How to kill fleas with diatomaceous earth

Written by emily jones
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How to kill fleas with diatomaceous earth
Diatomaceous Earth is safe to use around pets and children. (the cat image by Milena Kowalska from

Fleas are wingless insects that live off the blood of mammals and birds. There are many ways to kill fleas but if you would like to take a natural approach, Diatomaceous Earth is a great option. Diatomaceous Earth is tiny crushed up fossilised sea shells, called diatoms. It works by puncturing the fleas exoskeleton and absorbing lipids from their protective layer, causing them to dehydrate and die. Diatomaceous Earth was approved and registered by the Environmental Protection Agency and can be used to kill indoor and outdoor crawling insects.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Diatomaceous Earth
  • Protective mask
  • Safety glasses

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  1. 1

    Purchase a bag of Diatomaceous Earth from your local pet store or Internet. It comes in many different sizes depending on the area you want to cover. The average price for a five-pound bag is around £7. Make sure you get the food grade, not the filter grade. The filter grade is used for swimming pools and is not safe for pest control.

  2. 2

    Put on your protective mask and glasses and sprinkle a thin layer of Diatomaceous Earth in areas where fleas are found in your home, such as carpets, pet bedding, sleeping areas, baseboards and cracks. The fleas will walk across the Diatomaceous Earth and die within 48 hours. Vacuum the area you dusted two days later.

  3. 3

    Apply Diatomaceous Earth outside your home to kill fleas. Dust your entire yard with a thin coat, especially where your pets play. Dust your yard periodically until there are no signs of infestation. A 50-pound bag of Diatomaceous Earth should be enough to do your whole yard.

  4. 4

    Rub Diatomaceous Earth directly on your pets. It will safely and effectively kill fleas, ticks, lice and red mites. Reapply as often as need until all fleas are gone. Fleas will not develop immunity to the dust, unlike most synthetic chemical treatments. It also has a long-term residual effect that will continually repel fleas.

Tips and warnings

  • Diatomaceous Earth is completely safe to use around pets and children as long as they are kept away while you are applying the material.
  • Wear a protective mask to keep from inhaling the Diatomaceous Earth. It can be harmful if inhaled because the powdery substance sticks to anything moist, like your lungs. You should also wear safety glasses to protect the dust from getting into your eyes.

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