How to Clean up Diatomaceous Earth Safely and Effectively

How to Clean up Diatomaceous Earth?

To clean up diatomaceous earth, there are five methods that can be used depending on the area of the house.

For hard floors, a damp towel can be used to wipe away the DE, while sweeping with a broom and dustpan works well too.

Vacuuming is suggested for carpets and rugs, preferably with a shop vacuum for better suction.

If a shop vacuum is not available, a filterless vacuum can be used, but it’s important to clean the filter regularly if using a vacuum with a filter.

For DE ingrained in carpet or upholstery, using a carpet cleaner such as Rug Doctor may be necessary.

Precautions should be taken and appropriate tools should be used throughout the cleaning process.

Key Points:

  • Diatomaceous earth can be cleaned up using five different methods depending on the area of the house.
  • Hard floors can be wiped with a damp towel or swept with a broom and dustpan.
  • Carpets and rugs should be vacuumed, preferably with a shop vacuum for better suction.
  • If a shop vacuum is not available, a filterless vacuum can be used, but the filter should be cleaned regularly.
  • For DE ingrained in carpet or upholstery, a carpet cleaner like Rug Doctor may be necessary.
  • Precautions should be taken and appropriate tools should be used during the cleaning process.


Did You Know?

1. Diatomaceous earth is made up of the fossilized remains of tiny aquatic organisms called diatoms, which have a unique cell wall structure made of silica.
2. In addition to its cleaning properties, diatomaceous earth also has a wide range of uses including as a natural pesticide, water filtration medium, and even as an ingredient in some food products.
3. Diatomaceous earth is often used in gardens to control pests because it can dehydrate insects and disrupt their outer protective layer, leading to their demise.
4. Unlike many cleaning agents, diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and safe for use around kids and pets, making it a popular choice for eco-conscious households.
5. Diatomaceous earth has been used for centuries in various cultures around the world for purposes such as polishing metal, filtering liquids, and even as a mild abrasive in toothpaste.

Cleaning Up DE on Hard Floors with a Damp Towel

Cleaning up diatomaceous earth (DE) from hard floors, including wood, tiles, countertops, and baseboards, is a relatively simple process. One effective method involves using a damp towel to wipe away the DE.

Begin by wetting the towel with water and wringing out any excess moisture. Gently wipe the affected areas, making sure to collect all the DE particles. Be careful not to scrub vigorously, as this may cause the DE to become airborne.

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It is important to wash the towel separately from regular laundry to prevent mixing DE residue with clothes. This will help contain any remaining DE and ensure it does not spread to other surfaces.

By cleaning up DE with a damp towel, you can effectively remove the substance without causing any damage to your hard floors.

Sweeping DE on Hard Floors with a Broom

Another effective method for cleaning up diatomaceous earth on hard floors is to sweep it with a broom. This method is particularly useful when dealing with large areas where DE has been applied.

To begin, use a broom to gently gather the DE into a pile. Once the majority of DE has been gathered, carefully use a dustpan to scoop it up and transfer it into a trash can.

While sweeping, it is essential to be cautious and avoid creating excessive dust. When sweeping fine particles like DE, they can easily become airborne and spread throughout the room. If you experience difficulty in collecting all the DE, consider using a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner to pick up any remaining residue.

Sweeping DE with a broom is an effective way to remove the substance from hard floors.

  • Use a broom to gather DE into a pile
  • Carefully use a dustpan to scoop it up
  • Transfer the DE into a trash can
  • Avoid creating excessive dust
  • Consider using a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner for remaining residue

Vacuuming DE on Carpets and Rugs

When it comes to cleaning up diatomaceous earth on carpets and rugs, vacuuming is the preferred method. However, it is recommended to use a shop vacuum from a local hardware store to ensure better suction and handle larger amounts of debris effectively. Shop vacuums are specifically designed for heavy-duty cleaning tasks and can provide thorough removal of DE from carpets and rugs.

Before vacuuming, ensure that the vacuum is set to the appropriate height setting for your carpet or rug. Start by vacuuming the affected area, making multiple passes to ensure the removal of all DE particles. Empty the vacuum’s canister or bag frequently during the process to prevent clogging and ensure optimal suction power.

If a shop vacuum is unavailable, a regular vacuum can still be used. However, it is important to choose one with a high-quality filter capable of containing fine particles like DE. To minimize clogging, the vacuum’s filter should be cleaned out every few minutes while vacuuming to maintain proper airflow and suction effectiveness.

