Do your pets have fleas? Diatomaceous earth is a cheap, natural, and effective way to get rid of them that is non-toxic* to mammals!
"Diatomaceous" means filled with diatoms, which are tiny fossilized phytoplankton. This off-white powder is mined from rivers, lakes, and seabeds where ancient algae collected in the sediment.
Diatomaceous earth (or DE) has so many uses around the home and even in the human body that we believe every household would be wise to keep it on hand! In this article, we will go over how to use DE to rid the home and pets of fleas.
Using Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Fleas
When DE is sprinkled on insects, "it compromises their waxy coating so that their innards turn into teeny tiny bug jerky" (source). Fleas dry up and die! The amazing thing is that this is basically dirt that is rich in silica, and there are no serious adverse side effects for mammals who come in contact with it.
Proper application is the key to ridding your home or garden of insect infestation! DE is not bait; bugs are not attracted to it, do not take it back to their lairs, and simply avoid big piles of the dirt. Rather, insects must come in contact with it, so it is best to sprinkle or spray a fine layer through your home or garden.
Remove clutter for best results.
Vacuum the area to get rid of flea eggs.
You can use a sieve to sprinkle food grade DE on dry carpet, bedding, clothing, furnishings, and in the yard to control a flea infestation (DE does not work well if it is wet).
Vacuum again after 2-3 days.
For pets, you can sprinkle them directly with DE and pat it into their fur. Whether you apply it directly to them or not, give your pet a bath after a day or so because DE is very drying to their skin. Because it is so strongly dehydrating, you might not want to apply DE to your pets every single day or use very large amounts directly on them.
Repeat these steps for 2-3 weeks to break the fleas' life cycle, as DE does not kill flea eggs, only the adult fleas.
Flea control is just one property of this incredible substance; it has many more uses around the house as well as inside the human body, including killing parasites, enhancing joint health, and increasing calcium absorption! We will go into these and many other uses in upcoming posts.