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Diatomaceous Earth: How to Use Them And Where To Buy Them

Updated on September 27, 2012

The long-awaited answers....

I wrote about Diatomaceous Earth awhile back. I received a lot of questions on this. Let me remind you that Diatomaceous Earth is an effective, natural, cheap way to take care of your home, animal's health, and garden. However, be sure to check with your country and regional requirements on the safety of DE.

Here's what we're looking at in this hub:

  • How to use it on animals?
  • How much to feed them for deworming?
  • What are the many other uses for it, other than pesticide, insecticide, and digestive aids?
  • What is the best way to apply DE to plants, household, furniture, and animals?
  • Where do I buy them? I live in (insert country here).

1.) Acquiring Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The surprising part about this is: Diatomaceous Earth is relatively well-known amongst gardeners, farmers, pool caretakers, and botanists. They are less known with the rest of the world. With the fact that we're looking to acquire food grade DE , along with types of business we could find the product at, let's move on here.

Please note that most USA stores do not ship DE to Texas or California. Some store varies.

USA only

  1. Earthworks Health. E arthworks Health is where to buy Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth repackaged with permission by Perma-Guard. DE is totally organic and safe. Ours is taken only from fresh water deposits and is the purest form available. Their check-out cart shows only USA orders.


  1. Wolf Creek Ranch. I can personally vouch for this company. I expected their shipping to come in much later according to estimated shipping time, but it arrived within a week. They are true to their word on their product. They have a variety of packaging sizes and types - jugs, ziploc bags, ranging from 12 oz to 500 lbs. They ship within USA and outside, depending on the product. They also have far more information on what DE is, how to use them, and how they are mined.
  2. Golden Harvests Supply. I used their check-out cart to see where they would ship to. Their billing information included any country. I would advise you to contact them to be absolutely sure. They're based in Indiana, USA.
  3. Perma-Guard. They're the biggest company in dealing with Diatomaceous Earth. Their site claims freshwater food grade Diatomaceous Earth. They have distributors inside and outside of USA in the specified country's retail stores. Call for retail store information. According to search engines, their products can also be found off of ebay.
  4. Garden Harvest. Purely an Australian company that deals with anything organic for gardening, pet health, livestock health, and more. Yes, they have Diatomaceous products and added this nugget: "Note: This is untreated, unheated agricultural diatomaceous earth not the diatomaceous earth used in swimming pool filters, which is dangerous and has no pest control properties."

Daily recommended food grade diatomaceous earth feeding rates:

Kittens - 1/2 teaspoon
Cats - 1 teaspoon
Puppies - 1/2 to 1 tsp.
Dogs under 35 lbs. - 1 teaspoon
Dogs over 35 lbs. - 1 tablespoon
Dogs over 100 lbs. - 2 tablespoons
Cattle, Dairy Cows, & Hogs - 2% of dry feed ration
Chickens - 5% in feed
Goats, Sheep, Alpacas, & Llamas - 2% in grain
Horses - 1/2 to 1 cup in daily ration
Zoo animals - 2% in daily feed
*Humans - 1 heaping tablespoon daily

(Data found from Wolf Creek Ranch here: DE FAQ)

2.) Application Techniques

There are many ways to use Diatomaceous Earth: Feeding, spraying, sprinkling, vacuuming, immersing in water bowls, and more.

My preferred methods:

  • I spray and mix DE in with dog and cat food, along with mixing it into the water bowl. No more than 2 cups total sprinkled in about 6 food bowls. I have many animals, so this is why I put in that specific amount.
  • After bathing my animals, I dry rub DE into their fur. I prefer dry rub because wet spray leaves them greasy. I never bathe more than once a month, but do dry rub daily until fleas and ticks cycles have completely vanished.
  • I wet spray the entire yard in the summer to drive out the parasites.
  • Furniture also holds a lot of parasites the animals bring in. Considering we want to break the cycle, we also include the furniture in DE cleansing. This means I dry sprinkle all furniture and flooring daily, leave them in for more than 20 minutes, then vacuum/clean them up. Usually, this ritual never lasts more than a week depending on the cycle and if we've completely rid the house of parasites.
  • For human digestion aid, less than a tablespoon of Diatomaceous Earth in 2 cups of water.
  • Dry sprinkle and wet spray works great on plants. The soil really enjoys Diatomaceous Earth (wet) and the plants are healthier after harmful bugs are killed off of them (dry).

Please note! Do not inhale the dust. The sharp edges of dry Diatomaceous Earth can be very dangerous for your eyes, esophagus, lungs, throat, and nasal. Also be aware that this affects animals, too, so do gentle rubbing that does not set off dust. Keep animals and children out of the house when doing dry sprinkle. This is usually why wet is recommended.

Other techniques and methods for use can be found on the websites linked above, most notably Wolf Creek Ranch and Earthworks Health.

Would you use and buy DE?

See results

3.) Many Uses and Benefits of DE

DE is so versatile. Here are the many other things that it can be used for.

