I use EM powder in every area of my home. This natural product handles odors, neutralizes toxins and has the capacity to purify water! I use EM powder in the dryer, automatic dishwasher, homemade deodorant and much more.
What is EM Ceramic Powder?
EM stands for Effective Microorganisms. These microorganisms are a blend of various microbes that have been found to benefit the soil, humans and the environment. One of the microbes, phototrophic bacteria, survives heat that makes this probiotic blend unique.
EM originated in Japan in the early 1980s based on the research of Teruo Higo. In his book, An Earth Saving Revolution, Higa states,
“An acronym for ‘effective microorganisms,’ EM is the term I coined for the large group of microorganisms responsible for the regenerative process within the two dynamic forces of nature I have just described.* Photosynthetic bacteria, yeasts, lactic acid bacteria and fungi are just some of the strains of anabiotic microorganisms belonging to the EM group. When a combination of them is present in the soil, and they are proliferating in sufficient numbers, they bring about an increase in antioxidation levels and a resultant intensification in energy concentrations. In other words, their activity instigates the regeneration process, purifying the air and water content of the soil and intensifying plant growth.”
*regeneration and degeneration
What is the EM Powder?
EM powder is a blend of fine ceramics and EMs. Since the phototrophic bacteria survive heat, the ceramic combination works well. Ceramics are made by fermenting special montmorillonite clays with EM and then baked. The various forms of EM ceramics are natural with a wide range of applications.
Where can I purchase EM powders and liquids?
There are at least two U.S. distributors including:
How can I learn more?
AgriCultures Network’s page on Effective Microorganisms
Spanish environmental center, Castita Verde’s article on EMs.
The blog Home ‘n Stead’s article EM Probiotics for the Homestead.
I am always expanding my use of both liquid EM and ceramic EM. My favorite powder combination is a blend of baking soda and EM powder pictured above. I combine 1 cup baking soda with several tablespoons of the powder and fill a stainless shaker. I add several drops of tea tree oil, lemon oil or any pleasant smelling essential oil. I keep this next to the dryer and sprinkle the wet clothes with a tablespoon of the mixture. I also use this powder as a soft scrub in combination with liquid castile soap.
I even add it to my homemade laundry powder recipe. View the recipe here.
Some have reported success when it comes to trying to save possessions after leaving a toxic mold environment. I have had no direct experience with this, but research is ongoing when it comes to EMs and toxic mold.
The addition of that powder is really smart! I’ve never even heard of it. I make my own detergent and I’d like to try adding it!
I want to begin by saying thank you for all the wonderfully helpful information on your website! Thank you! Like yourself, I and my family have suffered greatly from toxic mold.
Having said this, I was surprised to see that you’re recommending the use of EM (Effective Microorganisms) as I have strong reservations regarding the use of EM and here is why. In essence, EM is a very small number (less than 100) of predominantly anaerobic (don’t like oxygen) microbes (bacteria and yeast) that were hand selected by a Japanese scientist for their ability to out-compete the thousands upon thousands of native microbes found in a given natural environment. These microbes were selected for specific environmental conditions – soil pH, lighting, temperature. When added to oxygen-starved soil and waste, they quickly multiply and become the dominant microbes in the environment killing off the bulk of the native anaerobic microbes. At first blush, this seems like a good idea. After all, a lot of those native anaerobic microbes are pathogenetic (can cause disease) and often produce noxious odors.
However, we’ve been shown time and again what happens when humans either transplant organisms from one habitat into another or otherwise alter the natural balance that has evolved over millennium. Two examples first come to mind. One is a PBS documentary that showed how the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park resulted in the bloom of whole new wonderfully abundant forested areas. Although small in number, putting back this one group of animals native to the area thoroughly restored the eco-system. On the flip side, I’m sure we’ve all read about how Australia is still trying to deal with an over-population of rabbits that were introduced into the eco-system back in the 18th century. When it comes to EM, what folks are suggesting is the rebalancing or native microbial populations on both small and grand scales.
