By Joan Clark
Diatomaceous earth is made up of fossils of tiny algae-like organisms called diatoms. It is a soft white powder made of 80 to 90 percent silica. Unlike many silica sources, the silica found in diatomaceous earth is highly absorbable by the human body. Its high absorption rate makes it an excellent supplement for health benefits.
Many people are not aware of the many uses and benefits of diatomaceous earth. Not only is it a health-promoting supplement, but it is also useful for cleaning and pest control. We have put together this guide to try to pass on more information about how to use diatomaceous earth.
Use Only Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth for Human or Pet Consumption. If you choose to take diatomaceous earth for health benefits, you must use food-grade diatomaceous earth. Industrial grade or pool grade diatomaceous earth contains impurities that may not be healthy for the body. Many sources of industrial grade diatomaceous earth has also been heat-treated, and it no longer has the properties that provide the health benefits.
Diatomaceous Earth Uses and Benefits for Health
1. Take Diatomaceous Earth for Detoxification
Diatomaceous earth carries a negative charge, so it attracts positively charged toxins and heavy metals from the body and flushes them out. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the silica diatomaceous earth helps eliminate aluminum and other heavy metals from the body. (..)
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth for Detoxing and to Kill Parasites
- Adults take one teaspoon of food-grade diatomaceous earth daily, mixed into at least 1 cup of water.
- Use diatomaceous earth for detoxing at least 1 hour before eating or 2 hours after a meal.
- Continue using diatomaceous earth daily for ten days, then wait ten days before using it again.
- Repeat the ten days on, ten days off cycle for 90 days.
- Check with your doctor before using diatomaceous earth if you are taking medications.
Benefits of Using Diatomaceous Earth as a Detox Agent
- Diatomaceous earth reduces odors
- Helps reduce gas
- Cleans the digestive tract
- Increases liver function
- Absorbs harmful toxins
2. Diatomaceous Earth Fights Parasites
Parasitic infections are common, usually caught after exposure to animals or as a result of poor sanitation. Fortunately, diatomaceous earth is one of the most useful ways to get rid of parasites for both humans and pets. Diatomaceous earth kills roundworms, heartworms, tapeworms, pinworms, hookworms, and threadworms.
3. Diatomaceous Earth Improve Joint and Ligament Health
Naturally occurring silica in diatomaceous earth is necessary for joint and ligament health. Diatomaceous earth supplies silica for the production of collagen to lubricate joints and restore the natural flexibility. A 2007 study in the Journal of Nutrition Health and Aging showed that silica is beneficial to bone and connective tissue and can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
4. Cleans the Skin and Teeth
Diatomaceous earth is mildly abrasive, making it useful as a cleanser for the skin and teeth. It is often used in skincare products as an exfoliant and toothpaste.
It absorbs harmful toxins and leaves the skin and teeth clean and smooth.
5. Make a Face Mask
Its absorbent properties make diatomaceous earth a perfect component for a face mask. It absorbs excess oils and toxins from the skin and improves its appearance. Once a week, add diatomaceous earth to your regular face mask formula. Or mix diatomaceous earth with a little water to make a thick paste. Apply a thin layer to the skin and allow it to remain on the skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and pat your face dry.
6. Use Diatomaceous Earth as a Deodorant
Diatomaceous Earth Deodorant
- Three parts cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- One part diatomaceous earth
- Gradually add, stirring well:
- Two parts melted coconut oil
- A few drops of essential oils, optional
- Store the mixture in a suitable container
- Rub the mixture under your arms; a little is all you need
Diatomaceous earth kills odor-causing bacteria and absorbs toxins and moisture. It is safe for all skin types and will not irritate your skin.
You can choose a pleasantly scented essential oil to scent it if you like. Try our recipe for diatomaceous earth Deodorant.
7. Improve Bone Density
Calcium and Vitamin D are usually given to improve bone growth, but most people don’t realize that the body cannot absorb calcium without the addition of silica.
Taking silica in the form of diatomaceous earth helps the body absorb and use the calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus to form healthy bones. It speeds the healing of fractures and helps prevent Osteoporosis.
8. Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Current research into Alzheimer’s disease links it to the presence of aluminum in the brain. Most of the aluminum comes from drinking water.
Adding silica, in the form of diatomaceous earth, to the drinking water or the diet helped prevent the aluminum from being absorbed. Research shows that it lowered aluminum concentrations in the brain, bones, liver, spleen, and kidneys.
9. Diatomaceous Earth Improves Heart Health
Silica from diatomaceous earth fortifies the blood vessels and strengthens heart tissue. It also lowers cholesterol, removes plaque, and keeps the arteries and veins elastic. Silica also plays a role in regulating blood pressure.
