Diatomaceous Earth: A miracle cure for flea control?

posted by: Barry Silverstein

Diatomaceous earth, sometimes referred to as “DE,” is a natural substance that is actually created from the remains of diatoms, microscopic water plants that are like algae. It contains such minerals as silicon, calcium, sodium, and magnesium. It has a consistency similar to talcum powder and is available at most garden suppliers.

This is a remarkable substance that is a desiccant – it actually dries out the waxy outer layer of fleas so they dehydrate and eventually die. As an added benefit, diatomaceous earth can eliminate other insects.

So yes, in some respects, it is a miracle cure for fleas. It’s a product we’re pretty proud of, and consider to be worth the investment in the long term, in the same way you’d invest in insulation. Never having to worry about fleas working their way deep into your home is a comforting thought for those with pets who love the outdoors.

But even though diatomaceous earth is a natural substance, its dust is dangerous to breathe for both humans and animals. Using it requires gloves and a dust mask. Be certain to read any cautions that come with the product and use it only as directed.

Outside the home, spread it around the foundation and entry points. Inside the home, spread it around windows, doorways, and baseboards and rub it into the carpet. If you use this method, always use gloves, a dust mask, and goggles, and leave the house for several hours after use. It is not safe to inhale this substance when any particles are floating in the air. Fish, birds, and animals should not be left in the house. When you return, vacuum thoroughly.

Some people spread diatomaceous earth directly on their pets, essentially using it as a flea powder. If you do this, be aware of the potential risks. Since it is a drying agent, diatomaceous earth can dry out your pet’s skin. It can also be irritating to the eyes and lungs. Make sure you are using “food grade” diatomaceous earth if you want to try it on your pet.

Watch the accompanying video for an interesting if lengthy explanation of diatomaceous earth.

Diatomaceous earth is one of the natural substances discussed in Flea Control: How to Get Rid of Fleas Naturally.

57 Comments »

  1. Donnice Sorrell Said,

    June 19, 2009 @ 9:09 am

    Very informative. Have been looking for SOMETHING natural that would not hurt my animals & that the fleas are not amuiune to.

  2. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 13, 2009 @ 9:29 am

    Can you rub it into your carpet using a push broom?
    Also how do you keep your pet from breathing it in if you are applying it as a flea powder?

  3. Barry Silverstein Said,

    July 13, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

    Paul:
    You can rub it into your carpet using a push broom. Use only food grade quality if you use it on your pet — then it is safer to breathe. It is also a good idea to apply it outside rather than inside.

  4. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 13, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

    I was thinking about applying it to the pets out on the deck.We’ve got some coming in the mail Friday.We didn’t find out about Food Grade DE until after we purchased Fleabusters powder. They sound exactly the same in their consistency.

  5. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 15, 2009 @ 10:34 am

    BTW, can I use DE on my car upholstery and carpets or would a spray be better? Everyone tells me that it’s likely we carried fleas into our cars.

  6. Barry Silverstein Said,

    July 15, 2009 @ 10:37 am

    Never tried DE in a car. It probably wouldn’t do any harm, but would likely be difficult to remove, since it should be completely vacuumed up after use.

  7. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 15, 2009 @ 11:27 am

    I’m confused if you completely vacuum it up then what is left to kill the fleas?

  8. Barry Silverstein Said,

    July 15, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

    Paul:

    The way it works is you rub it in and leave it for awhile — at least an hour. That dries out the fleas. Then you vacuum it up.

  9. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 16, 2009 @ 6:20 am

    OK thanks.It works that quickly? Nice.Do you do the same along the baseboards as well?

  10. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 16, 2009 @ 4:24 pm

    I’m reading a lot of differing strategies for DE’s use. Your site recommends applying then vacuuming carpets after several hours yet another site recommends vacuuming your carpets 4 days after applying .Do you have to vacuum up any dust you spread around doors ,windows baseboards etc.?

  11. Barry Silverstein Said,

    July 16, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

    Yes, you should vacuum thoroughly, including windows, baseboards, etc.