Specific to EM, let’s take an example of using it in agriculture – one of its original intents. As a gentleman farmer, let’s say that I purchase a bottle of EM and begin brewing it in a sealed, oxygen-starved container as is recommended. Let’s assume the company that made the EM did a good job and didn’t grow batches of the wrong kind of microbes – relatively easy to do. I now take those trillions of microbes and spray them on my compost pile. The microbes go to work and multiply further. Later that week, we get a heavy rain and rivulets of water run out from the bottom of the compost pile carrying these microbes into the low-lying swampy cedar groves in the surrounding area. Since these areas are also oxygen-starved, the microbes quickly outcompete the native microflora. Is this good? Are we still so naïve as to believe the balance of microbes that developed over thousands of years in that cedar grove is now better off? Can you say “unexpected consequences”?
So what I’m trying to convey is a larger picture. There are always lots of seemingly good studies and well intentioned individuals recommending all sorts of adventures. I’m sure Professor Higa was well intentioned. However, can we be assured we’re getting the same microbes he recommended when that bottle of EM arrives in the mail? Are we using the microbes in the environment Professor Higa designed them for? And most importantly, do we have any assurance that there won’t be very real, damaging, and far reaching unexpected consequences by their use? I believe the answer to all three of these questions is no. If individuals decide they want to use these microbes in a very limited way, then this is simply how people learn. We know they can be very helpful in specific situations. However, I think it’s misguided to suggest that the use of EM is without risk.
This is my humble, non-pedigreed opinion,
As an aside, I do think we’ve completely altered the microbial flora on a global scale through the use of chemicals and other forms of pollution and that this is at the heart of a lot of the disease we see today. Furthermore, I do think it makes send to work to restore this flora but in a much safer and balanced way – by reintroducing oxygen-loving microbes in soil through the use of well-aerated compost and compost teas made from a widely diversified (tens of thousands) population of native microbes cultivated from a well-balanced mix of native plants and nutrients – see the work of Dr. Elaine Ingham.
Andrea Fabry says
I appreciate your perspective. Lots to think about! I have experienced benefit from integrating EMs into our household, but certainly not recommend “banking” on EMs to heal or ensure proper balance in one’s gut or farming. At the same time, a great deal of research has gone into Dr. Higa’s work and I have experienced benefit from the ceramic powder and fermented brew. Countless others have as well. It sounds like we agree that the chemicals have done a major disservice to our current ecology. Thanks for your input.
Avril Teasdale says
Great information well written and lots to think about. Thank you for taking the time to give this information and the links to follow to research this. Great!!
Lu Odger says
Where can I get EM powder in Australia? Would love to try this recipe.
Hi! I found this article while searching to see if Greg ever made any comments about EM. I am about to have mold remediation done on a house. One of the remediators who came to look at the house proposed to use EM-1 in the damp wiping phase and called it a probiotic. I had never heard of it. This person was recommended by one of the biotoxin doctors in my state. He said the doctor often recommends it for his patients. I confirmed this with the doctor.
I looked this product up and saw that it was indeed a probiotic – a mixture of bacteria and yeast supposedly beneficial to the environment. My immediate thought was this was an insane idea to deliberately put microbes into your house. My thinking is that a building is NOT a living organism like a human or a plant. The sheetrock in your house and the countertops in your kitchen and bathroom are not supposed to be teeming with microbes.
Once you introduce microorganisms into an environment, whatever happens as a result is pretty much out of your hands. Microbes aren’t visible and even if we had our own personal lab to study them and determine what is actually present in our building, we would still be limited by what is known to us. Our scientific knowledge will always be limited. I don’t know anyone who has the money or level of knowledge to do that anyway. My point being, you really don’t KNOW what microbes are already in your building, what microbes are in your EM product, nor what microbial mutations, alterations, etc will result from introducing new microbes into the building envelope. You have no way of knowing how those changes will affect the environment of your home or your body.
Reading Greg’s response on this confirms my initial reaction. I’m not arguing that some may feel it’s helpful and may even feel symptom relief after wiping their house down with it, but I can’t get the high potential for unintended consequences out of my mind if this product is and does what it claims.
JIN PARK says
I’m JIN living in Australia an growing vegies at home.
How can I get this EM Ceramic powder and how t o use it for vegie garden?
Andrea Fabry says
I’m not sure on this!