10. Diatomaceous Earth Reduces Cholesterol
Unhealthy fats in the digestive tract are absorbed and trapped by diatomaceous earth and removed from the body. By reducing the unhealthy fats, diatomaceous earth effectively reduces the bad cholesterol level in the body.
11. Use Diatomaceous Earth as an Exfoliant
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth as an Exfoliant
- Mix to form a thick paste:
- Two tablespoons diatomaceous earth
- A few drops of water
- Add a drop of your favorite essential oil, optional
- Place a small amount on your fingertips and scrub the skin gently in a circular motion
- Allow it to dry, if desired, or rinse it off immediately. Do not leave on too long; it can dry the skin
Diatomaceous earth is mildly abrasive and makes an excellent exfoliant alone or mixed into your favorite cleanser.
When properly used, it gently removes dead skin cells and cleans the skin, soaking up excess oils. It leaves the skin soft, supple, and glowing.
12. Diatomaceous Earth Prevents Wrinkles and Signs of Premature Aging
Silica is an excellent support mineral for skin and connective tissues. Collagen is mostly made of silica and is responsible for the elasticity of the skin and its ability to repair itself. Degrading of connective tissue and a lack of collagen causes wrinkles and sagging skin. Regular diatomaceous earth supplementation replaces the silica needed to produce collagen and support the connective tissues.
13. Diatomaceous Earth Supports Healthy Hair
Our hair is rich in silica and requires it to grow and shine. A good supplementation plan using diatomaceous earth will stimulate hair growth and help prevent hair loss. When silica is plentiful in the body, hair grows in healthy and shiny.
14. Silica Supports the Immune System
Diatomaceous earth supports the immune system and its ability to produce the antibodies we need to fight disease. Silica found in diatomaceous earth is important to many of the body’s systems, including the immune system. It also removes toxins and kills off parasites, allowing the immune system to function better.
15. Diatomaceous Earth for Diabetes
Recent studies suggest that silica has a positive effect on diabetes and blood sugar control. Before trying diatomaceous earth for diabetes control, you must consult your doctor. Diatomaceous earth can absorb some medications and make them less effective, so caution is advised. Work with a doctor who is knowledgeable about supplements and natural medicine.
16. Promote Regular Bowel Movements and a Healthy Colon
As the diatomaceous earth moves through the intestines and bowel, it absorbs toxins and cleans out the digestive tract. Over time, the intestines are scrubbed clean of all the mucus and debris that collects over time. Bowel movements become more regular and the colon is clean and healthier.
17. Diatomaceous Earth for Weight Loss
I can find no research that supports using diatomaceous earth for weight loss, yet many people report that taking diatomaceous earth helps them lose weight. We do know that diatomaceous earth detoxes the body and supports many of the body functions so that it may have some effects on the metabolism or the body functions.
If you try diatomaceous earth for weight loss, leave us a comment and let us know if it worked for you.
18. Diatomaceous Earth for Candida
Because diatomaceous earth is considered a treatment for many microbial diseases, many people are now using it to treat candida or yeast infections. There is currently no research that supports the use of diatomaceous earth for Candida, but many people claim that it works for them. By flushing out the toxins and unhealthy materials that candida cling to and that encourage its growth. If you try diatomaceous earth for Candida, please leave us a comment and let us know whether it works for you.
There is currently no research that supports the use of diatomaceous earth for Candida, but many people claim that it works for them. By flushing out the toxins and unhealthy materials that candida cling to and that encourage its growth. If you try diatomaceous earth for Candida, please leave us a comment and let us know whether it works for you.
Diatomaceous Earth Uses for Pest Control in the House
19. Diatomaceous Earth Kills Insects Safely
How to Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Insects:
- Put a small amount of diatomaceous earth into a squirt bottle and shake it to create dust in the bottle. Puff the dust directly onto the insect or into areas where infestations are found.
- Alternatively, apply a fine layer to floors and countertops with a hand duster. You do not need a large amount. As insects move past the diatomaceous earth, it will adhere to them and eventually kill them
Food grade diatomaceous earth kills cockroaches, bed bugs, stink bugs, ants, fleas, spiders, silverfish, dust and spider mites. The abrasive diatoms create tiny cuts in the insect’s skin or outer shell and dry it out, killing the insect slowly. It takes a day or two, but it does work.
Since it contains no harmful chemicals, it is safe to use around children and pets, and can even be used safely in the kitchen.
