Epsom salt is best known as a component of bath salts, but it offers a wide range of uses, from soothing sore, benefiting and improving a gardeners crops to household cleaning, enhancing beauty and more. It was discovered in the 17th century, first distilled from the water of a bitter saline spring at Epsom, in Surrey, England.
What is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is different from traditional salt in that it’s actually a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, and is technically known as magnesium sulfate. It’s composed of tiny, colorless crystals that look like table salt, but it’s actually a completely different thing, as table salt is made up of sodium chloride. Magnesium sulfate is a mineral that many of us are lacking in, as levels have been decreasing over the last three to four decades around the world.
The lack of this important nutrient in our bodies is due to a combination of issues, including over development of agricultural land that leaches essential minerals like magnesium and other trace elements from the soil, the overuse of prescription medications, the consumption of processed and fast foods, and more. All of these things take a toll, depleting our body of magnesium, which is one of the reasons Epsom salt can be an important part of improving one’s health. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory and exfoliant that can be used for treating muscle aches and dry skin. Soak in a warm bath with a capful of Epsom salt, to enjoy its renowned therapeutic and healing properties, inside and out.
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.
What to do: a cup of Epsom salt to 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.
Elderly relative and we use it all the time. With 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 Scare at house.
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.
Magnesium Foot Scrub
Our feet are one of the most over-worked and under-appreciated parts of our bodies. It’s easy to end up with sore feet and legs, to use this soothing and silkening (is that a word?) magnesium foot scrub.
What to do: Basically mix up 1 cup of Epsom 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.
Firming Facial Wash
Magnesium can help firm the skin and exfoliate. Add a little Epsom salt to your face wash or cleansing routine for a soothing and firming boost.
What to do: Grind up Epsom salt (in the blender or using a mortar and pestle and add it to your face wash or oil cleansing oil as massage it into your face. find this works better than trying to add it to the face wash in the container.
Body Ache Relief
Body ached all over as it tried to fight it off.
What to do: Add 2+ cups of Epsom salt to a warm/hot bath and soak for 20+ minutes.
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 an 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 just mix 1/2 cup Epsom salt with 1/4 cup olive or almond oil and use as an exfoliating scrub in the shower.
Tile and Grout Cleaner
Want to clean your tile without a toxic chemical cleaner? Add some Epsom salt to some liquid dish soap and scrub away. Just make sure to rinse well since the soap will be slippery!
What to do: Mix equal parts liquid dish soap and Epsom salt and scrub tile and grout with a brush. For a pre-made option, on cleaning tile and grout without harmful chemicals.
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.
Volume-Boosting Hair Mask
Magnesium as a texturizing spray for thicker hair. It can also be used in the shower to thicken and strengthen hair add Epsom salt to a natural conditioner for a texturizing and strengthening boost for hair.
What to do: Mix a natural conditioner with equal parts Epsom salt and work into your hair. Leave on for up to 20 minutes. Rinse well and dry for thicker hair!
Relieve Itchy Skin and Bug Bites
Magnesium not do? Epsom salt is also 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.
Sunburn Relief Spray
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 (usually me … Irish skin), 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!)
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 Epsom salt to the water when watering. A tablespoon is usually plenty for a month or two.
Say Goodbye to Slugs
Salt of any kind, including the Epsom variety, is great for deterring slugs. 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 the slugs away.
What to do: Sprinkle Epsom salt in or around gardens and other areas you don’t want slugs invading to keep them away.
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. Can be done once a month.
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 level