Use Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Fleas in 3 Easy Steps

Over the last couple years, people have been blasted with such a large amount of different flea removal methods that it’s become difficult to determine what’s best for your flea problem. Some experts are adamant that only flea insecticides will work and ridicule those that thing otherwise while others advocate a completely natural approach. While both have their pros and cons, this article is going to investigate a substance called diatomaceous earth (sometimes called “DE”) that has over a decade of successful results for killing fleas in homes around the world. I recommend you read the entire post but if you are in a rush and want to skip to the usage instructions, please click here.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth and Is It Toxic?

Back in 1830s, an old farmer discovered hard substance that he initially thought was limestone. However, after further investigation of its chemical makeup, this soft, often crumbly deposit was actually diatomaceous earth in its natural form.

While a history lesson doesn’t help you kill those fleas that have been bothering you, it’s comforting to know that since people behind to extract these deposits, it has been used for a large variety of farm, industrial, and even food based situations where it has proven to be an extremely valuable asset. Additionally, this substance is very cheap and can be purchased at most supermarkets. We will discuss specifics on this a little later but be assured, it’s definitely not going to cost much!

If you have done some research on diatomaceous earth before reading this article, it’s highly likely that you have come across people on forums, blogs and even social media getting rather vocal about the dangers of diatomaceous earth. Is there anything to worry about?

Is Diatomaceous Earth Safe for My Family and Pets?

diatomaceous earth Powder

Diatomaceous Earth For Fleas

As an introduction to this section, let me just make one thing crystal clear. You can purchase diatomaceous earth in a variety of forms (remember we mentioned it has a large variety of applications) and one such use is for cleaning pools. This is often referred to as “pool grade” diatomaceous earth and it’s important that you don’t use this!

So what should be used instead? Simple answer, when purchasing diatomaceous earth online or in a brick and mortar store, make sure you get the “food grade” product. Unlike the other varieties and mixes, this is completely safe for the family and will not cause any problems in the house. Even though you may have read that DE can cut your lungs if inhaled, this is completely false and if you find anyone who thinks otherwise, ask them to contact me and I will set the record straight for them. Need some additional reassurance? No problem, your wish is my command ;)

Based on my research, I have found that diatomaceous earth is a very commonly used with grain storage as it keeps pests away. Since this substance is also absorbs water and humidity, it also keeps things nice and dry. After digging around even further, it seems that it can even also be consumed in small quantities to deal with various ailments! Why does this matter? Well it gives you the confidence that you can use it for flea control without stressing about potential complications with health.

Since diatomaceous earth is completely non-toxic, how on earth can it kill fleas? Well that is a great question and the good news is that there is a satisfying answer!

How Does Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth Kill Fleas and Does It Really Work?

Picture of a bowl of diatomaceous earth

Bowl Of Diatomaceous Earth

Ready for another simple answer? Instead of poisoning the buggers, it actually cuts their exoskeleton (their hard outer shell) and sucks the water out their bodies. Since their body needs this to survive, they die after a short amount of time. What do you think of that?!

Going into a little more detail, the diatomaceous earth is formed from algae with siliceous shells. When extracted, they are already dead, but their shells remain. These are razor sharp and while they are too small to even have a small effect on humans, they are deadly to pests. In fact, food grade diatomaceous earth can even be used to kill other pests like bed bugs, chiggers and gnats so feel free to try it elsewhere if you are having a problem with those in your home. Here are a few more implementations for flea control where diatomaceous earth is very useful.

  1. It can be used for killing fleas in your garden. Just remember to use it when the grass is completely dry as moisture will significantly reduce its effectiveness.
  2. Diatomaceous earth is extremely effective for killing fleas that are hiding in carpets, either in your home or even outside where your pets might enjoy taking a rest. If you don’t have any carpets, it can also be used on hardwood floors as a very effective way to kill off any flea infestations that may have found its way into your life.
  3. Situations where you want to use natural methods for flea control. There are many dangerous of using flea poisons, both for your pet and the people in your home. While it is sometimes required, it’s always good to give a couple tested home remedies first before taking a drive to the nearest shop for flea products, especially when they work as well as diatomaceous earth does!

5 Minor Concerns for Using Diatomaceous Earth

    DE For Flea Control

    DE For Killing Fleas

  1. I don’t recommend rubbing it on your pet’s skin on a daily basis (I have heard of people doing this) as it can cause dry skin, itchiness and dehydration. It’s better to treat fleas on your dog or remove fleas on your cats by using alternative methods. As for smaller pets (like young kittens, puppies, rabbits, hamsters, etc.), please keep them away from DE as due to their small body mass, it can be dangerous.
  2. Since DE is commonly used in your carpets, it can be a bit difficult to clean up and I recommend using a decent vacuum cleaner and brush to do so.
  3. Keep it away from moisture. As previously mentioned, this significantly reduces its effectiveness.
  4. Only use the “food grade” Diatomaceous Earth for flea control and stay away from the “pool grade” one. If you cannot find any in your area, consider using borax for fleas as its also safe, works well and is very affordable.
  5. If you have major asthma, keep in mind that the powder may cause some irritation so keep your asthma pump handy and cover your nose and mouth with a damp cloth while applying DE.
  6. Be careful of diatomaceous earth products that mention its concentration is less than 90%. In higher quantities, crystalline silica (which is often the reason for the deficit) can cause toxicity and this needs to be avoided if you are going to be using it for flea control. Ideally, try and purchase a product less than 1% of other ingredients (the purer the better) as this will ensure it’s completely safe for humans and pets.
  7. When using diatomaceous earth for killing fleas in your home, don’t put any household fans or anything that creates a draft as it can blow the fine granules all over your home, making it a nightmare to clean.

Instructions: 3 Simple Steps for Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas

Ok enough chit chat. It’s time to get down to business! Here are a few easy steps that you can follow to get rid of fleas in your home using diatomaceous earth.

    Using Food Grade diatomaceous earth For Killing Fleas

    Use Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth

  1. Give all your carpets a brush (stiff bristles) and a thorough vacuum. This will aggravate the fleas and get them moving about in preparation for your natural flea powder attack.
  2. After reviewing the cautions for using DE (in this article), simply sprinkle the powder where fleas are usually found. This could be in the grass in your yard, your carpets in your home or even the areas where your pets sleep and play. I highly recommend that you rub the powder into the carpets with a broom to make sure it reaches the fleas. I have had a number of readers asking about the density of DE that is needed. My answer is that it should be enough to finely cover the surface and if you are unsure, a little more is better. Just be careful you don’t get too much powder puffing into the air when you apply it to the targeted area.
  3. How long does it take for diatomaceous earth to kill fleas? Well research shows that once the fleas come into contact with the powder, they usually die about 4 hours later. However, I recommend leaving it for 12 hours before vacuuming up all the powder (and any dead fleas) to ensure they die.

It’s really as easy as that. Since flea eggs hatch after about a week of being laid by female fleas (in most scenarios), it’s recommended that you repeat this process once a week for a total of 3-4 weeks. This will prevent a repeat infestation after you get rid of the adult fleas.

Where to Buy Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas

Thoughts on purchasing diatomaceous earth for fleas online at Home Depot or Amazon? – If there are “limited brick and mortar” shops that sell it or if they are selling a mix of DE and other substances, buying from Home Depot or Amazon is my preferred way of obtaining diatomaceous earth as it’s very affordable and you are safe from scams or dodgy products. However, you still need make sure you only purchase the food grade product and you will also need to check the concentration (ideally it should be as pure as possible, preferably around 99% to ensure its safe for pets and for the family).

Buying diatomaceous earth from Walmart or Lowes – This is definitely a great option, especially if there is one of these outlets near your residence. Again, all the previous pointers need to be reviewed (above) but to add to them, don’t purchase any DE products that are marked for “pest control”. Why not? Well although these will probably kill fleas faster, they are usually not safe for your animals as they often contain other toxic elements such as flea insecticide.

Other than those outlets, remember that you can definitely purchase it from your local shops in your area. As long as you make sure its quality stuff, it doesn’t really matter where you get it, as long as its going to do the job without risking anyone’s health.

Success Stories – Diatomaceous Earth Fleas Reviews

Here are a few encouraging success stories for using this powder for effective flea removal. Hopefully this will give you the confidence to start using it if you are not convinced already.

