There are so many great uses for Epsom salt (also called magnesium sulfate) that I keep a big bag of it under the sink in my bathroom. That way, it’s always at the ready on occasions when I’m looking forward to a long relaxing soak in the tub. (More on adding Epsom salt to baths shortly!)
But I’ve also discovered a number of other ways to use Epsom salt, both within the realms of health and beauty and without! We’ll explore the many uses and benefits of Epsom salt in this post.
The Important Health Benefits Of Magnesium
Did you know that Epsom salt isn’t really a salt? At least, not in the same way as table salt is. Epsom salt is a natural mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate that is named for the English town where it is said to have been discovered hundreds of years ago.
Magnesium is a necessary part of our diet that helps support important bodily functions, but according to the National Academy of Sciences, up to 80 percent of Americans don’t get enough of it. The reasons for this are many, from farm soil depletion to methods of modern food production. Additionally, some food, drink, and prescription medications can inhibit magnesium absorption.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to serious health issues, so how do we make sure we’re getting enough of it? Taking a multivitamin or magnesium supplement is probably your best bet, but Epsom salt soaks and other practices can be beneficial as well. (That is to say, the health benefits of Epsom salt probably won’t overcome a magnesium deficiency alone, but Epsom salt is generally safe to use and certainly can’t hurt!)
11 Ways To Use Epsom Salt Around The House
1. Take A Relaxing Epsom Salt Bath
Whether magnesium can be absorbed through the skin in any meaningful way is a matter of some debate, but many health practitioners recommend adding Epsom salt to a warm bath to soothe sore muscles and promote relaxation. In fact, it’s probably the single most popular use of Epsom salt!
To enjoy the benefits of Epsom salt baths, just add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a tub full of warm water (or double the amount for an oversized tub.) Aim to soak for at least 20 minutes, and don’t use any soap or bubble bath during that time — soaps can interfere with the action of the salts. Take it easy for about 2 hours afterward (or better yet, take your bath just before bed for a great night’s sleep!)
Some Epsom salt bath products have added moisturizers and essential oils, but you can easily add them yourself — custom scented bath salts are inexpensive and make great gifts! Lavender essential oil has a calming effect, so it’s perfect for a warm, relaxing bath at the end of a long day. You can also add Epsom salt to a DIY detox bath with bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar.
It’s best to wait until skin irritation or open sores heal before you take an Epsom salt bath. And while some women find that Epsom salt baths help with pain and soreness related to pregnancy, you should check with your doctor first, just to be safe!
2. Foot Soak For Tired Feet
Another of the most popular uses of Epsom salt, foot soaks are a great option for those who don’t have a bathtub or aren’t fond of baths. Just add 1/2 cup of Epsom salt to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for 20 minutes — you’ll enjoy similar benefits to a full-body soak.
An invigorating peppermint foot soak is a nice way to pamper tired feet, too. A combination of Epsom salt, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil helps eliminate odors, reduce swelling, and soothe soreness in one fell swoop.
3. Ease Constipation
Epsom salt has a natural laxative effect that can help relieve constipation. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt in a glass of water and drink — it will taste bitter, but it works! Be careful not to use more than indicated or recommended by your doctor — consuming too much Epsom salt internally can have unpleasant consequences.
4. Add Volume To Hair
A simple Epsom salt treatment can leave your hair feeling soft and full of body! Combine equal parts Epsom salt and moisturizing hair conditioner in a saucepan, then place on your stovetop over low heat until the mixture is warmed through. Work the warm conditioner and Epsom salt mixture through your hair, leave it on for 20 minutes, then rinse.
5. Feed Your Garden
Magnesium-rich Epsom salt can also come in handy out in the garden. Studies show that Epsom salt may help plants grow greener with higher yields and more blooms. Before planting in the spring, sprinkle 1 cup of Epsom salt per 100 square feet of soil and till it in to promote seed germination, increase chlorophyll production, and improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake.
If you have rosebushes, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt per foot of height and scratch it around your roses every two weeks. (For example, a 4-foot rosebush would get 4 tablespoons.) For houseplants, try my homemade “Miracle Gro” with ammonia, baking soda, and Epsom salt — it’s by far the most affordable plant food I’ve tried, and my plants seem to love it!
6. Deter Raccoons
Spread a few tablespoons of Epsom salt around your garbage cans to help deter pesky raccoons. (Apparently they don’t like the taste of the stuff.)
7. Remove Splinters
Dissolve 1 cup of Epsom salt in a tub of water, then soak the area of skin affected by a splinter to draw it to the surface. You’ll be able to remove it with a pair of tweezers much more easily.
8. Repel Slugs
Another way to use Epsom salt in the garden? Deterring those sneaky slugs that like to come out and night and feast on your veggies and flowers. Sprinkle Epsom salt in areas where you see slug activity to keep them at bay.
9. Soothe Insect Bites And Acne
Epsom salt can be used to reduce swelling and redness from minor irritations like insect bites and acne. Start by dissolving 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in 1 cup of hot water, then place it in your fridge until cold. Dip a washcloth in the cold solution, then apply to irritated or inflamed skin for cooling, soothing relief.
10. Exfoliate Rough Skin
Epsom salt is also great for exfoliating skin, helping to remove dead skin and leave rough areas feeling soft and smooth. Just combine a handful of Epsom salt with enough olive oil, coconut oil, or baby oil to make a paste, then gently rub the exfoliating scrub on heels, elbows, and other rough or dry areas before rinsing.
11. Make Fabric Softener Crystals
Fabric softener crystals are one of several homemade softener options you can use to soften your clothes, reduce static buildup, and give fabrics a fresh, clean scent. It’s easy to make your own fabric softener crystals with Epsom salt and essential oils!
How else do you use Epsom salt around the house?