonders for my skin. I’ve also used DE mixed with herbs (plantain and aloe) for insect bites.

  9. Thank you for this impressively put together article. I know that some water filtration in my area is done with DE water filters and its phenomenal. I had heard little bits about using it for health but like with most things I let it in one ear and out the other when it comes to new health tips. After reading this I think I may be hooked into giving it a try, in reality what can it really hurt. Thanks again for the time and the great information.

  10. Thanks for this wonderful article. I just got my delivery of DE and drank my first drink with it. I have a dog with stomach problems and my son has autism and we are always looking for something to kill internal parasites and worms. I will keep you posted on how it goes for my family. On a side note you are adorable and I love all of your articles.

  11. I came across DE very accidentally and I would say it is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I have been constantly tired for quite a long time and also suffer from arthritis and high BP. In the last week (since I started taking DE) I am not as tired and my aches and pains are also getting better. My 15 year old son is also taking it and his appetite has reduced considerably. His performance in sports has improved considerably. He is also a lot more calmer. I would highly recommend DE food grade. It has totally changed my life in such a short space of time.

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  13. So happy to run across your site. My brother gave me a huge box of DE and I was trying to learn more about it. Thanks for sharing!

  14. HI! Can you tell me how long till I might notice any effects of drinking this myself? I am only on day two. I believe I might have a parasite picked up from a sick puppy.

  15. Here goes, have psoriatic arthritis, I took my first dose this morning (diatomaceous earth) picked up a bag at tractor supply for 12 dollars 20 pound bag because my daughter brought home a mange infested puppy and we are all itchy didn’t know mange was a type of (scabies). so I’m treating my house and myself wish us luck!

  16. I am purchasing some organic, food grade diatomaceous earth from a local feed store. I was considering buying some gel capsules from a whole food store to make pills for me to take daily. I have always had a hard time drinking stuff like metamucil and things similar. LOL. Also, I was thinking I might be able to sprinkle 1/2 tsp on the peanut butter when making my children’s sandwiches for school to mask it. What are your thoughts? Thanks for your blog!

  17. Hi, Jasmine! (Pretty name, pretty face and smile! I love the scent of jasmine too, one of my faves.)
    I stumbled onto your site. Last year I thought I picked up bedbugs at a hotel. It turned out to be a false alarm, but before I realized that, I read all about getting rid of bedbugs, including DE. I was a little leery though because many people mentioned the dangers of inhalation and said you needed a mask, and someone said they would never take it internally since it was so sharp. On the other hand, other people powdered themselves with it and sprinkled it on their sheets. Just wondering if you take any precautions, or know anyone who’s had any problems.

  18. Have you ever heard of using DE for armadillo repellent? Recently we have had them coming all the way up to our door step and short of a night steak-out with a gun, we’re not sure what to do. Thanks!

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