Green Tick For diatomaceous earth Reviews “This product is everything the previous reviewers stated and then some. My cat had been suffering from fleas for the majority of the summer and every flea spray I purchased failed miserably. Within 24 hours her biting and scratching had minimized to almost nothing… my home is officially flea free.” – BlackDiamond from Home Depot

Green Tick For diatomaceous earth Reviews “When I got this package, I immediately sprinkled the 3 inside dogs. I have been using the chihuahua as the “control” because he has short white hair and fleas are easy to see on him. I HAVEN’T SEEN ONE FLEA SINCE I APPLIED diatomaceous earth!!! I’m sooo relieved! Finally, I can get my house back under control!” – Emily Brooks from Amazon

Green Tick For diatomaceous earth Reviews “I had some fire ants who had decided to move in to our house and I also have been trying to kill the fire ants outdoor with various poisons and nothing had a very good success rate, I heard of diatomaceous earth and that it is safe to animals and kids, so I gave it a shot and it killed off ants inside and out in two days. AWESOME!” – Beejorn from Home Depot

What About Using Boric Acid for Fleas Instead of Diatomaceous Earth?

This is definitely an option as boron based products are very effective for flea control. Borax and boric acid are slightly stronger and I have personally used it to kill fleas around my home over the past couple years. However, they have a few more health concerns and so you need to use it with caution. While the decision is still yours, I recommend using DE instead of borax for your flea removal needs. UPDATE: I have written an article on using borax for fleas (on this blog), check it out if you want to know the details and how it compares to DE.

In conclusion, using this simple and natural powder can do wonders for household flea problems. The power of diatomaceous earth for killing fleas in the home and yard has been proven over the years and regardless of what you may have been told, it does work and its very effective. Thanks for reading my article on using diatomaceous earth for fleas and I encourage you to share this article with your friends. Remember, if you have any questions, you can always leave a comment and I will get back to you! :)

Natasha Anderson

Natasha Anderson

Hi there! My name is Natasha and I would like to thank you for reading this guide. If you have any concerns or would like to ask a question about this article, I encourage you to leave a comment below and I will provide a reliable answer within about 24 hours. Remember, all this information is provided at absolutely no cost and if you have enjoyed what you have read, please show your appreciation by sharing this post on your favorite social network below. I look forward to helping you!
Natasha Anderson
Natasha Anderson
Please note that the contents of this guide is for informational purposes only. If you would like to receive professional advice to diagnose a pest control related problem, please contact your local exterminator immediately.

Comments

  1. frances says:

    Thank you thank you! This guide has brought a new life for me and my pets!!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Frances! Its a pleasure, I am glad that it has helped you find some relief from fleas. I also bet that your pets love you for it hehe :)

  2. Meeshell says:

    Natasha,
    I got your email, thank you and I added you on FB and shared too. I tried Borax again, it seems a lot better the second time around. I haven’t vacuumed yet, gonna wait 1 more day. Thanks again!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Meeshall! Its my pleasure and thanks for taking a moment to share this article, I really appreciate it :) I am glad that you are starting to see results, if you need more help, just shout and I will see what I can do.

  3. Ami says:

    Thank you for sharing such thorough guidance. I’m convinced and will try using this method to control fleas. Do you have any guidance ow much DE I should purchase per room?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Ami! Its an absolute pleasure, glad you have found it useful :) I recommend getting about 10lb but since they do come in different sizes, I recommend getting enough to finely “dust” each room in your house. You shouldn’t need too much but the good news is that its fairly cheap so you could even store the leftovers in a dry area for future use.

  4. Hope says:

    I really like your webpages, Natasha. I have a very hard time of finding food grade Diatomaceous Earth in a certain part of Canada. There is only 1 place that sells 300g Bug Killer Dusts which contains food grade DE. And I have yet to find out how pure it is. The store is very far away from where I live. It is also much more expensive than buying in bulk on Amazon. For some reasons, Amazon rejected my order because my shipping address is Canada. The funny thing is that they do have a separate webpage that shows the shipping rates for Canada (maybe, it’s just for other products like Dvds only). I couldn’t find any contact on their website. Do you know why?

    I read quite a bit on how to deal with fleas. However, the websites did not mention how to deal with books, notes, Cds, Dvds, computer, printer, drawers, air conditioner, and other items in a home infested with fleas. I wonder if I have to throw away a lot of stuffs. I read in a couple of your comments saying fleas on humans are not that common (or something along that line). However, it seems pretty common here. I don’t have any pets and don’t have a garden. As an fleas-infested person, do I need to use special shampoo/conditioner, soap on myself? Do I need a special comb?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Hope, thanks for your detailed comment, really helps me understand what needs to be done :) While I don’t live in Canada, I have done a little research and I recommend you try Terra Greenhouses or Herbies, not too sure if they are near you. Alternatively, I have noticed that a number of garden and hardware shops are starting to stock them, perhaps give a couple near your location a call. Lastly, not too sure if you went to the .com site but there is an amazon specifically for Canada, just add a .ca at the end (instead of the .com). As for human fleas, its possible but fleas cannot actually live on human blood permanently, they need to find a better host (such as a pet) otherwise they will die. I am not saying that you wont be bitten from time to time (check out my article on flea bites) but they wont take up permanent residence in your hair for example. :)

  5. eileen says:

    Hi, love your advice ! We recently rescued a choc lab that was going to be “dumped ” at the shelter or the pound ! Beautiful pup w/papers etc but the owners never bothered to keep up on his care. We have been fighting an uphill battle with fleas .but I used the DM around the yard and outside the house..I put small amounts in his food (which I was assured was perfectly safe) along with using a topical treatment on him. The Dm (which I was able to find at a local hardware store ..I live close to the Canada border and it was not easily available at the local
    walmart etc) was less effective in my home . For inside the home I used old fashioned 20 mule team Borax..It seems to be working better then all the high priced stuff we tried.. Both the Dm and Borax can be hard to spread evenly but I purchased a fine pasta strainer at the $ store ..It makes both easier to spread and keeps down on the extra dust..FYI I have severe asthma and using these products in this way has not induced an asthma attack. As for fleas sticking to me I have found that if I use a body lotion that has lavender in it (not just lavender scent but the actual oil ) the fleas avoid me.Thank you again for the advice ..I was thrilled to hopefully get these little buggers under control while not breaking the bank..Keep up the good work !!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Eileen! Thanks, appreciate your kind words and I am very glad that you have followed my advise. Most importantly, I am happy that you have had positive results. Let me know if you need any further help and thanks for sharing your success with the community. Cheers!

  6. Tammy says:

    Hi Natasha…the article was very informative, so thank you so much for that. As we have both pets and kids in the house, we were looking for something safe but effective, and came across DE in our research. We were actually able to find one place that carried it without having to place a special order, so we were able to get a 4 pound bag. We did have a few questions that we can’t seem to find answers for, though. Is it better to shake it, like a powder, or “poof” it, like a dust? We have found articles mentioning both, with pros and cons for both. Also, our animals (one cat, one dog) sleep on our beds at night. Is it safe to either sprinkle or dust DE on the mattress, say in the morning, and then vacuum it off in the evening before making the bed? I have seen no mention of anyone using it on human bedding, so I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Tammy! Glad you managed to get hold of it locally, definitely saves you a load of trouble. Good question, I usually place it in an empty coffee tin (or something like it) and punch holes in the top (kind of like a massive salt shaker). I then proceed to shake it wherever needed, I recommend that you do the same. Its perfectly safe for your pets and is often used on beds to kill both fleas and bed bugs (as well as a few other pests). Just one suggestion though, if you are going to use it on your bed, place it under the sheet as it can make some people cough a bit if it “puffs” into the air. I hope you find these answers satisfying, thanks for taking the time to comment!

  7. amanda says:

    Hi. Glad I found this site. I was about to apply the DE I bought at a small hardware store but was hesitant because it says its toxic on the back label.
    Its in a yellow bag, 4lbs. Safer brand.
    It doesn’t say “food grade” and is for pests. I used the online chat to ask safer brand if it was food grade, they assured me its safe for kids and pets. But I’m not sure. Any suggestions? And what brand?
    Thanks.
    Amanda

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Amanda! I wouldn’t take their word for it. No offense to them, but if it has a toxic label, its very unlikely that its safe for your pets and kids. I recommend purchasing some 40 mule DE, its affordable and pure. You can usually find it locally otherwise get it online :) Hope that helps!

