16 Surprising Uses of Epsom Salts for Health, Beauty & Home
Epsom salt is one of those things I always keep on hand. It is a good source of magnesium (check out next blog on why we love magnesium) and has dozens of household, beauty, and health uses.
Because of its many uses, we keep it in almost every room of our house!
What Is Epsom Salt?
Don’t confuse Epsom salt with regular table salt or Himalayan salt (which has many benefits as well). Epsom salt is a magnesium-based “salt” rather than a traditional sodium-based salt. It is chemically known as magnesium sulphate and is an easy and inexpensive source of magnesium.
Uses for Epsom Salt Research shows that many people lack this important mineral due to magnesium levels declining in our food and environment. Using Epsom salt around the house and in beauty treatments is one easy way to improve magnesium levels.
Just be careful: as the labels on any Epsom salt package will warn you, it is a potent laxative, so this isn’t a supplement you should take internally without a doctor’s recommendation.
As is the case with most things in health, the science is always evolving. Although there is significant research to support the benefits of transdermal magnesium. i.e. bathing in magnesium rich Epsom salts.
My take: no natural remedy is a “cure-all” and Epsom salt is no exception, but plenty of evidence exists that it is safe and beneficial in many ways.
Uses for Epsom Salt
Here are 16 of my favourites uses for don’t have this magnesium-rich (and inexpensive) household staple:
1. Relaxing Bath Soak
Epsom salt has been added to baths as a relaxing soak since it was first discovered at a salty spring in Epsom, England. The high magnesium content makes it a wonderfully relaxing soak. I’m a big fan of using Epsom salts as part of my detox bath routine. I also usually add a little Epsom salt to my kids’ baths to help them sleep.
What to do: Add a cup of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes. You can also add a drop or two of lavender essential oil, which adds a lovely scent and helps induce relaxation as well.
2. Splinter Removal
This is an old trick I learned from an elderly relative and we use it all the time. With two kids who love to climb trees and run around barefoot, splinters are a fact of life. Unfortunately, the removal of these splinters used to cause a lot of heartache at our house.
Now, I make a strong solution of warm water and Epsom salt and let the splinter soak for about 10 minutes. This makes it so much easier to remove (and helps stop the pain too!).
What to do: Dissolve 1/3 cup Epsom salt in 1 cup of warm/hot water and stir until completely dissolved. Soak the affected finger/toe/body part with the splinter for at least 10 minutes and carefully remove the splinter with tweezers or a sewing needle. Also, use common sense: if the splinter is big, deep, a puncture wound, bleeding, or simply won’t come out, visit a doctor.
3. Magnesium Foot Scrub
Our feet are one of the most over-worked and under-appreciated parts of our bodies. On days that I hike, garden, or run after my kids for hours, it’s easy to end up with sore feet and legs, so I love to use this soothing and softening magnesium foot scrub.
What to do: basically mix up 1 cup of Epsom salt and possible combine with coarse Dead Sea Salt with some carrier oil and a little castile soap to make a luxurious foot scrub. It also seems to help with cracked heels if you get those as well.
4. Firming Facial Wash
Did I mention that magnesium can help firm the skin and exfoliate? I add a little Epsom salt to my face wash or oil cleansing routine for a soothing and firming boost.
What to do: I only use a little bit of FINE Epsom salt and add it to my face wash or oil cleansing oil as I massage it into my face. I find this works better than trying to add it to the face wash in the container.
5. Body Ache Relief
Once upon a time I got a bad case of the flu and my body ached all over as it tried to fight it off. I noticed I had some DeepHeat on my counter. The package indicated that this was for “sore and achy muscles” so I decided to give it a try. Turns out, this super-strong muscle relief cream is not designed to be used on the entire body! Instead of achy muscle relief, I got whole-body chills for an hour. Not so fun!
Now, I stick to Epsom salt baths for body aches and sore muscles and it works like a charm!
What to do: Add 2+ cups of Epsom salt to a warm/hot bath and soak for 20+ minutes.
6. DIY Salt Scrub
Epsom salt is a magnesium-rich alternative to regular salt in salt-scrub recipes. Salt scrubs are traditionally a mixture of salt and oil like olive oil or almond oil. Epsom salt can easily be used in place of the salt in these recipes for an extra magnesium boost.
