If you’ve never heard of diatomaceous earth before, it’s worth learning about! Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a natural product made up of fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms called diatoms. Composed of the cell walls/shells of single cell diatoms, it easily crumbles to a fine powder. You can find DE in countless products, most often in powder or liquid form. It can be used in food-grade (safe for human consumption) and non-food grade (used in industrial settings). Food-grade DE can be an impactful piece of your natural lifestyle and hobby farm. While there are countless benefits and uses, we’ve highlighted 10 for you here.
DE can help detoxify your body and maintain optimal gut health by attracting harmful toxins and flushing them from the body. You can take about one teaspoon of food-grade diatomaceous earth with water once a day to detox. Drink plenty of water afterwards and throughout the day to stay hydrated. You can also mix it in with other things – juice, smoothies, yogurt, etc. – but make sure to still drink plenty of water with it. You can slowly work up to 1 tablespoon a day, keeping in mind that it’s best not to use it continuously for long periods of time.
JOINT, BONE, LIGAMENT HEALTH
DE has been shown to support bone and connective tissue health. Take it orally as described in step 2 to fight against osteoporosis and other bone disorders.
KILLS PARASITES IN HUMANS
Taking DE as part of a detox process can help kill parasites in a non-toxic way to your body.
DE is a gentle abrasive so it can help to clean and whiten teeth. Simply sprinkle a bit of the dust over your toothpaste every so often for a deep clean. This is not something you want to do continuously so as to not harm your teeth’s natural enamel.
PLANT HEALTH & GROWTH
Add DE to potting soil to help it retain moisture and nutrients, allow oxygen to circulate freely, and fight off parasites.
INDOOR PEST CONTROL
DE removes the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeleton which helps them maintain moisture, thus causing them to dehydrate. Use it on carpets, upholstery, or anywhere else you think bugs or pests may be lurking. Brush or vacuum the area first, then spread a light film of DE over the whole surface. Leave it for 4-12 hours and then vacuum. Repeat weekly for 3-4 weeks. You can also spread it around the outside of your home or in other areas inside where pests like spiders and ants show up. Safer and cheaper than harsh chemicals!
NATURAL GARDEN PEST CONTROL
DE is best used dry. Lightly sprinkle it where slugs, Japenese beetles, or other unwanted pests will come in contact with it. Make sure to keep it away from insects that you do want, like bees. It’s not as effective when wet, so refresh your treatment if the area gets wet.
DE is helpful for keeping unwanted pests away from your animals. Include DE in your chickens’ dust bath to prevent lice or in your animals’ feed as a natural way to fight off fleas, worms, and other parasites. You can also give your indoor pets (or their beds) a light dusting to help fight against fleas and allergies. I also like to put down a like layer of DE in the bottom of the coop and in nesting boxes after cleaning and before bedding is added to help prevent mites and lice.
DE can be a great exfoliator every once in a while. Use it as part of a facial scrub or mask by mixing 1 tablespoon with water, milk, or diluted honey to make a thick paste. Massage it into your face in circular motions and let it set for 1-2 minutes before removing with a warm washcloth, again in small, circular motions.
Mix a small amount of DE in with dry grains, legumes (about 1 tablespoon in a 5-gallon bucket of grain) to prevent weevils. If you've ever had weevils you know how frustrating they can be to get rid of!