    • Adrienne says:

      Amanda: I saw the same bag the other night at my local home improvement store. It contains food-grade DE, but it also has other “active ingredients” (read: chemicals) in it to kill faster. The Customer Service guy was really helpful and helped me search through their system. Apparently, they only sell the food-grade brand online. If you visited the “orange” hardware store, they sell St. Gabriel online for about $11 a bag. The bag is the same size as the Safer brand, 4.4 lbs. If you spend $45 bucks, they’ll ship to your house for free. I decided to do Amazon and purchased Thomas Labs Organic DE. 3 pounds for just under $16 and free 2-day shipping. It arrived this afternoon and my husband has already scattered quite a bit of it around. Crossing fingers! ;0)

  8. Susie McLemore says:

    I bought a jar of diatomaceous earth to sprinkle on my dogs food. Is there a measurement that I should give to my dogs. This is the first that I have bother with fleas infestation I have had dogs for years. I really want to know if it is safe to feed my dogs the diatomaceous.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Susie! Fantastic, glad that you are taking action based on what you have read in this article. Don’t feed your dogs DE, its not going to help in any way. For your pets I recommend a decent spot of treatment or just simply give them a bath using dawn dish soap each day for a couple days. Provided you don’t have a flea infestation in the home or garden already, your pets should be safe forever :)

    • Pamela McDermott says:

      I give my cats a small sprinkle on their wet food every day. in fact, farmers use it all the time in their animals’ food (about 3% is the norm) and if you google around a bit, you’ll see how helpful its been for their health! My fiance and I take it in water daily and have noticed it helps our general health.

  9. Anita says:

    Hi Natasha, I have two baby pigmy goats, 30 chicks (number to be reduced as soon as I determine which are roosters) that share an enclosed area. I also have intense reaction to fleas bites. I spent about an hour in to pen/coop cleaning and walked away with about seventeen bites on my back and one arm (none on my legs?) at the end of cleaning a dusted (with an applicator) the entire coop pen and both goats (not the chicks) I will dust again in a week (at this time I plan to wash the chickens) Question: ongoing how often do dust?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Anita! It depends on if there is an ongoing flea problem in that area. If you find that fleas keep popping up randomly, I recommend doing it each week or two as a bit of a proactive measure. Since its rather cheap the only real challenge is finding time to do it but I promise you that it will be worth it as it works great :)

  10. amanda says:

    What about red lakes brand of diatomaceous earth? Its I guess what farmers use for their animals food. But it doesn’t say any percentages of what’s in it. And its brown powder like dirt.
    I was frustrated because I sprinkled it all over but the issue is my carpet mostly and the kids are always crawling on it. And upstairs we have wood floors so I sprinkled it here and there only to fibd out I was seeing fleas still and we’re all still being bit. So my two kittens are now in our basement until we can figure something else out.we may just have to bomb the place :-/
    I have seen soooo many flees on them but I’ve read original dawn is great for killing the fleas on the animals, it did but then we quickly realized ourhome is infested because they keep infesting our kittys.
    Any advice for the red lakes powder would be much appreciated.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Amanda! From what I can see (I havn’t personally used it though so please double check) it seems fine. However, since we don’t know its exact compound makeup, I recommend going online and just getting it delivered to your door, thats what I do :) Just make sure that you get the pure stuff that doesn’t contain insecticides. Cheers!

  11. Stacy says:

    My house was infested with fleas. Before I read this I had the house sprayed and bombed yesterday by an exterminator. I have only seen a few fleas since then but I am hearing they will come back.
    When do you suggest I use this! Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Stacy! I recommend that you give it a couple days before following the steps outlined in this guide as there may still be residue chemicals that may take effect after the house was treated by that exterminator. However, this is just a suggestion, doing it right away is not harmful so its really up to you. :)

  12. laura says:

    Hi there…major flea problem in our basement. Our cat lives down there. We live on a nature preserve and have found them in our yard. Def where the problem lies. However…our basement is so bad we can’t even walk down there anymore. I’m reading all the benefits of DE and since our basement is unfinished I was planning on keeping a coating of the powder on the cement floor and in the separate entrance doorway for no less than 4 days. Will it be safe for me to allow the cat to go back down there when the DE is still present?

    We have an exterminator coming next week to spray the house and both our dog and cat will be getting groomed and flea baths.

    Any input would be great. THANKS!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Laura! Yes, its absolutely safe. The only thing that you need to keep an eye on is that your cat doesn’t bring fleas up to your living areas which can potentially spread them around, something you definitely want to avoid. Let me know how the flea treatment goes. I am sure that the exterminator knows what he is doing but it will be nice to get some feedback for the community if you get a chance.

  13. Nina says:

    Hello. I am battling a flea problem. I have already used borax through out the entire house. Let it sit for 8-10 hours and even longer on my furnature and swept it all up. I am still finding fleas. Or should I say they are finding me since I am the only blood in the house that isn’t treated. I was planning on weekly treatments of the borax. But should I try DE instead or move onto something stronger?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Nina! I recommend that you apply DE once a day in the morning (rub the stuff into the carpets, etc.) and vacuum it up in the evening. Repeat for a week and there is no way that any fleas will survive ;) Let me know how it goes, looking forward to hearing from you!

  14. Rachel Kennedy says:

    I have reduced the amount of fleas caught in my flea traps to just 1 or 2 in the last few days, last week I caught 42 in just a few days, YUK. I am now struggling to vacuum it up, my filter gets blocked in a couple of minutes and I cant see around my house as the DE flies into the air. Help! D E seems to work but I dont want to ruin my expensive hoover. How can I get it up without spreading it all over my house?
    Thanks

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Rachel! It seems that you used way to much of the stuff, just a fine coat (almost as you would salt your food) on the carpets, etc. is more then enough. I recommend that you use a brush and pan to get most of it up and then use your vacuum to get the rest. I am not too sure which model you have but preferably use a non-water based vacuum to suck the DE up. Good luck!

  15. Laura says:

    I just purchased a hand duster for the back yard to use to spread the DE. We have a HUGE yard, and as I mentioned in my previous post…we live right on a nature preserve. There is a lot of brush and natural ferns that outline the perimeter of our yard and also on outside of our fence. Do you think I should have my husband cut all of it down and then spread DE within our yard and also on the outside?? My dog and cat were shipped off to get flea baths/grooming today and the exterminator is coming today to do my whole house (since we are starting to see some in our living areas now….I feel like we are bringing them in with us because we see them on us in the yard as well now!!!!)

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Laura! Cutting down the trees would be a bit of a shame but it would reduce the flea population so its really up to you. If you do use DE outside, keep in mind that it needs to be dry otherwise it wont work at all. Glad to see you are treating your pets otherwise you will never win the fight against fleas. Keep me updated!

  16. Adrienne says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Natasha for this post! Our dog has brought us the summer gift of a flea infestation. My kids are itchy, I’m itchy and yes, the poor dog is itchy too. And, while fleas aren’t technically supposed to take up residence on people, the ones we have seem perfectly content in my daughter’s thick locks. (She was sleeping on my bedroom floor at the start of the outbreak. And, the dog had been on the foot of my bed.) I’ve done extra long shampoo sessions. I’ve used vinegar on our hair during shampoos. I’ve flea-dropped the dog. I’ve flea-sprayed the carpets and furniture. Nothing was helping. I’ve been researching DE for a few days now and am sold out on it, even though it’s only just arrived in the mail and is barely out of the box. BUT, I could find nothing on how long it was going to take to kill these little boogers once they made contact with it. It’s so great to have a light at the end of the tunnel now. I can deal with a markedly improving situation over the next few days and then repeating the process for the next month to make sure they’re all dead and gone!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Adrienne! Fleas can live on humans but its not their preferred target. In fact, although they do bite and can make you very itchy, fleas have to find an animal host eventually otherwise they will die. Of course, you still want to get rid of them asap so that you dont encounter those nasty bites, trust me when I tell you I know how horrible they can be. After fleas come into contact with it, it should take about 4-6 hours before they die. However, I usually leave the DE rubbed into the carpets, etc. for about 12 hours before vacuuming it up. Remember to repeat the process a couple times! Hope that helps!