  12. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 16, 2009 @ 7:57 pm

    OK I know I’m being a pain w/all these questions , but if you vacuum it up after several hours how does it kill all the fleas?

  13. Barry Silverstein Said,

    July 17, 2009 @ 5:01 am

    Once the fleas come in contact with it, they dry out. After a few hours you can vacuum it up.

  14. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 20, 2009 @ 5:17 am

    I powdered the dog late last night ,yet this morning she’s chewing her hind quarters. Does it take a little while before the fleas die and do any that might hop on after the powdering die as well?

  15. Barry Silverstein Said,

    July 20, 2009 @ 6:29 am

    The fleas will die but your dog still may have some flea bites, so the chewing is not directly related to live fleas. It could take some time for the chewing to stop.

    Fleas are a continuous problem, so you may need to apply the powder weekly for a while.

  16. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 20, 2009 @ 11:39 am

    Weekly to the animals or weekly to the carpets and baseboards? Applying it to the carpets in the 3 rooms we have is a daunting task when it comes to moving all the furniture around. Takes an entire day.

  17. Paul Smachetti Said,

    July 26, 2009 @ 9:22 am

    I’ve applied it to our pets twice as directed, and have dusted the carpets,baseboards and furniture and I am still finding fleas on the animals and around the house. Am I doing something wrong?

  18. Natasha Said,

    September 5, 2009 @ 8:07 am

    There’s no reason to vacuum it up after only a couple of hours – the longer you leave it down, the more fleas will come in contact with it. If you only leave it down for a couple of hours, then any fleas that hatch out AFTER you’ve vacuumed will be safe (or any that jump off your pet after you vacuum…) Of course, if you want to leave it down, you’ll need to beat it into the carpet so that you don’t have the loose dust lying on the surface…just my thoughts

  19. Barry Silverstein Said,

    September 8, 2009 @ 5:10 am

    Thank you for your input, Natasha. Your suggestion is a good one!

  20. Mary Said,

    September 24, 2009 @ 5:08 am

    Ive been battling fleas for a month now, and am at my wits end. I am about to try DE but have concerns about breathing it in. Is food grade safer? I have to cover every square inch of a 3 story townhouse, spread it, mush it into all surfaces, and therefore BREATH it. Even if I use a mask, Im sure I will ingest some. I have a child and two pets. Should I do the treatment, remove everyone from the home for several hours? And when I have to vacuumn, should my family be out of the home as well? Any suggestions would help, I am becoming OCD on this and we are being eaten alive by fleas! Also, both pets have been treated (Frontline) twice, Capstar as well…and still> live fleas around my pets.

  21. Barry Silverstein Said,

    September 24, 2009 @ 5:38 am

    Hi Mary:
    Your concerns are similar to those of others. The safest form of DE is food grade. It is so safe that it can actually be eaten. Be sure you get food grade.

    As for breathing it in, it is still recommended that a mask and goggles be used when applying DE, food grade or not. This is because the particles can be irritants, but they will not be deadly.

    Scrub the DE into your carpets and allow it to remain for several hours and, yes, remove pets and humans after application. Leave the DE as long as possible, since it must come in contact with the fleas to kill them. The fleas typically die within 48 hours after contacting DE.

    We have heard reports that in some cases fleas are becoming resistant to Frontline and other pesticides. If you continue to use Frontline, make sure you are purchasing it from a U.S. supplier and that it is made in the U.S. The U.S. version is sometimes a different formulation from versions made in other countries. Also make sure to apply it correctly — it must get down through the fur and touch the skin. Capstar is designed to kill live fleas very quickly so it surprising that did not work. You should check with a vet.

    Please consider buying a copy of the book — there are a lot more helpful tips that we discuss.

    Hope this is helpful to you.