  • Toothpaste.
  • Helps with composting moisture.
  • Reduces moisture in humid areas (kennels, etc).
  • Deodorizes and absorbs (kitty litter, air odor, manure, etc).
  • Applied to ponds, livestock water, etc prevents algae.
  • Regular applications of DE kills fire ants.
  • Shinier coats, improved health, in animals fed with DE.
  • Controls fly population.
  • Protects against humidity damage in storage.
  • Decreases mastication and scours.
  • Detoxes ecoli and other viruses.
  • Anti-fungal properties for garden growth.
  • Cost-effective.
  • Lowers blood pressure in humans.
  • Lowers cholesterol.
  • Natural weight loss aid.
  • Healthier hair, nails, teeth, and gums.
  • Fades age spots.
  • Repairs lung tissues and reduces inflammation.
  • Regulates and normalizes bowels.
  • Reduces back pain.
  • Decreases vertigo, tinnitus, and dizziness.
  • Helps diabetes.
  • Improves elasticity of the joints.
  • Increases milk production in dairy cattle.
  • Improves hoof conditions.
  • Prevents fly larvae.
  • Can be used as facial mask and cleanser.
  • Assists with foot and garbage cans odor.
  • Kills MANY pests.  Mites, bed bugs, fleas, lice, etc by dehydrating their shells and more.

General Comparison Chart

Flea/ticks/mosquitos pills
$50 / 4 doses / Lasts 4 months
Diatomaceous Earth (all-purpose)
$25 / 6 lbs / Lasts 6 mos or less
Heartworm pills
$42 / 6 doses / Lasts 3 months
$20 / 4 lbs / Lasts 2 months
This is an estimated chart that calculated the comparison for my animals and household use. Remember I have 7 dogs and 1 cat. The prices vary and are general. Remember, I got DE for all the other purposes. Other purposes combined cost more than D


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    • heartofhush profile image

      heartofhush 5 years ago

      Hi Sunny,

      Can you let me know the wet spray method please.

      How much would you use to the amount of water or liquid.

      I have read that it doesn't mix very well.

      I would like to add the wet method to my pets water and to spray for my plants and around the yard.

      Thank you

    • profile image

      Lady S 5 years ago

      Ok. I'm glad I decided to read this before my order came in. It is probably to late or I am not sure how much I can do in a few weeks, but I just noticed my two young cats have fleas. I'm pregnant and due on the 4th of January. You did post saying to keep pets and children out of the house when doing a dry sprinkle. It would be a little difficult on my part to do that when I'm home alone before the baby gets here and of course I want to make sure I have the flea issue under control before the baby gets here. Do you recommend another way other than the wet sprinkle to make it easier for me to keep my cats in... They are house cats.

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 5 years ago from Tennessee

      Sage, you can! Just be sure to shake it up before use and clean out after use. DE builds up in nozzle sprays because of its fine texture and density when clumped together. I would use 2 Tbsp to a cup.

      LillyGrillzit, there are a lot of testimonies! Thanks for the idea.

      MizBejabbers, it's a bit harder to find them locally. I got my 6 lb bag online from Wolf Creek Ranch. I can definitely vouch for them. You should ask around at stores that sell home improvement items. Actually, I have seen some health stores carry them, too.

      Now, that's a good question re: your cat w/ diabetes. I don't know what effect DE would have on diabetes. There has been testimony and research stating that DE helps with diabetes, but there has been no mention of how it would work with insulin. I know more about how it helps with dehydrating and dealing with pest population than I do about how it works on diabetes, but it apparently does.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      Doris James-MizBejabbers 5 years ago

      Wow, I learned something important today! I had no idea that a food-grade DE was available, or the many uses for it. I have never used DE around my pets because of all the licking they do. We used to use a DE filter when we had an aquarium and found it to be more efficient than other filters. I hope I can buy some food grade DE locally because I really want to try it. One question, though, our cat is diabetic and on insulin. Is it OK to use on or around him? Voted you up, useful, and interesting!

    • LillyGrillzit profile image

      Lori J Latimer 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

      I love learning about something new, and appreciate the hard work you put into this Hub. I am going to give it a try. I would like some testimony of people who have been using it for years.

    • profile image

      Sage 5 years ago

      Can I use DE in a spray bottle mixed with water? And how much to a cup? Thanks!

    • Sunny Robinson profile image

      Sunny Robinson 6 years ago from Tennessee

      People, thanks for commenting! My apologies for being absent.

      Tankadin, glad it helps!

      truthfornow, yes, watch out for commercial grade! Food grade is the safest and can be used for just about anything.

      yellow2mato, yes, there is a lot of information! I tried to compile them all in one place for people. But there is more and more to be found. I drank mine in water which looks muddy but really helps with a lot of things. Parasites in both animals and humans -- creepy thought, but true.

    • yellow2mato profile image

      yellow2mato 6 years ago from Texas

      I bought some food grade DE last summer for insect problems. I think it was carpet beetles, and moths and I think they're back. I actually put some in juice a few times and drank it because I'd read that it can get rid of parasites that we don't even know are living in our body. There's a lot of information about DE and it's uses.

    • hanwillingham profile image

      hanwillingham 6 years ago

      Awesome article.

    • truthfornow profile image

      truthfornow 6 years ago from New Orleans, LA

      I use DE on my cat and on the furniture that she uses to keep away any pests that she might have on her or in my apartment. I got mind from a natural pet store. At first, I really did not think it would work. However, I must say that I do think that it is great for keeping away the pests. I was unaware of the food grade kind and that it could be digested. Thanks for the information.

    • Tankadin profile image

      Tankadin 7 years ago

      Very helpful information, I will look into this. Thank you