Diatomaceous Earth Uses | Wholefood Earth®

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth, also known as DE is a powdery compound made up from the ground up bodies of prehistoric diatomic algae fossils known as diatoms. When DE is ground up the tiny skeletal diatomic pieces become very sharp (at a microscopic level). They produce the same effect many microscopic razors would, cutting into lung tissue, mucous membranes and breathing holes in insects or bugs. DE is also effective against snails and slugs as it  dries them up as well as worms, mites, fleas, beetles, and almost any spider or insect. The best and safest way to rid your household of any troublesome pests. No need for any nasty chemicals or corrosive substances!

Where does Diatomaceous Earth come from?

Diatomaceous earth comes from sediments that were of a lacustrine or marine nature. Meaning, there used to be water in these areas that has long since retreated or dried up. DE is made from the fossilized remains of tiny, aquatic organisms known as diatoms. These remains are microscopic single-celled algae and their skeletons are made of a natural substance called silica. Silica is very common in nature, making up about 26% of the earth's crust in weight alone! There are also various forms of silica which include quartz, emeralds, sand, clay, glass, and more. Many different deposits of diatomaceous earth can be found all over the world; however, the quality of the DE depends on what time period the DE is from. Over long periods of time (we’re talking thousands of years here), diatoms (composed of amorphous silica) have accumulated in the sediment of rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans creating diatomite.

The different types:

There are two types of diatomaceous earth: 'filter/pool grade’ and ‘food grade’.

Food grade is the ONLY type of DE that should be used inside/out of the household and is safe around children and pets (as long as DE dust is not inhaled). It’s safe to use topically and often taken as a health supplement. Food grade DE is a freshwater form of diatomite. For DE to be considered food grade it must have less than 1% of crystalline silica content and no more than 10mg/kg of arsenic or lead. Please note that  food grade DE can still cause slight lung and eye irritation if there is prolonged exposure or if inhaled by any person suffering from respiratory disease. The use of masks is advised when dispensing the DE. Homeowners and gardeners may be more familiar with food grade DE as it is inexpensive and a staple tool in pest management. 

The other type of DE known as filter/pool grade, is a calcined form of diatomite. The diatomaceous earth becomes calcined after being exposed to extremely high temperatures. This process turns the silica dioxide in DE into crystalline silica. This form of refinement is specifically focused on DE’s filtering properties. However, this process makes the compound especially harmful to respiratory systems. Long-term exposure or inhalation of the crystalline form of DE is associated with silicosis, chronic bronchitis, and other respiratory problems. 

Diatomaceous Earth Uses Filter/Pool Grade-

The pool grade is quite popular due to its functions. Filter/Pool grade DE is calcined, which changes the chemical compound from silicon dioxide to crystalline silica, thereby hardening the diatoms. This is done by applying very high heat to the DE. This changed chemical compound is then used for filtration purposes such as the one used in pools. However, it can be very toxic. It should be handled with care and in PPE equipment.

Diatomaceous Earth Uses Food Grade- this section refers to domestic uses of DE.

Food grade DE is not calcined, it is simply made up by large quantities of amorphous silica. This grade of DE contains less than 1% crystalline silica making them perfect for the production of animal feed or insect control.

Diatomaceous Earth Uses

Detoxification Support

Diatomaceous earth is negatively charged, so it attracts toxins and heavy metals in the body and helps to flush them out. A study found that the silica in diatomaceous earth helps eliminate heavy metals from the body(..)


Diatomaceous earth helps kill any odour creating bacteria whilst simultaneously absorbing moisture and toxins. It is safe to use on all skin types, as a deodorant as well and is not an irritant.


De is a mild abrader making it a useful cleanser for your skin and teeth alike. Diatomaceous earth absorbs stains along with any harmful toxins leaving the teeth and skin clean and smooth. Simply pop your moistened toothbrush bristles into a bit of DE and brush your teeth with it, before adding on the toothpaste and finishing up brushing your teeth.

Body Scrub & Face Mask

As De is thoroughly ground into a fine powder it makes for a gentle body scrub or face mask. In addition to silica DE also contains abundant trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium and zinc. Since minerals can be absorbed through the skin, this is a perfect way for healthy minerals to be absorbed into the body whilst the DE absorbs and eliminates toxins.

Supports Healthy Cholesterol Levels

There is a study which suggests that DE may be beneficial for metabolising lipids and control of cholesterol levels.

Food Storage

    DE helps maintain dry stored foods. When added into legumes and pulses it prevents spoilage by averting the growth of mold, keeping the food dry, and eliminating pests such as beetles.

    Bed Bugs

    Diatomaceous earth is notoriously popular for taking care of bedbug infestations at home. By simply dusting some DE onto the bedding, focusing on the areas of concern, letting it sit for up to 24 hours, (the longer the better) and poof the bedbugs are no more!

    Home & Garden Pest Control

    DE can also be used in other areas of the home as well as gardens. It is known to be effective insecticide on ants, cockroaches, beetles, slugs, etc. However please note that when using DE in your gardens you are mindful of other creatures and their habitats. DE can’t tell good bugs apart from the bad ones.  

    Flea Infestations

    When treating your pets for fleas DE is always a good choice to help rid them of these pests. Please note that DE should be diluted with another substance such as arrowroot powder in order to prevent any discomfort in your pet when used on them topically. It is also a good idea to treat any bedding, carpet, or furniture your pet comes in contact with as it is likely to be infested too.

    Fridge Deodorizer

    Place a small container of DE in your freezer or fridge. Diatomaceous earth will help neutralise and absorb any odours.

    Bin Deodorizer

    Sprinkle some diatomaceous earth at the bottom of your bins to help neutralize any odours. It can also be added to the top of your food waste basket, as a way to prevent any bugs from coming out of there whilst neutralising odour and removing moisture.

    Stain Remover/ Spill Clean Up

    DE can be used to soak up any oil stains on clothes, carpets, driveways and garage doors. Due to its highly absorbent nature diatomaceous earth can simply be sprinkled on the adequate surface and it’ll soak up the oil.


    Diatomaceous earth has also been known to help with the elimination of lice. However, as DE does tend to soak up all kinds of moisture and oils, It can also dry out the scalp and hair.


    Diatomaceous earth is the best and safest way to rid your household of any troublesome pests. No need for any nasty chemicals or corrosive substances! And you can detox your skin with a face mask while you’re at it. 


    Please note that the use of this product in any of the ways described above is solely up to the consumers discretion. Wholefood Earth does not employ any nutritionists and as such, we are unable to provide any advice on dosage nor product implementation into diets or otherwise.


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