Bentonite Clay Benefits and Uses

Bentonite clay has been around for centuries as a natural remedy and support, but most people in Western cultures are just learning about everything it can do. Let's learn about the many benefits and uses of bentonite clay and hear about one family's experiences with this very useful natural product!

cup full of bentonite clay and spoon on the side with text overlay

Nature is just amazing -- and I don't just mean experiencing a walk in the woods.

Every time some ailment pops up (earaches, sore throat, dandruff, etc.), I try to avoid the medicine cabinet and research “old-timey” natural remedies.

One of the first ones we ever learned about was bentonite clay.

How I Discovered Bentonite Clay

How I found out about the many bentonite clay benefits is an interesting story.

We had been trying to get pregnant for 2 years -- with no luck.

So we talked to a holistic medicine doctor about our problem. He told us to kick the garbage out of our diet and start eating fat to help us get pregnant.

He also told us about the many benefits of bentonite clay and told us to immediately buy some Redmond Clay (a brand of bentonite clay) for detox.

So, of ALL the dueling advice and 10,000 health strategies available, our doctor boiled it down to 2:

  1. Eat bacon and butter
  2. Eat/drink Bentonite Clay

And it worked! – Little Man was on his way 2 weeks later.

So here’s the scoop:

What is Bentonite Clay?

Sometimes called Montmorillonite, which is a really long and hard to remember name that came about because it was first discovered from an area in France called – you guessed it – Montmorillon.

It’s essentially volcanic ash, which sounds really strange. It’s called “clay” because when added to water, it clumps up and turns into something like what you’d call clay.

Personally, I think it’s more like mud, but that doesn’t work for the marketing big-wigs.

If this all sounds a little strange, realize that cultures have been using this in one form or another for thousands of years. Many European countries regularly consume things similar to bentonite clay to aid digestion. Most animals eat sand or dirt from time to time, and some animals roll around in it for healing.

It's definitely something that's been recently forgotten.

What Does Bentonite Clay Do?

Every day, you’re loading up your body with toxins.

Imagine your body as a wheelbarrow. It starts out beautiful, shiny, and no trace of rust – yet. Every time you come in contact with a toxin, you add a small rock (unless you walk through Chernobyl – then add a boulder).

Wash your hands with antibacterial soap?

Toss in a rock.

Drink tap water?

Another rock.

Eat boxed Mac n Cheese (or other junk foods)?

It’s starting to add up…

A few decades later, you've got a full wheelbarrow that requires a serious deadlift to even get it off the ground. It’s wobbly and hard to keep upright.

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably got more rocks in your wheelbarrow than you’d like. You’ll notice things like being sick a lot, easily tired, extra pounds, and even chronic diseases.

But, what if you could start scooping those rocks back out of the wheelbarrow?

That’s bentonite clay.

When added to water, bentonite clay produces a negative electrical charge. That ionic charge attracts heavy metals (have positive charges) and other toxins, binds with them, and then your body expels it all.

How cool is that?!

Bentonite clay with a wooden spoon

Sodium Bentonite Clay vs Calcium Bentonite

You might have seen "calcium bentonite" in your search for bentonite clay and wondered what it is.

There are two forms of Bentonite Clay – Sodium Bentonite, and Calcium Bentonite. Calcium Bentonite is used for industrial purposes whereas Sodium Bentonite is used for beauty, body, and topical uses.

Sodium Bentonite (typically known as Bentonite Clay) is extremely absorbent and adsorbent, which means that it swells and draws pollutants into itself (absorbing), while it is also able to attract positively charged substances (such as toxins) to its negatively charged surface (adsorbing). This adsorbing and absorbing are what make Sodium Bentonite (which is also known in some circles as "Swelling Clay" such a popular and powerful substance for so many uses in body care, etc.

Calcium Bentonite, on the other hand, does not have these same properties, so it is not as commonly used in beauty and wellness.

Bentonite Clay Benefits

I’ve mentioned that the greatest of all of the bentonite clay benefits is removing toxins. Here are some other related benefits.

  • Balances gut bacteria (friends of our blog know that we consider the state of your gut bacteria to be the #1 indicator of gut health
  • Provides minerals that are often lacking in the body such as calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.
  • Boosts immunityKills MRSA, Salmonella, E. Coli, and more.
  • Purifies waterBentonite clay has been shown to truly purify water.
  • Supports digestion
  • Supports skin – great for sunburns, eczema, rashes, bug bites, cuts, and as is one of many great home remedies for poison ivy, etc. (We know this from personal experience!)
  • Overall improvement of health
  • Improves oral health - used in a toothpaste, the clay will bind to toxins
  • Anti-parasitic - Bentonite removes parasites. Unfortunately pretty much every single living thing on Earth has some sort of parasite living on them. Many of these parasites cause severe health problems. For example the roundworm which is extremely common can cause blindness.
  • Removes Oral Toxins - some say that this the case, while others say that there is no evidence for this.

