Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a powdery substance made up of the fossilized skeletal remains of diatoms, a common type of phytoplankton. You can find DE in many commercially-available products, like water filters, skin care products, toothpastes, anti-caking agents, and abrasive cleaning products. Beyond that, there are plenty of useful ways to use DE around the house!
But before we get into those uses… I should specify that we’re speaking about FOOD GRADE diatomaceous earth. Food Grade DE largely consists of “amorphous” silica, the safer form of silica. It is also monitored to ensure the absence of heavy metals, and other things you wouldn’t want to accidentally ingest.
Without further ado, here are some fascinating ways you can utilize DE around your home.
Ways to Use Diatomaceous Earth Around the House
- You may have already heard that you can use DE as an effective form of pest control. DE compromises the waxy coatings that cover an insect’s exoskeleton, until they ultimately die of dehydration. If you have insects in your home, just sprinkle a bit of DE into cracks, corners, and window sills where the little pests are present.
- Make an exfoliating facial scrub! Just mix together aloe juice, water, or milk with a bit of DE, and gently massage onto your skin. DE provides a great boost of minerals to your skin, and its abrasive quality will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
- DE can help eliminate an infestation of bedbugs. Sprinkle DE on your mattress, pillows, and bed frame to ensure that all bedbugs are eliminated!
- Add DE to your homemade deodorant! Melt together 1/2 cup of coconut oil and 1-1/2 tablespoons of beeswax, then add 1/2 cup of DE, 1/2 cup of cornstarch, and 10 drops each of lavender, lemon, and frankincense essential oils. Pour into a container and allow to solidify. Many people prefer using DE over baking soda in homemade deodorant, because it can be less irritating to sensitive skin.
- Add a small handful of DE to your bathwater for super soft skin!
- You can add DE to your homemade toothpaste, too! Mix together 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, 3 tablespoons of DE, 25 drops of peppermint essential oil, and 2 teaspoons of vegetable glycerin.
- If you have a composter or a compost pile, you can add DE to help control odor and pests.
- Dust your dog’s bedding with DE to control fleas, ticks, and other pests.
- Sprinkle DE into your toilet bowl when cleaning it. The abrasiveness will give you an extra boost of scrubbing power.
- Deodorize your garbage can or refrigerator by placing a small container of DE inside. DE is great at absorbing odors, and it will also keep insects out. Replace with fresh DE every 1-2 weeks.
- And finally, many people ingest DE daily with water or in a smoothie. Some swear by it for strong and healthy skin, nails, and teeth, while others consume it as a detoxing agent. While the FDA has categorized DE as “Generally Recognized as Safe,” that recognition only applies to its use in filtration (like in swimming pools). Ultimately, there is little to no information available that supports or opposes the safety or efficacy of ingesting DE. So I encourage you to use your best judgment on this one. :-)