Notice: Constant WP_MEMORY_LIMIT already defined in /var/www/html/wp-config.php on line 136 Diatomaceous Earth for Roaches: Will It Help to Get Rid of Them?

Diatomaceous Earth for Roaches: Is It Effective?

Pest control is a complex and time-consuming process that depends on choosing the right approach. There are many different methods and tools to get rid of pests, although not all of them are effective in the fight against insects. Some products can kill cockroaches but also harm homeowners or pets as they contain strong poisonous chemicals in their composition.

However, there are safer and more organic means of killing different species of insects, including diatomaceous earth for roaches. In this article, I will talk about a powder that kills roaches and how to use it properly.

Is diatomaceous earth for roaches Effective?
Diatomaceous earth can be effective at killing roaches, but it is not a foolproof method. The powder can be difficult to spread evenly, and it may not be able to reach all of the roaches in your home.

diatomaceous earth and a dead cockroach

Guide on Using Diatomaceous Earth to Kill Roaches

  • Choose the right type of diatomaceous earth;
  • Prepare and clean the spray area;
  • Apply a thin layer of the powder to various surfaces and crevices;
  • Wait 2-3 weeks for the results;
  • Remove any dead cockroaches and product residues from the house.

Diatomaceous earth meaning and initial uses

Diatomaceous earth is a powdery substance that comes from fossils of diatom algae or other microscopic organisms that turn into diatoms. Diatoms make up about 40% of all the oxygen on the planet. Their skeletons consist of a substance called silica.

Over the years, these algae have accumulated in the sediments of streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans. Silica deposits have formed there with time, and people mine it now for different purposes.

Subsequently, silica reacts with oxygen and creates silicon dioxide. In 1960, people began to use it as a means of pest control. However, this is not the only way to use diatomaceous earth. If you look at the composition of some medicines, paints, toothpaste, and water filters, you can find this substance there.

It is deadly to most pests, but the food form is safe for humans. The reason is there are different degrees of toxicity.

Types of DE

There are different types of diatomaceous earth, and some of them can be very dangerous to humans.

The safest is the food-grade powder, which contains about 0.5-2% of crystalline silicon oxide in its composition. This type is used in food, beverages, toothpaste, and other products. Although it is completely safe for humans, it still kills pests. So, if you have children or animals in your home, give preference to this form of diatomaceous earth. Then you do not have to worry about the baby if they accidentally swallow this substance;

diatomaceous earth powder

The next form is filter-grade with a silica concentration of 60%. This powder is extremely dangerous to humans and pets. Companies use filter-grade DE in the manufacture of filters for swimming pools or dynamite, so beware of diatomaceous earth with such a high concentration;

There is also diatomaceous earth with pesticides, which makes the food-grade more effective. Then DE surely becomes less safe for humans, but it eliminates pests much faster. If you do not have children or pets, this type of insecticide will be much more effective.

Does diatomaceous earth kill roaches and how?

Diatomaceous earth is an ecological powder that can kill various species of insects and pests, including snails, bedbugs, fleas, mites, and cockroaches. It is deadly to all insects that have an exoskeleton. Because cockroaches do not have an inner skeleton or bones, the powder directly affects the outer shell of their exoskeleton.

So does diatomaceous earth kill roaches? When the roach walks on diatomaceous earth, the powder sticks to its paws and body. This powder destroys the outer chitinous shell and completely dries the cockroach. Over the next few days or weeks, the pest dies from dehydration.

The advantage of this product is that it also affects other insects that have come into contact with the infected. That is, if you have a severe degree of the infestation, this method can be very effective. Usually, roaches die in the nest and infect everyone there, which leads to the elimination of the whole colony. Because the powder is abrasive, it kills various types of insects that have an exoskeleton.

At the same time, this substance is safe for humans and animals and is often used for medicinal purposes. However, you should not inhale it, especially when spraying a large amount of product.

How to use diatomaceous earth for roaches

dead cockroach on the tile

When talking about diatomaceous earth and roaches, you should not only choose the right product in order to eliminate pests but also apply it properly and in the right places. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

Step 1: Clean the area

In order for DE to be truly effective and kill as many pests as possible, you need to clean the areas where you are going to use it. However, even after that, you need to wait a while for this place to completely dry. If you plan to use the bath, basement, or attic, make sure that these places are dry enough. You can also use a fan to quickly remove too much moisture in certain areas.

Step 2: Apply a thin layer

Spray diatomaceous earth in a thin layer in places where cockroaches can crawl. These are usually various cracks or surfaces near a refrigerator or stove. If a bathroom is not very wet, you can sprinkle the product there. It is best to use DE where you have seen traces of cockroaches, crumbs from food, feces, etc.

