Diatomaceous earth, or DE, is a powder made from fossilized single cell organisms whose cell structure contains a great many holes. As a result, DE is a very absorbent substance with tiny, sharp edges. DE can kill insects and parasites by tearing holes in their exoskeletons, plus sweep up toxins, as it travels through the digestive tract. For this reason, DE is most often used in the following ways.
- To absorb toxins and aid in detoxing.
- To get rid of parasites in humans, pets, and livestock.
- To control insects in the home, in the garden, and on pets.
- To clean in the home and garage.
Does that sound like something you might find useful in your natural household? As great as DE can be, we need to warn you about how to use it properly. We have to put a lot of emphasis on this one point because it is a safety issue.
DO NOT consume anything other than food grade diatomaceous earth!
For you and your animals, it has to be food grade or it could be toxic. Be smart and check the label, please. Also, you have to be careful not to breathe in DE or get in in your eyes. Same goes for your pets. Use some common sense and don’t just start wafting and rubbing it around like some people do with baby powder. Not the same kind of substance. It is naturally abrasive, so getting it in your eyes, up your nose, or in your lungs would not feel good at all. It’s also bad to inhale baby powder, or flour, so keep that in mind.
Hopefully, those warnings didn’t scare you off. If you’re still interested, using DE is pretty simple. As a detox or parasite eliminating supplement, most people start by mixing one teaspoon in juice or a smoothie every day, then gradually increasing the amount. You don’t want to detox too fast and make yourself feel bad, so you can increase the amount you take by one teaspoon each week until you are taking up to two tablespoons a day. When using on animals, 1/4-1/2 tsp. per day is the usual for very small cats and dogs, under 5 lbs. For medium sized dogs and cats, under 25lbs., use 1 tsp. Animals over 50 lbs. will need 1 tbsp., and over 100 lbs., you would dose them the same as a human with 2 tbsp. daily. You may want to gradually work in the DE until you make it up to the recommended dose if you’re mixing it in their food. Most pets will turn their noses up at any changes simply because it’s different. Be sure it is mixed in well, too.
If you want to use DE as a flea powder, you can spread it on your carpet and on your pet. The trick here is to avoid poofing it into the air and getting it into the squirming pet’s eyes. Once a week, you may want to put the DE in a wide shallow dish and push your hand into it so that it is lightly coated in DE, or you can pinch up a small amount between your fingers. Then you pet your animal friend with that hand, working the powder down into their fur. You might not even have to give them a dose in their food that day if they’re likely to bathe themselves the way a cat does. For occasional use on the carpet, gently sprinkle a light layer over a small section of carpet, then spread or sweep the powder into the carpet. You can also sprinkle it behind and under furniture, or other such places where you aren’t likely to vacuum every week. As long as you vacuum around two or three times a week and change your linens out twice a week, pests and parasites like fleas and worms will have less of a chance of hatching out and finding food even without the additional help of DE.
There’s so much more information out there about DE, so take the time to read up on it for yourself. You can even use DE to make homemade toothpaste and face masks. Who knew dirt could be so useful?
Here’s the resources we used to write this blog.