What to do: Use Epsom salt instead of salt in a recipe like this one. Or, just mix 1/2 cup Epsom salt with 1/4 cup olive or almond oil and use as an exfoliating scrub in the shower.
7. Foot Soak
If you aren’t in the mood for a full bath but want the magnesium-boosting benefits of an Epsom salt bath, just soak your feet instead!
What to do: Add 1 cup of Epsom salt to hot water for a concentrated foot soak. For scent, you can also add up to 5 drops of essential oil of choice.
8. Relieve Itchy Skin and Bug Bites
What can magnesium not do? Epsom salt is also my go-to for relieving itchy skin from bug bites or other reactions.
What to do: Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in a cup of water and let it cool. Spritz on bug bites or itchy skin to help calm the itch. A drop of lavender right on a mosquito bite also helps calm the itch. Or add some lavender to the spray.
9. Sunburn Relief Spray
I’m going to step onto a soapbox for just a minute. I think the sun is beneficial in moderation and that in many cases, sunscreen may do more harm than good. That said, every source agrees that sunburn is harmful and we should make every effort to avoid it. For our family, we try to get moderate sun exposure daily, but never enough to burn or turn pink. On the rare occasion when we get too much sun, I make a soothing after sun spray.
What to do: Dissolve 2 tablespoons Epsom salt in 1 cup of water and cool. Add 4 drops lavender essential oil and shake. Spray on skin to calm the pain of a sunburn. (Diluted apple cider vinegar also works for this, but the salt spray smells a lot better!)
10. Get Things Moving
This is one of the on-label uses for Epsom salt. Due to its high magnesium content, it is well known for its ability to relieve constipation. I’ve used it this way as part of a liver and gallbladder flush, but some people use it for the relief of occasional constipation.
What to do: Follow the package directions for relief of occasional constipation, but check with a doctor first, especially if you have any health problems.
11. Healthy House Plants
House plants are great for cleaning indoor air and we love to keep them around. Just like garden plants, house plants love a magnesium boost once in a while. Add some Epsom salt as part of a regular watering or fertilizing routine for more robust house plants.
What to do: Sprinkle a little Epsom salt on the soil in a house plant container or add a little to the water when watering. A tablespoon is usually plenty for a month or two.
12. Say Goodbye to Snails
Salt of any kind, including the Epsom variety, is great for deterring slugs and snails. If you’re already using salt in the garden to help improve the soil, this should help deter slugs as well. If not, consider sprinkling some salt around to keep those snails away.
What to do: Sprinkle Epsom salt in or around gardens and other areas you don’t want snails invading to keep them away.
13. Beautiful Roses
We can debate forever if a rose by another name would be as sweet, but one thing is for sure: roses love magnesium and adding a little to the soil around a rose bush helps increase growth and blooms.
What to do: Sprinkle a tablespoon of Epsom salt around a rose bush and water for faster growth. Best applied once a month.
14. Headache Relief
There is quite a bit of evidence that magnesium may help headaches and even migraines when used regularly. Some sources even think that magnesium deficiency may increase the chance of headaches. I’ve noticed that when I bathe is magnesium rich Epsom salts, I also don’t seem to get headaches. And my husband swears that the best hangover cure is a long swim in the ocean, which is much higher in magnesium than lakes or swimming pools. So create your own ocean at home in the tub.
What to do: Use any of the methods above to get more magnesium. However, the absolute best is to bath in magnesium rich Epsom salts each night.
15. Sleepy Kids
What parent doesn’t want kids who want to sleep at bedtime? I know I certainly do! Part of our bedtime routine is using magnesium in some way. This is always in the bath,it helps our kids fall asleep much quicker and stay asleep longer.
What to do: Make an Epsom salt bath
16. Garden Soil Prep
Magnesium in the soil helps improve plant growth. It can be added during the growing season but we see the best results when we mix it into the soil too.
What to do: Add a bag or two of Epsom salt to the soil and till in to replenish soil magnesium levels.
Epsom Salt: What to Look ForI buy high quality Epsom salt online, but you can probably find it in your local grocery or health food store. Just look for one that is PURE, ORGANIC, MINED and not manufactured. NO dyes or added ingredients.