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Bentonite Clay Benefits and Uses

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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 immunity – Kills 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 have a concern…. I believe bentonite clay has lead in it. How much of it is safe to drink and apply on the skin?

    1. Thanks for asking that. Initially, when I responded to your comment, I had read that the lead is bound to the clay and won’t cause a problem, however I’m reading other sources now and I will be doing more research into this. Thank you for bringing this up!

    2. The article that Adrienne linked to is exactly what I’ve been told about with bentonite clay. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good job finding that Adrienne.

    1. I have never worried about bentonite clay being labeled as food grade but I can understand people being worried about that. I personally feel like it is just a marketing thing to make you think you’re buying something better.

      As long as the clay is pure bentonite clay without anything added, then I don’t worry about the food grade label. Redmond Clay is a very reputable brand and this is what they have said about their clay “We had it analyzed to make sure it was not going to harm anyone and we checked with the FDA for their opinion. We found it contained nothing harmful and that by FDA standards, since it was basically a bentonite clay, it was considered G.R.A.S. (generally recognized as safe).” https://www.redmondclay.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/We-Eat-Clay.pdf

  2. Also, a lot of the brands say “contains trace amounts of lead. Not for pregnant women or children” I thought this pulled heavy metals like lead out of the body??

  3. So I’m try to decide on a bentonite clay to buy online. I’m in Canada, I can buy from Amazon.ca. I can also buy from Amazon.com, but the clays don’t seem to ship to Canada from Amazon.com. The cheap-high rated brands on .com ($12,$10, etc) are $70 ,$90,$120 on .ca!! So… Can someone recommend to me a brand I can buy in Canada that’s for taking internally?

    1. Yes Kelly! My Little 18 month old had a bought of diarrhea and I gave him a tsp of bentonite clay once a day for about 3 days and it cleared right up.

  4. First, let me say, I LOVE this article and LOVE using my bentonite clay for everything & anything I can think of, or find in researched remedies and uses!! If you do want to try it as a facial cleanser or amazing mask, I have a wonderful way for you to test it!! I’ll share it below..
    JUST A TIP: One thing I would mention (maybe you already did & I missed it), keep the bentonite clay away from ANYTHING metal (that means no metal lids, no metal spoons, bowls etc). The metal is known to pull and weaken the charged ions in the clay, which then doesn’t give you the full powerful benefits of the bentonite clay. Just encase there’s any new clay users (I learned the hard way).
    Anyways..Im a cosmetic/beauty products addict. I do buy Organic for everything I make (that I possibly can find). My favorite, SUPER EASY, facial cleanser (that you can also turn it into a fabulous facial mask then with this base) is simply:
    -1/4 C oatmeal, finely grounded. Basically the consistency of oatmeal flour. I just use my blender quick & make mason jars up of it to have on hand for..well anything really..add a little to your DIY hand soap with raw honey, GREAT in bathes, food etc ).
    -1/4 C Bentonite Clay
    – 10 drops of your favorite Essential Oil: this is optional- (I’m a lavender lover)
    ***Mix them all together WELL with a plastic or wooden spoon/fork & in a glass or wooden bowl. I store the mixture in high grade plastic 4oz cosmetic containers with liners & lids (Amazon is where I get them, their cheap enough, yet fancy enough to throw my own label on it & give it as the “OPPPS I forgot it was their birthday”, gift ๐Ÿ˜‰
    ** Directions for a facial cleanser- wet your face with warm water, then put a little a water in your hand (you’ll want enough drops to make a thinner paste consistency). Use a plastic spoon to scoop a small amount of the oatmeal clay out of the container & rub your hands together. Then massage in circles, warm water rinse. Followed by your favorite facial oil/cream.
    **Better than a spa treatment -Facial Mask- Wet face with warm water. Use 100% Aloe Gel (instead of the water used above) & make it a thicker paste-like consistency. Then add a little raw/unfiltered honey. Apply mask to your face/neck etc.
    I usually let the mask on until it starts to dry. Then I put a VERY, VERY warm washcloth over my face for a couple seconds (open those pores), then use circular motions to remove some of the mask. Rise the wash cloth with HOT water, sit it on my face again, then circular motions..I keep doing that process until the mask is removed.
    Then use your BEST facial oil/cream. I quickly, but throughly, massage a couple drops of my homemade facial oil in at a time, until I feel like my skin is well hydrated but not real oily- it’s (Jojoba,Vitamin E, Black Current Seed Oil & Rose Essential Oil).
    – Last but not least, and don’t laugh (IT WORKS lol)- As I’m massaging the oil in, I head to the kitchen and I put my head IN the freezer for a minute.. or two!! What!?! Yeah…It closes those wash steamed opened, well hydrated pores right up & seals all the the wonderful benefits of the mask & oils in!!
    Just thought I’d share that encase anyone’s skin could benefit from it ๐Ÿ™‚ Its been my recipe for my FINALLY, wonderful skin!!

