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One thing that I think every prepper should have on hand is diatomaceous earth. It is inexpensive and has a ton of uses. At the same time, there are a lot of sizes and brand names out there that are very overpriced.
First, let’s start with a list of the uses and then I will suggest a few brands and sizes that offer the best deal for preppers via mail order. This is a heavy item so large quantities may be best purchased locally due to shipping.
What is diatomaceous earth?
Diatomaceous earth is the fossilized remains of small aquatic organism called diatoms. Their remains are mostly made of silica.
These deposits are found in creeks, river beds, ect, and are now mined for use. Those that want a natural pest and parasite control substance have long been using this amazing and natural substance.
Best Uses for Diatomaceous Earth
Internal parasite control in people during tough times
Worms don’t just occur in animals. While people in the United States used to get parasites regularly, a lot of people are not aware that it is actually still common enough that drug stores sell wormer for people. Those with kids may have had to deal with pinworms before because schools and daycares are common places to pick them up.
During a survival situation, you may have to live a bit rougher than you do now. When facilities are not as hygienic or you are living outside it can be easier to get parasites. Pets usually don’t transmit parasites to people but it is possible. Eating or drinking down a glass of water with a teaspoon of diatomaceous earth in it several days in a row can help cleanse your system of parasites.
Smaller amounts can be used as a preventative measure. During the hotter months of the year is when parasites tend to be the worst. If you live in a place that is warm and humid a lot of the year then you really need to pay attention to parasite loads during long term emergencies.
Ditamaceous earth is not hard on your body like some wormers. Taking chemical wormers often makes someone feel quite bad for at least a day. The reason for this is parasites dying off and being eliminated. Diatomaceous earth gets rid of them but does it a little more slowly and gently. Worms are gross and I know that people want to be rid of them ASAP but sometimes a little slower is better.
Prevents and eliminates parasites in almost all animals and livestock
If you are keeping chickens, have dogs and cats, or other livestock then you can add diatomaceous earth to feed to prevent and eliminate a range of parasites. A little goes a long way and it is not something that tastes good so avoid the urge to make every morsel totally coated.
Of course, you can go a bit heavier if you suspect heavy parasite loads. Some animals seem to be more prone to parasites than others
Flea and Tick Elimination and Prevention
Insects don’t like this stuff so it is good for sprinkling behind baseboards and in cracks around the home. Pet bedding and livestock areas can be dusted down with it for a naturally pest free area. You can buy a shaker or poofer to apply it to livestock and pets directly.
You need to be careful to avoid their eyes when applying and you may want a dusk mask. It is a bit messy to apply and best done outside. During a SHTF scenario, keeping insects and pests out of your life is going to make things a bit easier and prevent the diseases and infections that can result if they are allowed to get out of hand.
Diatomaceous earth is approved for organic growing of fruits and vegetables. The dehydrating and smothering effect it has on insects is also useful for preventing and eliminating molds and mildews that can wreck havoc on your food plots.
We use it on grapes for this very reason. You just have to be wait until after a good rain to pick your food or make sure to rinse it off well before consumption. It is not that it will hurt you but old diatomaceous earth that has been stuck on something outside for awile is not that appetizing.
Diatomaceous Earth is approved for certified organic production despite how affordable it is! We only use organic pesticides and herbicides in our vineyard and around the home so we know how much some of them can cost.
Since DE does not have high production costs and a bag goes so far, it is a very economical choice for those trying to have a more natural life.
Diatomaceous earth is effective in eliminating and preventing bed bug infestations. Bed bug infestations have been on the rise with some areas highly impacted. The sheer amount of travel that occurs helps the spread. Diatomaceous earth offers an alternative that can sometimes be more realistic for long term bed bug prevention plans instead of always using toxic sprays.
Since DE works by smothering and dehydrating, it is not something that bed bugs can develop an immunity to as readily as some of the chemical treatments out there. Sprinkle it where you suspect there are problems. When it comes to bed bugs it is better to treat everywhere rather than just specific spots from what I can gather.
With so many people being sensitive to mainstream deodorants and anti antiperspirants there is a lot to be said for finding natural solutions to the problem. There are also plenty out there that are probably trying to avoid deodorants that have aluminum in them.
Finding one that works and meets these criteria can be a problem for some. While I have not personally tried using diatomaceous earth has deodorant there are definitely some use it regularly and like it. You can even add some essential oils to the mix to add a scent or additional properties.
Here is a recipe for your own deodorant.
- ¾ cup cornstarch (Some people choose to use powdered arrowroot powder instead)
- ¼ cup food grade diatomaceous earth
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
- ½ tbsp essential oils
Melt coconut oil and add to dry ingredients. Blend well and transfer to a container with a tight fitting lid. Rub under arms as needed.
