Have you ever heard of Epsom Salts? They may sound mysterious, but they're surprisingly useful for a variety of things.
There are Epsom Salt uses for beauty, health and in the home and garden too, and today we're going to share the best ones with you.
Curious? What are you waiting for!
Editor's Note: This post was originally posted in July 2015 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in September 2018.
What is Epsom Salt?
Despite the name, Epsom Salt isn't actually a salt all. Its chemical name is magnesium sulphate, whilst its common name originates from the spring in Epsom Surrey (England) where this naturally-occurring mineral was first discovered.
The skin readily absorbs both magnesium and sulphates, which can have some amazing bodily effects such as reducing inflammation, flushing toxins, easing migraine headaches, helping muscle and nerve function and much more.
Whilst Epsom Salts are primarily known as being a natural remedy for ailments, there are lots of other things that can benefit from them too.
Health benefits of Epsom Salt
1. Promotes rest & relaxation
Are you feeling tired and stressed out? Epsom Salts could help!
Epsom salts will dissolve in warm water and, as previously mentioned, can be easily absorbed by the skin. This is why they can often be found in high street bath salts and expensive spas.
The magnesium ions break apart from the Epsom salt molecules in water, and as they penetrate your skin it increases the production of serotonin (the happy chemical) and reduces adrenaline, helping you to feel nice and relaxed. The magnesium is also said to help the production of energy in cells which make us feel invigorated.
So if you’re feeling particularly stressed out or anxious, take a cup of Epsom Salts and mix them into a nice hot bath to:
- Feel more relaxed
- Alleviate stress or anxiety
- Gain a sense of well being
- Feel invigorated
2. Soothes pain & muscle tension
If you work at a desk all day, or indeed, work out a lot, then you're sure to have muscle tension or knots. An Epsom salt bath can have a really positive effect, working to relieve muscle tension and pain while also soothing inflamed joints.
Have a therapeutic Epsom salt bath to:
- Alleviate a tension headache
- Relieve muscle tension
- Soothe tired and sore feet
- Loosen tight muscles
They can also be useful when you're suffering from the flu. Epsom Salt baths will ease discomfort and help you to get the rest you need to recover.
3. Relieves constipation
According to the Epsom Salt Council, the magnesium and sulfate components can have a laxative effect when drunk. An Epsom salt drink could be the answer to your uncomfortable constipation.
Here's how to make and ingest one safely:
1. Pour 110 ml of water into a glass and 1 tsp of Epsom Salts to the water.
2. Dissolve the mixture by stirring thoroughly with a spoon - add a squeeze of lemon juice if you wish.
3. Drink the water in a few gulps - you should expect your next bowel movement between 30 minutes and 6 hours of drinking.
The same mixture can also be taken orally to 'detox' the body, which some claim to contribute to healthy weight loss.
NOTE: Talk to your doctor before using Epsom salts as a laxative if you have any health conditions, allergies or are taking other medications or supplements. People with kidney disease should not take Epsom salts.
4. Helps remove painful splinters
Ouch! We all get splinters from time to time. They can sometimes be extremely tricky to get out, and almost impossible if deeply nestled into a child's little finger.
Epsom salts can provide a pain-free solution as magnesium sulfate helps reduce any inflammation to help the splinter become loose, making it easier to ease out.
TRY IT: Soak the affected body part in a solution of warm water and Epsom salts for a few minutes to help remove a stubborn or deep splinter.
5. Treats Athlete's Foot & other fungal nasties
Soaking your feet in an Epsom Salt bath will help relieve aches and pains, but it's not only good for that.
Along with their soothing properties, Epsom Salts are also very good at treating Athlete's Foot and other toenail fungal infections.
TRY IT: Dunk your feet in a bowl of hot water and a cup of dissolved Epsom salts until the water goes cold, then gently buff your feet with a soft towel.
6. Works as an alternative to Aloe Vera
Most of us know that Aloe Vera can be pretty remarkable as a natural home remedy, but did you know Epsom Salts are just as good for many things?
Similarly to Aloe Vera, Epsom Salts can Soothe mosquito bites, bee stings and even mild sunburn. When used, the minerals start working almost immediately to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.
TRY IT: Soak a washcloth in a cold water Epsom Salt solution (2 tbsp Epsom Salts per cup of water) and gently press onto the affected area to provide quick relief.
7. Treat thrush & yeast infections
Yeast infections can be pretty painful and can get worse if left untreated, so it's always advised to act fast.
