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Diatomaceous Earth – looks just like flour

Alright, this blog is suppose to be about Gluten, but I think it’s beginning to be about health in general and the things I am learning on my Gluten-Free path. I actually think the two paths converged, because once I began to consider eating gluten-free, I began to explore the realm of being healthy and making daily healthy choices.

Tonight when I walked into my kitchen and saw the Diatomaceous Earth scattered about the floor, I realized that this was something I needed to write about. So what is diatomaceous earth? Wikipedia says:

  • “Diatomaceous earth (play /ˌd.ətəˌmʃəs ˈɜrθ/) also known as D.E.diatomite, or kieselgur/kieselguhr, is a naturally occurring, soft, siliceoussedimentary rock that is easily crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder. It has a particle size ranging from less than 1 micrometre to more than 1 millimeter, but typically 10 to 200 micrometres. This powder has an abrasive feel, similar to oumice powder, and is very light as a result of its high porosity. The typical chemical composition of oven-dried diatomaceous earth is 80 to 90% silica, with 2 to 4% alumina (attributed mostly to clay minerals) and 0.5 to 2% iron oxide.
  • Diatomaceous earth consists of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae. It is used as a filtration aid, mild abrasive, mechanical insecticide, absobent for liquids, matting agent for coatings, reinforcing filler in plastics and rubber, anti-block in plastic films, porous support for chemical catalysts, cat litter, activator in blood clotting studies, and a stabilizing component of dynamite. As it is heat-resistant, it can also be used as a thermal insulator.”

What does this mean? It means that DE is made from a hard-shelled algae. Rather like a mini-mini-mini crab. It is ground up and produces a soft, powdery substance that feels cool to the touch, similar to flour. It is often put in livestock feed to get rid of worms. It can be put in or around a yard or a chicken pen to keep out snakes (it feels soft to us and abrasive to snakes.) It can scratch a person’s eyes if it is on their hands. It is best not to inhale bunches of it, but I have breathed it many times and had no issues.

But the best part is it kills fleas, ticks, bedbugs and roaches CHEMICALLY FREE. That’s right, no chemicals. For fleas, if a person has carpet, all that is needed is to sprinkle it lightly throughout the carpet and sweep in.  A few days later vacuum up and repeat in two weeks when the eggs hatch. For roaches, sprinkle in cabinets, behind the refrigerator, stove, etc. For bedbugs, sprinkle under the sheets and around the bed. I have been fighting roaches for over a year. They were here when I moved in. I have one word for this: YUCK! I had always used DE for fleas, but I didn’t realize it worked for roaches. My landlord was scheduled to come spray again when I discovered an internet article on DE for roaches, and I texted him, suggesting he wait until after I tried the DE. I saw one roach every now and again for a few weeks, but lately, NOTHING. Well, I still have DE on the floor and behind the stove. So I see DE. You do have to keep the DE dry, because it loses it’s sharp edges that kill roaches after DE is wet.

There is one caveat though: it can ruin a normal vacuum. A person needs one that has a protective casing around the motor or a shop vac.  Lowe’s  has one I’m planning to buy for a fairly cheap price. Yes, my vacuum finely gave up the ghost. I actually hated my vacuum so I’m not upset. Another problem associated with DE use is lowered blood pressure (gee, this is upsetting me). All-in-all, I am a fan or DE. I love the fact that it is all natural, chemical free, and can’t hurt my animals or myself. It’s really only dangerous to some vacuums.

(In Oklahoma City I have found DE at Bethany Country Store. In Northwest Arkansas I found it at Nitron Industries.