Updated On

May 10, 2024

Why You Can Trust Us

Today’s Homeowner exists to help you maintain or improve your home safely and effectively. We uphold strict editorial standards and carefully vet the advice and resources referenced in our articles. Click below to learn more about our review process and how we earn money.

Learn More

    Diatomaceous earth (DE) is defined by OSHA as an amorphous silica composed of the microscopic skeletons of prehistoric diatoms and containing less than 1% crystalline silica. Under a microscope, diatoms are generally round or tubular with sharp edges.

    DE is touted as having many health benefits, including some government studies linking it to improved skeletal effects and lower blood cholesterol.

    But is all DE the same? And if not, which DE products should you buy? How should you use them?

    In this Today’s Homeowner review, we’re going to answer those questions by looking at different types of diatomaceous earth, the claimed health benefits, the pros and cons of using it, and how to use it for the best results.

    Our Pick


    Over 90 years of experience

    Nationwide service area

    Free retreatments if pests return

    Limited Time:
    Get $50 OFF Pest Control Plan
    Best Service Selection
    orkin logo


    Treats 20 types of pests

    Offers instant online quotes

    30-day money-back guarantee

    Limited Time:
    $50 Off First Service (GET50)

    What Is Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

    Food-grade diatomaceous earth is a dietary supplement often used to treat issues with the digestive system. It is safe for human consumption and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says it is Generally Regarded as Safe (G.R.A.S.).

    That means it doesn’t require any special labeling or permissions to be sold for human consumption or use. Diatomaceous earth products can be ingested to help with detoxification, to facilitate hair growth, and for issues with the digestive tract.

    It’s a white powder that can be mixed with smoothies, water, milk, coffee, or any other beverage. It can also be added to your toothpaste to help whiten your teeth. It also stimulates collagen production in the connective tissues of your body.

    Pure diatomaceous earth is 85-90% amorphous silicon dioxide. By contrast, pool filter grade or swimming pool grade diatomaceous earth has a much higher crystalline silica content.

    How Does Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Work?

    The most common human health use for food grade diatomaceous earth is to cleanse the digestive system. It purges all sorts of parasites, toxins, heavy metals, radiation, and bacteria due to its’ unique shape and size, without any noticeable side effects.

    Read Also: Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe? 

    In all fairness, however, we should point out there are skeptics who doubt there are any health benefits to using diatomaceous earth. They mainly cite the lack of scientific studies as their reason for doubting its effectiveness.

    It should be noted that what they disparage as “anecdotal evidence” is also known in court as “eyewitness testimony” and criminals have been sent to jail based on it. There are many people with eyewitness testimony to the effectiveness of diatomaceous earth.

    Is Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Effective For Killing Pests?

    Absolutely. Diatomaceous earth is a desiccant. It absorbs moisture and causes anything that comes in contact with it to dehydrate. Insects are so small that any loss of moisture can be deadly to them. It also cuts their exoskeleton and drains moisture that way too.

    Any infestation of insects can be reduced by applying diatomaceous earth to cracks and crevices with a powder duster. Many people prefer it because it is a natural product rather than a chemical insecticide.

    Did You Know

    Diatomaceous earth absorbs moisture and causes anything that comes in contact with it to dehydrate. It kills insects because they are so small that any loss of moisture can be deadly to them.

    How To Use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

    Start with a level teaspoon mixed with 8-10 ounces of your favorite beverage. Follow that with a tall glass of water, then wait half an hour before eating. Diatomaceous earth is, well, earth, so it tastes like mud. A few drops of honey helps with the taste.

    Start by doing this once a day, then over a period of 2-3 weeks, gradually increase it to twice a day, then a few weeks after that, three times a day.

    Keep in mind that diatomaceous earth will dehydrate you, so drink lots of water.

    Is Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Safe Around My Pets and Children?

    Yes. Diatomaceous earth can be lightly sprinkled on your pet’s food every day as a dewormer.

    It helps absorb odors in kitty litter boxes and you work small amounts of it into your pet’s coat to protect them from fleas and ticks. It has many barnyard uses too.

