20 Unexpected Uses For Ordinary Epsom Salt

Epsom salt

WELCOME to “Save My Sanity Saturday” at One Good Thing By Jillee….where I attempt to avoid having a nervous breakdown by actually giving myself a day off from blogging once a week! Please pull up a chair, sit back, and enjoy an “oldie but goodie” from the One Good Thing By Jillee archives.

—-Originally posted on July 2, 2012—-

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 a reader…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


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.


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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.


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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


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


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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 salt

Fabric softener crystals.

Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt and 10 drops of essential oil to make DIY fabric softener crystals. Use 1/4 cup per load and add at beginning of wash. (CLICK HERE to see my previous post with photos.)


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

Hair volumizer.  

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 salt

Sea salt texturizing hair spray.

Combine 1 cup of hot water, 2 tablespoons Epsom salt, 1 teaspoon aloe vera gel and 1/2 tsp conditioner in a spray bottle. Spray salt mixture into hair and scrunch hair with your hand for pretty beachy-waves.


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.


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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. :-)

Epsom salt

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  1. AnneH says

    Magnesium helps seeds to germinate.
    For about 15 years I have been using this routine for grass seed:
    Soak grass seed in Epsom Salts bath for 8-24 hours, drain, mix with some sand or peat moss & spread to over seed your lawn. Grass will germinate in 24 hours and will grow vigorously, catching up with the already growing lawn.

  2. Karo says

    Thank all of you for the fascinating comments. Many things to think about and try. Great article!

  3. lizzy says

    As young children, we were always getting cuts or hurting ourselves while building “forts.” My mother would make a poultice with epsom salt and warm water to put on our cuts….it helped us heal faster and prevented bacteria. An old fashioned remedy, that worked for us.

  4. Gigi says

    I am grateful for the research and thoughtful ideas on the multiple uses of Epsom salts. Thanks for opening my eyes to new possibilities. I’ll definitely look forward to a luxurious soak knowing it’s relaxing , therapeutic and possibly healing! Will also be applying it to the hostas in our flower garden to cut down on nasty slug n snail damage, bonus that it’s natural and inexpensive. Win win.

  5. Dani H says

    I don’t know about any of the other uses, but it can be dangerous (and is NOT recommended for use) for people with high blood pressure, heart disease or especially diabetes to either use epsom salts for soaking feet or especially to bathe in ~ if you have any of those conditions, be sure to consult your doctor before using epsom salts. (This sort of disclaimer is actually on the container of many brands of epsom salts.) Here are just a few of the results found in a google search:

    “Despite the benefits, Epsom salt baths aren’t for everyone. They generally aren’t recommended for people who have conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes. If you aren’t sure whether an Epsom salt bath is safe for you, consult your doctor first.”

    “When Epsom salts are added to a warm bath, some magnesium can be absorbed through the skin, causing an increased release of insulin, leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

    What about just soaking your feet? This is still not recommended. People with diabetes tend to have poor circulation to their feet and toes, making it hard for sores and wounds to heal. Soaks can cause dryness and irritation to the feet and can lead to cracking and infection.”

    We tend to forget that “natural” does not necessarily mean “safe” for people with some health problems or who take any number of medications. Even some herbs can interact with prescription medications. It’s always best to check with your doctor AND pharmacist if you take any prescriptions before using supplements.

  6. JP says

    Dislodge blackheads you said mixing it with iodine? What if an person is allergic to iodine like i myself is? I worked once with Shellfish (know with high iodine levels) And it also absorbed through my skin

  7. says

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  8. Anne says

    Soaking in a tub with Epsom salts is also very good for your skin if you have eczema! Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce the lesions as well as relieve the itching.

    • Diane says

      Thank you Ann, I have severe eczema and nothing prescribed works including steroids. I’m going to get some Epsom salt tomorrow.

      • Kelley H says

        I’m not sure if you know, but eczema is caused by food allergies. Mainly milk and/or egg, however I have some clients whose eczema is caused by wheat and corn. By eliminating your food allergies, eczema will completely disappear. Please feel free to contact me for more information and/or help! ~Kelley

      • janice says

        suffered with eczema for two decades, nothing worked. started to limit wheat hoping to loose some weight, and my eczema is 90% better.

      • Cynthia says

        Sheryll, you’re so right, my allergies are the nightshade veggies, tomatoes really set me off. I finally found relief with olive oil, coconut oil, and small amount of turpentine, mix 4 parts of each oil and 1 part turpentine.

      • Cathy W says

        Good Grief!!! My dad fixed all our “boo boos” with Turpintine! Oh how it hurt! But sure enough it worked. You might explain it is medicinal and NOT a painters solution! I haven’t found it locally.

      • Sheryll says

        I wanted to address the woman who is breaking out. Have allergy testing done if your are breaking out. I am allergic to milk and eggs. I was treat for staph and eczema. I was highly allergic to eggs and milk and a whole bunch of other food. But milk and eggs break me out like crazy, on my head, chest, inside my ears. On my hands, inside my mouth and in my lips. I never had staph or eczema. Right now my mouth is broke out so I know some how I either ingested milk or eggs. Even through I am careful it gets me now and then. Go to a allergist there is so much to wade through it’s overwhelming.

      • Holly says

        If you have problems in your mouth try swishing a couple teaspoons of coconut oil in mouth for about 20 minutes. Then spit it in garbarge {can clog drains} rinse mouth with warm water. Can wash teeth or not. Coconut oil has many wonderful properties that will help.

      • jo n says

        Years ago I worked in a beauty salon and developed a bad case of eczema on my hands that lasted over 3 years. I would wake up in the middle of the night with oozing hands that I would scratch in my sleep. After going to several doctors, nothing helped. A woman I worked with passed along a wonderful remedy to me. A little bit of vaseline to keep my hands soft and a broken open charcoal capsule mixed in with the vaseline. I would wear gloves of course because it is messy. After about a week the eczema was gone and I would only have minimal flare ups from time to time.

  9. says

    Epsom Salt also gets rid of cramps, I keep a spray bottle with dissolved Epson salt and water, anytime I feel a cramp coming on, I spray the affected part with the liquid and rub it in, viola no more cramps! I’m talking about foot cramps, charlie horses, and such.