  17. Katy says:

    Hi, I recently purchased some DE because my cat has a flea problem. I’ve just put it on the stair carpets and upstairs carpets but I think I might have used a bit too much, will that affect its ability to kill fleas? Also can you recommend a way of spreading it lightly without using a duster? I can’t seem to find one in any of my local shops or hardware stores (I live in a small town in Ireland).I heard if you just sprinkle it with your hands it can dehydrate the skin. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Katy! No it wont negatively affect its ability to kill those fleas. I recommend using an icecream container (those plastic tub ones) and after punching small holes in it, use it to sprinkle the DE in the places that need it (kinda like a salt shaker). It can dehydrate the skin but to be honest, its so incredibly short-term and you will be washing your hands afterwards anyways so its not going to have any effect.

      • Katy says:

        Thanks a million for getting back to me Natasha! That’s a great tip :)

  18. Suzie Nelson says:

    Hi Natasha
    I have a sudden and unexpected flea infestation in my bedroom. I have 2 cats and 2 dogs, and the cats have free rein in the house. Until recently, they both slept on the bed, but we have been having building work done (the roof is off) and a burst of very hot weather. This has had the cats seek out alternative sleeping sites. They are brother & sister, but while she is tiny (and oh, so lively and affectionate) he is about 16lbs, and very nervous. He wants to be fussed, but will only tolerate it when he is half asleep. I have had pets all of my life, and I know many times they have had fleas, but I have rarely, if ever seen one. Until now. Each time I go in the bedroom, they jump on my feet. The little girl will allow me to groom her, but he runs when he sees the comb & brush, and he is being eaten alive. He sits in the wash basin, and when he gets out, leaves lots of flea poo/blood behind. Have you any advice? I have bought DE, and have scattered it around the bedroom, but as I understand it, the fleas are just waiting for a body to hatch from larval stage and then leaping on me!
    And I would love some advice on how to help my baby boy. The irritation is making him even more anxious. He won’t even come into the bedroom now!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Suzie! Sorry for the late response, I can definitely make some suggestions! My recommendation is that you get a monthly spot on treatment for him, this will keep the fleas away and protect him from any further complications. As for the DE, I recommend actually rubbing it into your carpets as it will kill the adult fleas on contact and if any eggs hatch, it will kill the larvae. You can repeat application every couple days (the stuff is very cheap) and vacuum it up each time after waiting a couple hours. Hope that helps :)

  19. Michael Allen says:

    I just bought and applied some DE yesterday Natasha. We have a flea problem and I’m so sick of them! I will post again soon to let you know the results!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Michael! Fantastic, looking forward to it. If you have any concerns, let me know and I will assist you personally :)

  20. Ann says:

    I have a terrible infestation of fleas and have had my small apartment sprayed twice with an all natural product used by a professional exterminator. Still have fleas. Using Borax on the floor near the bed and have a pan of water with a light on it for night time. But all I have to do is lay down on my bed to sleep or just take a nap and I an finding little beige-ish bugs that run but I catch them in kleenex and flush them down the toilet. I have bites all over me and no end in sight. Any further ideas? I think I will try the DE but need some further help. Thanks.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Ann! Wow, it sounds like you have a fairly bad insect problem but trust me, DE is going to help you get rid of more then just those fleas. Since DE is effective vs a number of pests, its definitely the right option in your case, even for bed bug problems. I recommend giving it a try and reporting back your results, looking forward to hearing from you :)

  21. Melissa says:

    Can I rub DE on my cat? I’m worried because since my cats have fleas all they do is lick themselves all day. I know if I rub it on them they will lick it. I just sprinkled a lot of DE around my house. There is powder everywhere.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Melissa! While it wont hurt your cat (if its the food grade one as I mentioned in this guide), I recommend alternative natural methods like dawn soap and warm water for treating fleas on cats. In fact, I have a dedicated article that covers cat flea control, check it out when you have a chance, I am 100% sure it will answer any other questions you may have on the process.

  22. Susanne says:

    I once put borax in my carpet and when it was humid, the borax absorbed all the water and then the carpet was actually damp and almost felt wet. is the DE going to do this also?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Susanne! Yes, unfortunately you will experience a similar situation with DE. However, there are other alternatives for flea control and I highly recommend that you take a look at and if you would like me to point you in the right direction, let me know what else you have tried and I will help you out :)

  23. Katrina says:

    Hi,
    We noticed our cats had fleas and immediately did a ‘spot on’ treatment of Frontline on them. I sprayed the whole house with a pesticide and have been frantically vacuuming. I have seen a couple of fleas in the house so decided to try your homemade traps. I only caught two fleas. I am vacuuming daily and re-sprayed the house today (7 days later). I found one live flea in each room, does this indicate there are hundreds? I have washed furnishings and vacuum chairs as well as floors.
    I have been on amazon and ordered food grade DE, we have a combination of laminate, hard wood and carpets. How should I use the DE and do I need to treat the beds? We are not getting as many bites so think we are on the way to winning the battle.
    Also I have been worried to let the cats into the main house, will the frontline rid them? They do scratch a bit and I still see some flea dirt on the bed but that is lessening too. I thought maybe it takes a while for the cat to get rid of the dirt from their coat? or is it an indication the treatment didn’t work?
    This is really stressing me out as we have a tiny baby and two toddlers.
    Help!
    p.s. This blog is amazing!!!
    Katrina

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Katrina! Thanks for your kind words, they are really appreciated :) Those homemade traps that you made, did you use my guide from this blog? No it doesn’t, a couple fleas here and there isn’t usually an indication of a major problem but it should be addressed as soon as possible, just in case. Glad to hear that you are going to use DE in the house, combine that method with Frontline on the your pets like you mentioned and you will see fast results. Let me know how it goes and I will help you further where necessary!

  24. Rich Winter says:

    Can you use it on sofas and ceramic tile , in other words all other surfaces?
    Thanks for the information! I will run out and purchase some the first chance I get.
    Rich Winter

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Rich! Yes you can, it may look a little unsightly but since you will be vacuuming it up a couple hours later, this wont really matter. Let me know your results :)

  25. Amy Brown says:

    I came across your site with sheer desperation. I have a indoor cat who has made herself comfortable outside lately, what a bad idea on my part. Now we have fleas fleas and more fleas. I was at my wits end trying to figure out what to use that would be safe for her as well as my 2 yr old and 5 yr old. Then I saw your site. Finally tracked down DE food grade, very hard to do. Very popular around here and now I see why. I definitly have a ton of work to do yet but finally I see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have been trapped in the upper floors of our home due to these pest and we are now on our first floor flea free and working on the family room which is the final level. Insane is what these pests make you. My kitty is finally scratch free and part of the family again she has been missed. Thank you so much for this site. I cant thank you enough .

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Amy! I am very glad that my blog has been useful to you, really makes writing these guides worthwhile when I hear that people are appreciating them :) If you need any further help, let me know and I will make some time for you. Cheers!

  26. Jessica says:

    I bought a bag of DE for fleas and got it home and its brown, will this work for fleas or does it have to be the white DE?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Jessica! After doing a little research (havn’t seen that in my country), it seems that you may have purchased “feed grade” variant of DE. This is usually made up of about 30% Bentonite and 70% DE and while it should still work for pest control, I recommend that you try and get a pure DE (as high as possible) for maximum results.

  27. Kristina says:

    Can the cats remain in the house when the carpets and furniture are treated with DE? Will it harm them if they walk or lay on treated carpets or furniture? Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Kristina! Absolutely, unless you have very small kittens (even this shouldn’t be a major problem), its completely safe for your family and pets. To be extra cautious, just take your cats out the room while you are applying the DE to the carpets, etc. as the powder can “puff” into the air and cause slight respiratory issues for a short amount of time. Other then that, you are golden and can start using DE right away :)

  28. Michael Allen says:

    Thanks so much for the info Natasha!! DE is the bomb!!! Within 24-48 hours of application, 85% of my flea problem was solved!! Didn’t wipe them out with the first application but what a relief to beat down most of them. After vacuuming and laying down another layer, we’re pretty much 99% flea free!! You rock Natasha!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Michael! I am glad to hear that you have had such good results and thank you for your kind words. I hope that your comment encourages those that have not had a chance to use DE to give it a try :) Cheers!