    Diatomaceous earth is also safe for children to drink the same way you do. You’ll have to reduce the amount to compensate for their smaller size, but that’s all.

    How Do You Find the Best Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth?

    • The first thing to look for is the words “Food Grade” on the label of the product. If that’s not on there, it’s probably pool or filter grade diatomaceous earth for use in a swimming pool filter. It works better than sand.
    • Another thing to look for is an Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) designation. That means it has been tested by OMRI and passed their certifications for the purity of ingredients and for organic use.
    • Also, look for “botanical” or “herbal ingredients” on the label. Diatomaceous earth with those kinds of additives isn’t as pure as OMRI listed diatomaceous earth, but it is still safe for human consumption.

    5 Best Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

    1. DiatomaceousEarth.com Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
    2. HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade
    3. Root Naturally Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade
    4. Fossil Power Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade
    5. Starwest Botanicals Diatomaceous Earth

    DiatomaceousEarth.com Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

    • OMRI listed
    • Made in America
    • Wide range of applications

    This 10-pound bag of organic food grade diatomaceous earth powder is listed by the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) as 100% organic.

    It’s a high-quality product, mined, filtered, packaged, and produced in the United States.

    All the processing is done with stainless steel equipment to prevent contamination, so it’s safe for internal consumption and use.

    It can be used for applications from a health supplement to pet care to an anti-caking agent in animal feed to pest control to kill bed bugs, cockroaches, and other pests.

    The 10-pound bag is both its best and worst feature since it can be unwieldy at times. On the plus side, the size brings the price per pound down below any other product.

    HARRIS Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

    • OMRI listed
    • Made in America
    • Well-known company

    This two-pound bag of diatomaceous earth comes with an included powder duster for using it on animal feed.

    It is OMRI listed for organic use and is 100% natural. It’s also mined and processed in the United States, mainly Nevada and Georgia.

    There are no additives fillers added. It is made only from freshwater diatomaceous earth. The two-pound bag is light and easy to maneuver and the duster makes it easy to use for non-health related tasks.

    HARRIS is a well-known company that once used their products to kill cockroaches in the Calvin Coolidge White House in 1924.

    Root Naturally Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

    • OMRI listed
    • Made in America
    • Packaged by stainless steel equipment

    This five-pound bag of freshwater diatomaceous earth (amorphous silica) is packaged using only stainless steel machinery to avoid contamination.

    It’s OMRI listed for organic use. It is made in the United States from four different deposits.

    Recommended as an anti-caking ingredient for animal feed and as a daily health supplement. The bag is resealable, making it easy to store in humid climates.

    Some customers complained about foreign grit or black specks in the powder and that the taste wasn’t consistent from one bag to another.

    Fossil Power Diatomaceous Earth Food Grade

    • OMRI listed
    • Made in America
    • Packaged in FDA compliant facility

    This five-pound bag of diatomaceous earth is made in the United States and sourced from only four different suppliers.

    It is composed primarily of silica and is all-natural, no additives. It’s OMRI listed and is packaged in an FDA compliant facility.

    It comes in a resealable bag to prevent spills and for ease of storage. Mix it with water to help with digestive issues or add a scoop to your animal feed as an anti-caking agent.

    Starwest Botanicals Diatomaceous Earth

    • Made in America
    • Saltwater diatomaceous earth
    • Not OMRI listed

    For those who want a smaller bag or don’t need as much all at once, this one-pound bag may be the answer for you.

    It’s one pound of food grade diatomaceous earth with herbal supplements added to it. It’s made in the United States.

    The polyfoil bag is plastic coated and it works well, but it’s not OMRI listed as being 100% organic. It’s also not freshwater diatomaceous earth, it’s saltwater DE.

    This is a new DE supplier with a limited track record but the small bag size is a plus.

    Editorial Contributors
    avatar for Ed Spicer

    Ed Spicer

    Ed has been working in the pest control industry for years helping 1,000's of homeowners navigate the world of insect and rodent management.

    Learn More

    Read About Top Pest Control Experts Near You