Alongside antibiotics, which the doctor may recommend, and keeping hydrated, an Epsom Salt bath can also help alleviate pain. They work to alkalize the pH of the vagina and are also antibacterial.
8. DIY eyewash
If you ever happen to get a swollen eye or conjunctivitis, you'll be grateful to have some Epsom salts lying around - when mixed with warm water, they make a great DIY eyewash to reduce inflammation and bacteria.
9. Epsom salt bath for dogs
It turns out your fluffy friends can benefit from Epsom Salts too! An Epsom Salt bath is healing and soothing, particularly useful for dogs that have dry or itchy skin.
Not only that, but it can also assist with healing and reduce swelling after injuries.
Beauty uses for Epsom Salt
10. Exfoliate your skin
Exfoliation is highly beneficial to the skin, as it helps to remove dead and dry skin cells, allowing new ones to surface and receive the nourishment they need. This not only helps with skin health, but appearance too, and it will leave you with soft, supple, glowing skin.
As Epsom Salts have a gritty texture, they make an ideal ingredient for a homemade body scrub for your hands, legs, arms, torso and back.
Not sure whether you should shave or exfoliate first? Read our handy guide now!
TRY IT: Mix a cup of Epsom salts with a natural oil like Coconut or Olive Oil in a small bowl (add your favourite essential oil if you like) and give it a thorough mix.
11. Deep-cleanse a congested face
Epsom Salt's miraculous mix of ingredients can give your skincare products more power than ever. For fresh and bright skin, why not add some to your daily cleanser?
TRY IT: Grind a teaspoon of Epsom salt in a pestle and mortar or give them a crush with a rolling pin. When you have finer dust, mix it in a small bowl with your regular cleanser. Gently massage the mix into your skin, carefully avoiding the eye area, then rinse with warm water.
12. Clear out blackheads
Blackheads (dermatologically known as open comedones) are extremely common. Their black colour is caused when pores become blocked with dead skin cells and sebum (the skin's natural oil).
They can be tricky to eradicate completely, but one of the natural remedies you can try is Epsom Salts.
TRY IT: Add 1 tsp of Epsom Salts and 3 drops of Iodine into half a cup of boiling water. Mix and let cool for a few minutes. Then, dip a cotton wool ball into the solution and apply to areas affected by blackheads. Finally, use clean fingers, to apply a small amount of pressure to the surface of your skin to gently dislodge any gunk.
13. Volumise your hair
Forget spending a fortune on expensive hair products - it turns out Epsom Salts can also be used for volumising hair.
TRY IT: Combine equal parts deep conditioning conditioner and Epsom salts and lightly warm in a pan. Massage the mixture into your scalp and hair then leave for 20 minutes under a shower cap. Rinse thoroughly and dry to reveal bouncier, bigger hair.
14. Remove hard skin on feet
Hard skin on feet not only looks pretty unsightly, but it can actually cause discomfort too. Epsom salts are also a cheap and practical solution for this.
TRY IT: As per the instructions above, make a scrub and brush it into the soles of your feet. Once you've scrubbed the hard skin, leave your feet soaking in a bowl of warm water for a minute or two - you'll have buttery-soft skin in no time at all!
15. Treat back acne
It's hard to know just how to treat back acne. Whilst it's much less noticeable than face acne, it can still be unpleasant and itchy.
An Epsom Salt bath soak is one way to treat back acne gently. Not only is it completely natural, but it solves the problem of getting at those hard-to-reach areas.
Epsom Salt uses in the home & garden
16. Clean your bathroom tiles
Looking for cheaper alternatives to expensive cleaning products? Why not try making your own?
Epsom Salts provide abrasion to make dirt, grime and limescale removal much easier.
TRY IT: Mix equal parts of ground Epsom salts and washing up liquid to form a scrub. Apply onto your bathroom tiles and rub in with an old toothbrush or scrubbing brush.
17. Grow bigger & better veggies
Got green fingers? Here's something you may not have heard about: studies have shown Epsom Salts increase the growth of peppers, tomatoes and blooms. Who knew?!
TRY IT: Add 1 tsp of Epsom Salts to a gallon of water and spray onto your growing vegetable plants every 1-2 weeks to get your best harvest yet.
18. Prevent slugs from entering your home
Humans aren't fans of slugs, but luckily for us, slugs are not fans of Epsom Salts either. They could prove to be your secret weapon for getting rid of those slimy creatures once and for all.
TRY IT: Sprinkle Epsom Salts around the entrances to your home to deter slugs. It'll also help naturally and safely get rid of common plant pests.
