The Wonders Of Ordinary Epsom Salt

Epsom salt

When I hear the words “Epsom Salts” about the only thing that comes to mind is soaking my feet. That is honestly the only thing I’ve ever heard it used for….before now.

Since Pinterest I’ve also learned a thing or two about how it is helpful in the garden, but recently I’ve been reading article after article about the myriad of OTHER benefits of this “salt”. By the way…turns out Epsom salt isn’t really a SALT at all, but a natural mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. (Clarification: Well ok…according to BryanR’s comment below…it technically IS a salt…it’s just not SALT….you know…like the stuff you put on your eggs? Don’t put it on your eggs.)

So what’s the big deal? Well, apparently magnesium plays an important role in many bodily functions, like muscle control, energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins. And that is literally just naming a FEW!

And guess what? According to the National Academy of Sciences, MOST Americans are magnesium DEFICIENT, which can contribute to serious health issues.


OK…enough BAD news…here’s the GOOD news! Doctors say that soaking in an Epsom salt bath is a safe, easy way to increase the body’s levels of both magnesium and sulfate because they are both readily absorbed through the skin

Epsom salt

You mean to tell me taking a long, luxurious soak in the tub is good for my health!?! Sign me up!

How To Take A Therapeutic Bath Soak

Add 2 cups of bath salt to warm water in a standard-sized bathtub (double the Epsom Salt for an oversized garden tub). Bathe 3 times weekly, soaking for at least 12 minutes.

Add 1/2 cup olive oil or baby oil for moisturizing benefits. DO NOT USE SOAP. It will interfere with the action of the salts. Also, try to rest for about two hours afterwards. (Or better yet, take a bath just before bed! You’ll sleep like a baby!)


Epsom salt

If you don’t have a bathtub or just aren’t all that fond of soaking in a tub (in which case I don’t think we can be friends! lol), try a FOOT bath.

How To Take A Therapeutic Foot Soak

Add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water, soak feet for 20 minutes.


As good as a nice, long soak in the tub sounds…that is just the beginning when it comes to uses for this humble mineral. From at-home spa treatments to fertilizing your garden….here is a list of just SOME of my favorites uses for Epsom Salt:

Epsom salts

Muscle Pain and Body Aches.  This is probably what Epsom salt is BEST known for…but I found it interesting to know WHY. The magnesium that is absorbed into the skin from the “salt” interferes with receptors in the brain that register pain. So the next time you have body aches from the flu…try an Epsom salt bath!


Epsom salts

Constipation. Epsom salt is a natural laxative that can be used to relieve constipation. Mix 1 tsp. in a glass of water. It will taste extremely bitter, but it works.


Reduce swelling and itching from insect bites. Make compresses by soaking a cotton washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with Epsom salt (two tablespoons per cup), then apply to the skin.


Epsom salts

Skin exfoliation. Blend Epsom salt with enough olive oil or baby oil to create a paste. Gently rub it on your face for deep pore cleansing, or use it on heels, elbows and other rough areas. Rinse and pat dry.


Epsom salts

Splinter removal. Dissolve about 1 cup of Epsom salt in a tub of water and soak the affected area to draw out the splinter.


Epsom salts

Sunburn. A cool bath with 2 cups of Epsom salt reduces pain and has mild anti-inflammatory properties.


Epsom salts

Dislodge blackheads. Add a teaspoon of Epsom salt and 3 drops iodine into a half cup of boiling water. Apply this mixture to the blackheads with a cotton ball.


Epsom salts

Foot Odor Reduction.  Soaking your feet in 2 gallons of very warm water mixed with 1 cup of Epsom salts helps eliminate foot odor caused by bacteria. Exfoliating prior to soaking the feet in salt water makes results faster as well as longer lasting.


Epsom salts

Treat toenail fungus. Soak your affected toes in hot water mixed with a handful of Epsom salt three times a day.


Epsom salts

Autism Symptoms.  Children with autism may have decreased levels of phenol sulfotransferase, or PST. Magnesium sulfate may help to increase sulfate in the bloodstream and to moderate PST levels. Soaking in Epsom salts may provide relaxation and promote calmer behavior, and the magnesium sulfate from Epsom salt is absorbed through the skin during a bath.


Epsom salts

Mood Lifter. Taking Epsom salt baths helps your body detoxify and absorb the magnesium, which is very helpful for depression and anxiety.


Clean hair.  Have unusually oily hair? Add nine tablespoons of Epsom salt to a half cup of shampoo to help soak up excess oil and leave your locks clean.


Epsom salts

Volumize hair.  Warm equal parts deep conditioner and Epsom salt in a saucepan; work the mixture through your hair then rinse after 20 minutes for soft, volumized hair.


Epsom salts

Garden Fertilizer.  Studies show that Epsom salt may help plants grow greener with higher yields and more blooms. Magnesium helps seeds to germinate, increasing chlorophyll production and improving phosphorus and nitrogen uptake.


Epsom salts

Get rid of raccoons. A few tablespoons of Epsom salt spread around your garbage cans will deter the raccoons, who don’t like the taste of the stuff.