20. Get Rid of Bed Bugs
Diatomaceous earth is a safe and cheap way to get rid of bed bugs. It is easy to use and safe for children and pets. It kills the bed bugs by absorbing the natural oily protective layer and dehydrating the bug. To permanently eliminate bed bugs, you need to apply it to all areas of your home that may harbor them.
Apply a fine layer to the mattress, furniture, carpeting, stuffed animals, and other nearby surfaces. Leave the diatomaceous earth in place for several weeks, and reapply after vacuuming or cleaning.
Diatomaceous earth kills the adult bed bugs, but more may hatch, so you need to keep it in place long enough to kill the next generation.
21. Kill Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
Brush food grade diatomaceous earth into your dog’s fur to naturally kill fleas and ticks. Also apply it to the dog’s bedding, carpets, and any other places where fleas may hide. It is perfectly safe for your dog, as long as you keep it out of the eyes and they don’t inhale it. Avoid creating a cloud of dust as you apply it.
22. Keep Bugs Out of Food Supplies
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth on your pantry shelves to kill pests, or add a small amount to grains, beans, and legumes to prevent insect infestations. It is safe for use in food and will kill pests as they hatch, preventing the spread of insects in the pantry.
23. Defeat Indoor Ants
Indoor ants are predictable, and this works in your favor. They will follow the same pathways into the house, with each ant following the same paths.
You can get rid of them by placing a light dusting of diatomaceous earth in their path. Also dust around doors, window sills, and other points of entry. A very light dusting is best. If you put down too much, they will go around it.
Diatomaceous Earth Benefits in the Garden
24. Kill Garden Pests
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around your garden to kills slugs, beetles, bugs, and other pests. Use a bulb puffer to puff it directly onto the bugs when possible and sprinkle it on the ground and into cracks and crevices where bugs hide. It is a completely safe pesticide and is used on food crops with no safety concerns.
25. Diatomaceous Earth in the Compost Pile
Diatomaceous earth performs double duty in the compost pile. It will eliminate odors while killing pests. It does not affect beneficial organisms such as worms and is safe for garden use.
26. Feed it to Chickens and other Farm Animals
A small amount of diatomaceous earth added to chicken feed helps chickens better absorb calcium and produce stronger egg shells. It also controls odors and pests in the coop. For all animals, it kills internal parasites and removes toxins.
27. Get Rid of Anthills
How To Get Rid of Anthills Using Diatomaceous Earth
- Using a shovel, remove the top of the anthill
- Stir the mound with a stick or the shovel handle
- Generously apply diatomaceous earth to the mound and mix it into the anthill, sprinkle more on the top of the anthill
- Apply diatomaceous earth around the outside of the anthill
- Treat all anthills similarly and treat new ones as they are established. Consistency will eliminate all of the ants over time.
If you are finding anthills in your yard and garden, diatomaceous earth is an excellent way to get rid of them.
When ants come into contact with diatomaceous earth, it dries out their exoskeletons and kills them. Follow our Steps for Getting Rid of Anthills.
28. Improve Your Soil
Diatomaceous earth can absorb and hold water in the soil without interfering with natural drainage. It is often used as a soil conditioner in potting soils and as a growing medium for hydroponic gardens.
You can use any grade of diatomaceous earth as a soil conditioner; this is one of the few uses where food grade is not required. Mix it into the soil before planting your garden.
29. Use it as a Barrier to New Pests
When planting your garden, sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the surface of the soil around the outside of the garden and between plants. It will help prevent invading pests and get rid of existing ones.
Diatomaceous Earth Uses Around the House
30. Diatomaceous Earth for Water Filtration
Water, beer, and other liquids are filtered with diatomaceous earth to remove very fine particles and to kill parasites, viruses, and bacteria. It purifies the water and removes heavy metal toxins. Diatomaceous earth is used in many commercial filtration products for water, beer, wine, fish tanks, and swimming pools. It removes fine particles that would clog paper filters.
31. Use Diatomaceous Earth as an Abrasive Cleanser
Diatomaceous earth is mildly abrasive and works well as a polish or abrasive cleanser. Use it to remove burned on food and oils from pots and pans. Use a little on the toilet bowl brush for a little extra cleaning power. You can use diatomaceous earth in the same ways you would use commercial cleansers.
32. Diatomaceous Earth is Absorbent
Use it to clean up oil or water based spills. You can also use it in homemade kitty litter to absorb liquid and odors. Sprinkle a little over spilled cooking oils or motor oils to absorb them before cleaning up.