  22. Mary Said,

    September 24, 2009 @ 7:59 am

    Thank You for such a quick reply ! This has been the MOST helpful information so far. I need assurance that this will actually work, I have been more than thourough in my efforts to deal with this myself, and there is almost no difference from when I noticed the problem 3 weeks ago. A couple of things I want to ask; I spoke with an exterminator yesterday, she told me that breaking the cycle (via treating the pets) will eventually stop the problem…..because they have no blood host, to which I replied..” they are going after me, and now my daughter is getting bit.” So I have no faith in that theory. Second, when I apply the DE…and vacate the house , I want to leave it on as long as possible before I vaccumn…is overnight long enough? Can I leave it in certain unused areas for days while I clean up the main areas that we live in? How long before its ok to come back to the house, but not nesessarily begin to clean up? How long should I wait to re-treat with DE so I am sure that I have stopped the cycle? Also, will a mere “dusting of couches and matresses do the trick, or should i smush it in every single crevice of furniture? Im afraid it will dicolor my dark fabric and puffs of powder will come out when people sit on it? Thanks again

  23. Mary Said,

    September 24, 2009 @ 8:21 am

    PS sorry for the typos….I think the fleas are taking brain cells with them…

  24. Barry Silverstein Said,

    September 24, 2009 @ 9:25 am

    Overnight should be long enough for DE to take effect. Some people find success with as little as 4 hours, but the longer the better.

    When you return vacuum thoroughly. You really shouldn’t leave it around with animals or children in the house — it is best to vacuum it up. Give it 2 – 3 days and see if you notice dead fleas. Then vacuum again.

    DE isn’t perfect — it will cause dust, and you should test it on a small portion of dark fabric first. However, it is safer than chemical flea bombs, so using DE is by far the lesser of two evils.

    Controlling fleas is an ongoing process that requires vigilance and patience. Typically a number of different techniques in combination, i.e., treating the animals, treating the exterior, and treating the interior of a home are most effective in the battle.

  25. Mary Said,

    September 24, 2009 @ 10:47 am

    Thanks SOOOO much!!

    Cant wait to try this Biological Warfare against the pests !!
    I am fascinated by the simplicity behind how this works, simple, elegant and natural…makes so much sense. Ill let you know how it turns out !!

  26. Lisa Said,

    September 28, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

    Hi Mary!

    Just as you are concerned, so am I…with my dog who has fleas. I have tried so many things (vet recommended) and they are not working. After doing some research, I have read several articles on using DE to rid fleas. It sounds promising. But, I would love some positive feedback on someone who has used it, and had good results. Anyway, can you please let us know how it is working for you?

  27. Mary Said,

    October 13, 2009 @ 12:01 pm

    Hi all,

    After a couple of busy weekends I was finally able to get down to “DE -ing” my house on Saturday. I was eager to see the contents of vacuumn cannister after a thourough cleaning.
    Sadly, there were several live fleas. Unfortunately, both pets are scratching like crazy, and I am seeing live fleas near them, as well as watching jump off my arms and legs as I watch TV. They are everywhere, and this was only one day after the treatment. Not a good sign. I cannot do another Frontline on them, I just did one two weeks ago. Dont know where to go from here. I WOULD MOVE IF I COULD.

    Any Suggestions?

  28. Barry Silverstein Said,

    October 13, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

    Mary: Check out some of the other posts on this site: Home remedies for fleas, and What to do if Frontline is not working. We list some effective natural flea-killing substances in the book. Hope you will consider purchasing a copy.

  29. Mary Said,

    October 14, 2009 @ 5:06 am

    Thanks Barry,
    Heres a question: do fleas die in a mere dusting of a surface, or do they need more volume to actually get buried in it? The fleas seem to dance right on top of a dusted layer and arent effected. Im concerned with volume here.

    How do I apply it to my pets? I was thinking of putting it in a sock and dusting them with it. But Im wondering if that will be enough for fleas to die. I am of course concerned about them breathing it. My cat has been ill ever since this began, she is frail and frightened of everything now. About all I can do is make sure she eats to keep her weight on and see that shes using her litter box.

    Tell me if I had it right when i did it:
    I used a plastic one pound coffee container. I poked holes in the top for a shaker. I sprinkled it down heavy and tamped it down with a oval shaped dust mop. I squished, I swept I tried to cover every square inch. I waited 10 hours, only because I had to restore the house because my daughter was retuning from her weekend away. I had massive powder over load in the vaccumn, and of course emptied it frequently….and sadly, saw live fleas each time.
    My question is this: Until I can have the house to myself again (child away) can I do spot treatments on the trouble areas? You know, areas more hidden that arent in human contact? Lets say, baseboards, under my mattress, dogs bed…and just leave it there for days, until I can do total treatment again? Will DE ruin my vaccumn in any way?