Step 3: Block their entrances

Finding a roach’s nest is quite difficult. However, you can spray the insecticide at the entrance and exit. These can be various cracks or places near wiring and sockets. Cockroaches can come out of very unexpected places, so you should take care of all their possible hiding places.

Step 4: Take care of the walls

Sometimes, there might be free space in the walls where pests can hide or even build nests. If you see a crack in the wall, be sure to apply diatomaceous earth to that surface. You can use special applicators to spray the powder.

Step 5: Apply it around the house’s perimeter

Dust a thin layer of diatomaceous earth around the house along the foundation. You can also spray the powder on garden soil and grass. Don’t worry, it’s safe and won’t damage the soil. If there is a place to crawl under your house, pests can nest there. Spray the powder with a fan. Don’t forget to wear a protective mask.

diatomaceous earth powder near the wall

Step 6: Stick to the procedure

The powder works effectively but rather slowly. So, over the next few weeks, you might need to refresh the places you have treated. If you see that there are a lot of dead cockroaches or the diatomaceous earth becomes wet, you should do it regardless of the time. In this case, you need to refresh the traps and spray a new, fresh portion.

A study about applying diatomaceous earth to cockroaches has found 80% efficiency in the first 72 hours. However, if the number of insect colonies is large, it can take much longer, and you will need more volume of the substance itself.

It is important to treat all areas in your home even if you didn’t notice cockroaches there because diatomaceous earth is also a preventive measure. Different parts of the house can have various areas, so it is worth taking care of the tool for spraying. For large areas, you can use a sieve on the same principle as when you spray powdered sugar.

The duster is well-suited for complex areas with various gaps, nooks, and crannies between the furniture. For the surrounding area and the foundation, an ordinary scoop is best.

After the diatomaceous earth exterminates the roach, you should remove it. A damp towel is suitable for surfaces, and to clean the floor, just sweep a broom with a shovel. A vacuum cleaner is perfect for cleaning carpets but only with the use of drywall bags. When cleaning, try to do everything slowly so as not to lift the powder into the air.

The best advantage of DE is that it does not leave any hazardous chemicals behind. So, you can easily handle the cleaning of the house by yourself without resorting to the services of cleaning companies.

FAQ on Diatomaceous Earth Roach Killer

cockroach on a stone

In the process of using diatomaceous earth, it is important to know how much of it you should apply and how long you can expect results. To be prepared in advance, read the answers to these important questions.

How long does it take for diatomaceous earth to kill roaches?

Diatomaceous earth is an organic insecticide, so it will work slower than alternative chemicals. On average, this can take about 2-3 weeks, provided you refresh this trap. Remember that it only kills roaches if they come into direct contact. Therefore, make sure that you place it where pests congregate.

Will diatomaceous earth kill roaches and their eggs, too?

If the eggs are in the ootheca, the DE will not be able to kill them due to capsule strength. But if you notice an area with an accumulation of eggs, you can scatter the powder there. So when the roach finally hatches, it will exterminate them.

Can you use too much of a DE roach killer?

Don’t use too much diatomaceous earth because it will not speed up the elimination of insects but, on the contrary, can scare them away. Then cockroaches will bypass these places and spread to other areas of your home. Therefore, you should use a small layer that will be invisible to them.

What is the best way to apply diatomaceous earth?

The easiest way is to spray the dry powder on the surface where pests often crawl. You can do this with an electric applicator, a scoop, a duster, or even your hands. If you need to use the substance in hard-to-reach places, try using the wet method of application.

A Safe and Easy Way to Kill Cockroaches

Among the various ways to get rid of pests, the diatomaceous earth roach trap is one of the best. This powder is safe for humans and doesn’t leave any chemicals behind. However, it does not kill the roaches quickly and requires time and patience. If you follow all the instructions, it will eliminate most of the insects in just a few weeks. It can also serve as a preventive measure against other types of pests.

What cockroach removal methods have you used before? Please share your experience. How long has it taken you to eliminate pests with DE?

Also read:


  • 40% of all the oxygen (Robert Calvert):
  • Water filters (Vipin Bhardwaj,Technical Assistance Specialist, and Mel J. Mirliss, Director, International Diatomite Producers Association):
  • Silicon oxide (Wikipedia):
  • Around the house (wikiHow Staff):
  • Study (Seyyed Akbar Hosseini, Sahar Bazrafkan, Hassan Vatandoost, Mohammad Reza Abaei, Mussa Soleimani Ahmadi, Maryam Tavassoli, and Mansoreh Shayeghi):


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Nicholas Martin

Nicholas Martin

I am Nicholas Martin, and I am an entomologist. I combine the insect survey work with the consultation for private pest control agencies. My narrow specializations are both urban pests and agricultural pests. I studied their control over the previous 25 years. More about Nick

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