  29. Shawn says:

    Got the food grade DE after trying foggers, traps, etc. None of them worked. On top of the dog and cat getting chewed up they had a major taste for me. Was getting bit like crazy. I applied the DE to the carpets and spread it in with a broom to insure it got in there good, and a little on the animals. This stuff completely wiped them out. Glad to have gotten it.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Shawn! Another great success story, thank you very much for sharing it with us. I hope that you share your new found knowledge with your friends and family so that they can also have a fantastic method for getting rid of fleas :)

  30. Debbie says:

    I too came across your site when looking for a flea treatment that actually works…and after tlalkin to others that had also used DE i decided to give it a try tonight…keeping fingers crossed!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Debbie! You have come to the right place and I am sure that you are also going to get good results from using it. My recommendation is that you really rub it into your carpets (I use a broom) and after leaving it for the day, vacuum it up and repeat if necessary. Let us know how it goes, would love to hear another success story :)

  31. Muriel Ganon says:

    Hello Natasha,

    your article has been very helpful, thank yu so much.

    We have two little dogs, and my question is how long do I have to leave the bedroom close in order for the dogs not to approach the area
    and should when I vacuum the entire bedroom after the treatment.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Muriel! Its a pleasure, glad you have found it useful :) I recommend that you leave the DE down (rub into the carpets, etc.) for the entire day (a minimum of about 4 hours). Although the DE should be fine around your dogs (the food grade is completely safe), you can keep them out for this time period. Good luck!

  32. David says:

    Is it safe to apply directly on my dog? I have inspected my dog and I can only find one flea so far. I’ve washed his bedding and will apply DE to our one piece of carpet in the house. Thank you so much!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey David! You could but its better suited for killing fleas in carpets, etc. For your dog, there are a number of other natural flea treatments that you can try, check out my dedicated guide on removing dog fleas and let me know if you have any questions. :)

  33. Kim says:

    I also heard that DE (food-grade) worked well for getting rid of worms in cats. Do you know if this is correct? Another website said that I should sprinkle a little bit on their food.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Kim! Yes, although I haven’t used it for that purpose myself but I have also read that its fairly effective for removing all sorts of internal parasites. Just make sure its the pure, food grade variation and it might be worth your while to get with your vet first :) Good luck!

  34. Catherine Appell says:

    Can. I put it directly on my 2 small dogs and 1 cat, used Bio Spot and Zodiiac Spray still see flea poop! Just ordered 25lb bag of DE food grade with duster! How long does it stay on pets? and when I put it all around house, when do you vacuum it up?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Cath! You can but its not really the best choice of action, rather use a couple of the other natural flea control methods for your cat. I have an entire article on the best flea treatments for cats, check it out and hit me up if you have any questions about the steps :)

  35. Lori says:

    I just purchased food grade DE and am wondering how many times and how often should I repeat application of the DE on my carpet and furniture and also my yard to get rid of fleas and larvae for good?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Lori! I recommend placing it for about a day and vacuuming it up afterwards. Remember to rub it into the carpets, etc. As for your yard, you can use DE if its very dry but keep in mind that water will significantly reduce its effectiveness. It might be worth your while to get your yard treated by an exterminator and then leave the house (and your pets if you have) to you. Let me know if you have any more questions! :)

  36. Colleen says:

    I was just wondering if the DE washes out of things easily. A stray cat adopted my family and we treated her w/ drops (like we do our other pets every month) less than a week later. It’s been 4 months and my 3 cats and 2 dogs have all been flea free. My house, however, is not. They’re in my carpet, in our beds, and worst of all on my toddlers stuffed friends and therefore him. I’ve tried washing the friends, I’ve tried freezing the friends, I’ve even submerged them in a tub of soapy water for days and those little black jumping devils keep coming back. Can I use DE on the friends and then wash them? I have never had a flea problem before in my 27 yrs as a pet owner, and I’ve only recently heard of DE so I was just wondering what the best way to use it would be. Thank you so much.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Colleen! DE is great for getting rid of fleas in carpets and beds so I highly recommend that you give it a try. DE is also completely safe for the family so you can use it without worrying, just give it a dust off after about 24 hours. Good luck!

  37. April Smith says:

    It is also great to use on their food to get rid of worms, and supposedly the Food Grade is safe for humans for the same purpose! It also is said to contain vital minerals that help both. There are a lot of uses for it and I love that it safe around my little ones.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey April! I will definitely add that to the main article so that others can benefit from your suggestion. Thank you!

  38. Colleen says:

    Hello again. I had a quick question: I have a house w/ a basement and have noticed fleas in both levels. On the main floor, we have hardwood w/ area rugs and in the basement, we have tile. Would it be better to do one level at a time to try to chase them all to the basement or just do both at once? And w/ furniture, how long should you leave it on? Thanks again for being awesome and helping us bug infested people reclaim our homes and sanity.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Colleen, welcome back! I would personally recommend doing them all at once, that way there is no chance of them escaping into either area. You can leave the DE down as long as you like to be honest, as long as there is no moisture or humidity which can reduce its effectiveness. Glad I can be of assistance, I am always willing to help my valuable readers :)

  39. Brenda K. Thom says:

    Hello, I read a post up above not to use the Safer brand of DE.. however, I have already put it down in a few areas, mostly room perimeter and a window seat where the dog hangs out. (blocked off for now.) There are only 2 small rooms carpeted and am treating those with borax. Is the Safer brand really that bad? The label states that it’s organic and OMRI approved for organic gardening. I would certainly order food grade if need be, but in the meantime the fleas have to be dealt with. Thank you.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Brenda! It should be fine, just lay it out where it needs to go (don’t forget to rub it in with a broom) and vacuum it up after about a day. While it should be fine (based on you description of the product), I recommend keeping your pets, etc. away from the treatment areas until its sucked up. Let me know how it goes!

      • Brenda says:

        It actually has helped a lot along with the Frontline. Still a ways to go yet as the dog seems to have a histamine reaction to the fleas, but haven’t seen live ones in a few days. Cooler weather is helping too. Thank you for all the information and reply.

        • Natasha Anderson says:

          Pleasure Brenda, thanks for getting back to me :)

  40. Vicki says:

    My house is large and we need to cover the whole house. Can I mix DE with borax when I put it down on the floors and carpet?

    Thanks -

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Vicki! While I haven’t personally mixed the two, it shouldn’t be a problem and it may actually yield excellent results. If this is the case, let me know and we can share it with the community!

  41. Mary says:

    I have a question I cannot seem to find the answer to-no matter how many sites and blogs I visit. Yours seems particularly informative so maybe you could answer.

    How MUCH of this DE do I need to buy? I have no idea how much to order.

    Thanks much!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Mary! I recommend grabbing yourself about 5kgs, thats around the size that my local supplier gets. However, its really based on how much you need. Basically you will need to “dust” a fine layer around your home. If you have a large home, grab yourself a slightly bigger one. Hope that helps you and thank you for stopping by, hopefully my blog has provided you with a satisfying answer. If I can help in any other way, please let me know! :)

  42. Mary Jenson says:

    So I bought 1.5 lbs of LUMINO Diatomaceous Earth at Kahoots Pet Store in Southern California. Hadn’t read your website, though, until this morning (great, detailed information, and such a quick turn around for questions). What I bought is only 78% DE, 22% Other. Should I, could I, use this ON my two dogs and the house because I have it already? Or is it just not a good idea?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Mary! Thanks for your kind words, they are appreciated! Don’t use anything that isn’t highly pure, food grade DE on your pets as it will make them sick. You can use it for inside the house (carpets, etc.). Just rub it in and leave for about a day before vacuuming it up, that way it won’t go to waste. Perhaps grab a spot on treatment for your dogs and you will be flea free in no time :)

  43. Cath says:

    Hi Natasha,

    We have to take our dog to doggy day care three days a week (every other day). He had a small flea problem that we think he picked up there, so we treated him and the house with DE during an extended period of not having to take him there. He is now flea free. How can we keep him from picking up fleas from this place again? If we keep him dusted about once a week, will it keep him flea free? We definitely don’t want to stop taking him there since he loves it and it is now part of his routine. Thanks for any help you can offer!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Cath! The only two ways that you will keep fleas off your pets is either constant grooming with a flea comb (check out my guide on this) or a monthly spot on treatment. I don’t recommend dusting him with DE too often as it can dehydrate him slightly (in some cases). Hope that helps you!

  44. Victoria says:

    We have a 4 bedroom house with 3 living rooms and it’s a split level house so 3 sets of stairs and most of our house is carpeted how much DE would you recommend that i buy?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Victoria! Since I usually recommend applying the DE a couple times in heavily infested areas (vacuuming it up each time after about a day), you will probably need about 10kg’s. If they sell them in slightly larger quantities, get the bigger one as its always a useful product to have around the house. Good luck!

