Diatomaceous earth (DE) is an all-natural chalky, soft powder formed from the microscopic fossilized remains of ancient single-celled animals, called diatoms. If you haven’t heard of diatomaceous earth and some of its amazing uses in and around your home, get ready to have one of those hand-against-your-forehead who-would-have-thought moments.
Making up about 26 percent of the earth’s crust, DE is found in sediments from rivers, lakes, streams and oceans all over the world. It is almost 90 percent silica, which is found in human hair, skin and nails. When viewed through a microscope, DE looks like a tube with holes in it. It is very hard, has a very strong negative charge and contains about 20 trace minerals.
The FDA classifies food-grade DE as safe, and it has an amazing amount of uses and benefits. Here is a list of our Top 10:
1. Toothpaste. DE has abrasive properties and is an effective natural alternative to commercial chemical-laden toothpastes. Just add your own natural flavoring, such as mint, and sprinkle a little DE on your toothbrush. DE also works to control bad breath.
2. Deodorant. Are you ready to stop using anti-perspirants which interfere with your body’s natural detox system, but baking soda, a common alternative, leaves you with a rash? Here’s a recipe to try that uses DE.
- 3/4 cup arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- 1/4 cup food grade DE
- 5-7 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- Combine DE and arrowroot powder or cornstarch.
- Add 5 tablespoons melted coconut oil and mix well with a fork. Continue adding coconut oil until desired consistency.
- Transfer mixture to a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Using your fingertips, apply a small amount to underarms as needed.
3. Facial Scrub. Because of its high mineral content, DE makes a gentle facial scrub and facial mask.
Directions: Mix about 1 tablespoon of DE with water, aloe Vera juice or slightly diluted honey to make a thick paste. Lightly massage the paste onto your face using your fingertips and small, circular motions. Allow the paste to set for two minutes, before removing with a warm washcloth using similar circular motions. Avoid using this scrub near the eyes or on irritated or chapped skin.
5. Pest control. Food grade DE can be used to eliminate bed bugs, fleas, roaches, spiders, earwigs and garden pests such as slugs and beetles. Around the inside of your home, try sprinkling it into cracks and crevices where bugs can enter.
6. Kitchen deodorizer. Place a small container of DE in your fridge and freezer to reduce or eliminate unpleasant odors. Replace every few weeks or as needed. DE also is useful in neutralizing garbage can odors. Sprinkle some in the bottom of your can.
7. Metal Cleaner. Make a simple paste of DE and water to use as a metal polish. It also works well as a soft scrub for the shower, tub and sink.
8. Driveway oil stains. To remove unsightly stains from your garage floor or driveway, sprinkle the affected area with enough DE to cover it completely. Let the powder soak up the oil for about 24 hours before removing the excess with a scraper and then sweeping away the remains.
9. Shoe odor. Place DE inside a nylon knee-high and tie the top end shut. Place inside shoe or boot to help absorb unpleasant odor when not wearing.
10. Carpet cleaner. Sprinkle DE on carpet stains and lightly work the powder into it before letting it set for several hours. Then vacuum.
In addition to its home uses, many people use food grade DE as a nutritional supplement, primarily for bone and joint health, and as a detoxifying agent.
What are your favorite uses for diatomaceous earth? Leave your reply in the section below: