The survival uses of diatomaceous earth
04/11/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a versatile survival item that you need in your stockpile. It can be used as a non-toxic pesticide, and you can also use it to maintain personal hygiene after SHTF. (h/t to

DE is a naturally occurring sand that is extracted from the earth. This material is made up of diatoms, or microscopic skeletons of algae, that fossilized over millions of years.

These diatoms are mostly made up of silica, a chemical compound. Commonly found in nature, silica is a component of all sorts of things like plants, rocks, and even humans. DE is a concentrated source of silica.

There are two main types of DE:

  • Food-grade – This type only has 0.5 to two percent crystalline silica. It is often used as an insecticide and an anti-caking agent in the agricultural and food industries. Food-grade DE is approved for use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Filter-grade – This type is also called non-food-grade DE. It has about 60 percent of crystalline silica. Take note that it is toxic to mammals. Filter-grade DE has many industrial uses, such as water filtration and dynamite production.

Always use food-grade DE for survival purposes.

Animal health

Get rid of fleas and other parasites on your pets and livestock by rubbing DE into their fur or feathers. The sharp-edged particles in the soft powder will kill fleas, lice, mites and any eggs left behind.

If you're applying DE to animals externally, do it in a well-aired area. The fine dust that makes up DE may enter an animal’s sensitive respiratory system, which may harm your livestock or pets. Allow the powder to settle into the fur and skin before you turn your animals loose.


Food storage

With food-grade DE, you can address two common food storage problems: moisture and insects.

When storing dry oats, sprinkle a thin layer of DE every few inches as you fill the container. This will keep food items moisture-free.

DE also protects food supplies from insects. DE is pulverized into a fine powder, but each individual piece has small, razor-sharp edges. The sharp edges of the particles cut directly through the insects exoskeletons, which results in dehydration and eventually death.


If you don't want to use toxic pesticides in your garden, try DE. Dust your plants or the ground around them with DE to eliminate pests like beetles or slugs.

You can also add DE to a compost pile to control both odor and pests.

Take note that while DE is harmless to humans and pets, it can hurt bees. If you start using DE in your garden, don't apply it on flowering plants to keep bees safe.

Home cleaning product

DE can be used as the main ingredient for a multi-surface scrub or cleaner, and it can be used as an odor or moisture trap. Alternatively, you can use DE as a metal cleaner or polisher. Apply some DE on a rag and scrub away blackened grime from pots and pans. DE can also be used to clean the toilet bowl.

DE can absorb water, so use it to clean up spills like cooking and motor oils.

Human health

DE is a detoxifying agent that eliminates most parasites and viruses in the digestive tract. This makes DE a useful item to have when SHTF. Internal parasites may enter your body if you drink unfiltered water or get into contact with infected animals.

DE can also boost heart health since it helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure. By consuming DE, you can ensure that your body is getting enough silica, which may be crucial during a disaster scenario.

Like with other natural remedies, take DE at a slow pace and in small amounts. Start by ingesting one teaspoon of DE added to about a cup of water. Take it about one hour before meals or several hours after you eat.

If this is your first time taking food-grade DE, consume it for about 10 days, then let another 10 days pass without taking DE. Repeat this for 90 days. After your body adjusts to the DE, you can increase the dosage to about three tablespoons per day. depending on your needs.

Finally, if you take prescription medicines, consult your physician before you start using DE.


Hygiene is crucial, especially in a post-SHTF world. DE's three key components are its moisture absorbency, odor-elimination, and mild abrasiveness. (Related: Why and how to use diatomaceous earth for your body and home.)

This makes it the perfect choice for non-toxic homemade hygiene products, such as:

  • Body powder
  • Body scrub
  • Deodorant
  • Exfoliant
  • Shampoo
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste

To make DE toothpaste, mix together equal parts DE and coconut oil. You can add a dash of peppermint for flavor and a bit of vegetable glycerin for texture.

This DIY toothpaste will remove plaque and gunk, and it can also whiten teeth. The mixture isn’t abrasive enough to irritate your skin, but some preppers recommend that you only use it several times per week.

Water filtration

DE is used in a water filter to remove very fine particles. Data suggests that it may also absorb heavy metals, as it does in the human body. Scientific data also suggests that DE can help eliminate certain algae, bacteria, and viruses. It may even purify water.

When SHTF, you'll need food-grade DE to keep your home clean, eliminate pests from your garden, and even boost your overall health.

Sources include:

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