    Between Saturday and now it has escalated, I do not want to give up on DE…it makes sense, I feel it can work. I think I am doing something wrong. Any help?

  30. Eileen Said,

    October 18, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

    I used an old push broom (ones you can scrub the floor with) and spread the de as if I was broadcasting seeds (probably way more than needed) and proceeded to use the broom to “scrub” it into the carpet – luckily low pile in my case.

    No adult fleas so far (did this early in the afternoon) and now I am only seeing the smaller ones that are trying to crawl up my foot. The jury is still out for me, but I have no plans on vacuuming any of this up for another few more days

  31. Mary Said,

    October 19, 2009 @ 6:09 am

    I am certain that I am not stopping the cycle with my pets. I Frontline them….they STILL scratch and I see live fleas where they are.

    I did a DE treatment on only my room, a few days ago. I was relentless, covered and scrubbed it into the matresses. But get this folks: I left it there. I washed all linens and re-made the bed. So in actuallity I slept with the stuff all over my room, determined to let it sit for several days. Well, I vaccumned after four days (Saturday night) By sunday, I was lying awake counting the intervals of how soon the pests were biting at me. Nearly constant.

    what is this??

  32. Mary Said,

    October 19, 2009 @ 6:39 am

    Also, a side comment;

    Has anyone had issues with thier vacuumn overloading, too much fine powder? I am emptying frequently, washing the filter and all but I only get a few minutes of real strong power before I have to stop and overhaul the filter system and clean out the hoses. I am using a brand new vacuumn. Just purchased last week.

    I would imagine an older vacuumn wouldnt have a chance with this kind of heavy duty chore. Any thoughts from those who are doing this?

  33. Bryan Said,

    March 27, 2010 @ 12:51 pm

    I only have one question about DE that I saw in the above video. Just trying to clarify, I have three dogs ranging in size from a Golden Retriever, a Terrier mix, and a Chihuahua. It said about a tablespoon a day in their food. The two smaller dogs share their food dish so will this be to much for the chihuahua? Should I decrease the amount for the two smaller dogs? The weights are as follows: Golden – 80lbs., Terrier mix – 18-20lbs and the chihuahua about 3lbs at the moment as it is a puppy of about 4 months in age.

    As far as putting it on the animals and in their bedding we have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of fleas on the animals.

  34. Barry Silverstein Said,

    March 28, 2010 @ 8:31 am

    Bryan: Ideally you would mix 1 tablespoon of DE into food for your Golden and 1 teaspoon of DE into food for one of your smaller dogs. It may not be a good idea to give DE to a puppy, so if possible, feed the terrier mix separately with the DE.

  35. Kari Said,

    June 12, 2010 @ 8:59 am

    I’ve been researching DE myself…although most of these posts were months ago, maybe my reply will assist others in the future.

    I’m just now getting around to putting DE on the carpets, cats, and outdoors, so I can’t yet completely testify for the quality of it. It has been on the majority of the carpet in my house for around sixteen hours, I’ve already seen a noticeable difference in the amount and SIZE of fleas jumping on me. I have read from other websites that it can take up to 72 hours for DE to actually kill the fleas. It does NOT kill eggs and larvae, so theoretically the carpet should be treated again in a week and then probably the next week. I believe I read that it takes fifteen days for the eggs to hatch.

    I’ve also read that simply vacuuming as often as you can will help rid your home of fleas. You must be careful when removing the bag/canister though…preferably do it OUTSIDE of your home. Never let a vacuum sit for too long after you turn the power off, the little boogers will find a way out of it.

    As far as spot-on treatments and shampoos go…it’s all VERY temporary and toxic, plus fleas can develop a tolerance level, thus making it ineffective. It’s not been a month since I last used Frontline Plus and it had little to no effect on the fleas on my cats… I gave them a flea bath and the next day there were still just as many fleas on them…and I swear, I saw them all dying while I was washing the cats!