  45. Tami says:

    Ah, Natasha, so glad I found you!!

    First, thank you for the article. It was very informative even though I’ve been researching DE for a few weeks. I put down DE last night and after reading your article I went around and used a broom on the carpets.

    Anyway, here’s my situation. We have 3 dogs and 3 cats, plus we recently began fostering cats through our local humane society. Our latest “batch” of kittens came with their nursing mama in the beginning. However, her milk dried up very quickly and she had to be separated from her litter as kittens sadly do not understand that there will be no milk from that source and you’re hurting your mum. So we put mum into a big, lighted … and carpeted … walk-in closet. Boom! Flea infestation. Erg!

    My oldest and biggest dog has gotten the worst of it. I’m going to take your advice and give her daily baths with Dawn (miracle soap, I swear) but my other senior dog has a skin infection so I’m not sure what to do there. She’s always been a “licker” and managed to lick herself right into an infection. The vet had said avoid bathing as it would dry out her skin, but applying DE may as well. What are your thoughts on that?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Tami! It makes me happy knowing that i have assisted with your fight against fleas :) For your old dog that has licked himself dry, using natural treatments (such as lemon, dawn, etc.) is going to be your best option. I have a great article on the best flea treatment for dogs, check it out for more details. I don’t recommend using the DE directly on your pets. I usually use DE in the home (carpets, etc. this will be great for your walk in closet) and then either a natural or product based method on my pets. If you need any further help, let me know!

  46. EF Anderson says:

    This is a very good and very factual article on DE. I researched DE years ago using different web sites to gather information and was pleased to see an article on this subject featured here along with the diligent attention/details you brought to this topic. I’m reading articles here that right now don’t apply to any current situation I have, but I just love these kinds of articles…you never know when you’ll need them!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey EF! Thanks for your kind words. I hope you don’t have a flea problem anytime soon but if you do, I am glad that you have found a resource on the web that you enjoy. DE really rocks my world as well :)

  47. Lynette says:

    We just purchased a home and it has fleas about 5 on each leg. We want to treat it before we move furniture in nd have 8 days and were thinking of Leaving the de down the entire time. Will this kill fleas and eggs or will new ones hatch when we move in and walk around. And if new ones hatch will they go into furniture fabric instead and lay new eggs? Also does painting hardwood floors trap the eggs?

    Are there spots they like to lay eggs more than others? There is no carpet just hard wood flooring and tile.

    We were going to do terminix because they guarantee application to kill active and new fleas that hatch but afraid of long term side effects to lungs etc for us our children and pets. If there is no carpet do you think exterminator would be safe?

    And can we put de in the cupboards?

    Thanks so much in advance for any advice and for listening!

    Lynette

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Lynette! The DE will kill fleas but will not kill their eggs, unless the larvae emerges while the DE is still down. However, if baby fleas do not find a host, they will not lay eggs so you job will be to simply kill the adult fleas and stop the eggs from hatching. You can stop the flea life cycle by using a IGR (insect growth regulator) spray. You can put DE in the cupboards and anywhere where you think fleas may be hiding. To be honest, if you can afford the exterminator and they can confirm their treatment will not affect your family, go for it. Hope that helps!

  48. Lisa Vanz says:

    thank you very much for this comprehensive ariticle on DE — but I don’t have a clue how densely it should be spread it around. And is it just for crevices or areas where my pets will lie or is it to be used on entire surface areas? I had a professional steam my carpets and then he used boric acid powder – but I would like to add DE if I could learn how it is used.
    Thanks so much,

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Lisa. I usually dispense the DE by using an ice cream container that contains small holes (I use a knife to do this), almost like you would use a salt shaker. So in other words, you don’t need to put tons of the powder down, it just need to be enough to finely “dust” the surfaces. Remember to rub it it with a broom afterwards :) Good luck!

  49. Lacey says:

    Natasha,
    Your site is very helpful and gets right to the point. I used DE a few years ago, very successfully, to get rid of fleas in my apartment and treat my cats. This weekend our dogs came home from my in-laws farm completely covered in fleas so I went to work this morning. I needed a quick reminder on the application process and your site was perfect. I would like to say that when I use it in my house I do have to wear a mask while applying because it bothered my lungs pretty bad last time. I also think I used too much. I apply it with my hands, they get a little dry but nothing a good wash and some lotion won’t cure. It does make a bit of dust when spreading with a broom, but it’s worth it to me. I almost went crazy last time and DE saved my sanity.

    I even use it on the dogs periodically. This time they both got baths, then a spot on treatment and also some DE to kill the ones that were still hanging on. Love the stuff, it’s natural and chemical free as long as you get the food grade. I would recommend it to everyone. Keep up the good work! Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Lacey! Thanks for your kind words and for sharing those valuable tips with the community, its really appreciated! I am glad that I could be of assistance and hope to see you back soon. Cheers!

  50. Shannon Maldonado says:

    Thank you so much for your informative articles! We’ve recently had some stray cats staying under our shed and have just noted a major infestation around, under, and inside of the shed. We have 3 indoor cats that I have subsequently treated with Advantix as a preventative measure since I have not seen any fleas in the house… YET!! Your article says that the DE can be sprinkled on the lawn but it becomes less effective once moist. What is the best way to go about treating an outside infestation? Should I wait until the dew is dry in the morning and sprinkle it around, under, and inside the shed? Should I be doing this several days in a row? Also, is it better to use the DE mixed with Borax or just on its own? Thank you so much!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Shannon! For outside infestations, I have recently been recommending either a lime treatment or for my readers to use “beneficial nematodes” to kill fleas in the yard. I suggest you use DE (or borax, using both is not necessary) only in the house. Good luck!

  51. Niecy says:

    Hi, Natasha!

    I am battling a second flea infestation problem, I used boric acid, salt and baking soda mixture, and DE when if finally arrived.I used those products around the house and carpets the first time leaving the last treatment on the floor and carpets for 72 hours. I am now battling a second time with them. I thought they would dry up the eggs and larvae too. I don’t know how they got in here again, Unless through open windows (with screens.) I don’t own any pets, so it’s even more frustrating. At least then I’d understand why they’d want to be in my home. It’s weird. I have lived here for 5 years and this is the second time I have seen them in this apartment. I think it’s an environmental thing,if so, How can I repel them and kill the ones in here off for good? I have to wear repellent in my house and to bed, what a shame. Another question is, how long can they go without feeding on blood before they die?.. As replant is my new cologne and linen spray.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Niecy! DE will kill any larvae it comes into contact with but it will not kill the eggs. I recommend getting your yard a lime treatment (its not too expensive) or alternatively, as I just recommended to Shannon, get yourself some “beneficial nematodes” to kill those fleas outside. For inside the house, use some DE. Good luck!

  52. Denise says:

    Hi! Your article was very informative! Anyways I had a few questions I bought some DE a few days ago I assumed it was food grade and also looked up the company who was responsible for putting it on the shelves their DE is actually grey/light dusty coal colored not white. on the box it has a variety of animals on it and says it’s ok to use on them as well as the lady who rang me up said she uses it for her chickens. I have used it to rub on my dog and cats fur and I have put a little in their water I was just wondering fur wise would you know how long it would last on them? They haven’t itched or had any side effects but I’m not sure how to to wait till reapplication. Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Denise! Thank you very much :) DE won’t work if you mix it with water (for killing fleas that is). I usually use DE for killing fleas on carpets/etc. and for my pets, I either use a natural treatment (check out my articles on specifically killing fleas on either dogs or cats) or a spot on treatment like Front Line. Let me know if you have any other questions!

  53. Laura Howe says:

    I tried DE today in our bedroom. My husband is furious! It is an amazing dust cloud! I’ve had to put a fan in the window and it is boggling how much dust comes up when I broom it. I’ve read through some of the comments, clearly I am using WAY too much. I found your last comment to be hopeful, I will take a yogurt container (big) and punch some holes in it to lightly sprinkle. Not sure I can do this in our offices as the dust will be killer on our computer equipment.

    I will use it on the dog beds, I can apply it outside to minimize application dust. So can I go without cleaning those beds every couple of days if I just keep dust on them? We have way too many dogs beds for 2 dogs!

