Bentonite Clay vs. Diatomaceous Earth

Posted by Bradley Lewis on


Difference Between Diatomaceous Earth and Bentonite Clay

In forums across the web, there is a recurring discussion about bentonite clay verses diatomaceous earth (DE). Both are natural materials found in homes around the globe and both have a variety of uses. In this post, we break down the main differences between bentonite clay and diatmaceous earth and include safety tips and recommended uses.

Bentonite Clay Origins

Let’s start at the beginning, literally. Most bentonite clays originate from volcanic ash deposits that have weathered over thousands to millions of years into Montmorillonite clay minerals. This makes bentonite clay geological in nature. The composition of different clays vary with the exact source as well as the drying process. Earth’s Natural's calcium bentonite green clay originates from Death Valley, California, where it is sun- dried for up to six months in temperatures that reach up to 134 degrees Fahrenheit.

Diatomaceous Earth Origins

Diatomaceous earth, on the other hand, comes from diatoms, microscopic one-celled algae which are organic in origin. Diatoms are abundant in oceans and lakes. When oceans and lake beds dry up over eons, the fossilized shells of the diatoms remain. Therefore, diatomaceous earth is marine-based. The remaining sediment is harvested and milled into a fine powder.

Differences in Features

Seeing as these two materials come from vastly different origins, it is no surprise that they have unique features. Diatomaceous earth is nature’s filter. The micro-particles in DE are small and hollow which make it highly porous. These properties make DE a great filter, often used in drinking water and pool filteration systems. Other properties include its abrasiveness. Our Tooth Polish, for example, contains food-grade diatomaceous earth for its wonderful polishing ability! It also contains calcium bentonite clay for anti-bacterial benefits.

Our Pest Powder is food-grade diatomaceous earth sold as a flea treatment. Diatomaceous earth kills by physical action, not chemical. The tiny diatoms scratch off the insect’s waxy coating, and dehydrate it. Fleas cannot become immune to its action. Fleas come in contact with the powder and die within 48 hours. Diatomaceous earth is not poison but is drying to the skin. For safety purposes, it is extremely important to use only food-grade diatomaceous earth around humans, pets, and other animals. Do not use pool filter DE as it is chemically treated!

Calcium bentonite clay is in the smectite group of clays. This is important because smectite clays are the only ones that absorbs AND adsorbs toxins and impurities. Absorption is like a sponge, where toxins are taken into the clay molecule. Adsorption refers to the ability of toxins to attach to the surface area of the clay molecule. These two actions together make smectite clays highly desirable. Unlike diatomaceous earth, bentonite clay and others in the smectite group have this swelling potential, and do not allow water to filter through them.

Calcium bentonite clay detoxifies and cleanses the body by absorbing toxins and harmful bacterias as it passes through your body. Another major health benefit of consuming calcium bentonite clay comes from its natural alkaline properties. At a pH of 9.7, the clay can help combat the overally acidic diets that many Americans have today. According to our fan favorite, Dr. Oz, “The more acidity you intake, the more loaded your mouth is with bacteria – which ultimately causes plaque, decay and bad breath. The sad truth is that the average American eats mostly acidifying food, with minimal alkalizing intake.” By adding calcium bentonite clay into your daily regime, you can give your body the extra edge and boost its natural healing abilities.


The differences between bentonite clay and diatomaceous earth start at their unique origins and features and extend through their variety of uses. From our bathrooms to our gardens, these minerals have found their place in homes across the globe as natural remedies to everyday issues. Remember to only use food grade DE around humans and animals for safety purposes. Visit our online store to add these important all-natural ingredients to add to your recipe for a balanced and healthy body.