19. Fertilize your plants
Plants need nutrients like magnesium and sulphur to stay healthy and grow to their maximum potential, both of which can be found in Epsom Salts.
Feeding Epsom salts to your plants along with plant food can enhance the nutrients, such as phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen found in it.
TRY IT: Sprinkle some Epsom Salts on your flowers once a week along with your regular plant food, to help nourish them.
20. Keep your lawn green
Magnesium is an essential element in the chlorophyll molecule - which is what makes leaves green - and helps prevent yellowing leaves.
Epsom Salts contain magnesium and can make a truly magnificent difference to the colour of your browning lawn.
TRY IT: Add 2 tbsp of Epsom salt to a gallon of water and sprinkle over your lawn every week to provide the nutrients the soil needs to grow and stay green in colour.
21. Remover burnt food and grease from pots
Got some tough food and grease to get off your pots and pans? Don't waste time (and effort) scrubbing - give Epsom Salts a try!
TRY IT: Mix 1/4 tbsp of Epsom salts with 1 cup of warm water to help and apply to your dirty pot. Let sit for 10 minutes and it will dissolve any stubborn residue, making dirty dishes much easier to clean.
22. Regenerate a car battery
Car battery almost dead? It's not too late!
Have a watch of the video above to see how Epsom Salt could save your car battery and give it the oomph it needs to get you where you need to be.
Epsom Salt allergy symptoms
Whilst most people do respond well to Epsom Salts, there are those that may be allergic to this natural mineral.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, it could be that you're either allergic to Epsom Salts, using them wrongly, or they do not agree with your body.
- Toxicity - vomiting, drowsiness, nausea
- Rashes, itching or swelling
- Hypotension - dizziness and shock
In such cases, stop treatment immediately and consult your doctor.
If you have any of your own Epsom Salt uses, please share them with us in the comments section below!
Is Epsom Salts any good for psoriasis or dry skin
It can help with the symptoms associated with psoriasis Greta, it's very good at soothing skin. It's always worth speaking to a healthcare professional before though.
Whoever thought that Epsom Salts had so many uses? Great article, and I will definitely be getting some into my storecupboard soon. P.S. Also available here http://thelittlegreenshop.net/?redirect=epsom-salts.html
Great stuff Kathy and thanks for the link.
Many thanks for this, I have back problems which are a side effect of the posaconazole that I have to take for my mucormycosis! I had a bath in it last week and it made me soooo relaxed.. found it difficult to make the dinner.. but will definitely use it again.. thank you for this wonderful post!!!
Hi Nikki. It's great to hear you're enjoying Epsom salts! Thanks for sharing your story with us and for your kind comments :)
Very useful in the process if re-decorati g my bathroom & need to re-vamp my bathroom tiles will definately give your idea a shot. Thanks for the great ideas. Made my day.
You're welcome, Wendy!
Nice useful tips i will give them a try.
Glad you found them helpful!
Hi, Love your tips and will be trying out quite a few of them thanks. My question is: do you spray the epsom salts/water solution directly onto the foliage of plants for better flowers or spray it around the the base pf the plants on the soil? is this suitable for mist types of plants including more exotic ones like hibiscus or dipladenias?
Hi Michelle! We're glad you found the tips helpful. We suggest applying the Epsom salt solution to the soil of the plant or flowers. It would be suitable for all plants.
I find so many of the tips you post interesting but would it not be possible to print them out in a print-friendly fashion? Pressing the print button brings the pages up pretty much as they are, although bits are normally missing from the bottoms of the pages (so sometimes you don't get the bit you wanted printed). The photos are not necessary for the tips so it would be nice to reduce the amount of paper used.
Hi Melanie! This is something we can look into. Thanks for highlighting it.
Its really so good for these stepes using epsom salt l am saffering alot and l am test for this epsom salt its really gives me health thnks alot
Glad it could help you, Abdalla!
Thnk u very much u taught me lots I know everything now about Epsom salt Thnks lv
You're very welcome, Faith!
Contrary to what you say, MgSO4 IS a salt!
Thanks for sharing, William!
Good old fashioned remedies are often the best.
Very true, Lynne! Which other remedies do you use?
Great and have tried some garden and they work as my mother was great gardener who used it around paths and on vegetables as it's a fabulous idea .your tips are very useful my grandaughter has just said she will try them if it saves her money . Keep up your good work. Thankyou I'll also be try some things are new to me.
Thanks for the lovely feedback, Helen!
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