Epsom salts

Deter slugs. Sprinkle Epsom salt where they glide and say good-bye to the slugs.


Believe it or not…that’s just a sample of ALL the different things I found after extensive research. But I think I’ve hit all the highlights. If you have another way that YOU use Epsom Salts…please email me or leave a comment below. I would love to hear about it. :-)


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  1. Susie E says

    My kids tease me because of my tendency to pull out the Epsom salts for just about all maladies. It is great for scrapes and scratches, so my first line of defense for their “boo-boos” was an Epsom salt bath. I found it works great on diaper rash for babies, and yeast infections infections for Mom’s. Love to add your tips to my arsenal!

    • MJ says

      Ugh! yeast infection! Diaper rashes! How does one use the Epsom salts to treat both?

      • Demaroge says

        It treats them both for several reasons….

        1 – anti-inflammatory properties

        2 – often diaper rash IS a yeast infection (yeast loves to grow in damp dark areas)

        3 – helps with the itchy-ness of both

        4 – the ph is similar to the natural ph of the nether-parts (epsom is 5.5 to 6.5 and a healthy vaginal area is 3.8 to 4.5) A yeast infection is below normal so the epsom salt will help to raise the ph killing off excess yeasts

  2. says

    I use Epsom salt around palm trees because it’s supposed to be good for them but now thinking a foot soak sounds good for me.

      • Barb says

        Be careful using the water around plants after soaking your feet. By soaking your feet you are detoxing and the water can become comtaiminated.

  3. says

    I have long loved using Epsom salts in various things- but I just did it because I liked the result. So happy to know that it’s actually doing something & it wasn’t just my perception. Thanks for all the awesome info.

  4. says

    Wow! I am going to buy epsom salt today! I was really excited to read the garden and raccoon uses! I have a compost pile in the backyard that I think has been attracting a raccoon. I don’t want to get rid of my compost pile, but finding big piles of his poo in the backyard where my kids play is not fun. Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    Who knew?? I take magnesium to try to ward off the muscle spasms that can come along with MS, but soaking in the bath sounds much nicer.

  6. Vicki says

    My brother had a brown recluse bite on his tricep that got really bad. The doctor said a large portion of flesh would have to be surgically removed. When I found out about it (36 hours after being bitten) I told him our sister in law said to soak his arm in an Epsom salt bath. It took awhile, but it slowly started drawing the poison out. I KNOW it would have worked better if he had done this right away. Although the area affected was large and very painful and itchy, it got better. And he did not lose any flesh at all!

    • Re says

      Bentonite Clay would have sucked the toxins right out…heck, so would have milk of magnesia, for that matter. (right on the round) Surgery to cut out a chunk of flesh? Give me a break. Want to pass your gallstones? Take a Epsom Salt bath then take a table spoon or two of olive oil or coconut oil. A salad with Italian dressing would probably work too! Then go to bed….wala! In morning the proof will be in the john….

  7. blah blah says

    Sulphur is also an anti-parasitic. Hill country folks used to mix sulphur with molasses, down it by the teaspoon, in order to combat intestinal parasites. So, you can avoid the nasty epsom salt taste by mixing it with molasses or honey. Everything you said about magnesium is true, and we don’t get enough in our modern diet, b/c our modern diet is usually devoid of the green veggies it rides in. Women that crave chocolate during PMS … that’s a magnesium deficiency. Milk of Magnesia (the anti-constipation “medicine”) is just magnesium citrate in solution. Most of those anti-constipation meds are just magnesium. It gets the bowls moving. But, gently and without distress / cramping.

  8. Jeanne says

    I use Epsom Salts in the garden all the time! It’s great for bringing out the blue in my Hydrangeas, keeping the snails/slugs away from the garden and a pinch or two is good for your tomatoes! Plus, mix a cup of epsom salts into a liter of vinegar and you have the BEST non-toxic weed killer. I guess a box is moving up to the bathroom for soaking now too…

  9. BryanR says

    Nice article, but as a chemist I must object at your mislabeling this product as not a salt. Epsom Salt is magnesium sulfate, you’re right there, but any compound that contains a positive ion (magnesium is +2 charged) and negative ion (sulfate is -2 charged) resulting in a solid, overall neutrally-charged compound is, by definition, a salt. Sorry to be a buzz-kill, but as a chemical educator I must correct errors of this type!

    • says

      BUZZ-KILL!! lol! ;-) No worries BryanR….I’m actually surprised I got as much right as I did. Science was never my strong suit. Left-brained I am not! :-)

  10. megan says

    My daughter has severe excema and suffers from terrible rashes on her legs. After trying just about everything we discovered Epsom salt, now she soaks 2-3 times a week and it has been a life saver! She loves her baths because she knows how much they help.

    • Linda says

      My sister-in-law suffered from SEVERE psoriasis. After consulting with a nutritionist, she started a whole foods diet and began soaking in an Epsom Salt bath daily followed by an application of organic coconut oil on her skin.. It took several months, but her skin is as beautiful as a babies, she lost 60 pounds, and overall feels so much better.