  • Use a shop vacuum for better suction and handling larger amounts of debris
  • Set the vacuum to the appropriate height setting
  • Make multiple passes to ensure thorough removal of DE particles
  • Empty the vacuum’s canister or bag frequently during the process
  • If using a regular vacuum, choose one with a high-quality filter capable of containing fine particles
  • Clean the vacuum’s filter every few minutes to prevent clogging and maintain suction effectiveness.
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Using a Filterless Vacuum for DE Cleanup

For those without access to a shop vacuum or a vacuum with a suitable filter, using a filterless vacuum can still be an option for cleaning up diatomaceous earth. While filterless vacuums may not provide the same level of fine particle containment, they can still help remove a significant amount of DE from carpets, rugs, and hard floors.

When using a filterless vacuum, it is important to note that some DE may escape through the exhaust, potentially recirculating into the air. To minimize this, work in a well-ventilated area and consider wearing a mask to prevent inhalation of DE particles. Additionally, ensure that all surfaces surrounding the cleaning area are properly protected or covered to contain any residual DE.

Removing Ingrained DE with a Vacuum and Towel

In certain instances, diatomaceous earth may become ingrained in carpets or upholstery, making it more challenging to remove. In such cases, a combination of vacuuming and wiping with a damp towel can be employed as a last resort method.

Begin by using a vacuum cleaner with suitable attachments to loosen and remove as much ingrained DE as possible. After vacuuming, moisten a clean towel with water and gently blot the affected area, taking care not to rub vigorously. The damp towel will help lift any remaining DE particles that are embedded deep within the carpet or upholstery fibers.

It is important to exercise caution and patience when using this method to avoid damaging delicate fabrics or spreading DE particles further. By combining the power of a vacuum cleaner with the precision of a damp towel, ingrained diatomaceous earth can be effectively removed from carpets and upholstery.

Renting a Carpet Cleaner for Deep DE Cleaning

If all other methods prove ineffective in removing diatomaceous earth (DE) from carpets, renting a carpet cleaner can be a viable solution. Companies such as Rug Doctor offer carpet cleaner rentals, providing the necessary equipment to achieve a thorough and deep clean.

Carpet cleaners are specifically designed to tackle tough stains and debris, making them capable of effectively removing ingrained diatomaceous earth. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for operating the carpet cleaner and choose a cleaning solution suitable for your specific needs. Ensure that the cleaning process is carried out with proper ventilation, protective gear, and caution to maintain a safe environment.

In conclusion, cleaning up diatomaceous earth (DE) from various areas of the house requires different methods. Here are some recommended approaches:

  • Hard floors: Use a damp towel or broom and dustpan.
  • Carpets and rugs: Clean with a shop vacuum or vacuum equipped with a suitable filter.
  • Ingrained DE: Combine vacuuming with wiping using a damp towel.
  • If all else fails, consider renting a carpet cleaner to provide a deep cleaning solution.
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Remember, it is crucial to follow the necessary precautions and choose the appropriate tools to ensure a safe and effective clean-up process.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if you vacuum diatomaceous earth?

Vacuuming diatomaceous earth can lead to detrimental consequences for your vacuum. This pulverized dust, although similar to glass, possesses the capability to inflict tears, cuts, and other harm upon your vacuum, accelerating its depreciation. Furthermore, the finely ground powder has a propensity to obstruct and congest your filter. Consequently, it is advisable to refrain from vacuuming diatomaceous earth, rendering a clear and resounding “no” as the answer to the inquiry of its vacuuming suitability.

Will water wash away diatomaceous earth?

Yes, water has the potential to wash away diatomaceous earth. If diatomaceous earth is spread in powder form and it rains or there is a strong wind, there is a high likelihood that the water will wash or blow away the earth. In such cases, it is advisable to wait for the weather to calm a bit and then reapply the diatomaceous earth just as it was originally done.

How long does diatomaceous earth stay active?

Diatomaceous earth, a natural insecticide, will remain active for an indefinite period as long as it remains dry. Its effectiveness stems from its ability to dehydrate and kill insects and pests by absorbing their protective waxy coating. Once applied, it will continue to work as long as it is not exposed to moisture, ensuring a long-lasting solution for hard-to-reach areas.

Can I sleep in my room with diatomaceous earth?

Yes, it is safe to sleep in a room with diatomaceous earth. While wearing a mask when applying it may seem contradictory, diatomaceous earth is harmless unless inhaled. As long as the dust is undisturbed, there are no concerns about sleeping in the same room where it has been applied. Rest assured that the nontoxic nature of diatomaceous earth ensures a safe sleeping environment.

References: 1, 2, 3, 4