Recipe courtesy of www.diatomaceousearth.com
I know a lot of preppers have at least a few backyard chickens. If you have never had to deal with chicken mites then count yourself lucky. You can dust your chickens with a poofer full of DE and sprinkle it in their chicken coop and where they like to take dust bathes.
People can get chicken mites too and they are not something you want even for a day. They can cause itching and they are really hard to see. During our time spent living kind of rough while building our house, I definitely got chicken mites and it took me a few hours to realize what was causing the problem. Not fun.
If you like to clean with Bon Ami then DE is a cleaner to look for. This abrasive yet gentle stuff may look like pure dirty while you are cleaning but when you wipe it away you will be amazed what it does,
A lot of parents with children in public school can probably tell all of us first hand what a pain it is to deal with a lice outbreak. They used to be a lot more common and people did not always have Nit kits available at the drug store.
Sprinkling diatomaceous earth onto hair to kill lice is not a bad plan. Washing all linens, towels, etc that have been anywhere near the affected party is also advisable. Some innovative mothers have developed various strategies to minimize dust getting into eyes or mouths. You can use a dust mask and googles for example or use a t-shirt to make a cap to shiled their eyes and face.
Just put the t-shirt over their head to form a band around the hair line. You can then apply the dust under the rest of the t-shirt and massage it in. Here is a link to a liquid spray recipe using DE to help prevent lice from returning after treatment. No more spending a ton on Nix and other treatments.
Some say DE can offer detoxification effects that reduce heavy metals in your digestive tract. This is not a claim I can find any medical evidence to back it up but it may be out there.
Tips For Buying Diatomaceous Earth
Make sure it is food grade
You always want to buy the food grade diatomaceous earth. Luckily almost all of the major brands are of this type. The other variety has a different crystal structure that is not safe to use internally or where kids or pets may get into it.
Buy the big bag because DE doesn’t go bad unless it gets dirty or wet and even then you can dry it out and use it for some things
There are a lot of expensive bags of DE out there. Larger bags are a better deal. When we buy it we get the food grade version in a 50 lb bag. You can put it in a bucket with a lid to keep it dry and clean and dispense as needed.
If you want some for your own consumption you can scoop out a few lbs and seal in a food grade container to be kept in your pantry. Feed stores like Tractor Supply or your local farmer’s coop store likely have large bags for a good price.
Options for mail order
Since this is an item sold by weight it can be hard to find a really good deal on large bags. If you can find a local place then you might be able to get a better deal.
Buying several large bags from some suppliers can cut costs as well. So if you have a prepper friend that wants to get some too you might be able to take advantage of a discount.
You can sometimes get a little better deal with buying the DE with an applicator included. This 50 lb bag and applicator bundle is a great value for mail order DE.
The major pain with diatomaceous earth is that it can be a bit messy to apply. Using a specific duster like the one below can help you precisely apply without as much mess. It is advisable to treat pets outside before they come inside just to avoid any unnecessary mess.
Claims Versus Facts
There are a lot of uses of DE but some may work better for some people and animals than others. DE is in no way a replacement for sound medical advice and it does need to be used correctly. While I have never heard of a DE illness, it is a dust so it can irritate respiratory tracts.
Animals and people will generally refuse to eat anything with too much DE in it. You also want to make sure to take a break from consuming it every few weeks even if you are just taking a small amount.
Animal use warnings and caution
Any animal that has special needs or considerations may need something else besides diatomaceous earth for internal and external parasites. Just like us, animals can react differently to some treatments than another animal just like them.
Diatomaceous earth may be enough for some animals to not have to use anything else for fleas, ticks, and even internal parasites. Some dogs have habits or are on diets that can increase their chances of parasites substantially. It is also important to remember that DE does not kill heartworms so you cannot replace your heartwormer with DE whatsoever.
I am not a veterinarian but I have been raising animals for decades and if you have to use something for parasites besides diatomaceous earth then I recommend Safeguard or Panacur. You may then be able to use DE to prevent further parasites which at the very least will likely save you some money on expensive wormers and improve your dog’s health.
Prevention is worth a lot and DE can help
While parasites are a natural problem that usually don’t cause too major of a problem, the fewer of them in your families life the better. DE can also keep your fruits and veggies from succumbing to pests.
Do you have any favorite uses for diatomaceous earth or other tips for application?
Samantha Biggers lives on a mountain in North Carolina with her husband and pack of loyal hounds in a house her husband and she built themselves. When not writing she is working in their vineyard, raising Shetland sheep, or helping her husband with whatever the farm and vineyard can throw at them.
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