    They say the typical poisons used in collars, spot-ons, and shampoos can be toxic to an animal’s liver.

    If you’re having a REALLY hard time ridding yourself of fleas, I’ve read to try 20 Mule Team Borax…It’s a powder laundry detergent… It IS a powder you should put down and either remove your family/pets or do different parts of the house (such as lock animals up in one bedroom, do the rest of the house, make sure animals are virtually flea free –DO NOT put Borax on them– and then do that last room. I believe if you let it sit for a few hours, it will be pretty effective.

    Citrus oil is also good for killing fleas, especially orange oil. You can take the peel of an orange, simmer it in water for 15 minutes, let it cool down, and then bathe your pets in it to kill fleas…also good for spraying outside your house.

    Beneficial nematodes (a live, microscopic worm) are good for putting in moist dirt…they will stop fleas from reproducing outside and around your house.

    I also vacuumed thorougly before spreading DE around (before I was sure I was going to buy any) and dumped most of the canisters outside…but I took the one from our bedroom and dumped it into a large Ziploc bag…it’s disgusting how many fleas a good vacuum can pick up…and makes me scared of what it’s still leaving behind! It’s fun to watch them suffer though =)

    There’s also some stuff called Flea Free that you can put into your pet’s food/water that contains vinegar, citrus, and garlic…supposed to kill fleas, haven’t bought any yet.

  36. Kari Said,

    June 12, 2010 @ 10:00 am

    After vacuuming not even two rooms in our house I can already tell you this is going to be a PAIN. Maybe I put too much down, but it really slows down the push of your vacuum. You can also expect to dump your canister / bag / filters AT LEAST once each room.

  37. Jeannette Carriere Said,

    June 24, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

    I had flea’s and purchased non food grade DE at lowes.Why purchase food grade when you want the strongest it can be to kill the insect.This stuff is a pain in the butt however it works.You have to leave it on your floor you cant vacuum it up.

    We have all hardwood floors the original ones in an old housse .I sprinkled it all over and especially around the baseboards and into the cracks.My daughter took a broom and swept into everything and then what was leftover was dumped outside.I kept my dog in a pet taxi until every last flea had left.

    He eats garlic in his food and it didn’t work.I tried vinegar on him and in his drinking water didn’t work.I sprayed the house with vinegar,lemon and dawn dish washing liquid.The dish washing liquid does work and is safe for your dogs and cats to bathe in.The other stuff not a chance.

    If you want a fast and easy solution have your house bombed.If you want a relatively hard solution that will work then use DE..You will have to put up with the mess it makes and live with it for at least 4 days.

    I left mine on the floor for 14 days to catch any newly hatched fleas.I also use a mini shop vac and put a flea collar in there had been cut up.I just swept the floor each day from family mess time.I put down an area rug that had been treated for my kids to sit on.

    This stuff really does work just leave it on your floor for awhile.Bathe your dogs before letting them into the house.Treat the outside of your house with nematodes it really does work.

  38. Shannon Said,

    July 18, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

    We have used Frontline, Diatomaceous Earth and Joy Dishwashing liquid for our flea problem. We have a dog and a cat and I can’t even begin to explain what a pain this process has been! We have the non food grade DE and it really does work. We took a wire mesh strainer and used that to spread the DE ALL OVER THE HOUSE and for about a month we were flea-free! I guess we didn’t leave it down long enough though because we have them again! When we bathed them, we use the Joy soap and if you scrub really well, you can see them drowning and going down the drain. We bathed our animals last and kept them separate until they were both done. Its particularly difficult for us because, unlike many of you, we cannot see the fleas throughout the house so our only proof of their eradication is if our pets are no longer scratching or when I can no longer find the little buggers in their fur. We just laid down a fresh layer or DE all over the house yesterday and we plan on leaving it for a few days, as annoying as it is :(