  5. A friend sent me this clip from a mineral book she was reading:

    “In many indigenous cultures around the world, eating clay is recommended to ensure a healthy pregnancy. For years, anthropologists and sociologists have reported instances of expectant mothers eating mouthfuls of clay, chalk, and dirt. Researchers John Hunter and Oscar Horst witnessed this practice in El Salvador, and reported on it for the National Geographic Society in 1989. They recounted one experience in which they were at a local Salvadoran market and observed a woman and her adult daughter browsing among the clay tablets, which are widely available there as an aid for healthy pregnancy. When asked if the clay tablets really worked, the older woman enthusiastically replied, ‘Of Course they do; I have eight children!'”

    “So what makes ingesting clay so helpful during pregnancy? According to healers of indigenous cultures, it is believed to enhance fertility and help detoxify a woman’s body, allowing the fetus to develop in a healthier internal environment. Clay is also used to prevent or minimize morning sickness, safeguard against miscarriage, and ease labor pains. When babies are poorly positioned inside the womb, making natural childbirth more challenging, native midwives often apply clay poultices to the pregnancy woman’s belly throughout the last month of pregnancy. Once their child is born, new mothers often continue to eat clay and rub it on their breasts to ensure healthy lactation as they nurse their newborns.”

    I just thought that was so interesting! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’m wondering if them eating the clay would actually be considered pica? Most people don’t get the nutrition they need from food and sometimes will eat other abnormal things to try and get nutrients, especially when pregnant! I work with a naturopathic doctor whose mission is to teach people about getting the complete nutrition they need each day to stay healthy. It’s especially important for pregnant ladies so their children aren’t born with birth defects. If you want to listen to his recordings on these topics, I have them for free on my blog. Please email me and I’ll send you the link!
      Sincerely, Lori
      ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2. Thank you for sharing that Lori! That is very interesting. I love learning about what other cultures do nutritionally and comparing them to our society. It’s fascinating!

  6. Is it safe to use internally during pregnancy? Also, would I use the same 1 tsp dose in water my 6 year old witht issues? Thanks!

    1. I would definitely talk to my naturopath about those questions. The clay binds to the toxins and eliminates them through your waste. I personally wouldn’t take it while I was pregnant which I am. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’re regularly detoxing before your pregnant and you’re doing your best in eliminating toxins in your home and eating clean while you’re prego, then I wouldn’t worry about detoxing in case it does do something to the baby..

  7. How often should you drink the 80z & do you drink the sludge or just the water? How long should I let it sit for in order to drink?

    1. We drink an 8 oz cup once or twice a week and no we don’t drink the sludge… that’s gross lol. If you let the water soak with the clay it the water becomes electromagnetically charged so there’s really no reason to drink the sludge. From what I’ve read and been told by my naturopath 6 hours is long enough for the clay to do its magic.

    1. That’s a good question and to be honest I don’t know if there really is any difference between the two.. My naturopath is the one who recommended buying it from the farm supply store and I trust him. I could definitely understand why someone would be hesitant to do that.

  8. How long do you use it for a detox and do you stay at 1 tsp in 8 oz of water twice a week?

    Also do you know if it can be used by someone who has a bleeding ulcer?

    1. I don’t know about the bleeding ulcer but I would talk to a naturopath (or qualified medical professional) about it. Maybe it could help out that issue. As far as how long to do it we do it pretty much continually unless we forget or run out. Our bodies are constantly bombarded with toxins everyday so doing this a couple of times a week we feel helps our bodies stay on top of eliminating the toxins. We just stick to the 1 tsp in 8 ounces.

  9. I’m so excited! I just got this bentonite clay and put some in water over night in the fridge. It didn’t have any flavor and I felt great that day.

  10. We use it for bug bite relief. It does wonders pulling the pain out of ant bites and the itch out of mosquito bites. Also use it for toothpaste and to help detox after being glutened.. ๐Ÿ™‚

          1. I never knew there were any guidelines. I just knew it helped with detox, so that’s what I went with. I’m very interested to try what Erin suggests and see if it helps even more than drinking it in a smoothie.

    1. I’m totally amazed at how this clay pulls bad stuff out of you and heals. I haven’t tried it on bug bites yet cause bugs don’t seem to find me all that tasty I guess lol. I had a BRIGHT RED sunburn and after putting it on my skin for an hour or so it was just light pink and didn’t hurt at all.

    1. I’m reading mixed things on the internet about that. Some are saying it’s been used during pregnancies for a long time and others are saying not to use during pregnancy. So my official advice would be “no” but please do your own research. I am not sure of the mechanism of the detox and if it would affect the baby. Congratulations, by the way.

