Garden Grade Vs. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth: What Is Garden Safe Diatomaceous Earth

Garden Grade Vs. Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth: What Is Garden Safe Diatomaceous Earth

By: Jackie Carroll

While one type of diatomaceous earth is toxic to humans and animals, there is another type that is relatively safe to use. food grade diatomaceous earth in this article.

Types of Diatomaceous Earth

The two types of diatomaceous earth include food grade and garden grade, also called pool grade. Food grade is the only type that is safe to eat, and you have probably eaten small quantities of diatomaceous earth without realizing it. That’s because it is mixed in with stored grain to prevent the grain from becoming infested with mealworms and other insects.

Some people use food grade diatomaceous earth as a natural remedy for a variety of human and pet ailments. It isn’t recommended these days because we have better, safer ways of dealing with health problems. It is also a pretty good flea killer, but remember that dogs and cats groom themselves by licking their fur, so you’ll want to use food grade rather than garden safe diatomaceous earth for any purpose that causes it to come in contact with your pet.

Another difference between food grade diatomaceous earth and regular garden grade is that the garden grade may have insecticides and other chemicals mixed in. It’s best to reserve garden or pool grade for outdoor use. In fact, many experts feel that garden grade should only be used for pool filtration and industrial applications.

When using any grade of diatomaceous earth, take care not to inhale the dust. When the diatoms are ground in the manufacturing process, the dust that results is nearly pure silica. Inhaling the product can damage the lungs and irritate the eyes and skin. It’s best to wear a mask and gloves to prevent injury.

One of the benefits of food grade diatomaceous earth is that it doesn’t contain insecticides. Even so, it does a good job of getting rid of insects indoors and out. Use it to safely and effectively repel and kill silverfish, crickets, fleas, bedbugs, garden snails and cockroaches.

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I Started Eating Diatomaceous Earth for Longer, Stronger Hair

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It all started when a colleague came back from a vacation in Bali with a parasite. As the resident health editor, I began researching remedies to kill the bug when the course of antibiotics she took was unsuccessful. From my research, I discovered this thing called food-grade diatomaceous earth—aka fossil flour, a powder rich in silica that was purported to have dozens of health benefits. "Diatomaceous earth is also known as a natural treatment for parasites and pathogenic microbes in the digestive tract," says Robin Foroutan, MS, RDN, HHC, an integrative medicine dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Robin Foroutan is a registered dietitian nutritionist specializing in integrative medicine. She practices at New York's The Morrison Center and also serves as a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

For a little background, silica is one of the most important trace elements in our body the human body typically holds seven grams of silica, which is much more than any other mineral, even iron or magnesium. For this reason, it's crucial that we maintain enough silica to help our bodies function and absorb minerals properly. As it turns out, it's also been purported to strengthen our hair.

Read on to learn all about my dirt-drinking experiment for longer, stronger hair (fingers crossed).


What is food grade diatomaceous earth, anyway?

Diatomaceous earth (DE) is a fine powder made from diatoms, a type of fossilized phytoplankton. It looks like Rice Chex under a microscope, only in cylindrical form. Weird, right?

DE is unique in composition – it’s about 80-90% pure silica (also known as silicon dioxide), with other minerals making up the remaining 10-20%.

It’s exceptional in another way, too – it carries a strong negative ionic charge. (1) This study suggests it helps to reduce internal parasites in chickens, and many experts believe this is due to its negative charge and cylindrical shape. The thinking behind this is that positively charged bacteria and parasites (plus some viruses) may be attracted to it like magnets are attracted to one another. Because of its shape, the pathogens get trapped in the center and carried out of the body.

There are two main forms of diatomaceous earth:

  • Food grade diatomaceous earth (amorphous silica) – In order to qualify as food grade, the silica in DE needs to be 99% amorphous silica with less than 1% crystalline silica.
  • Filter grade/ pool grade diatomaceous earth (crystalline silica) – Manufacturers expose amorphous silica to extremely high temperatures (over 1832 degrees Fahrenheit), which changes the structure of the silica into a crystalline form. Filter grade silica is valuable for many industrial purposes, such as removing heavy metals from water, but is not considered safe to be inhaled or ingested. (2) (3) Another DE in this category is anything formulated with additional ingredients for pest control.


What's the difference between food grade and non food grade diatomaceous earth?

A majority of Food Chemical Codex Grade (Food Grade) DE products, on the other hand, are uncalcined and are largely composed of amorphous silica. Food grade diatomaceous earth products contain less than 1% crystalline silica. This can be used in animal feed and for insect control.

