What are the Most Common Uses for Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

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  • Written By: Bethney Foster
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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Food grade diatomaceous earth can be used for many purposes, but its most common use is as insect and pest control. In animal care it is used for internal parasites, for parasites such as fleas and ticks, and for controlling pests on and near livestock. In the garden, it can be used for controlling pests such as fire ants, mites, and aphids. In the home, it is also used for repelling insects, for scrubbing faucets, and even as a personal hygiene product. Food grade diatomaceous earth is also used in grain storage to repel insects.

Diatomaceous earth is a fragile solid that crumbles into dust almost like talcum powder. It is made up of the fossils of a type of algae called diatoms. It is mined from underwater or from dried lakebeds.

Diatomaceous earth was once commonly used as a stabilizer in the making of dynamite and is also sometimes used for cleaning up toxic spills and as an ingredient in cat litter. It also continues to be used in cosmetics, drugs, and other products. Food grade diatomaceous earth has been used as a water filter and in the making of beer.


Safe to use in the home and around pets and children, the only known health issues surrounding the use of the powder is in its causing mild respiratory problems if it is inhaled. It can also cause drying of the skin if it is handled without gloves. This is true only of food grade diatomaceous earth. Those types used for industrial purposes are not as safe, so it’s always important to ensure that products used for the home and animals are of the food grade type.

In agriculture, food grade diatomaceous earth is used for controlling pests on plants and in barns. It is applied to crops as both a dusting and as a spray. Bags of the product are hung in the doorways of barns where livestock are kept. It is also used to control maggots, worms, and grubs in trees.

As a personal hygiene product, food grade diatomaceous earth is made into a paste for a facial mask and cleanser. It can also be sprinkled on a toothbrush and used as a natural teeth whitener. It is useful in controlling foot odor in shoes.

In the home, it is used as a metal cleaner. It is also useful for cleaning up spills in the driveway or garage, for absorbing odors in the refrigerator, and for odor control in garbage cans. It is also effective at removing stains from carpeting.


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Post 2

Yes, it will harm them. If grubs are a problem, "beneficial nematodes" will take care of them and many other undesirables without harming the good guys.

Post 1

I understand this is good to kill grubs in the lawn. But does it harm earthworms?

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