Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a powdered form of fossilized diatoms – single-celled algae whose cell walls are built with silica. DE is a renowned DIY product used among pet owners. It is a fine flea repellant that can prove useful, especially in the case of large dogs. This is because the method of soapy water is hard to apply in their case. However, there are a few implications of using this substance that you should know. Keep reading to learn the right way to use Diatomaceous Earth for fleas in your house.
Using Diatomaceous Earth for Fleas
The answer to how Diatomaceous Earth work against fleas lies in their biology. Fleas have a protective exoskeleton, known as cuticles, which protects their body. The small particles of DE are just like shards of glass so when it clings to the body of fleas the abrasive action breaks down the cuticles. Moreover, Silica works as a desiccant and absorbs all the oils and fats from the cuticles. So, it speeds up the damage and dries up the fleas until they perish.
How Do You Apply Diatomaceous Earth Indoors?
The following is a safe method to apply Diatomaceous Earth to the interior of your home.
Gather the Safety Equipment – Before you start working with diatomaceous earth, it is a good practice to gather safety equipment, like anti-dust goggles and a dust mask. Similarly, rubber or latex gloves are also recommended.
Vacuum Several Times Before Sprinkling – If you are thinking of applying DE on carpet or pet’s bedding, vacuum the room thoroughly at least 3 times. That will help remove some of the bugs and eggs from the room, making the DE treatment even more effective.
Sprinkle Around Your Home – Sprinkle a fine layer of DE around the parts of your home where you suspect the presence of fleas. Fleas are found near the furniture and beddings i.e., carpet, sofa, beds, pillows, and dog beds. Target all those areas where your dog spends most of its time indoors. Make sure not to leave any heaps of DE because fleas may avoid them with ease.
Let it Settle – As mentioned early, DE first breaks the cuticles and then kills the fleas. This requires some time. So, wait for a few days before cleaning the areas where you sprinkled DE.
Vacuum the Treated Areas – Vacuuming is an effective way of cleaning the DE and the killed fleas. Make sure to use a shop vac since diatomaceous earth’s abrasive particles may damage the vacuum cleaner from inside. Fleas usually lay larvae under pups’ beddings. Hence, you should spend more time cleaning such areas.
Apply Again Where Necessary – To deal with the remains and leftover fleas, you may need to apply the DE again and repeat the procedure.
How Long to Leave Diatomaceous Earth on Carpet for Fleas?
Research has shown that once fleas touch Diatomaceous Earth, it hardly takes them 4 hours to die. It is the time during which the breakdown of cuticles and dehydration occurs. However, it is recommended to leave the sprinkled areas for at least a day to allow Diatomaceous Earth to kill a greater number of fleas.
Is It Safe to Use Diatomaceous Earth Indoors?
In general, Veterinarians prohibit the use of diatomaceous earth. The particle nature of DE irritates our nostrils and throat if inhale. Therefore, it causes problems, like sneezing, cough, and shortness of breath. The presence of abrasive Silica in DE makes it highly irritating for the eyes as well. People who have exposure to DE on daily bases may also suffer from an incurable, chronic inflammatory lung disease called silicosis. Moreover, if your pup ingests a considerable amount of DE, he/she might face a gastrointestinal upset.
However, a less silica-intense type of Diatomaceous Earth is also available in the market. It is labeled as food-grade DE and is less tough on your and your pup’s health. Food grade Diatomaceous Earth is also safe to ingest in little amounts. On the other hand, filter-grade DE is high in crystalline silica and is toxic for you and your pup.
Can I Sleep in A Room with Diatomaceous Earth?
The main problem with the usage of DE is that the dust should not be inhaled. Once DE has settled properly there is no risk in sleeping in a room with it. However, if you have applied DE on your bed and furniture, it’s advisable not to use it until DE is wiped off thoroughly because while you are sleeping there are chances that you may inhale DE sprinkled on your bed
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