Diatomaceous Earth for Roaches: DIY Pest Control!

By proofPest

We all know roaches are tricky pests to beat! Many DIY options claim to eliminate these unsanitary and unwanted pests, but what works?

Homeowners typically use diatomaceous earth for roaches to curtail tough, lingering infestations. 

Keep reading to find out if this at-home pest control method can work for you!

What’s Diatomaceous Earth?

According to Oregan State’s National Pesticide Information Center, diatomaceous earth is composed of tiny crushed diatoms, hence the name! Diatoms are microscopic aquatic algae typically found in sediment near water. 

Diatomaceous earth exists in nature as rocks, eventually crushed into the fine white powder we’re used to seeing. While it’s unlikely that you’ll spot this rock on your average nature hike, diatomaceous earth is mined in many areas in North America, including the United States.

In its non-food grade form, the powder is a component of pool filtration to sift out unwanted impurities. 

Many everyday household items include food-grade diatomaceous earth. From toothpaste to cat litter, diatomaceous earth’s abrasive and absorbing properties are essential ingredients for many products on store shelves.

Diatomaceous earth is safe to consume as a food-grade product, but we don’t recommend you choose it as your next snack! Because it’s non-toxic, it’s okay for accidental ingestion, meaning you can use this pest control option around your little ones and furry friends.

However, avoid inhaling diatomaceous earth in any form. The coarse powder is highly abrasive and could irritate your lungs and throat. While you won’t become ill from inhaling it, the powder may give you a nasty cough!

Diatomaceous Earth for Roaches

Because of its corrosive nature, diatomaceous earth works well against many common household insects like cockroaches, spiders, ants, beetles, and even bed bugs. 

All insects have a hard exoskeleton outside their bodies that protects them from damage and water retention. Because insects are invertebrates, they lack an internal skeleton and rely on this external covering to keep them safe. 

While insects shed their exoskeletons to grow larger, this process isn’t simple and can result in the insect’s death if something goes array. The exoskeleton is a vital portion of an insect’s body as it is the only structure that provides support and protection. 

Diatomaceous earth makes an excellent pest control option because of its effect on an insect’s exoskeleton. The sharp, crushed diatoms create minuscule cuts on the surface of any bug’s body, effectively destroying its exoskeleton. 

As a cockroach absorbs the powder, the diatomaceous earth soaks up its internal moisture. Without having anything to protect against water loss, the insect will slowly dehydrate and die soon after. 



Unlike other pesticide solutions, insects don’t have to eat the product for it to work correctly. Instead, pests merely have to traverse through the powder for it to get the job done!

Diatomaceous Earth Application

Here’s what you need to know when using diatomaceous earth for roaches. 

Roaches tend to eat everything, but even these pests will turn their nose up at a meal that doesn’t suit their needs. Many common pesticide treatments are rendered useless against roaches because the insects are immune or know to avoid them!

Proper placement of diatomaceous earth will determine whether or not you eliminate any roaches with this DIY solution. Unless you place it in areas they travel through regularly, they may never give it the time of day.

Cockroaches typically populate hidden or hard-to-reach areas, staying away from the hustle and bustle of your household until everything has quieted down in the evening or nighttime. You may have a severe infestation afoot if you see a roach out and about during the day.

Apply diatomaceous earth on the ground near your fridge, other appliances, cabinets, and pantry. If you don’t mind a little mess, you can place it on your countertops or under your furniture. 

When you lie down to sleep at night, cockroaches venture out to forage for stray food. As they walk through the fine layer of powder throughout your home, roaches will put the diatomaceous earth to work!

If you’re worried the diatomaceous earth for roaches in your home won’t entice all the hiding insects, consider mixing in a cockroach attractant or placing a bait within the powder to draw them in. 

You can quickly sweep or vacuum up the remaining residue whenever the product has done its job. Always wear a respiratory mask when disturbing the powder to avoid inhaling large amounts. 

Limitations of Diatomaceous Earth for Roaches

While an excellent solution to your roach problems, diatomaceous earth still has some drawbacks. 

Once wet, diatomaceous earth loses much of its potency and will not work as effectively against insects. The powder needs to remain dry to make a difference on a bug’s exoskeleton, so avoid placing the powder anywhere that’s frequently damp.

Plus, unless the insect directly walks through the powder, it won’t impact the pests in your home. Unlike many baited pest control methods, cockroaches are unlikely to return to the larger population with much of the powder particles. 

Diatomaceous earth can make a difference against the foraging insects in your home but may not eliminate every bug you can’t see. Because there’s no way to ensure the roaches return to the larger colony and spread the powder, you may have to rely on another alternative to eliminate your bug problem. 

The product also isn’t as fast-acting as other methods. Depending on the cockroach species in your home, this could be a problem. For example, German cockroaches reproduce rapidly and can have over 50 eggs in one sac! 

Without swift action, these pests could quickly grow in size. Diatomaceous earth is an excellent choice for small-scale infestations, but you’ll need a heavy-duty option whenever you have many insects inside. 

Thankfully, proof. Pest Control has what it takes to get rid of pesky roaches! With our help, you won’t have to rely solely on diatomaceous earth for cockroaches! 

We take the hassle out of pest control, and our trained technicians can quickly identify the source of any infestation. Contact us today to schedule your cockroach treatment!

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Call proof. pest control at 888-291-5333, or send us a message online.