33. Diatomaceous Earth Absorbs Odors
It works to remove odors from garbage pails, sweaty gym shoes, and the kitty litter box. Use it to soak up food odors in the refrigerator or anywhere you need to remove odors. Use it in the same ways you would use baking soda for deodorizing.
34. Remove Stains from Clothing
Because diatomaceous earth is absorbent, it can remove oil stains from surfaces and clothing.
Work a small amount of diatomaceous earth into the stain and allow it to absorb the oil, then wash as usual.
35. Remove Carpet Stains
Because of its absorbent properties, the diatomaceous earth makes a very good carpet cleaner for removing stains.
Rub a generous amount of diatomaceous earth into the stain and allow it to sit for a few hours. Vacuum up the diatomaceous earth and the stain with it. It may take several applications to eradicate the stain.
36. Deodorize Your Carpets
Pet smells and other carpet odors quickly disperse with diatomaceous earth.
Dust your carpet with diatomaceous earth and brush it into the carpet with a cleaning brush or broom. Leave it in for 24 hours, then vacuum it up. Your carpet will smell fresh and clean.
37. Polish Your Faucets and Other Fixtures
Make a paste of diatomaceous earth and vinegar or lemon juice and use it to polish bathroom faucets, sinks, and showers for a deep cleaning. Diatomaceous earth is a gentle abrasive and good for cleaning and polishing metals.
38. Keep Your Silver from Tarnishing
Dust your silverware and silver jewelry with a little diatomaceous earth, then wrap it in a thin cotton or muslin cloth and store it in a container or plastic bag. The diatomaceous earth absorbs the chemicals in the air that cause the silver to tarnish.
39. Diatomaceous Earth for Clean Hair
Add a little diatomaceous earth and coconut oil or MCT oil to your shampoo once a week and reap the benefits. Diatomaceous earth helps clean the hair, strengthens it, and removes odors. Don’t scrub your hair with it, just give it a mild massage. Rinse and follow it up with a mild conditioner.
>> Related: 16 Stunning Benefits of MCT Oil
40. As a Thermal Barrier
The thermal properties of diatomaceous earth make it an effective insulating material. It is used commercially to insulate for use with cryogenics. Some vacuum thermal spaces are packed with diatomaceous earth to increase the insulating properties. You can use diatomaceous earth as an insulator in a variety of home projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Diatomaceous Earth Healthy?
The silica content is what makes diatomaceous earth so beneficial for our bodies. Silica plays an important part in many body functions, including the absorption of other minerals.
Silica occurs everywhere, but most of it is not usable by the human body. Diatomaceous earth contains silica in a form that is easily absorbed by our bodies. By replenishing the silica levels in our bodies, we can improve or reverse many chronic health problems.
Why Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?
There are two grades of diatomaceous earth, food grade, and industrial grade or pool grade.
Food grade diatomaceous earth is obtained from freshwater sources and is extremely pure, while pool grade diatomaceous earth comes from salt water sources and has many contaminants. Food grade diatomaceous earth is completely safe for consumption by humans and animals.
Industrial grade diatomaceous earth and pool grade diatomaceous earth is also heat treated which melts it slightly and smooths out the sharp edges that provide so much of the health benefits. Always use food grade diatomaceous earth for human and pet consumption.
Where Can I Buy Diatomaceous Earth?
Most of the diatomaceous earth you find in the home improvement stores is pool grade and not suitable for human use. Food grade diatomaceous earth is available online and at farm stores. You may also find it in the supplements aisles.
What are the Beneficial Components of Diatomaceous Earth?
Silica is the major component of diatomaceous earth and occurs in an easily absorbable form, so most people use it for the silica content and silica provides most of the health benefits. Diatomaceous earth also contains calcium, magnesium, gallium, sodium, titanium dioxide, and other trace minerals.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Pets?
Yes, diatomaceous earth is safe for use on pets and is beneficial if used correctly. Use only food grade diatomaceous earth for pets and take care that your pet does not breathe it in or get it in their eyes.
Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs
Diatomaceous Earth Dosing Guide for Dogs
- Puppies: 1/2 teaspoon of food grade DE daily (once they are on solid foods)
- Small Dogs: 1/2 teaspoon of food grade DE daily
- Dogs weighing less than 50 lbs: 1 teaspoon of food grade DE daily
- Dogs 50 to 100 lbs: 1 tablespoon of food grade DE daily
- Larger dogs more than 100 lbs: 2 tablespoons of food grade DE daily
How Much Diatomaceous Earth Should I Give My Dog?
Many people use diatomaceous earth to kill fleas and prevent flea infestations, but it is also useful as a nutritional supplement for dogs.
