We all want to live healthy and happy lives. Being healthy helps build our resilience and prepares us for difficult challenges ahead. One could say that being healthy is a whole challenge in itself. But there is a simple step we can all take to move in a more healthy direction. That step is to adopt the use of diatomaceous earth into our daily lives.
As many organic gardeners know, diatomaceous earth is one of the go-to solutions for controlling pests in the garden and it is a simple solution for keeping food clean, healthy, and pest free. We are going to discuss a number of other lesser-known applications for diatomaceous earth (DE) that can be used indoors and out, which will make your environment cleaner, less toxic, and a healthier place to pursue the happiness that we all seek.
Before we discuss the reasons to stockpile DE, first a definition:
Diatomaceous earth /daɪ.ətəˌmeɪʃəs ˈɜr/ also known as D.E., diatomite, or kieselgur/kieselguhr, is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 3 micrometres to more than 1 millimeter, but typically 10 to 200 micrometres. Depending on the granularity, this powder can have an abrasive feel, similar to pumice powder, and is very light as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.
Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.
8 Best Reasons to Always Have DE on Hand
Safety Note: Though non-toxic and completely safe, DE is a very fine powder, and precautions against inhalation and eye exposure should be taken. Wear a mask and eye protection when applying it in large volumes or where the chance of dusting yourself might occur. It is important to always use FOOD-GRADE diatomaceous earth. Non-food-grade diatomaceous earth is used in pool filters and has been chemically treated.
Simply sprinkle DE directly onto your cats or dogs, into your carpet, directly onto their bedding, and any other places where fleas congregate. The DE works to kill the ticks and fleas by desiccating them.
2) Safe organic dewormer for pets and livestock
DE can also be used internally as a safe and effective dewormer. In addition to killing internal parasites, Food-grade DE also contains fifteen trace minerals, and thus makes a great general supplement. Feed between ½ tsp and 2 Tbsp, depending on the weight of your pet. Can be fed daily as a general health support.
3) Indoor insect killer
Sprinkle DE directly onto ant trails. It effectively kills all bugs, and can also be used against flies, mites, roaches, and bedbugs, to name just a few.
4) Outdoor garden plant protection/pest killer
Again, sprinkle DE directly onto aphids or other pest-infected plants in your garden. Remember, DE will also kill beneficial insects, so be mindful of when and where you are applying your protection. You wouldn't want to release a bunch of ladybugs into your garden after applying a fresh batch of DE. Keep in mind that moisture will make DE ineffective, so it will need to be reapplied after overhead watering or times when heavy dew is present.
5) Protects stored grain and feed
Food grade diatomaceous earth is a healthy non-toxic alternative to the use of chemicals in stored grain. There is no need to remove DE from the grain when the grain is ready to be used. Suggested grain storage use: 1 cup of DE will protect 50 lbs. of grain – 5 cups of food grade diatomaceous earth will protect 300 lbs. of grain or seeds – 7 lbs. of DE will protect 1500 lbs. of grain or seeds. (Source)
6) Chicken mite killer
Add DE to nesting boxes and chicken coops to help prevent mites and lice.
7) Fly deterrent/killer
DE can be used effectively to keep fly populations down by sprinkling directly onto areas that attract flies (chicken coops, under rabbit hutches, manure piles).
8) As a mild abrasive
DE also works great as a mild abrasive. According to some sources, the oldest use of diatomaceous earth was as a facial wash/scrub and as toothpaste. So the next time you are whipping up a batch of baking soda counter top cleaner or some a DIY toothpaste, add a little DE to it.
So there are 8 great reasons to pick up a big bag of DE for use around the house, on the animals, and in the garden. There are many other ways to use diatomaceous earth, and I welcome you to share how you are using it in your everyday life.