    Lastly, our bed. The dogs sleep on our bed. Should I try a light dusting on the comforter cover? Extra light? Ideas on how to make this work without it being icky?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Laura! It sounds like you used to much hehe, sorry about that. Yes, definitely give that a try as it will help distribute the DE evenly. Yes, you don’t need to keep washing them to kill fleas if you have DE in place, just make sure its food grade. Dusting the comforter cover will work, just do it lightly and you will be fine. Thanks for your questions :)

  54. Nancy Sargent says:

    Thank you for the info. I had bought food grade diatomaceous earth before and sprinkled it around for fleas, but no one ever said to vacuum it up after 12 hours, and I never knew anything about the pureness factor in the concentration of the product. So you have helped me greatly! Also I wondered if you could feed it to your pet and yourself to deal with bugs and or worms? My kitty has tapeworm, and is never going outside again because all she does is eat grass. (She thinks she’s a cow). But this is the second time she got tapeworm, and I can only gather it’s from her trips outside??? The last tapeworm meds I got from the vet. It was a liquid that you apply to the back of your pet’s neck. She was so sick from it I thought she was going to die. She’s very sensitive to medicines, that is why I want to try this product for her tapeworm. Any thoughts or better ideas?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Nancy! Glad you have found this information useful :) I haven’t used it for that purpose myself but I have read that it is good for parasite removal and things like that but rather contact a medical practitioner for confirmation. I usually remove tapeworm from my pets using a tablet so I suggest grabbing something like that from your vet, not too sure why they recommended a liquid, very strange lol. Good luck!

  55. Claire says:

    Hi Natasha! I am lucky to find your so helpful information! I followed your tip, sprinkled three levels all together including the mud room where my cat’s whole station is, and left the powder for three days as of today. Our home is over 85 years old Victorian style, remodeled kitchen with over 85 years old wood flooring on the first and second levels. Lots of clevises, cracks and fire places that hasn’t been used for some years, seem to be offering a good places for these feline fleas, I am devastated at this point. I saw a bug flying across over our dinning table this morning as I was about to decide to clean up the powder all over on the floor. I’ve seen some eggs and feces on our hand towel in the bathroom although it is way less than it was before. I also wanted to ask of any product that will do to get rid of flea in my head and my daughter’s. I feel like I am out of resources now and debating whether if this problem existed before we moved in, it is our first summer with this home. It doesn’t seem to stop at any time soon.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Claire! I recommend that you keep using DE, its a fantastic product, especially in homes where there are lots of those cracks, etc. in the floors as it can usually get in there and kill more then just fleas. Leave it down for a day or two and then after vacuuming it up, repeat a couple times over a few weeks. If you do have fleas in your hair, a simple wash under hot water will kill all of them so you don’t need to worry about that. You can also try using a flea bomb, I have an article that outlines the exact steps and I encourage you to check it out. Good luck!

  56. Susie Driver says:

    Hi Natasha – Your article was so very informative. A friend of mine told me about DE, and your website was the most informative one I got when I googled it. I intend to get some and use it in my pets’ beds and in my yard. My friend suggested I might also find it useful in getting rid of roaches. What do you think?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Susie! Thanks for your kind words and I am glad that you found it the most informative, that was my exact goal while writing it ;) DE and borax (both used for flea control) are both very effective against these pests. I will be writing about roaches in the next couple months and I will definitely include something about this. Cheers!

  57. Anita Gilbert says:

    Plz help me; I recently had my male dog neutered & had to keep him inside for a few days & brought n our other dog as well but after bathing & treating them good. I now have a horrible flea infestation. I bought food grade also but is also brown. Was told it was safe to use on my 13 house cats, yes 13 cos they r so ate up with fleas. But now I’m worried I may have harmed all my babies . The place I bought it told it was very safe to use on them & the house. I didn’t know I was suppose to use the white kind. Though there was only one color of food grade. How long should I leave it on them before I bath them or just leave it on them. They seem to be fine & its been about 4 hrs. No problem with breathing. How long will it take to start killing them on my cats.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Anita! While the product I recommend is usually white, this definitely doesn’t mean that you have the wrong stuff. If you were told by a certified individual that it will not hurt your pets, then you should be able to trust them. Your primary goal is to make sure its as pure as possible, the color doesn’t really make a difference. However, on that note, I don’t usually recommend DE for direct application on pets as it can dry out their skin. Rather use DE in the house (carpets, etc.) and a decent spot on treatment for your pets and you should be flea free in no time :)

  58. ilona taylor says:

    Thanks so much for all the info on DE and fleas! I just found your website yesterday, but have been using DE on carpets for two weeks now. We aren’t seeing any on the floors, only on the cats. We still are finding fleas and flea dirt on them. We had treated them with Advantage and it’s time to retreat. However, before i read your info here, i put DE onto the cats and worked it into their coats hoping to kill off the ones that Advantage hasn’t. Now, though, i’m concerned that the Advantage won’t work if there is still DE in their fur. Do you think that the DE will absorb the Advantage and prevent it from spreading over the cats? I’m really sorry now that i did that.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Ilona! That is a good question hehe, I am actually not sure. However, there is no need to take a chance, just give your cats a quick wash (I put mine in the shower and yes, they do hate me for it for a good couple days) and only after they are completely dry, apply the Advantage. Also, I recommend using DE around the entire house (wherever there may be fleas) at the same time (that you use the spot on treatment) to make sure that all those fleas die. Good luck!

  59. Judith says:

    Hi and thanks for all your helpful information. I have three cats and one dog with fleas, have used DE (food grade) all over the house and on them. This has reduced the flea population by about 75 percent. I’m going to be traveling for several weeks and I wondered if it’s safe to leave the DE on the carpets while I’m gone. (The cats will be in residence; the dog will not). I’m worried about coming back to a huge flea infestation! Thanks for your help.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Judith! Its a pleasure and I am glad you have had such good success with DE. To answer your question, yes, its completely safe and I actually recommend it. Enjoy your trip!

  60. Linda Connor says:

    OH NO my husband just spread Pool grade DE all over in the cats out side pen. Is this gonna hurt them?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Linda! It shouldn’t hurt them, just vacuum it up as soon as possible and replace with the food grade variation. :)

  61. la hoover says:

    Great article I’m going t try de this weekend. My dog can’t walk 5 steps without scratching. And the puppy is the same way. Can I use it around my 2.5 month old puppy. How about my 2 year old son?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey La! Thanks, glad you liked it :) Yes you can use the food grade variation around your puppy, just don’t use it ON your pets. I always recommend a decent spot on treatment for that. Good luck!

  62. Mary Lou Dawson says:

    I have a cocker spaniel who always finds the fleas. How often is safe to dust her with DE?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Mary! It won’t hurt him but I would rather recommend a decent spot on treatment or just simply giving him a good bath using dawn soap and warm water. If you are going to use both, make sure you bath him first and then apply the spot on only afterwards. DE is mainly for your actual house, not really for direct pet application. Hope that helps!

  63. Annelyse says:

    Hello! I’m glad to have found your website! My dog brought fleas in and they are destroying me. I treated the dog and now the fleas are eating me alive in my bed every night. I put DE all around my bed and removed the bedskirt, but they are directly jumping onto me and my blankets :-(. Is it safe to put DE on my mattress and sheets and sleep with it on there?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Annelyse! First of all, I recommend that you wash all your bedding and once its dry, place DE under your sheets and on your carpets. If this still doesn’t remedy the situation, get yourself a steam cleaner as the high temperature will kill those fleas fairly quickly. Good luck!

  64. Yvette says:

    I purchased Red Lake Earth DE from my local feed supply store. Will this product work as we’ll. Before this, I used a mixture do baking soda and salt. Not quite sure if that made a huge difference. Patiently awaiting your reply.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Yvette! That will work perfectly! Looking forward to hearing your experiences!

  65. Karen says:

    DE appears to be working for us. We have hardwood floors and have used it along all floors and keep a dusting in the gaps in the floors. We are vacuuming twice daily and washing clothing we are wearing and bedding every other day. The use of a light and dish of soapy water at night helps us see if there are adults still around. We are in week 3 and seem to have gained the upper hand. We will continue this treatment just to be safe and to make sure we catch any that have recently “woken up”. Much better than using unsafe poisons etc.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Karen! Sounds like you are making good progress and I am glad you are trying the natural route, I also prefer them over chemicals where possible. Let me know if you have any questions!