This article talks more about some of the benefits of this amazing substance.

How to Use Bentonite Clay

Drink

The best way to take advantage of the many bentonite clay benefits is to drink it. Soak in water for it to gain its electrical charge that turns it into an effective toxin remover. Avoid storing in a metal container or using a metal spoon as that can remove the clay’s ability to produce a charge.

Here’s what we do:

A few times a week, add about 1 teaspoon of bentonite clay to a small glass of water in the evening. The next morning, drink! There’s a common misconception that you must drink all of the clay – when in fact, the whole glass of water becomes electromagnetically charged. I usually swirl my glass around a few times and drink, but I stop before the sludge comes. It's like the opposite of finishing off a glass of chocolate milk.

Also, don’t eat or take supplements or medications for around 1 hour before or after drinking your concoction.

Skin

Another one of many bentonite clay benefits is skin healing! Simply add enough water to make a paste and apply to your skin to heal cuts, eczema, rashes, bug bites, and more.

In our house, it’s been a lifesaver with sunburns. We’ll apply the paste/sludge all over the burned area and then wrap plastic wrap around it so we don’t track it all over. After about an hour, wash it off and be amazed because the redness will be greatly diminished. This has helped us shorten the painful period of a sunburn and remove peeling altogether.

Other Uses:

  • Take a bath and add about ½ C of clay for overall healthy skin.
  • Make a facemask from the clay/water paste and leave for 30 minutes about once per week. I haven't tried this yet but I really should because I do have a little bit of an acne problem.
  • Teeth Cleaner: Add a little clay to water and swirl around in your mouth – it remineralizes and whitens teeth.

Warnings About Bentonite Clay

Remember in Lord of the Rings when the elves give the fellowship lembas bread for their travel? (Yeah we're nerdy like that and we're SO EXCITED FOR STAR WARS 7!! Anyway...)

The best part is when they explain that “one small bite is enough to fill the stomach of a grown man.”

Then Merry turns to Pippen and asks him how many he’d eaten.

“Four.”

In the same way, bentonite clay actually swells too many times its size, so don't over-consume. Bentonite clay isn't like a Mack Truck that loads up and carries it out. It’s a magnet that attracts things to it… so it gets bigger.

Plus, it’s dense. Sometimes your colon will have a hard time pushing it through (especially if you don’t drink enough water).

This clay is used in sealers, cement, and kitty litter – so the stuff ain't meant for being pushed right out.

In other words, if you start following a plan that tells you to build up to 1/4 cup a day, run away.

  1. Don't over-consume
  2. Take 1-2 hours away from foods, medications, and supplements as it might reduce their absorption.
  3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day while taking clay

Please Note: There have been some clay companies that have gotten negative attention due to too much lead in their clay. Technically clay should pull the lead out of the body, but still, it's always best to find a product with less. Also, eating clay can possibly lead to intestinal problems. Please consult with your physician if you have concerns about using clay internally.

Where to Get Bentonite Clay

Now that you know about the many bentonite clay benefits, you'll want to know where to get this amazing product.

Sure, most health stores carry it (Amazon too), but a small bag runs $8 or more (unless you buy in bulk from Amazon). Since you don’t use a lot at a time (except for some topical uses), it’s not emptying your wallet, but…

You can get it waaaaaay cheaper at a farm supply store. They sell it in bulk in different packaging, but it's from the same source and it’s dirt cheap. Farmers often use clay to feed their animals to get rid of parasites inexpensively.

Here is some calcium bentonite clay in bulk.

A tub of bentonite clay placed on top of more bentonite clay


If you plan on any sort of consistent regimen using Bentonite Clay (and you should now that you know about all of the benefits of using bentonite clay), grab the bulk because it’s almost the same price as a teensy bag at Whole Foods Market.

Did you know about these Bentonite Clay Benefits?
What have you used it for?

Erin Smith from Eat Real Stay Sane

Erin and Cameron Smith teach people how to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes eating real food, eliminating toxins, and overcoming chronic illness.

Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as medical advice or a professional medical opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Information on this website is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete, and you should not rely on it to make any medical or other decisions. I expressly disclaim all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any of the contents of this website. If I provide any specific examples of medical outcomes here, please be advised that I cannot guarantee a similar outcome. Whole New Mom.com does not establish any professional relationship with any person or entity as a result of any visit to this website. Transmission of the information on this website is not intended to create a physician-patient relationship between myself and any user of this website. Readers should not act upon any information provided on this website without seeking advice from a licensed medical practitioner

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109 Comments

  1. I’m currently dealing with CHRONIC vulvitis. It’s just dry and itchy and it’s ruining my life. I have no thyroid so I’d imagine for the past ten years this is why. Can bentonite clay be used in that area? I would obviously do a patch test because that is not an area you want to have a reaction in. Or would it just be better to drink it and let it work from the inside out?

    1. Hi there. I can't medically advise about what you should do but I don't think there's an issue using clay in your privates, but if you are concerned I would run it by your practitioner. Take care and hope you find relief.

  2. How can clay help me ,I’m in remission and I got Diabetes during 7months of chemo and 64 radiation treatments and a breast remover I’ve got so much scar tissues the radiation burnt every cell on my right side so I can’t reconstruct and live with chronic pain every day now I’ve got nerve damage in left leg and half my right knee has Deteriorated my belly swells all the time but my biggest thing is my hair can clay help it my hair grew back paper thin but it’s been over ten years now and now my hair keeps breaking off and each day I wake up it’s shorter I’m taking Vitamins and some sort of hair skin and nail thing but it’s still not working I know I’m grateful I’m still alive I was given only three to six months to live back then was stage 4 inflammatory aggressive breast cancer but my hair I deal with the pain all the time but my hair(tears so many) I don’t know why it keeps getting shorter and breaking off so fast please please help me would clay help my hair

    1. What are the differences between calcium bentonite and bentonite clay? And did I see a sodium bentonite?
      Some say do not ingest, others say drink or add to food. Any input on that discrepancy?
      Also, I have a farm. I have horses, dogs and people I want to use this on (per our naturopathic vet) and am looking to buy in bulk. Any suggestions for sourcing food grade in quantity?

      1. There is a section in the post on the differences b/t calcium bentonite and sodium bentonite. Both are bentonite clays. I added a little more information about ingesting to the post just now.

        It seems that the 2 bulk ones that I linked to are used internally. Let me know if you see something different. Thanks!

    2. I know this is an old comment but (xyz brand of omega) might help! Amazing reviews and I just bought a bottle.

      1. Please don't come to comment on my blog hoping I will give you automatic approval for future comments and then drop the name of a company that you are connected with. Caught you, LOL. 😉

  3. Thank you very much for the above suggestions. It will really help me to get rid of my Liver problem.

  4. What could I use to lose 27 lbs and reverse diabetes, L have nerve pain in my feet and legs, help

    1. Hi there. I'm so sorry you are dealing with all of this. This post on Intermittent Fasting might interest you, as well as this post on ways to help with blood sugar issues. There's a great course mentioned at the end of that post.

      Hope that is helpful and that you can find some help!

  5. Are there any charges hidden or otherwise, to receive the emails with recipes and how to’s?

    1. Nothing at all. You mean to receive things from Whole New Mom or the writer? Either way there should be nothing.

  6. Has anyone ever tried it for vaginitis? The swelling? I was going to try activated charcoal poultice, but am not real sure about that but would love to know if anyone has used Bentonite Clay for this.

  7. Am interested in Diatonacious clay and / or Bentonite Clay for human consumption, feed it to my horses and dogs, however none has been made safe for humans. If it is TRUE that it is safe for human consumption, please provide PROOF, documents in scientific and plain English and send it via my email.
    Thank you

  8. Hi I purchased redmond clay due to this post . Since a using it I have had leg cramping could this be a possible side effect ? Also you may have already explained but can I ask how long it took after drinking the clay you fell pregnant ? Thanks

    1. I haven't heard about leg cramping being a side effect. In fact I've heard the opposite that it helps calm cramping because of the trace minerals (especially potassium, calcium and magnesium) in the clay. But don't take that as Gospel truth. 🙂

      About getting pregnant, I first want to say that your diet is the number 1 thing that needs fixing up if you're struggling with infertility. If you're body isn't healthy or getting the nutrition it needs reproduction is the first thing to go because it's trying to heal itself. If you're going to go through the effort of detoxing your body, then you need to make sure you're putting goodness back in. But you probably know all that already!

