Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a natural product composed of the fossils of tiny algae-like organisms called diatoms.
It is a soft white or off-white powder that is slightly abrasive. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe for consumption by both humans and animals and is beneficial to the body. The FDA lists food-grade diatomaceous earth as “Generally Recognized as Safe.”
It is important to note that the diatomaceous earth used in these applications must be food-grade.
Diatomaceous earth sold for pool filters has been heat treated with soda ash, causing the DE to assume its crystalline form. Non-food grade diatomaceous earth is not safe to be inhaled or ingested.
Diatomaceous earth promotes health in humans and animals and has many uses that may become important in a survival situation.
Here are 18 ways to use diatomaceous earth now and in a survival situation:
Detoxify the Body and Kill Parasites
Diatomaceous earth is a natural detoxifying agent, killing parasites and viruses in the digestive tract. It is negatively charged, making it able to attract toxins and heavy metals and flush them from the body.
Take 1 tsp. of food-grade diatomaceous earth daily, with at least 1 cup of water. Take it 1 hour before or 2 hours after eating. Most detox regimens suggest taking it for 10 days, then wait 10 days before taking it again. Follow this 10 days on, 10 days off process for 90 days.
If you are on prescription medications, check with your doctor before use. It may remove some medications as well.
As a Soil Conditioner
Added to soil, diatomaceous earth improves retention of water and nutrients while draining freely. It is often used as a growing medium in hydroponic gardens and as a soil conditioner in potting soils.
Related: DIY Mason Jar Soil Test
Cleans and Protects Skin, Nails and Teeth
The abrasive properties of diatomaceous earth make it useful for cleaning the skin and teeth. It is used in skin care products as an exfoliator and in toothpaste. Taken internally, it supplies silica to the skin, teeth, hair and nails.
Mix together equal parts of coconut oil and diatomaceous earth. Add peppermint essential oil to flavor it and a little vegetable glycerin for texture.
Mix 3 parts cornstarch or arrowroot powder with 1 part food-grade diatomaceous earth. Add 2 parts melted coconut oil and stir to completely mix. Store in container with a tight-fitting lid. Rub a small amount on underarms using the fingertips.
As a Facial Mask and Exfoliant
Mix a few tablespoons of diatomaceous earth with a little water and mix to form a thick paste. You can add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil if you like. Scrub it gently into the skin using your fingertips and a circular motion. It gently removes dead skin cells and soaks up oils, leaving your skin soft and glowing.
Safely Kills Insects
Use diatomaceous earth around the home to kill insects, including cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, fleas, dust mites, spiders, and silverfish. The tiny diatoms are abrasive and kill insects by cutting through their skin or outer shell, causing dehydration.
Apply it with a hand duster to puff it into areas where infestations are possible. It contains no harmful chemicals and is completely safe around kids and pets.
Get Rid of Fleas and Ticks on Dogs
Use food-grade diatomaceous earth on dogs to naturally kill fleas and ticks. Rub or brush it into your pet’s fur and sprinkle it around bedding and other places where fleas or ticks might be found. Keep it away from your pet’s eyes and avoid inhalation.
Diatomaceous earth is used in water filtration products to remove very fine particles. It also helps kill viruses and purify the water. Research shows that DE filters remove up to 80 percent of the viruses present in tap water. DE is currently used in many swimming pool and aquarium filters.
Related: Easy DIY Water Purification System For Under $20
Kills Garden Pests
Sprinkle DE around plants in the garden to kill slugs, Japanese beetles, squash bugs, Mexican bean beetles and other pests. Sprinkle it on the ground around plants and whenever possible, use a bulb puffer to blow the diatomaceous earth directly onto the pests or into cracks and crevices where they hide.
Avoid using it on flowers where bees might be harmed. It is a completely safe pesticide for people and pets.
As an Abrasive Cleanser
Diatomaceous earth is mildly abrasive and works well as an abrasive cleanser or as a metal polish. Use it like a scouring powder to clean away burned on grime from pots and pans. Sprinkle it on the toilet brush for an abrasive boost when cleaning the bowl.
As an Absorbent
Diatomaceous earth can absorb up to 1.1 times its weight in water, making it good for cleaning up spills. Use it in homemade kitty litter to absorb smells and moisture. It will also absorb oil, so sprinkle it over spilled cooking oil or motor oil to make it easier to clean.
As a Deodorizer
DE soaks up odors in garbage pails, sweaty sneakers and the kitty litter box. Put a small jar of DE in the refrigerator to soak up odors. Sprinkle a little wherever you need its deodorizing properties.
In the Compost Pile
DE controls both odor and pests in the compost pile, but won’t hurt beneficial worms and other organisms.
Sprinkle it in the Chicken Coop
Added to chicken feed, DE helps produce eggs with stronger shells. Sprinkled around the coop, it controls flies and odor.
Remove Stubborn Stains
Its absorbent nature makes DE excellent for removing oily stains from clothing and other surfaces. Sprinkle it on the stained areas and work it in. Allow it to absorb the oil for a few minutes before washing it away.
As a Supplement
It Improves joint, bones, ligament health, and protects the heart.
Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a natural source of silica, an important trace mineral required by the body, especially the tendons, cartilage, bones, and blood vessels. It encourages heart health and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Silica is an important mineral for many of the body organs that has been depleted from the soil by modern farming practices.
Now only a third of the silica needed by the body is available in our plant based foods.
In Your Food Storage
Add food-grade diatomaceous earth to wheat, barley, maize, legumes, and other grains before sealing them for long term storage. It keeps the food dry and prevents insect infestation and mold.
Diatomaceous is a very fine powder with abrasive properties.
It can be harmful if inhaled and a painful irritant in the eye. Take proper safety precautions when working with it in large amounts or on windy days.
This article first appeared on Ask A Prepper
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