  66. Judith says:

    Hi Natasha, what happens to fleas in colder weather? I have a screened porch I haven’t allowed my cats to hang out on because of fleas, and I’m wondering if it’s safe to let them out for a while in the winter. After the first hard freeze? Second? Never? Thanks for your great information.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Judith! Fleas are fairly resilient and although they are less active during colder weather, it won’t kill them in most situations. However, if you really want a number, I would say that after a couple hard freezes its unlikely that there will be many fleas around. I highly recommend actually treating your garden (with lime, etc.) for fleas to get rid of them once and for all so that you can let your dogs out whenever they want.

  67. David Stone says:

    Thanks for all the information Natasha! I just bought a box of DE from Diatomaceous Earth.net for a basement flea problem. My basement has a concrete floor with 1 large rug and 1 small piece of extra carpet. I was planning on dusting the rug, carpet and concrete then vacuuming up after 24 hours. Is method dangerous for a vacuum equiped with a HEPA filter…will it kill the vacuum? Thanks for your time.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey David! Its a pleasure, glad that you have found it beneficial! I have never used one with that filter but let me put it this way, its basically just dust. So although you may need to clean up that filter a couple times during the process, it should be fine. Otherwise your timings and target areas is perfect, let me know how it goes :)

  68. Daniel says:

    Hello! My problem recently has actually been with ticks. I found over 15 on my dog in a two day period. Also found one on my pillow (after he jumped up on the bed) and one crawling up the wall in the kitchen (I imagine they fell off the dog and wondered away, I put some geranium oil on his collar, they seem to hate it). My wife and have a 6 month old daughter and we have been sick with worry. I purchased some DE food grade and applied it to the carpets and all of the dogs bedding/hang out spots. I applied it when the dog and baby weren’t home. In your opinion could it harm the baby in any way after it’s settled? If she was on the carpet, got some on her hand (I’m sure it would be a minuscule amount) then placed it in her mouth, would there be any adverse reactions? Sorry, these ticks have me all flustered. Thank you for your time!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Daniel! Although its advisable to vacuum it up completely, the food grade (this is incredibly important)) variation of DE is perfectly safe. Good luck!

  69. tom says:

    Hi, thanks for this informative article. 2 questions:
    1. is there any value in adding DE to my dogs food? small doses of course.
    2. does DE work against roaches?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Tom! Its a pleasure :) I haven’t done it myself but I have had a couple of my readers saying that it does have health benefits. Yes it does. Simply mix some of it with cocoa powder and flour in equal parts and leave it in the area where you have a roach problem, works really well :)

  70. Jenna says:

    Hello, I found your blog this.evening and found it very informative. This week sadly my house came in contact with fleas due to my sister-in-law spending the week with me while my husband was in florida at a work conference. The little buggers were in her bedding! Luckily my cat is on advange and has been before we moved into our new house. I have been using borax periodically as a precaution, but after doing some research heard about DE and that it was more safe then borax, which is still a great product but not something I would use in the kitchen, on bedding, or near my pets food dishes. After using the DE I have found that it is effective from the first application. What I have learn is that you need to wash all your bedding on a hot cycle as well put it in the dryer, repeat more then once. While applying the DE move all furniture, vacume as you go, apply, work with broom, also make sure you get the baseboards thats where they really like to lay there eggs. Again I have found your blog verg helpful in answering any remainer question I have, and i will make sure.to reapply the DE over the next six week fo kill the flea cycle. Sincerely thank you!!!!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Jenna! Thanks for sharing your experiences with borax and DE, its much appreciated. I also appreciate your kind words and hope to see you back again soon :) Let me know if you have any further questions!

  71. sharon blickenstaff says:

    i am confused…if DE kills fleas why would I use the chemical based products like Frontline? My vet has me using the DE alone. If it doesn’t kill the fleas we already have why bother with it? Why not use the Frontline all the time?
    Thanks!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Sharon! Good question, basically DE is only for non-pet related treatments. This means that DE is great for places like your carpets, floorboards, etc. but I wouldn’t advise you use it directly on your pets. Its not dangerous but its best to combine a pet specific product (e.g. Front Line) with a house based flea solution (such as DE) for maximum results. Hope that clears things up, thanks for your comment!

  72. Leon Eakes says:

    How do I know if it’s the food grade DE? And whats the best way to apply it on the carpets so it don’t make so much dust? Thank you for your help

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Leon! It should mention it on the label. I usually use a plastic container with holes in the top (I usually make the holes lol) and use it like a salt shaker. I find that it distributes it quite nicely.

  73. Jason says:

    Glad I ran across this guide. Our cat is normally an indoor cat but she decided to sneak out and explore one day and brought some fleas back with her, which we didn’t expect because she gets frontline treatments regularly. A few fleas quickly turned into a huge infestation. I can’t even walk across my bedroom without getting bit 3 or 4 times on my feet and ankles. Just ordered some DE on Amazon after reading this guide. I ordered 10 LBS and need to do 4 rooms and a hallway, do you think that is a good amount? Thanks for what you do on this site, you have a lot of great advice. Keep up the great work!

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Jason! Thanks for your kind words! I plan to write a number of additional articles in the near future, time permitting of course. That sounds perfect, let me know how it goes and make sure that you apply it slowly otherwise it can make a bit of a mess ;)

  74. Rob Marcelletti says:

    I purchased a 5lb. box of food grade of DE 3 days ago I applied it as directed topically to our 4 dogs and my ferret with little to no affect at all it seems to not work , how many applications are you supposed to do and how long does it take to kill fleas ?

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hi Rob. DE isn’t really for direct application on your pets. As mentioned in this article and in the comments above, its better suited for killing fleas in your home (carpets, floors, etc.). For pet flea treatment, you can use a spot on or check out my best flea treatment for dogs article on this site for a few natural methods. Hope that helps, good luck!

  75. Cheryl8 says:

    Hi, I have enjoyed reading your articles. I have a question for you. This past Summer I had a TERRIBLE flea infestation in my home. I believe it’s something I did to myself! I have a problem area of my yard that was full of ants and was dried out from the previous years drought. I wanted to plant grass so I tilled up the yard, pulled out all the weeds, and planted grass seed. Long story short – It didn’t work, so I redid everything, still no grass. BUT, the fleas were a nightmare. I don’t know how or when they got so bad but, my home was infested. My dog was infested. I bathed and removed fleas and treated him with Frontline. Sprayed the house with “Ultracide.” Washed everything in sight with bleach and Borax. And still had fleas. So, I then treated the whole house, all 3 floors, with Borax. Me and my dog moved to my sisters for about a week. I started cleaning the Borax from my hardwood floors and I couldn’t believe the amount of fleas and flea dirt I was seeing. It was disgusting. But, I think I finally got the problem under control. My question is after all of the cleaning, washing, vacuuming, treating my dog, why am I still seeing flea dirt on my floors when I sweep? And in my laundry, there are black specks in my clothes? I sit and pull these specks out one by one. Are they leftover from the fleas? Are they dead fleas? Are the fleas really dead after repeated washings? I am freaked out by all of this. It is now December and I’ve been treating and cleaning and washing EVERYTHING since September. I do need to add that after I did the Borax my vacuum cleaner broke and it took 4 days to get it back. But, I did vacuum with another smaller vacuum I have.

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Cheryl! Thanks, glad you have found them useful :) To be honest, it sounds like its just leftover flea dirt, shouldnt be anything to worry about. However, if you start seeing live fleas, please let me know as soon as possible and we can measure up some options. I also recommend that you try making one of my flea traps (guide is on this blog) as it will help you figure out if you have a flea problem or not. Good luck!

  76. Ellyn Devine says:

    Hi Natasha,
    I came across this site a few months ago when I was looking for a solution for the fleas that were in my home. We got rid of our cat (for good, I have 2 children and just couldn’t have the fleas biting them, so I got rid of the main source) and then I did the DE treatment throughout my home. As I had mentioned this was about 2 months ago. After 2 treatments I haven’t seen any fleas and thought they were completely gone, until today. I seen 2 of them, so far. How could this be? Is it because there are still eggs in my home? I put more DE down today after I seen them, I just thought they were gone, and I was so relieved, until today :(

    • Natasha Anderson says:

      Hey Ellyn! Yes, its most likely a cause of left over flea eggs from the previous flea infestation. However, don’t stress. I recommend that you just keep an eye on the situation and vacuum everything really well. If you want to be really safe, repeat your DE treatments in those areas once every two weeks and you will be flea free ;)

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