      Anyway, after we cleaned up our diet and started taking bentonite clay we were pregnant that next month. Some say that's just coincidence, but I don't agree since we had been trying for 2 years. We got pregnant right away with our second baby. I did a full juice cleanse to detox before I got pregnant with her. Good luck Danielle! Let me know if you have any other questions.

  9. Hi there, I have been taking Calcium Bentonite Clay as it is the only true bentonite that we should be consuming, I never get sick as I take 1/2 cup daily. The Bentonite Clay that is used in kitty litters and such is sodium bentonite clay and should not be taken internally. Cheers.

  10. I just bought some Redmond Clay yesterday , I used it tonight on my feet , it did a wonderful job , My question is I also have IBS , Will it also help with that if I drink it ?

    1. I can't make medical claims but I have seen others discussing IBS symptoms improving using this clay.

  11. Yes I use it mostly for facial masks and bath time. I didn't know it was like ash because I do take deactivated charcoal to detoxify. Also take food grade Diotomaceous Earth which is the "dirt" of the ocean. So there you go, ash, charcoal and dirt, yum!

  12. I have questions... 1) What if you have a toxic liver- yet drank the teaspoon of clay in a glass of water ingesting the CLAY as well as the water... Would the clay get clogged there and not be able to pass out? Afraid...
    2) if you make up the clay and just drink the water off the top- do you just refill it with water again OR throw that out?
    3) and if you keep the clay - for how long do you keep refilling- when do you throw it out?
    4) How much clay do you put in a container with how much water for one day's worth-if you're only going to drink the water?
    thank you SO much- can't find the answers anywhere to these questions. I appreciate it. Great blog 😉

    1. Hey Vicky! I do not know about whether or not the clay would get stuck in a toxic liver. I don't like to drink the sludge, so I just rinse out my glass cup and start fresh. People use that sludge clay for a face mask (great on zits!) or something else like a bug bite. However if you want to use the clay like a slurry for your first aid kit for let's say sunburns, you can keep it in a air tight container and it will keep indefinitely and is not affected by heat. You can make up water and just keep it in the fridge too but I would use a glass container. You want to use 1 tsp for every 8 ounces. I've also been throwing it into my smoothies in the morning and that has been working great too! Just depends on what I have time for and feel like doing and the trace minerals in the clay are awesome.

      1. Interesting, Erin. I thought that clay should be taken away from food - is that not the case? Thanks!

        1. I should clarify. It is best to take bentonite clay with just water so you don't have to worry about it taking away any nutrients from your food. You especially don't want to take it with any medications or supplements. For Vicky's case I would take it with just water if you're going to go ahead with it Vicky. You still get the same benefit if you throw it into a smoothie as far as the detoxing is concerned. For example, Little Man refuses to drink the water which is funny because he isn't really a picky eater. But he downs a smoothie no problem. Or I'll mix it into his applesauce.

  13. Hi, Can you tell me your "UNBELIEVABLE EAR REMEDY" ? My dog is always getting ear infections- I'm hoping what you might tell me will help- thanks 🙂

    1. A urine application is also helpful to cure inflammation of a breast while nursering a baby. Although I was taking antibiotic, I also applied a urine-wet cotton on my sick breast (red). Protect your cloths with a piece of plastic. Urine speeds healing. Do not feed your baby when you are taking antibiotics.

  14. I Just bought a 50 # bag of bentonite clay from the farm store and it is granules...how and what is the best way to dissolve it? It's not disoloving very well!!!

    1. Have you tried throwing it into a blender with water? I'll do that for my detox baths. sometimes. It's easy with my single serve cup instead of using the whole bloomin' blender. 😉 Double check to make sure it isn't the salt that you bought because Redmund does have a bentonite clay/salt product. But even so, you could probably still use it just fine. I'm going to buy their salt product for doing detox baths.

  15. I bought the same brand white bucket that is pictured at the end of your post. I bought it from Amazon. Now while I know that some lead is expected, I got a notice a few months later stating that the product was recalled due to lead content. I was refunded my money and told to throw away the product. I am unsure if the recall was something I should be worried about or if it was because of overboard lead limits by the gov't. I know you can't tell me what I should do, but I also know you have studied the whole lead in bentonite clay issue more than I have and would have a better idea on it.

    1. Hey Kate! I haven't heard about the recall, but I personally wouldn't worry about it. Course do your own research and such. From what I've read several of our foods have more lead in it than bentonite clay because of the soil it's grown in. Bentonite clay has naturally occurring lead in it and is bonded to other stuff so it's not bioavailable. I compare it to how salt is made up of 2 toxic elements, sodium and salt, but together it is harmless.