Dogs who receive a regular diatomaceous earth supplement have a better appetite, metabolism, and digestion.
Their improved health reflects in their healthier coat. Mix diatomaceous earth into your dog’s food daily. Follow our dosing guide to determine how much diatomaceous earth to give your dog.
Diatomaceous Earth for Cats
Diatomaceous Earth Dosage Guide for Cats
- Kittens: 1/2 teaspoon of food grade DE daily
- Small Cats (2 to 6 lbs):1/2 teaspoon of food grade DE daily
- Full Grown Cats (7 to 13 lbs): 1 teaspoon of food grade DE daily
- Large Cats (greater than 13 lbs): 1 1/2 teaspoons of food grade DE daily
Like dogs, cats also benefit from a daily dose of food grade diatomaceous earth. Follow these recommendations for dosing your cat.
How to Mix Diatomaceous Earth into Pet Food
Use One of These Methods
- Mix the appropriate dose into wet food
- Calculate the number of servings in a bag of dry pet food. Divide this number by the number of times you feed daily to determine the number of days the bag will last. Multiply the daily dose listed by the number of days of food in the bag. Shake the bag to distribute the diatomaceous earth throughout the food.
- Mix the dosage of diatomaceous earth with a small amount of water and pour it over your dog’s or cat’s dry food.
Safety Concerns of Diatomaceous Earth
Food grade diatomaceous earth is considered safe, and no negative side effects are known. It has been approved by the FDA as a supplement and can be used by anyone, but you should consult with your doctor before taking diatomaceous earth. It can interfere with some medications, eliminating them entirely or making them less effective. However, there are a few health concerns.
First, avoid getting diatomaceous earth in your eyes. It is extremely drying and will irritate your eyes. If you do get DE dust in your eyes, wash it out with a continuous stream of water and do not rub your eyes.
Second, diatomaceous earth dust is very fine and can be irritating to lung tissue if you breathe it in. It can accumulate in the lungs and lymph nodes if you are repeatedly exposed. Avoid breathing the dust and wear a face mask when using it in ways that create a large amount of dust.
It is always possible that you could have a negative reaction to any supplement. While a reaction is highly unlikely, you should begin with a small dose, approximately 1/2 teaspoon or less and gradually increase your dosage. This way, you will limit any reactions and catch them before they can become intense. Your body will gradually get used to the increased doses.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Babies?
No data suggests that diatomaceous earth is harmful to babies in any way. However, we recommend that you consult with a doctor before giving any supplement to a baby, including diatomaceous earth.
Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for the Environment?
Silica, the major component of diatomaceous earth is the second most abundant element in soil. It is a natural and common component of rock, sand, and clay. Diatomaceous earth is a completely natural compound that has no detrimental effects on the environment. Using diatomaceous earth instead of harmful pesticides is beneficial to the environment.
What are the Side Effects of Diatomaceous Earth?
Always make sure you are taking food grade diatomaceous earth. It is a safe and beneficial supplement for most people, with the following exceptions:
When you begin taking diatomaceous earth, detoxification of the body begins, and parasites are attacked. This can cause a flood of toxins and dying parasites leaving the body in the first few days. Many people will experience flu-like symptoms during this time. This is evidence that the DE is working and you will feel better soon. Stay on schedule.
As with any supplements, if you are pregnant or nursing, you should consult your doctor before taking diatomaceous earth.
Also, people who are taking medications should consult their doctor before taking diatomaceous earth. It can absorb medicines and flush them out of the body – an unwanted side effect.
Since diatomaceous earth naturally lowers blood pressure, you should carefully monitor your blood pressure while taking diatomaceous earth, especially if you have naturally low blood pressure or if you are on blood pressure medications.
What is the Difference Between Diatomaceous Earth and Fullers Earth?
Fuller’s earth is a natural clay that has many benefits similar to diatomaceous earth. It is absorbent and a deodorizer. It is found in many cosmetics and beauty products. Despite their similarities, diatomaceous earth is an entirely different compound.
Diatomaceous earth is mainly composed of silica and is not a clay product. While they have many similar benefits and uses, they are not interchangeable.
We hope you have found this guide on diatomaceous earth to be useful. Hopefully, you have learned a few new uses for diatomaceous earth. However, let me say it one more time:
For internal use, you must use FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth.
Do not try to substitute a lower grade diatomaceous earth, it could cause serious health problems.
Do you know of other uses for diatomaceous earth? I’ve tried to make this guide as complete as possible, but I have probably missed a few.
If so, please add them to the comment section so that others can benefit from your knowledge. Also, please share this guide on Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media so that others can learn and benefit.
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