  39. kt Said,

    July 26, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

    I work at an animal clinic and fleas have been especially bad this year, and I’m also trying to find ways to control fleas without using chemicals for clients. First and foremost for a normal pet – feed high quality food! – a strong, healthy pet will not get infested with fleas or any other parasite as quickly as one on a poor diet.
    It does appear that clients are not happy with Frontline, it just does not seem to be keeping up with the fleas. I’m not sure from all the comments if I would feel comfortable suggesting diatomaceous earth as a natural substitute. I’ve heard several suggestions about brewer’s yeast – any thoughts?
    Also, with treating fleas (chemically or natural methods) we have several clients with pets that are diabetic or have liver issues – I would like to find something that will not interfere with medications or worsen any exsisting problems.

  40. Francis Dina Said,

    August 8, 2010 @ 5:06 pm

    To KT – Brewers yeast is not recommended for some dog breeds. Large, narrow chested dogs have tendency towards bloat, gastric dilation, and torsion, thus, owners should avoid brewers yeast, which tends to increase bloat.

    To those who have seen the fleas: If you have a large flea problem, use bombs. Make sure to use enough to fully cover all area space of the house. Take off and wash sheets, blankets, dog beds, etc. Place all open food into fridge. Open all cabinet and closet doors.

    Place bombs around the house, at intervals that will overlap slightly, which assures all areas are covered. Also do extra connected areas, like the garage or basement. Leave the house. When you come back, put all dishware through the wash machine.

    That will immediately handle any live fleas.

    Meantime, use a lawn product that contains flea control. It will say that right on the package. And use a flea product on your dog.

    That brings you back to neutral. Perhaps at that point, you can then use D.Earth to keep things in check.

    To those who have not actually seen the fleas:
    If they are also biting you, you should consider whether they might be bedbugs. Many people think they have a flea problem, when in reality, it is a bedbug problem. Bedbugs bite people and dogs.

    If they are biting you when you can’t see it (perhaps at night, when you are sleeping), and if you know because you have a small itchy welt, that may very well be from bedbugs.

  41. Patti Said,

    September 20, 2010 @ 10:05 am

    Has anyone tried good old fashion and cheap salt, plain salt not iodized is a cheap and hopefully affective way to rid the house of fleas. I think with some folks the occurrence is just the normal life cycle of the flea, put the DE down wait a couple days then vacuum, toss out the vacuum bag each time you vacuum ,do this every three days for nine days and that should help end the cycle, keep vacuuming as much as you can, daily or every other day, that alone will get rid of them as long as you treat your animals, if you only apply something once even a chemical you have to do it again and probably again to kill all the eggs that are hatching at a different time. I, used frontline for 14 years on my buddy and it worked, just this year I noticed more fleas than ever before and I’ve lived in Florida for 22 years. That newest flea control from the vet . I forget the name but it starts with a “C” is supposed to be great, if my dog hadn’t passed away a few days ago I was going to give the new stuff a try.In the past when using frontline I would occasionally see a live flea on him but they would die, and my home never had a flea problem ever and Brutus lived 10 of his 14 1/2 years in the same house.

  42. mike Said,

    September 28, 2010 @ 6:21 pm

    Hi there I was wondering if you could use pool d.e. I know it is dangerous for pets and humans to inhale. But I have no pets and it will only be used outside where the flea problem is. I have a deck and the fleas are under the deck. I have tried bug sprays that you use with the hose twice before and the fleas still exsist. they are under the deck and in the dirt. I think the pool d.e. would work.
    thank you for your time. Mike

  43. Jack Carrier Said,

    September 29, 2010 @ 6:34 am

    Hello:

    All the questions posted here are addressed in the ebook. If you spend the money for the ebook you’ll have a nice guide to refer to.

    We’d love to hear your comments about the book.

    Thanks!

    Jack for Fleacontrolbook.com

  44. Brenda Said,

    October 11, 2010 @ 1:03 pm

    Hello
    I was hoping for some help my husband and I bought some DE and just put it down this past weekend and seem to have just pissed the fleas off I was wondering if we did it wroug we dusted the yard,the dogs and the whole house the the darn things are still living.HELP!!!!!

