Diatomaceous earth has become very popular in recent years for being both a health supplement and a natural pesticide, but it has actually been around for a really long time—millions of years, in fact. Diatomaceous Earth (or DE for short) is made of diatoms, a kind of microscopic algae. When these diatoms die, they leave behind hard shells made of silica. When prehistoric lakes dried out, many of them exposed huge silica deposits left behind by these diatoms. These deposits are mined and ground into a fine powder that we call diatomaceous earth.
So what can you do with DE? Lots of things! DE has a long list of uses and benefits, and in this post, we’ll take a look at some of the main ones.
3 Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth
Because DE is hard and microscopically abrasive, it makes a great exfoliator for your skin. You can mix it in some water and use it as a facial scrub or make a paste with DE and water to make a mask. You can also add DE to homemade soaps and other DIY recipes.
Natural Bug Killer
A supplement that kills bugs? Are you serious? Yep! It might sound scary, but it’s really not. DE is completely harmless for you, your kids, and your pets, but it is also very effective as an insecticide. DE is naturally free of chemicals, but its coarse, porous surface sticks to bugs and draws moisture from their exoskeletons, which dehydrates and eventually kills them.
When applying DE to kill bugs, there are a few different ways to do it. The first is to simply apply a thin layer of DE dust on surfaces where bugs are a problem. Another way is to mix DE in a spray bottle with water and apply it wet. For most situations, this isn’t quite as effective, and you have to let the DE dry before it can do its job, but it’s a good method if you have respiratory problems that make you sensitive to dust. Even if you don’t have respiratory problems, eye and breathing protection are always a good idea when applying dry diatomaceous earth, especially to large areas. DE can irritate your eyes and lungs, but it won’t damage your lungs unless you have extensive exposure to it over a long period of time.
DE doesn’t kill bugs immediately. It takes anywhere from several hours to several days, depending on what kind of bugs you’re dealing with, but it is effective, and best of all, it’s chemical free. After you’ve had DE applied in your home for about a week, clean it up and dispose of it. Reapply DE if you are still having bug problems.
A note on cleaning up DE: It is best to sweep or mop up DE whenever possible. Be very cautious if you are using a vacuum. DE can burn out the motors on most conventional vacuums. Filterless vacuums are usually safer, but your best bet is to rent a shop vac from your local hardware store.
The coarse and absorbent nature of DE also makes it handy for cleaning. You can mix it in a bucket or spray bottle with water and vinegar for an all-purpose cleaner. The abrasiveness of DE will help you scrub away grease and other persistent filth.
You can also use DE as a stain remover by rubbing a dry layer into a wet stain and letting it sit for a few hours.
Another thing DE is good for is a deodorizer. A layer of DE in the garbage can, cat litterbox, vacuum bag, or smelly shoes will greatly reduce unwanted smells.
Be very careful to get the right kind of diatomaceous earth for your needs. Avoid pool grade diatomaceous earth for any of the uses we’ve talked about here. Pool grade DE is processed in a way that renders it unsafe to be ingested or used in your home. You will want a good, reliable food grade diatomaceous earth for the uses we have talked about.
There are many companies out there that sell DE, so you have to make sure you get it from a reliable source. Even many food grade DE products say “Not for human consumption” on the package. I recommend looking at DiatomaceousEarth.com. They offer food grade DE that is OMRI certified organic, and their facility is FDA compliant, which means that they are held to a high standard of quality and cleanliness. Instead of warning you not to ingest it, they give you dosage recommendations. You can buy directly from their website or on Amazon.com.
Diatomaceous Earth a natural, organic product that is perfect to use around your house. It can kill bugs, replace cleaning chemicals, and improve your health inside and out. But this is really just the beginning of how DE can help you live better. Do some research and get creative, and you will find that the ways you can use diatomaceous earth will be almost endless.
Have you ever used DE? Tell us your favorite uses in the comments below!
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