Does Diatomaceous Earth Kill Dust Mites?
Ever wonder if there is an alternative to using harsh chemicals for pest control problems?
One search online will yield thousands of results with hundreds of ways to use natural products to rid your home of pests.
How do you know what actually works and what doesn’t?
One commonly used natural element is diatomaceous earth, but does diatomaceous earth kill dust mites?
What is diatomaceous earth?
Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring silica rock derived from diatoms, a type of algae. The build up of dead diatoms produces amorphous silica creating diatomaceous earth.
It can be broken up into a fine white powder and has a variety of uses.
Diatomaceous earth’s uses vary greatly from using it as an abrasive in cleaning agents to a stabilizer in explosives. Other uses include as an insecticide, a filtration aid and multiple uses in agriculture.
Diatomaceous earth is found throughout the world and has a different make-up depending on the location it is found in.
For example, there are fresh water varieties and salt water varieties. There are also crystalline silica and non-crystalline silica versions of diatomaceous earth.
The high crystalline silica version can be toxic, causing damage to the lungs when inhaled. The salt-water variety has a high crystalline silica and is not fit for human consumption and is not good for use as an insecticide.
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How does it work in pest control?
Diatomaceous earth works against any type of bug with an exoskeleton. While humans and other mammals are protected by skin and hair, bugs have their skeleton on the outside of their bodies.
While not toxic, diatomaceous earth works as an absorbent abrasive, wicking away moisture from an insects body essentially dehydrating them.
Unlike chemical pesticides, the diatomaceous earth could take several days to kill bugs depending on the kind of insect and conditions within your home.
Does diatomaceous earth kill dust mites?
Dust mites are insects with exoskeletons; therefore, yes, diatomaceous earth will help control dust mites. The best way to use it is to sprinkle it on carpets, furniture, and bedding.
Allow it to sit for 30 minutes and then vacuum it up, preferably with a vacuum that does not have a filter since it can clog a filter easily.
Since it will not kill eggs, it is best to repeatedly use diatomaceous earth for continued pest control.
Diatomaceous earth side effects and negative effects
Some people might be concerned about the safety of diatomaceous earth; however, as long as it is the non-crystalline kind, it is harmless to people and pets.
The only concern might be for those who have sensitive lungs. If the powdery substance is kicked up into the air it could cause some minute breathing problems.
There are also different grades of diatomaceous earth. Some people actually use food grade diatomaceous earth as a health supplement. There is also pest control grade widely available.
Is diatomaceous earth safe for pets?
Yes, diatomaceous earth is safe for pets. Basically, anything with skin and fur or hair is not going to be harmed.
However, do be cautious about buying diatomaceous earth since some sellers of pest control grade will add extra chemicals to speed up the process.
These extra chemicals could be dangerous. Be sure to read a product description before buying. It is probably best to buy food grade to make sure there are no added chemicals.
How to apply diatomaceous earth to kill dust mites
Applying diatomaceous earth is best done in dry form. There are some practical uses for wet applications such as on plants. However, for dust mites, it is best to use the dry powdered form through a flour sifter.
Spread the powder on carpet and furniture. It is best to leave it for several hours before vacuuming up. Walking on a carpet dusted with diatomaceous earth is not harmful.
To get rid of dust mites in a mattress, spread the powder on the mattress and cover with a dust cover sheet.
You can leave it on for days at a time and reapply as needed. If concerned about safety, you can wear gloves, goggles and a face mask.