  45. jb Said,

    December 3, 2010 @ 2:50 am

    Brenda, DE is not a chemical that kills the fleas, it is fossilized earth, so it dehydrates the fleas and cuts them. It takes about 24 to 72 hrs for the live fleas to die. If new fleas hatch, then it’s the same for them… so it’s not an immediate thing. Just be careful not to inhale the dust, same for your pets as it is not good for the nasal passage and lungs. I use a water spritzer bottle in the house after I’ve applied the DE, and outside, we mix the DE with water and spray it wet… no dust. Also, the food grade is edible and great to detox the pets (of tape worms etc.) and humans.

  46. wizarddrummer Said,

    April 20, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

    I have used this and it works.
    My method of spreading it is to use a sprayer. I pour in 1.5 gallons of water, mix in about 1.5 cups of DE; shake rattle and roll and spray the carpets around the sides of the house.

    This method will give you an even application and keep the dust down while appliying.

    You need to have actually put down a thicker dry coating around baseboards etc.

  47. Louise Said,

    June 2, 2011 @ 7:56 am

    I have read in more than one place that you don’t want to mix the DE with water because that renders it useless for killing fleas. Another reason not to do that is that fleas thrive in humid environments.

    Some folks recommend washing the carpets, but damp carpets just give fleas a very happy place to live –and we don’t want to do that do we? ;)

  48. Pete from AZ Said,

    June 13, 2011 @ 1:55 am

    Fleas don’t hatch directly from the flea eggs. They hatch into a larva form, which crawls around in whatever environment they were dropped into, eating the flea dirt which, with the eggs, also falls off the pets.

    After as little as 9 days, but usually longer, it spins a cocoon. In it, like a butterfly, it morphs into a juvenile flea which can remain dormant in the cocoon for up to a year before emerging,

    High humidity and 65-80 degrees F speed up the cycle so that it may all happen in about 2 to 3 weeks.

    Leaving the DE in the carpet, where the future fleas will develop is probably the most important part of a control program. You will continue to have new fleas for a month…no, forever, if you don’t kill the developing forms before they become fleas and start the cycle all over again..

    A new female flea will start her egg laying 24-48 hours after she gets her first blood meal from a pet. She will lay up to 40 eggs a day continuously until she dies, in 4-6 weeks. That’s a lot of eggs from 1 flea.

    Leave the DE in the carpet and vacuum as usual. It will kill the developing larval forms. If you see any new fleas (they are about half as big as adults) put a new layer of DE down again.

  49. Jo~Jo Said,

    June 14, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    Read these comments w/interest & will not be using DE in either form. Just seems all a bit much to me, w/all the dangers included as well. I had a flea horror show last year & used Zodiak spray & bomb for fleas that worked well. Just follow directions exactly. There is also a spray & powder for you pet & nothing to worry about w/inhaling, etc. For baths… DAWN dishwashing detergent. Soap them up real good for at least 5 full minutes, starting w/the head area & work to the tail. Let it sit on them & you will see a boatload of dead fleas from it. It’s what many groomers use, but they don’t admit it, b/c they charge you a ton for it, & you can buy it in a store for a buck. Enough to last most of the flea season, or longer. Zodiak smells decent too, so even if you spray at night & want to close your door to sleep, it’s fine & vac in the AM. Do it all…furniture, everything…. Repeat as needed, or just bomb the place & use th spray as a back up after. My Vet told me about it.
    Works!
    My Vet also said the Frontline has lost it’s power b/c the fleas are immune, but it was safer to use than Advantix & other more harsh topicals on your pets. I just got some, as I was using Advantix on my dog for the last few years. Maybe the Frontline will be OK on her, b/c she has not had it on her…we’ll see. Meantime, I’ve still got the Zodiak on hand. Petsmart sells it.

  50. Jerry Said,

    June 26, 2011 @ 7:22 am

    One sure fire, albeit slow, method we have found is one I got out of Mother Earth News years ago. And that is dish detergent soap in a bowl with a lamp light.

