Diatomaceous EarthFood grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a great pest control product that, when applied properly, can help eliminate everything from roaches to ants to fleas.

But don’t use it inside! Simply put, DE is a mess to clean up and overapplying it is all too easy.

If you’ve put it inside, and used too much, don’t reach for the vacuum! DE can destroy a filtered vacuum very quickly. Although seeming “light” and powdery, it is actually hard and abrasive and will damage the filter before you know it.

If you absolutely must vacuum – since it can be simpler than damp wiping or sweeping – we recommend using a more powerful, filter-free shop vacuum. If you don’t have one (or you have stingy neighbors who won’t loan you theirs!) you can probably rent one from a local Home Depot or home store.

The best way to use DE without worrying about cleanup is dusting it in the attic to help with silverfish, scorpions and sometimes roaches, if they’ve gotten up there. It can also be dusted under a house with great results for roaches and fleas. You can use garden dusting equipment like a Dustin-Mizer for attics and crawlspaces, or a “shortcut” way to apply it underneath is to place a small mound of DE at the crawlspace entryway, then turn on a strong leaf blower to “blast” it underneath the structure. But make sure it’s not too windy of a day and wear a mask!