Diatomaceous Earth – the best thing to have around the house for some, and a thing loosely associated with alchemy, black magic or natural healing to others. As for yours truly, D.E. is probably the best eye-opener I had since discovered that bread could be made from anything, including wild herb-like dandelions. In today’s article, I’m gonna talk about how my life has changed after discovering this off-white powder.
Now, for those of you who don’t know or simply don’t care D.E is a powdery substance made from fossilized diatoms, which are microscopical algae-like organisms. This stuff’s been around since the dawn of the 19th century when it was discovered by mistake by a German peasant who was trying to sink a well near his home.
Ever since then, D.E. has been studied and used for various purposes. In fact, Alfred Nobel aka the Dynamite Dad had been experimenting with diatoms for the purpose of stabilizing nitroglycerin. D.E.’s also used in the beauty industry for manufacturing toothpaste. Farmers also used a refined form of D.E to prevent caulking and to keep pests bay.
Anyway, my interest in D.E. began when I was doing a bit of research on ways to purify water in the field. A couple of clicks later, I ended up reading tons of material about D.E. being used to clean pools and that most water purification tablets are made from this stuff.
From that day forward, I have tried using diatomaceous earth for more than just water filtration. It’s true that baking soda’s the most versatile household ingredient, but that’s before I discovered D.E. Here are a couple of ways I managed to use this powdery delight around the house.
Saving a shit-load of money on kitty litter
I’ve already told you that I’m the proud owner\slave of two wonderful cats, which means that I usually have to stock up on kitty litter as often as I can. The trouble is that you can’t just make two cats share a litter and you really can’t leave them uncleaned for more than two days.
Anyway, after spending literally hundreds of bucks on jumbo kitty litter bags, I stumbled upon this great way of using D.E. as a substitute for silica shards. What I do is make my own cat litter using wood shaving and sawdust, which I sprinkle with D.E. Since the stuff’s great at sucking out every bit of moisture, it entirely eliminates the smell as well as clutter.
Yes, I know you can probably get rid of all the foul smells around the house using vinegar, but D.E. is much cheaper. More than that, it doesn’t leave behind that stingy odor, especially when you use it on stuff like carpets, drapes or upholstery. To make your own D.E. deodorizer, grab a canning jar, fill it with water, and dissolve one tablespoon of diatomaceous earth. Place inside the fridge and use it when necessary. It really works wonders on those garbage pails and the back of the refrigerator.
Helping my chicken lay better eggs
It may sound far-fetched, but this stuff’s actually very beneficial to chickens and poultry, in general. If you want to up the nutritional value of your eggs, mix D.E. with chicken feed. They’ll taste better, look great, and have a harder shell. You can also spray some D.E. around the chicken coop to get rid of the smells and to keep away pests.
Being able to make my own cosmetic products
I have to admit that being able to make my own cosmetic stuff was something I’ve been dreaming since my college days. Still, have to say that the perspective of getting caught up in that New Age BS was not my kind of gig, neither was setting up a lab in the basement. Well, after learning a bit about D.E. I’ve managed to get my hands on a couple of great recipes for stuff like toothpaste, deodorant, and facial mask (yes, I use those because my pores refuse to close).
Anyway, with a handful of D.E., a drop or two a peppermint oil, and some vegetable glycerin, you can make one Hell of a toothpaste. Apart from being a great antibacterial agent, D.E also has a scrubbing effect. If you want to add some extra kick to your toothpaste, consider putting some baking soda into the mixture. As for deodorant, you can whip up a good batch by mixing D.E with cornstarch, arrowroot powder, and coconut oil. For facial masks, just add a couple of tablespoons to a glass of water and stir until you get a thick paste. Have fun!
Removing just about any stain
In a previous article, I’ve told you a bit of how great salt is when it comes to removing stains and smudges. Well, that stuff got nothing on D.E. – this thing can get rid of any stain or dirt, no matter how stubborn it is. From experience, I’ve learned to rely on D.E., especially in dealing with oily stains. So, if the washing machine is of no help, just use a mixture of water and D.E. on the stain. Rub it in, allow it to work its magic and wash.
Great for removing scale and grime from the bathroom
If my wife’s really mad at me, she doesn’t have to yell or anything. She just tells me that the bathroom could use a bit of cleaning. And nothing’s more frustrating for me than having to deal with scale and grime, especially around the bathtub. Tried every cleaning product there is. Didn’t solve anything apart from the fact of sparring me a trip to the gym that day.
Well, since D.E. is very abrasive, I figured that maybe it would help me get rid of the scale. And it did! So, if you want an efficient abrasive cleaning solution, mix two tablespoons of D.E. with some water and use a sponge to spread it around. Give it a good rubdown, and you’re good to go.
That’s if for how D.E. changed my homesteading life. What do you think about this off-white magical powder? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.
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