    2. Oooo that’s a tough questions. Supposedly the bentonite clay binds to the toxins and eliminates them through waste. BUT I personally wouldn’t risk it unless maybe I had already been doing it. Congratulations on the new baby! I’m 14 weeks along with our second baby and we’re so excited!

  11. Hi, this fascinates me. A few questions if I may. 1) 1 tsp in “small” glass of water. What do you consider ‘small’? 4 oz. 8 oz.? 2) Does it have a taste? Does it taste like dirt? 3) ‘Teeth Cleaner:’ Does this replace toothpaste and mouthwash? 4) I’ve only seen one method of ingesting: drinking the ‘clear’ water. One does NOT really ‘eat’ any of it, right?

    I love the use of the ‘sludge’ in the bottom of the glass for a face mask!

    Thank you for this information, and for giving me some guidance in this.

    1. Hi Maria. I will chime in briefly but I expect Erin will be around soon. I personally did a candida cleanse years ago (when I started on my personal healing path) and it entailed drinking the whole thing. I did a mix of psyllium and bentonite and I forget the last thing. I haven’t done any research on any of that so I will be interested in what Erin has to say :).

      1. Iโ€™m dealing with a systemic candida infection, and am interested in the use of bentonite clay for it. Do you have any information as to where you read about? Iโ€™d like to find the other ingredient and the basics for taking it.
        thanks!

        1. It was the purge drink on this site. I really like their approach, but just to be clear, I “hit bottom” after following their protocol. I got worse. I am not sure why and would like to figure it out but clearly candida wasn’t my only issue. I followed the protocol on a site called Whole Approach that is no longer online.

          Take care!

          1. Adrienne, It is likely to get worse, before betting better, while detoxing. The reason is the โ€œdie-offโ€ of yeast.
            one source says: When yeast cells are rapidly killed, a die-off (or Herxheimer reaction) occurs and metabolic by-products are released into the body. … If you are having severe Die-Off symptoms, slow down your treatment and reduce your dosage of probiotics and antifungals. http://www.thecandidadiet.com/candida-die-off.htm
            BTW, How are you doing now?

          2. I recommend looking into plain old fasting, or Intermittent Fasting. Its amazing. While you’re eating your body is hard at work processing the food. Doesnt matter how healthy the food is if you dont get a chance to heal.

    2. Hey Maria. 1) The small glass of water we use is 8 ounces..2) It does have a slight taste and yeah I would say it’s a little like dirt. 3) Yes it can! There are recipes you can google or you can buy some. The Redmond Earthpaste is the most popular.4) I’ve never heard of anybody eating it… maybe they put it into recipes? I’ve only drank it. Using the bottom sludge is a GREAT idea for a face mask! I never thought of that! You’re brilliant lol.

      1. Hi Erin, first, thank you for the information. I am going to try the drink you mentioned but I’m wondering if it matters if you should put the glass of mixture in the fridge over night. Or would that just be preference.

        1. I think that would just be a preference. It just needs to react to the water to create the negative charge. Not 100% sure on that though. I prefer to just leave it on the counter cause it’s easier to down it all in one swoop. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yes it can because sometimes this clay doesn’t dissolve all that well but the warm water definitely helps. I would definitely put a drain plug in to catch the big chunks but I woudln’t worry about the rest of it getting through.

  12. I started using bentonite clay in August of this year and gradually built up to taking 8 to 10 tablespoons per day. And, gradually my toxic gut has been shrinking! I’m definitely sold on it! Thanks for the post!

      1. Yes, it is based on a bentonite clay protocol, so it is a good bit of clay! I’ve seen other benefits as well, so I hope to continue.

          1. Yes, it is based on the Unique Healing protocol, which is a bit controversial among some clay users. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But, it is working fine for me so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Yay Stephanie! I’m glad you’re seeing results and you’re welcome for the post. Of course thank you Adrienne for letting me guest post.

    2. I use french green clay as vaginal douche – 500 ml lukewarm water + 1 full teaspoon of clay. I boil the water and let it cool (so have to think of it quite ahead and be careful – vagina area is more sensitive on warmth than your hand). When having problems, I douche twice a day for at least one week or as needed. It is safe and real relief from pain and vaginal discharge.
      I am very sensitive and allergic to most remedies sold on pharmacies which make me feel worse. I tried so many natural remedies, I couldn’t name it. But finding french green clay was real miracle for me. I don’t know the difference from bentonite clay, but it might work the same as I also drink it for internal cleansing and use it as facial mask mixed with natural oils. (I live in Europe, and green french clay is quite cheap here.)

      1. Thanks for that. I also live in Europe but am having trouble finding a reputable dealer and/or brand (they usually contain other ingredients). Can you recommend a brand and/or website that you like?