Diatomaceous earth, also known as diatomite, is nothing but a siliceous sedimentary rock (kieselgur). And this rock is formed from the fossilized shells of diatoms - tiny, single-celled algae found in plankton. The following will take you through its varied applications.
- The most important use is to kill fleas, ticks, bed bugs, carpet beetles, flies, plant pests, etc. Thanks to the microscopic, razor-sharp edges of the dust of diatomaceous earth (these edges are sharp only for insects, not for animals or us). When these insects come in contact with it, they get cut right through their bodies. The substance also proves lethal for centipedes, earwigs, carpenter ants, red and black ants.
- It can be used to deal with infestation of intestinal worms in animals. When mixed with the animal's food, it proves fatal. Also, rubbing the food grade diatomaceous earth on the animal's coat, fur and bedding help in preventing an invasion.
- The substance also helps in lowering high blood pressure and high cholesterol in humans.
- Since it is a rich source of silica, it enhances the body's ability to absorb calcium from various sources, to prevent and fight diseases like osteoporosis, and other bone disorders.
- Diatomite is used in toothpastes and polishing because of its gritty nature. And since the stuff is non-toxic, it can be used without any hazard, even for cleaning cooking vessels and the like.
- Diatomite is helpful in cleaning spills of toxic chemicals. The substance is highly porous thus, a good absorbent. So when the chemical comes in contact with the earth, it gets trapped in its tiny pores and is prevented from spreading further. This makes the cleaning a safe and not-so-tedious affair.
- Areas such as those under the stoves, inside the cabinets and other dark areas of the house, harbor a variety of insects. So sprinkling some of this earth in all these places, would wash off the population of all such pesky creatures.
- Transporting nitroglycerin can be a dangerous job because of its explosive nature. However, the substance can be made stable by absorbing it in this sedimentary rock. And this mixture is known as dynamite.
- Diatomite is said to help in losing weight, along with possessing anti-aging benefits. It is considered beneficial for stronger hair, and better teeth and gums. Many of these benefits are derived from the silica content in it, which is almost 80%.
- Diatomite is a natural method of getting rid of the odor from cat litter. It not only acts as a natural deodorant to mask the odor, but also keeps the litter box free of moisture.
- Some studies have revealed that it could be used as a natural way to get rid of bacteria from the body. Its structure is such that it tends to trap bacteria in it. Moreover, the earth seems to be negatively charged and so it traps bacteria which are positively charged.