Best Diatomaceous Earth

Updated October 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

8 Models Considered
68 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
122 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for the best diatomaceous earth

Last Updated October 2019

Imagine a product that eliminates unwanted insects and other crawling pests naturally but also serves as a beauty product and may even ease various health concerns. This may sound like something out of a science fiction movie, but it actually describes diatomaceous earth — a natural product with numerous uses.

The crumbly substance is useful for killing insects without posing a threat to people or animals, which makes diatomaceous earth a safe and natural way to tackle pest problems in your home or garden. Notably, the silica in diatomaceous earth may also be beneficial to the body in various ways when taken orally. (If you choose to do this, make sure you are using food-grade diatomaceous earth!) Diatomaceous earth is also used for various industrial purposes.

Most diatomaceous earth products are food-grade and safe for consumption or controlling poisoning insects and other pests. But how do you know which diatomaceous earth product is best for your needs? Our shopping guide contains the information you need to make an informed decision. Read on to learn more, and consider our favorite diatomaceous earth products when you are ready to make a purchase.

Diatomaceous earth is mined in countries throughout the world, including the United States. In fact, some of the largest deposits are in Nevada.

Key considerations

Diatomaceous earth 101

Diatomaceous earth is a soft sedimentary deposit that is composed of the fossilized remains of a type of algae known as diatoms. These tiny particles contain the natural chemical compound silica, also called silicon dioxide.

The process that led to the formation of diatomaceous earth began millions of years ago with diatoms that inhabited oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams. As they died off, their skeletons, which contain the silica found in diatomaceous earth, remained in the sediments of these bodies of water. Today, these areas that were once home to live diatoms are mined for the useful and natural substance known as diatomaceous earth.

Uses for diatomaceous earth

Whether you are already a frequent user of diatomaceous earth for a specific purpose or are just learning about the many benefits it offers, you may not be aware of just how versatile it is. Here is a glance at the most popular uses of this naturally occurring sediment.

Pest control

Relying on diatomaceous earth to kill bugs and other crawlers is arguably its most popular use The completely natural substance is poisonous to insects, killing them without the use of chemicals and posing no danger to plants, animals, or people. As a result, it can be applied to most surfaces and areas where bugs are a problem — both indoors and outdoors.

Diatomaceous earth works by either causing pests to dehydrate when they ingest it or by piercing their bodies with its sharp edges. Some of the insects and arachnids that can be controlled by diatomaceous earth include ants, fleas, bedbugs, spiders, ticks, cockroaches, and mites.

Industrial purposes

Diatomaceous earth also has numerous industrial purposes and is used in farming, food and medicine production, and pet products. It is useful for various filtration and cleaning purposes, too. Most of these uses don’t apply directly to consumers; however, industrial-grade forms used for pool filtration are available to consumers.

Dental health

Did you know that many brands of toothpaste are made with silica? That’s because these microscopic fossilized diatoms have a slightly gritty texture that whitens teeth and removes buildup that can lead to plaque and cavities. If your toothpaste doesn’t contain silica, you can give it a boost by mixing it with a bit of food-grade diatomaceous earth.

Dietary uses

  • Beauty: Silica isn’t just found in fossilized diatoms. Also called silicon dioxide, it is prevalent in rocks and minerals as well as in living organisms. The human body also contains silica, which leads to the school of thought that taking it as a supplement could potentially improve the strength of nails and hair while promoting the rejuvenation of collagen for younger looking skin. It may also reduce inflammation that can lead to skin conditions like eczema and may hinder signs of premature aging.

  • Health: The silica in diatomaceous earth may have positive benefits to several systems in the body. It may act as a detoxification agent to the digestive system and can relieve constipation. It is also possible that silica could play a role in lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Just as it may make hair and nails stronger, taking silica-rich diatomaceous earth may also strengthen joints and cartilage and ease associated pain.

Are the beauty and health benefits of diatomaceous earth proven?

Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t monitor dietary supplements as closely as it monitors medications, so there haven’t been conclusive studies done on the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth taken orally to combat various issues. Although many users swear by its benefits, there are concerns that it could interfere with the body’s ability to absorb some nutrients. That’s why it is a good idea to check with your doctor before taking it.

DID YOU KNOW?

Did you know that diatomaceous earth loses its effectiveness against pests when it gets wet? However, it will become effective again once it dries out. That’s why it can be mixed with water and spritzed on plants to control bugs that hang out on leaves and stems.

Features

Forms of diatomaceous earth

When it comes to diatomaceous earth available to consumers, there are three main types: food grade, pest grade, and filter grade. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is the most common type found on the market. It contains only .5 to 2% crystalline silica. These products are quite concentrated and are the only form that is safe to be ingested. Some food-grade diatomaceous earth, however, is also suitable to be used for pest control.

Any product that is labeled “pest grade” and not “food grade” should only be used to kill insects and arachnids. However, keep in mind that food grade and pest grade are often used interchangeably.

