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13 Smart Uses for Diatomaceous Earth at Home (With Health Benefits)

Diatomaceous-Earth-in-bowl_Anna-Hoychuck_Shutterstock

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a fine powder made from fossilized phytoplankton called diatoms. It comprises 80%–90% silicon dioxide and 10%–20% other minerals. You’ve probably seen it in a health food store or read a blog about its health benefits on Pinterest, but what exactly does it do?

This material is available as food-grade and filter/pool-grade diatomaceous earth. Both types have incredibly smart uses, ranging from skincare to pets and insect control. Here’s how you can efficiently use diatomaceous earth at home.

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The 13 Uses for Diatomaceous Earth at Home

1. Deodorant

young woman using deodorant_Rido_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Rido, Shutterstock

The first smart use for diatomaceous earth is as a deodorant. You may have been told that our primary detox pathways are through the liver, kidneys, colon, and lymph system. However, our skin and lungs also play an important role in detoxification.

Of course, we all wish we could stop sweating, but it’s not wise to block our body’s ability to sweat with antiperspirants. Instead, you can neutralize the odor in the underarm area. Diatomaceous earth is the perfect way to do so, especially if you’re not a fan of store-bought deodorants.

Store-bought deodorants typically contain baking soda, which is highly alkaline, resulting in rashes or irritation after application. Instead, mix food-grade diatomaceous earth, arrowroot powder or cornstarch, and melted coconut oil to create deodorant for sensitive skin.


2. Facial Scrub & Mask

It may seem surprising, but diatomaceous earth (DE) is safe to use on your skin. Its fine, powdery consistency is ideal for a gentle facial exfoliant and mask. It’s also worth noting that diatomaceous earth contains silica, calcium, magnesium, zinc, copper, selenium, phosphorus, and other trace minerals.

If you haven’t been able to get on a mineral-rich diet, this is the perfect way to absorb those necessary minerals through the skin.

Here's how each mineral benefits your skin via DE:
  • Silica promotes collagen production
  • Calcium prevents skin cancer
  • Magnesium regulates cellular regeneration
  • Zinc enhances skin repair function
  • Copper softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • Selenium protects your skin from UV rays
  • Phosphorous filters out toxins

To create a diatomaceous earth facial scrub and mask, mix DE with water, milk, aloe vera gel, or diluted honey to make a thick paste.


3. Toothpaste

Toothpaste
Image Credit: Opal, Pixabay

Diatomaceous earth can help whiten and strengthen teeth since it contains silica. Supplying silica to your teeth promotes the formation of the hard outer enamel protecting your teeth. Using it as toothpaste can remove plaque and calculus, whitening your teeth in the long run.

Other than that, DE can also prevent gum diseases such as periodontitis or gum inflammation. It doesn’t take much; you only need to sprinkle a little diatomaceous earth over your tooth soap, toothpaste, or homemade tooth powder.

Then, brush your teeth with DE twice daily for extra deep cleaning. Since this material is slightly abrasive, it’s good enough to eliminate stains without removing the enamel.


4. Detoxification Support

Yes, you can also consume diatomaceous earth orally! However, experts recommend the internal use of food-grade diatomaceous earth since it provides general detoxification support. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride M.D., the author of Gut & Psychology Syndrome, advocates this, too.

She speaks further on the topic, detailing that those with severe conditions such as Crohn’s disease or Ulcerative Colitis should not consume diatomaceous earth¹. In addition, those that plan on using DE for detoxification should build their dosage slowly.

Begin with taking one tablespoon of diatomaceous earth with water once a day. You can increase your dosage over the next few weeks, taking one tablespoon in the morning and once at night.


5. Food Storage

Spice bottles on shelf_Pixabay_Pexels
Image Credit: Pixabay, Pexels

You can also use diatomaceous earth for food storage, adding it to grains and legumes such as wheat, maize, beans, and barley. This helps slow spoilage, keeps your food dry, and prevents mold. If you’ve been suffering from pests like weevils and beetles invading your pantry, diatomaceous earth also protects against them.

Since DE is completely natural, you won’t have to use artificial preservatives to protect your dry foods. For storage, add a teaspoon of DE per every pound of food and watch it absorb moisture over time, keeping your food dry and mold-free.


6. Bed Bugs

Diatomaceous earth also protects bed bugs and fleas again, a practice even the FDA has approved¹. Experts recommend using a bottle to apply DE around the perimeter of your bed, under the mattress, on the bedpost, etc. Again, use food-grade diatomaceous earth to perform this, as filter-grade DE is dangerous to breathe in.

However, we’d recommend using a dust mask for extra precaution and going for 100% DE instead of those with 2% synthetic ingredients.


7. Flea Infestations

Hand using a can spray
Image Credit: Zyn Chakrapong, Shutterstock

It can be a moment of panic when you realize your pet has caught fleas. But luckily, diatomaceous earth offers a quick solution.

After contact with diatomaceous earth, adult fleas may begin to die as quickly as four hours, even killing some flea larvae. However, it does not help eliminate flea eggs or pupae.

If you’ve fleas on your pets, it’s also important to treat the carpets and beds in your home, including any spot your pet likes. Those that don’t want to spend extra bucks on store-bought flea powder can make their own with diatomaceous earth.

Combine ½ cup of food-grade diatomaceous earth, ¼ cup neem powder, and ¼ cup arrowroot powder with 90 drops of essential oil. Cedarwood Atlas, clary sage, citronella, geranium bourbon, lavender, lemon, and peppermint are effective essential oils for fleas and ticks.