Secondly, what is food grade diatomaceous earth used for? When taken by mouth, diatomaceous earth is used as a source of silica, for treating high cholesterol levels, for treating constipation, and for improving the health of skin, nails, teeth, bones, and hair. When applied to the skin or teeth, diatomaceous earth is used to brush teeth or remove unwanted dead skin cells.

Keeping this in consideration, is non food grade diatomaceous earth safe for pets?

Diatomaceous Earth is a dirt cheap way to control external and internal parasites in your dog. It's a non-toxic, safe substance made up from crushed fossils of freshwater organisms and marine life.

What bugs does food grade diatomaceous earth kill?

Safer® Diatomaceous Earth kills household and garden pests — fleas, ticks, ants, cockroaches, slugs, bed bugs and more — within 48 hours of contact. OMRI Listed for use in organic production. Diatomaceous earth works wonders on larvae, maggots, and grubs anything that crawls over it.


Benefits of Diatomaceous Earth for Chickens

After learning about each of the benefits that diatomaceous earth has for your flock, you’ll find yourself using it more and more. I know I have!

Benefit One: Kills External and Internal Parasites

It is a great natural way to kill bugs and external parasites that infest your chickens, such as mites and lice.

Studies have also been performed that say diatomaceous earth is effective in getting rid of internal parasites as well.

The study also showed that the laying hens that consumed DE were heavier and laid more eggs.

The way that the diatomaceous earth kills the bugs and parasites is by drying them out.

The sharp edges of the microscopic silicon particles are abrasive and cause the bodies of the parasites to dry out, blocking their airways, then attacking their respiratory systems… And woo they’re dead!

Benefit Two: Provides Essential Minerals

Diatomaceous earth is a perfect addition to your chicken’s feed because it is completely natural and packed with minerals.

Benefit Three: Removes Odors

Diatomaceous earth will absorb moisture and eliminate smells, so it is a super easy and effective way to control odors around the chicken coop!

It’s definitely a great product to incorporate when you’re cleaning your chicken coop!

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for Chickens?

Diatomaceous earth is completely natural and safe for your chickens which is why I love it so much!

There are some things to be aware of though.

Since it is a fine powder, it could irritate somebody with sensitive lungs. If that’s the case for you it’s recommended to wear a dust mask while applying DE.

As far as your chicken’s health is concerned, there is nothing to worry about.

Which Type of Diatomaceous Earth Can Be Used With Chickens?

Any kind of diatomaceous earth labeled as “food grade” is safe for your chickens.

There are different grades of diatomaceous earth such as:

  • Pure Food Grade DE
  • Crawling Insect Control DE
  • Pool Grade DE
  • Other DE Blends

But the best grade of diatomaceous earth for chickens is food grade.

Where to Get Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

The great thing about this product is that it should be pretty easy for you to find!

It should be carried at your local feed store but if not, you can order it online.


Pesticide Labels.

  • . have directions for pest control uses. The label will say how much to use, and where.
  • . list precautions, including any required protective equipment.
  • . indicate the toxicity with signal words. "CAUTION" means low toxicity, "WARNING" is moderate toxicity, and "DANGER" means high toxicity.
  • For certain pests, like bed bugs, testing is required to show that the product is effective under ideal circumstances.

When up to 2% is added to food, diatomaceous earth is generally recognized as safe by the US Food & Drug Administration. However, pest control uses typically involve spreading a more concentrated product within a home. In this scenario, breathing in the dust may be of greater concern. Also, higher concentrations can mean higher risk if someone is exposed. Without the benefits of a pesticide label, many unknowns remain for the 'food grade' user. However, you can always take steps to lower your risks by minimizing exposure.

You can help protect yourself, your family, and your pets by:

  • Selecting a product with a pesticide label, and by following those instructions.
  • Keeping children, pets, and other non-essential persons away while applying the product.
  • Wearing a dust mask, eye protection, and long clothing.
  • Avoiding application to areas that are easily accessible. Remember, children and pets may explore areas near the floor that are not typical for adults.
  • Being mindful of activities that may kick up the dust. For example, fans and vacuums and applications near swinging doors, air vents, or high traffic areas.

If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email us at [email protected]


For many dog owners, fleas are a major concern and something that should be avoided at all costs. Unfortunately, traditional flea and tick treatments can be expensive and, in some cases, they can irritate your dog’s skin and cause other problems. If you are looking for a natural alternative, consider using diatomaceous earth. In this article you will learn the basics about what diatomaceous earth is and how you can use it to protect your dog from fleas.

What is Diatomaceous Earth?

While the term “diatomaceous earth” may sound scary, it is completely safe and natural – it is nothing more than a powder that consists of the fossilized remains of diatoms. Diatoms are a type of algae found in both freshwater and saltwater and the cell walls are composed of silica. When the diatoms die and are fossilized, they form a flour-like powder with microscopic abrasive edges that can be used to kill fleas, ticks and other pests. All you have to do is sprinkle it on your dog’s coat and bedding to protect him from insect pests.

How it Works on Dogs

The main benefit of diatomaceous earth as a pest control method is that it is entirely natural rather than chemical – it has less risk of irritating your dog’s skin than traditional topical flea treatments. The way it works is actually quite simple. Fleas, ticks and other insect pests have hard exoskeletons but the abrasive glass-like edges on diatomaceous earth cut through the exoskeleton. When the exoskeleton is damaged, the insect dries out and dies – this is effective against both adults and their larvae.

In order to use diatomaceous earth effectively, you should treat both your dog’s coat and his bedding since these are the areas where fleas are most likely to be found. Additionally, you should consider dusting the furniture and carpet in your home to catch any fleas in those areas. It is important that you kill all of the fleas in your home because even a few that are left can cause a re-infestation. Treat your dog once a month brush it into his coat for the greatest benefit. When treating your furniture and carpet, wait at least 24 hours before vacuuming.

Other Tips and Tricks

Diatomaceous earth is effective against a variety of insect pests and parasites – it can even be used to treat internal parasite infections like roundworms, hookworms, and pinworms. To use diatomaceous earth as treatment for internal parasites you must mix the earth with your dog’s food once a day for at least seven days. For the treatment to be the most effective, it should be continued for 30 days in order to catch all of the newly developing eggs and larvae in addition to the existing adults. The dosage recommendations for diatomaceous earth are as follows:

For miniature and small-breed dogs up to 50 pounds, a dosage of only ½ teaspoon is needed. For dogs 50 to 100 lbs., the recommended dosage is 1 tablespoon and for dogs over 100 lbs. the dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons.

When using diatomaceous earth internally it is essential that you use “food-grade” diatomaceous earth. Other types that are used for gardening purposes may not be safe for your dog.

If you are concerned about using chemicals on your dog, diatomaceous earth is a great natural alternative to traditional topical flea medications. This product is easy to come by and it is a much more cost-effective method as well.

Best Diatomaceous Earth for Dogs

There are plenty of ways for your pooch to reap the benefits of this natural product- from external to internal use, you can rely on diatomaceous earth to keep your dog parasite-free both inside and out. Here are our choices for the best products that use this antiparasitic powder:

This natural alternative to chemical-filled dewormers is not just highly efficient but completely non-toxic as well. Made in the USA and regulated by the NASC, this wormer supplement is made from fossilized diatoms sourced from freshwater deposits.

Ideal for pets with sensitive skin, this topical diatomaceous earth powder will help you get rid of fleas once and for all. Packed in a practical bottle with a sprinkle top, this powder is easy to dose and apply- and you can use it on cats and dogs both. Easy to use, it can be given sprinkled over meals or topically if need be. It’s all-natural, pure diatomaceous earth, which means toxins, preservatives, chemical insecticides, or sulfates that could irritate your pet’s skin.

Designed to make sure your pet’s intestinal tract stays healthy without the need for chemicals, this proprietary blend includes ingredients such as diatomaceous earth, ground pumpkin seeds, ginger root powder, slippery elm bark powder, and thyme leaf powder. This formula is tailored to ward off intestinal parasites and promote a healthy gut to boot. Tasteless and non-toxic, it is easy to mix in your pet’s food.

This food-grade and human grade diatomaceous earth is safe enough to be consumed on a daily basis as it contains no chemicals or additives. Even though it’s budget-friendly, it meets the highest standards for diatomaceous earth there are- which means it’s good enough for your precious pooch to use. Feed to treat intestinal worms or use topically to eradicate fleas- this product works on both.

Even if you don’t want to powder your pooch you can still use diatomaceous earth to eliminate fleas and external parasites- and it’s in a very convenient way. This dog shampoo bar contains diatomaceous earth in its organic and natural formula, so you’ll get to reap all the benefits of this powder while you’re simply bathing your pooch as usual.

Why settle “only” for the benefits diatomaceous earth offers when you can have a formula that completely supports your pet’s digestive health to boot? In addition to the antiparasitic effect of diatoms, this powder contains yeast cultures, enzymes, and probiotics that are meant to keep your pet’s GI tract in optimal condition.

Cheap but of good quality, this food-grade and OMRI listed diatomaceous earth can be used both to treat external and internal parasites. To make things easier for you when you’re trying to powder your pet in order to eradicate fleas, this product comes with a free powder duster that will minimize mess and make your job much easier.

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Watch the video: Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade. Benefits of Silica + Trace Minerals for Fast Growing Hair, Nails