Filter-grade diatomaceous earth is only used for industrial purposes and can contain as much as 60% crystalline silica. It is often referred to as pool grade, as this type of diatomaceous earth is designed to be used in pool filters. It is never safe to ingest this form of diatomaceous earth.

Packaging

Diatomaceous earth is most commonly sold in bags of sizes ranging from 1 to 50 pounds. Some companies include dusters in the bags for easy application.

Diatomaceous earth is also available in tubs of various sizes with lids that seal tightly for convenient storage. For small applications, diatomaceous earth can be found in bottles that contain just a few ounces of product.

Precautions

While diatomaceous earth is nontoxic, natural, and safe for humans and pets, there are some precautions you should take before using it to avoid potential problems.

  • Avoid inhaling it. This can result in coughing, sneezing, or inflammation of the nasal passages, throat, and lungs. Wear a dust mask when applying it to surfaces, especially when you use it indoors.

  • Check with your doctor before taking it orally. This is a good rule of thumb to follow before taking any supplements. Additionally, don’t take diatomaceous earth if you have diseases of the digestive tract, such as IBS or Crohn’s disease. It may make symptoms worse or cause flare-ups.

  • Don't use it for unintended purposes. Buy the appropriate form of diatomaceous earth for the purpose you will be using it, and follow the instructions on the packaging.

  • Keep it out of the reach of children and pets. Even though diatomaceous earth is nontoxic, ingesting or inhaling large amounts can be harmful to kids and animals.

Diatomaceous earth prices

Diatomaceous earth varies in price depending on its use and the size of the packaging.

Inexpensive: Bottles that contain about eight ounces generally cost between $5 and $10, but they don’t contain enough product for large projects or frequent use.

Mid-range: Bags and tubs of diatomaceous earth are available in about 3 to 10 pounds and range in price from $14 to $35. Food-grade diatomaceous earth typically costs a bit more than most pet-control options. However, bulk bags average about $1 per pound.

Expensive: Expect to pay about $1 to $2 per pound for pool grade diatomaceous earth, which is commonly sold in bags of 25 to 50 pounds.

EXPERT TIP

Diatomaceous earth is white in color and has a soft, crumbly texture that makes it easy to work with, regardless of your intent.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Remember that if you plan on taking diatomaceous earth as a supplement, choose a product that is food grade. Other products have higher levels of crystallization and can be harmful if ingested.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Do you have a problem with aphids on your plants? Sprinkle a dusting of diatomaceous earth on the leaves to help keep the tiny pests away.

  • If you have pets that frequent your garden area, diatomaceous earth is a safer alternative to insecticides, as it does not contain any harmful chemicals.

  • Mixing food-grade diatomaceous earth with your favorite beverage is a good way to add it to your diet if you choose to take it as a supplement.

  • Don’t take excessive amounts of diatomaceous earth as a supplement, even if you do like the effects that you experience from adding it to your diet. To be on the safe side, carefully read the instructions on the packaging, or follow the guidelines recommended by your doctor.

Other products we considered

In addition to our top picks for the best diatomaceous earth available on today’s market, we found some other products that are worth considering. If you need a reliable product for your pool filtration system, Dicalite Minerals Diatomaceous Earth Pool Filter can filter as low as three to five microns and can be used for above or in-ground pools. It’s available in convenient 25- or 50-pound bags.

Harris is one of our favorite brands of food-grade diatomaceous earth, so we are thrilled to find that they offer a 1/2-pound bottle of their popular product with a convenient puffer tip. It’s perfect for small applications and consumers who are new to the product and want to give it a try.

We also love Earthborn Elements’ 3-Pound Resealable Tub, which is available in a one-gallon size. The brand is also known for high quality food-grade diatomaceous earth that is mined in Utah.

In the industry and among garden enthusiasts, diatomaceous earth is often referred to simply as “DE.”

FAQ

Q. How can I use diatomaceous earth to control pesky insects without harming pollinators that visit my garden?

A. When using diatomaceous earth outdoors and in your gardens, avoid putting it directly on buds, blossoms, stems, and leaves where bees, dragonflies, and butterflies are likely to land. To be on the safe side, if you have plants that are known to attract pollinators, avoid using it on and around these plants altogether.

Q. What’s the best dosage of diatomaceous earth when taking it as a supplement?

A. When it comes to taking diatomaceous earth orally, a little goes a long way. That’s why one teaspoon of food-grade diatomaceous earth daily is all you need. Take it with plenty of water for best results.

Q. I have problems with spiders and ants inside my home. What are some tips for using diatomaceous earth indoors to eliminate these pests?

A. Target the locations where these pests are common by sprinkling diatomaceous earth in these areas. Spreading thin layers around window sills, in basements, along doorways, and in floor crevices will tackle them before they invade your living space.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Jennifer
    Jennifer
    Writer
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey