How To Use DE On Fleas

Does Diatomaceous Earth Work on Fleas?

Diatomaceous Earth is a standard dust treatment used to treat a variety of insects.

Fleas are no different.

Some research suggests that DE is effective against fleas because they have a small body.

Their small body makes it easier for DE to desiccate their bodies.

The question comes down to how effective is DE against fleas.

A study, tested flea populations in swallow nests compared to nests treated with DE.

On average, swallow nests had approximately 15 fleas per nest.

When compared to the nests treated with DE, on average, there were three fleas per nest.

This is an 83% reduction in the average flea population.

This study proves that DE is effective against fleas.

What Is Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is a naturally occurring sedimentary rock.

It is made from the fossilized remains of diatoms.

Diatoms are a type of algae with cell walls composed of a substance called silica.

The silica in DE is the ingredient that helps kill insects.

Silica and DE are also used to treat high cholesterol and improve skin, nail, teeth, bone, and hair strength.

While DE is mostly harmless to humans, it can kill insects by destroying their exoskeletons and dehydrating them.

How Does DE Kill Fleas?

Diatomaceous earth kills insects by destroying their exoskeletons and causing them to dehydrate.

DE absorbs the oily and waxy outer cuticle layer found on the exoskeleton of the flea.

Once the outer layer is destroyed, fleas will dehydrate and die.

To insects, DE has razor-sharp microscopic edges, but it is just like any other powder to humans.

Two things determine how effective DE is on insects.

First, fleas must make contact with DE for it to work.

Second, DE must be dry for it to remain effective.

To ensure that insects make contact with DE, place it in common hiding places.

Does Diatomaceous Earth work on Cats or Kittens?

DE has been used as a chafing agent to control fleas for centuries.

There is no research on how effective DE is when rubbed on cats.

But we can assume similar results as long as the DE comes into contact with DE.

Once fleas come into contact with DE, they can die in as little as 4 hours.

The key to using DE on cats is to make sure that the DE comes in contact with the fleas.

This involves making sure that the DE penetrates through your cats’ fur and is evenly distributed, so there are no hiding spots where fleas can hide.

How Do You Use DE To Kill Fleas On Cats?

The key to an effective DE treatment on your cat is making sure it comes in contact with the flea.

To do this, you need to rub your cat or kitten with DE. You can not just apply DE to the top of your cat.

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Use your hands and make sure you rub against the grain of your cat’s fur.
  2. Use a fine tip brush or fleas brush to comb the DE deep into your cat’s fur.

When applying DE to your cat, be mindful of the amount you use. Try to be as clean and organized as possible.

You don’t want to apply excessive amounts or disperse DE into the air.

Although DE is natural and safe for your pets, it should not be inhaled.

One great way to control the amount of DE you are applying is using a salt shaker or recycle an old spice container.

This will allow you to precisely apply a moderate amount of DE across your cats’ body or your hand.

Remember, when applying DE to your cat, you need to focus on common flea hiding spots that often get overlooked.

Common flea hiding spots on cats include:

  • Groin
  • Armpits
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Throat
  • Behind Ears
  • Under or around Tail

When applying DE to your cats, avoid getting in their mouth, eyes, and nose.

Its best to use a duster or application bottle to easily control the amount of DE you are using without getting it into the air. 

Often you do not need to treat your cat’s face because fleas are uncommon there unless the infestation is large.

Depending on how bad the fleas are on your pet and your home, you want to apply DE daily from seven to 10 days.

Other good places to check and treat fleas include your cats sleeping areas, climbing structures, or furniture and carpets they frequent.

Treating your cat without treating your home will only cause the fleas to reinfest your cat.

It’s essential to eliminate all sources of fleas if you want to get rid of them permanently.

How To Apply DE to Carpet For Fleas?

If you have fleas inside your home, you will need to treat your carpet.

Fleas love hiding inside the carpet and pet sleeping areas.

1. Clean / Declutter

To treat your carpet for fleas first, you need to remove anything that will prevent you from applying DE.

It is also best to remove anything with any objects in direct contact with the floor, such as boxed or backpacks.

2. Vacuum

Vacuuming does two things to help treat fleas in your carpet.

First, it disrupts the fleas hiding spot, which will make it easier to target them with DE.

Second, it loosens up your carpet, so it’s easier to apply DE later.

3. Apply DE

Apply a thin layer of DE across the entire surface of the carpet.

Avoid thick layers of DE because this will discourage fleas from walking through it.

The goal is to create a thin layer to coat fleas as they move around in the carpet.

I also recommend you use a broom to evenly distribute the DE and help it sink deeper into the carpet.

Let the DE sit for 6-12 hours without disturbing the carpet. The longer the DE remains on the carpet, the more effective it will be.

4. Clean Up

The final step is to use a vacuum and clean up all the carpet.

The vacuum can sometimes cause DE to get suspended in the air. I recommend you wear a face mask to prevent you from inhaling any DE.

Also, keep your pet in a separate room until you are done cleaning to avoid inhalation.

How To Apply Diatomaceous Earth To Your Yard For Fleas?

There are two ways you can apply DE to your yard for fleas: Dry or Wet application.

Dry Application

This method involves applying a layer of dry DE powder to your yard.

You want to apply a thin layer of DE to the surface of your yard or any other areas that fleas can hide.

Before applying the DE, you need to make sure: 

  • The surface is dry
  • It will not rain within the next few days.
  • All sprinklers are turned off.

DE becomes ineffective when it is wet, so you must keep it dry for at least 12 hours after application.

After applying DE to your yard, do not let your pets go outside.

Disturbing DE will cause it to get suspended in the air and make it easier for you to inhale it.

Inhaling DE is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs to your humans as well as pets.

Wet Application

Applying DE as a liquid is much faster and easier than the dry application.

Using a wet application is excellent for applying DE to large areas quickly.

To apply DE as a wet application, you need to mix it with water.

Follow the following ration 2 cups of DE for every 1 gallon of water.

The best way to apply DE wet is by using a pressurized sprayer.

Combine the mixture in the pressurized sprayer and shake it well. DE suspense inside water, so it’s important to mix the contents regularly while applying.

Once you are ready, apply DE to your year’s entire surface, including flower beds or gardens.

While DE doesn’t work when wet, it will once the formula has dried up.
Often, you will have a white residue on the surfaces you sprayed.

This is the coating of DE that will kill any insects that come in contact with it.

Is DE Safe For Plants?

DE is safe for plants.

Although DE is sharp enough to destroy insects’ exoskeleton, it does not harm or cut plants.

The plant’s cell membrane is too strong for DE to damage.

This means you can freely apply DE on plants, flowers, and fruits without harming them.

You can apply DE to your garden, either using a dry or wet application.

I recommend a wet application because it will allow you to coat fruits and leaves rather than just the soil’s top level.

This will protect your garden from fleas and any other small insects such as aphids and beetles.

Remember, if you water your plants daily or often, this will also wash off the DE.

If this is the case, you will need to reapply DE to keep the coating fresh and effective.

This applies to both wet and dry applications.

Can I Use DE on My Dog?

Applying DE to dogs and cats is the same process.

The main point when applying to DE is to ensure that you get deep inside your pet’s coat so you can reach any fleas attacking the skin.

There are two ways you can do this:

  1. Use your hands and make sure you rub against the grain of your cat’s fur.
  2. Use a fine tip brush or fleas brush to comb the DE deep into your cat’s fur.

It’s also essential that you apply DE to the typical flea hiding spots on dogs and not only to the back of your dog.

Common hiding spots on dogs vary slightly compared to cats.

These include:

  • Groin
  • Armpits
  • Back
  • Neck
  • Throat
  • Behind Ears
  • Under or around Tail
  • Paws or legs

Side Effects Of DE on Pets

There are some side effects that you need to be aware of before using DE on your pets.

Inhaling can cause respiratory issues or damage.
DE can dry out pets’ skin.


The main concern when using DE is inhalation. Inhaling DE should be avoided at all costs because it can cause respiratory problems and damage.

Prolonged exposure over a long period can cause severe respiratory problems.

To prevent inhaling DE, avoid causing DE to suspend in the air. Apply lightly to your dog and rub it in until it reaches its skin.

If you are applying DE to surfaces, make sure your dog is not allowed near or in the same room as these surfaces.

If dogs walk-through the DE, they will breathe it in or directly inhale it out of curiosity.

The same applies when using DE outdoors. Do not let dogs play outside if you applied a dry later of DE onto the surface,

On the other hand, it is safe to allow dogs to play outside if you use a wet application.

Dry Skin

DE is a desiccant. This means that it absorbs moisture from surfaces. This is one of the ways it kills fleas.

For humans and pets, the consequence is not so severed, but it can still cause irritations.

If your pet has sensitive skin, do not apply DE every day. Only use DE two times a week.

If your dog’s skin does become dry after applying DE, you can use dog lotion to moisturize your pet’s skin as you would your hands after using DE.

Leave a Comment