    Get a low profile bowl like a cereal bowl and put just a couple of drops of dish detergent in it. Fill it with water, letting it suds up a bit. Place the bowl on the floor, carpet etc and then take a desk lamp and shine it over the bowl. What happens is the fleas are attracted to the bright light and jump up to it, falling into the bowl. The detergent breaks up the surface area of the water and the fleas fall to the bottom of the bowl and drown. Works especially good at night. You will be amazed at how many fleas you’ll see in the bottom of the bowl in the morning. It took several weeks of vacuuming and bowl setting but it really helped.

    Try it!

  51. Teri Said,

    June 28, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    I used DE on my cats and the carpet and did not know about the breathing the dust til after I found this article. I purchased it at a Health food store and they didnt tell me how long to leave it on the carpets or to be careful not to breath the dust. I put it on my cats and dust was flying everywhere. I think I put too much of it on my carpet also. I hope I will not get sick, or my cats eiher. I dont know what to do can you help?

  52. Lori Said,

    September 11, 2013 @ 11:25 am

    … I know the obvious response is to ask the cashier but they didn’t seem to know anything about the product!

  53. oscar Said,

    September 23, 2013 @ 6:26 pm

    You are going to love this stuff. We are always being attack in our garage. The fleas didn’t stand a chance and only after applying 1/2 hour later, instant results. After all these years of hassle, finally I’m so happy. Never again would I use anything different, just amasing! Thank you, Thank you!

  54. Leslie Said,

    October 7, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

    I have an infestation & do not have carpeting; wood floors & tile. I got rid of the area rugs back in June & now it is October. We still have fleas. Frontline was about to send Terminix to our house to treat the infestation, but the technician told us they do not treat non-carpeting. What about the furniture. No. So now I am looking to get the DE. However, how do I treat the floors if there is no carpeting? And what about treating the furniture with the dust? How does one eliminate fleas from the furniture with DE?
    Many thanks for any information you can provide.

  55. Tammy Said,

    October 14, 2013 @ 9:20 am

    my question is how often can I put DE on my dogs? I applied some yesterday and today they are still full of fleas.

  56. Robin Said,

    October 27, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

    Im going to try this DE stuff because I had a kitten given to me by someone and I let it sleep in the bed with me and after about 3wks I was bitten all over my body, first thing I throught was bedbugs and had the apt exterminator come out and couldn’t find not one bed bug and looked @ me like I was crazy. I didn’t think of fleas because the kitten never been outside except on my screened in porch(unless the fleas jumped through the screen) anyway one day I caught a flea on me while he was biting me and it hopped right out of my hand. So now Im having a flea war in my house, I bombed twice and I have the dish detergent in a bowl with lamp over it which I have seen a number of fleas in it over the past few days. I panicked and gave the kitten away because of all the bites on me I didn’t want anymore but I did bathe the kitten in dawn before giving her away. I still have fleas in my apt but not as many as I had before I realized what the problem was so it could have been worst if it was bedbugs. None found as of yet. Hope this DE works for the left behind fleas!

  57. Julia Said,

    November 17, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

    DON’T USE CITRUS ANYTHING ON CATS. It can kill them. Check with your vet before you treat a cat with anything. They are adversely affected by topical preparations that won’t hurt dogs.
    Diatomaceous earth is so named because it’s mined from ancient deposits of the fossilized hard-bodied skeletons of a sea algae, and neither you or your pet needs to be breathing the dust. DE kills insects by abrading their exoskeletons. You don’t want it settling permanently in your lungs. Or your pet’s. DE has almost universally glowing reports about its positive effects, and that alone should trigger the suspicion that True Believers are leaving out any drawbacks. Nothing is completely beneficial. DE is less harmful than pesticides, but you want to know the down side. For instance, if it’s really completely harmless, why don’t sell it in their offices? I bought 24oz of the food grade, but I’m waffling about dusting my animals and their bedding with it, just because of the inhalation problems. I think I’ll put it on the yard, though. To you unhappy flea-ridden Floridians, I used to live in Florida. I doubt Florida canompete with suburban Houston for tick infestation. And I’m beginning to wish I were back in Phoenix, too.

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