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Can You Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous earth is one effective and cost-friendly pest control solution, which makes it a good option for most homeowners. However, there are instances where people tend to overuse it and make it scatter around. So, a commonly asked question is if you can vacuum it. After thorough research, we have finally uncovered the answer. 

Disclosure: We may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Yes, you can vacuum diatomaceous earth. However, you should never use a regular vacuum cleaner since the abrasiveness of diatomaceous earth can damage it. Keep in mind that you can only use a shop vac, a filterless vacuum, or one with a high-quality HEPA filter.

If you wish to successfully vacuum diatomaceous earth and not damage your shop vac, it would be best to keep reading to know how to do it properly. In addition, doing so might also answer some of your additional questions. And without further ado, let's delve into the details!

diatomaceous earth filter from wine making, Can You Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth?

Is It Safe To Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth?

Diatomaceous Earth against a wooden background

Pure or natural diatomaceous earth is safe for humans, pets, and wildlife, including dogs and cats, despite its potent insecticidal properties. However, inhaling diatomaceous earth might irritate the respiratory system.

Large volumes of diatomaceous earth that the vacuum raises can irritate the lungs and cause you to sneeze or cough. So, you should wear safety gear to protect yourself. 

However, you should keep in mind that there are many artificial kinds of diatomaceous earth on the market, and some may comprise additives that are dangerous to humans and animals.

If you want to ensure you're getting the natural one, look for the words "amorphous silicon dioxide" on the packaging rather than any mention of "synthetic."

What Vacuum Should You Use To Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth?

Japanese vacuum cleaner on flooring

If you want to clean and vacuum scattered diatomaceous earth, it would be best to be aware of the vacuum type you should use. It is advisable only to utilize a shop vac, a filterless vacuum, or one that contains a high-quality HEPA filter.

Never use a regular vacuum since it can obtain damage from the diatomaceous earth. It can easily clog, and the diatomaceous earth can burn out the motor of a regular vacuum cleaner, which can immensely affect its system. 

Furthermore, you still need to be careful even when using the recommended vacuums. It would be best to vacuum slowly and carefully to give the vacuum enough time to draw the diatomaceous earth through its system, especially since it is abrasive. 

Vacuuming Diatomaceous Earth Using A Shop Vac

This type of vacuum is actually your best choice. 

A shop vac has a powerful motor and a considerable canister, which can suck up things like sawdust or nails. Note that a regular vacuum cannot do this. So, if you have a shop vac and have accidentally spread diatomaceous earth in an area, it would be best to make it your first cleaning option. 

On the other hand, if you don't own a shop vac, you can try to go to your nearest local hardware store and rent one.

Click here to check out this portable shop vacuum on Amazon.

Use A Filterless Vacuum For Diatomaceous Earth

If you can't find a shop vac for rent, you can choose a filterless vacuum.

The best technique you can do when using a filterless vacuum is to move gently and slowly. It is to ensure that you prevent clogging as you do the job. 

Vacuum Diatomaceous Earth Using A High-Quality HEPA Filtered Vacuum

It is not suggested to use a filtered vacuum to clean diatomaceous earth. However, if all else fails, you can use one, but you must ensure to utilize one with a high-quality HEPA filter. In addition, you must keep in mind that you need to take some safety precautions before using a filtered vacuum.

It would be best to avoid overworking the motor by moving slowly and checking and cleaning the filter frequently during the process.

A vacuum with a HEPA filter can suck up particles better than standard ones, making it the only filtered vacuum you can use for diatomaceous earth. 

Click here to check out this Bissell 2998 MultiClean with HEPA filter on Amazon.

What Are The Basics Of Vacuuming Diatomaceous Earth

If you want to successfully and safely vacuum diatomaceous earth, you can check out the following details on how to do so:

Improve Ventilation

If you wish to remove diatomaceous earth from an area or surface, checking for ventilation and improving it is highly advisable. You can do it by opening the windows and doors. In addition, you should also switch off the HVAC system to prevent the flying diatomaceous earth particles from entering the system and vents. 

Wear Safety Gear

We have already mentioned this earlier, and it is essential to do so.

To protect yourself from the particles as you vacuum, you should wear safety goggles and a facemask. Protecting your eyes and nose is a must, especially if you have asthma or any respiratory issues.

Click here to check out this safety goggles set on Amazon.

Use Carpet Cleaner

If you can't totally remove the diatomaceous earth on the surface or carpet with the vacuum, know that you can use a carpet cleaner to finish the job. 

You can simply discard the bin contents it in the garbage or dump it outside; it won't cause any harm to the environment.

Check out this Bissell carpet cleaner on Amazon. 

What Are The Other Methods To Clean Up Diatomaceous Earth?

food grade diatomaceous earth supplement - small pile of powder on a grunge wood

Aside from using a shop vac, filterless vacuum, or one with HEPA filters to clean diatomaceous earth, you can also try other methods to accomplish it, and they are the following:

Using A Damp Cloth Or Rag

If you have applied or scattered diatomaceous earth on a hard floor, you can easily clean it using a damp cloth. Do it like you clean spilled flour. After wiping the diatomaceous earth, you should shake the cloth over a wastebasket or outside before you wash them.

And if you want to get rid of any lingering diatomaceous earth from the cloth, you should it separately from the rest of your laundry.

Sweep The Diatomaceous Earth

Another method that you can do to remove diatomaceous earth on hard floors is to sweep it. Do it using a broom and a dustpan. After that, dispose of it properly in a trash bin.

However, if you wish to prevent tiny particles from floating in the air as you sweep, you can spray the floor with little water to make it slightly wet.

Note that you should not soak the diatomaceous earth if you want to sweep it quickly.

How Long Can You Let Diatomaceous Earth Sit In A Carpet Before You Vacuum It?

It is OK to let diatomaceous earth sit on a carpet or any surface for as long as you want. Or you can vacuum it after ensuring that it has already killed the pests or insects on the carpet, which usually takes more than a week. However, if you are to ask, it would be best to leave the diatomaceous earth a few more weeks to ensure that it killed even the eggs of those pests.

Click here to check out this diatomaceous earth on Amazon.

Is It OK To Sleep In A Space Containing Diatomaceous Earth?

If you have applied or spread diatomaceous earth in a room and want to rest or sleep there, worry not since it is safe to do so. However, before you go to that space and sleep, it would be best to let the diatomaceous earth settle first.

Good thing that diatomaceous earth is non-toxic and is suitable for use around your family. Nonetheless, it is still advisable to wear safety gear, as numerously mentioned, since it is a fine powder you can easily breathe in during application. But being in the same room with it is safe after it has settled.

What We Have Learned

Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth in Bowl Ready for Use

In the event that you have utilized too much diatomaceous earth and made it scatter around your floor or carpet, it is imperative that you use only the recommended vacuums to remove it. Damage to the vacuum motor could result from carelessness. So, follow only the guidelines discussed in this post.

There you have it! You finally determined the answer to your concern. But if you still have additional questions, please feel free to reach out in the comments. And if you wish to read further, you can check these posts out!

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