Apply the mixture to your pet’s back, torso, legs, tail, and neck, being careful around the eyes and mouth to avoid irritating the mucosa.


8. Insect and Pest Control

The FDA has approved¹ the use of diatomaceous earth for protection against insects and pets. Use a hand duster to puff the diatomaceous earth powder into the nooks and crannies where you’d typically find cockroaches, spiders, ticks, and earwigs.

It can also help eliminate lice by drying out the nits and eggs. However, it’s not a recommended method since it can also dry out your scalp. Besides that, if you have ants in your home, slugs, beetles, and other unwanted pests in your garden, diatomaceous earth can help eliminate them quickly.

Use it wisely, as some bugs can benefit your garden, such as ladybugs, ground beetles, etc. It’s also important to ensure your pet doesn’t inhale diatomaceous earth while you apply it around the house.


9. Garbage Can and Fridge Deodorizer

a green plastic trash garbage recycling bin
Image Credit: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

 

Diatomaceous earth has an absorbent, porous structure, which allows it to absorb unwanted odors. As a result, you can use this powder to absorb any bad smells around your home, including the garbage can or even your fridge.

To deodorize your garbage can, you can use an applicator to dust the inner surface with a sufficient coating of diatomaceous earth. The DE will absorb the smell whenever you throw trash in the garbage can.

Since DE can combat moisture and odors in the air, you can also place it in your fridge. Fill a small container with diatomaceous earth, place it in your fridge, and replace it every one to two weeks. You can also find DE drying eggs online that prevent bad smells and humidity from accumulating.


10. Stain Remover

As we’ve mentioned, diatomaceous earth has a highly absorbent nature, which is why it’s perfect for picking up stains. You can even sprinkle it on an oil-stained cloth and watch it soak up the stain quickly. Using diatomaceous earth is also wise to clean oil stains from carpets, driveways, and garage floors.


11. Chicken Feed

Experts recommend¹ mixing diatomaceous earth into your chicken’s daily feed since it contains many trace minerals, including silica. This study¹ shows that adding silica to chicken feed can increase their average daily BW gain and improve FCR. Another study¹ suggests that DE can help reduce parasites in chickens.

The FDA has approved the use of diatomaceous earth as an anti-caking agent in commercial livestock feed. Most people use the guideline of 2% overall weight. That means adding half a pound of diatomaceous earth to 25 pounds of livestock feed.

Backyard chicken keepers also use DE to control pests in their flock and coop.


12. Scouring Powder

You can also use diatomaceous earth to make homemade scouring powder, which will help you scrub hard surfaces such as sinks, bathtubs, and countertops. Diatomaceous earth turns brown when wet, so don’t worry if it looks like you’re scrubbing with dirt. The results will be impeccable, so don’t let the color deceive you.

Here's what you can combine to make homemade scouring powder using DE:
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup washing soda
  • 1-2 tablespoons diatomaceous earth
  • 1.5 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 10-15 drops of lemon essential oil
  • 2-4 tablespoons of ground lavender buds, rose petals, lemon/lime peel, or rosemary (optional)

13. Joint and Ligament Health

Diatomaceous Earth
Diatomaceous Earth (Image Credit: SprocketRocket, Wikimedia Commons CC0 1.0 Universal)

Aside from removing toxins from the body, diatomaceous earth has also improved joint, bone, and ligament health. In addition, it can help fight against osteoporosis and other bone disorders when taken orally. You can mix it in juice, smoothies, or yogurt, or just take it with water. Staying hydrated is the key to making diatomaceous earth work its magic.

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Health Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth

Opinions on the bioavailability of diatomaceous earth vary, which is why more research is needed on the topic. Regardless, here are the possible health benefits of diatomaceous earth if the body can absorb and use its silica.

Health Benefits:
  • Collagen Production: The silica present in diatomaceous earth promotes collagen formation. Jarrow Formulas’ application to FDA¹ for their silicon supplement conducted a study, supplementing animals with a small amount of highly bioavailable silicon. As a result, these animals had a 12% higher collagen concentration than animals who weren’t supplemented.
  • Hair Strength: Diatomaceous earth contains silicon. This 2007 study¹ proves that supplementing women with choline-stabilized orthosilicic acid, a form of silicon, can increase the strength and thickness of their hair.
  • Nail Strength: The silica, gelatin, and biotin in diatomaceous earth can strengthen your nails. It supplies your nail beds with silica¹,  restoring the appearance and strength of weak nails and preventing breakage.
  • Teeth and Bone Strength: Diatomaceous earth supplies your teeth with silica, which is crucial for forming the hard outer enamel protecting your teeth. This 2009 study¹ proves that silicon is beneficial for your overall bone health.

Other health benefits of diatomaceous earth include treating high cholesterol levels or constipation. You can also use DE to brush your teeth or remove dead skin cells.

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Conclusion

Diatomaceous earth is a highly underrated supplement with a long list of uses relating to pest control and overall health. However, there isn’t enough research on DE, so people doubt its benefits.

If you’re planning to buy diatomaceous earth, follow our guide to use it correctly and safely. Ensure that the brand you buy DE from is listed with Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)¹. The OMRI seal ensures the supplement’s safety.

Finally, remember to buy food-grade diatomaceous earth, not filter-grade, which can be dangerous to inhale.


Featured Image Credit: Image Credit: Anna Hoychuck, Shutterstock

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