15 Surprising Uses for Epsom Salt

Epsom salt has been used for ages to relieve aches and pains. But there are lots of other uses for epsom salt that you most likely aren't aware of. Once you learn what you can do with it, this handy dandy salt is sure to find become a favorite product to have on hand.

epsom salt in wooden cup for post about uses for epsom salt

What Is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate. Made up of magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen, epsom salt gets its name from Epsom, England, the city where it was first discovered.

It's often dissolved in baths, which is why it is often called bath salt.

Our Epsom Salt Experience

When I first started buying epsom salt it was to add to the kids' bath because I had heard that it would help calm them down before bed.

I figured hey, it's worth a shot!

When my husband saw what I had purchased he poked fun saying it was just something old people used. Well it wasn't long before he was using it too.

Look who's laughing now.

Epsom Salt is an amazing mineral compound made up of magnesium and sulfate. Magnesium is an essential mineral that scientists estimate that about 2/3 of our population is deficient in.

This is just one of the reasons why I started to use Epsom Salt in our home. As I dug a little deeper, I realized that Epsom Salt has many more uses than just soaking in the bathtub.

Here is a list of uses for Epsom Salt so you can start using it in your home today.

collage of epsom salt in a wooden bowl and wooden cup and wooden spoon for post about uses for epsom salt

Epsom Salt Uses

1. Relaxing Bath

I'll get the obvious out of the way first. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a bath and soak, which is also great for kids to help them relax before bed. Add lavender essential oil for some calming aromatherapy.

2. Sprains and Bruises

Add a handful of salt to a small container of hot water for feet and hands or 2 cups to a bath full of hot water and soak. My husband tried this when is stubbed his big toe. It was purple and green one day and within 48 hours the bruising was completely gone.

3. Splinter Removal

Add 1/2 cup of salt to a small container of water and soak splinter to assist in removal.

4. Hair Volumizer

Mix equal parts non toxic conditioner and Epsom salt and work through hair. Let sit 20 minutes, rinse and style as usual.

5. Facial Cleanser

Mix 1/2 teaspoon salt into your regular cleansing product and wash as usual. Epsom salt adds gentle exfoliation to your facial cleansing routine.

6. Mosquito Bites

Add 2 tablespoons salt to 1 cup of water and soak a clean cloth. Then press cloth on bite for a few minutes to soothe irritation.

7. Exfoliate

Mix equal parts Epsom salt and organic olive oil, organic coconut oil, or organic almond oil in your hands and use to exfoliate face or any other area of the body with dry skin. Great for wintertime.

8. Pest Control Spray

Mix 2 tablespoons in a spray bottle with warm water and shake to dissolve. Spray on bugs around your yard and on plants in your garden that may be more susceptible to pests.

Epsom salt also repels rodents like raccoons, so you can spray the salt around garbage cans, etc. to keep them at bay.

9. Eliminate Toxins

Soaking in an Epsom salt bath (2 cups added to warm bathwater) will not only relieve muscle tension but also help eliminate toxins from your body. The sulfates in Epsom salt help to flush toxins and heavy metals from your cells.

10. Cleaner

Add Epsom salt to homemade cleaners to increase scrubbing power.

11. Constipation

Mix 1-2 teaspoons salt in 1 cup water and drink to help with constipation.

12. Athlete's Foot/Toenail Fungus

Soak foot in warm water with a handful of Epsom salt.

13. Sunburn

Make a cold compress using a clean wash cloth, 1 cup cold water and 2 tablespoons salt and gently lay on sunburn to relieve irritation.

14. Wavy Hair Spray

Mix 1 cup water, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon non toxic conditioner in a spray bottle and spray on wet or dry hair and scrunch with your hands. Let air dry or use a diffuser to dry.

15. Soil Booster

Mix 2 T. salt per gallon of water and water plants once a month to boost soil and increase plant growth.

Do you use epsom salt?
I'd love to hear your ideas--make sure to comment below!

Hannah Hepworth - contributing writer at Whole New Mom

Hannah is the founder of Whole Simple Life and a former Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, who now stays at home with her 3 young children. Whole Simple Life is a website designed to help women simplify their lives, become more organized and provide information on relevant health topics as well as simple real food recipes.

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45 Comments

  1. To give tomato plants and pepper plants a great boost, once a week, put a hand full by each plant. They produce great with this added to them.

    1. That's interesting. I have read it both ways. Perhaps it works well for you because your soil is deficient in magnesium? It's so hard to know. I'm going to ask in a local gardening group. Let me know what you think - this is what i read on a "not a great idea" site:

      "Magnesium deficiencies in the home garden in Minnesota are most likely to occur on sandy, low pH soils.
      Adding Epsom salts to soil that already has sufficient magnesium can actually harm your soil and plants, such as by inhibiting calcium uptake.
      Spraying Epsom salt solutions on plant leaves can cause leaf scorch.
      Excess magnesium can increase mineral contamination in water that percolates through soil."

  2. I put a tablespoon in the ground, under dirt, when planning tomatoes, cucumbers, and bell peppers. Then a tablespoon once a month around the plants.
    It's a staple in our house. πŸ™‚

    1. So interesting! I have read mixed thoughts on that...have you seen where people say it competes w/ calcium for uptake. Hard to know I guess w/o testing?

  3. I sprinkle it on my grass wow what a difference my grass is so green, and it even helped with some bare spots fill right in. I also use it on all my plants and veggies makes a big difference, love this stuff ....

      1. Hi I remember when I was in school I had a spider bite on the top on my foot, by the time I walked home the bite mark had a yellow puss under the skin was swollen with a angry red line running up my leg, my Gran made a paste with Epson salts and Petroluem jelly, packed it on with a plaster over, by the end of the day the red line was gone as well as the infection, that was pure magic to me.

  4. I found this recipe for weed killer that works great. 1 gal white vinegar, 2 cups Epsom salts, 1/4 cup Dawn dishwashing liquid. It started drying weeds/grass out within a couple hrs. Probably need couple treatments for bigger weeds.

  5. I have used Epsom salts on my ice skate that I decorate for my front door for winter decor. Just use spray adhesive on the blade and add Epsom salt, looks like snow.

  6. Epson Salts can also be used in decorating. At Christmas it can be used for snow in arrangements. It is great for Rhodendrum too.

  7. I have minor arthritic issues in my thumbs and i add about 1/4 cup rpsom salts to my dishwater and it helps tremendously! Easy and practical- the dishes needed done anyway and got to soak while i was doing them! Great time- saver!

    1. awesome idea about epsom salts in the dishwater. I have issues with my hands too so I will give it a try. Washing dishes is one of my least favorite things to do but knowing that it would help the pain by adding the salts...whoo hoo!

  8. My roses grow like crazy after being watered with an Epsom salts and water mixture. Boston ferns do too, I hear. My sister picks up 20 lb bags for me at the farm feed store!

  9. Was wondering if anyone has used epsom salt in bath to relieve eczema that has gotten infected. In the warnings area it does say consult a physician if evidence of an infection.. Hoping you might know if there is any negative reactions to using on an infected area. BTW, our doctor is the one that advised me to use the epsom salt 5x a day. I'm just hesitant now that I've read the back of the bag. Any information would be appreciated. Thanks

  10. I am currently in a medical health crisis - Serotonin Syndrome + Polypharmacutical Poisoning - Multiple trips to the hospital - a failed transference of information regarding allergies of colors in medications - orders to eat all food allergy foods to determine if my arthritis is psoriatic arthritis - I've been taken off all medications except thyroid and being slowly removed from gabapentin - I have 33 of the side effects but apparently it is fatal to be removed quickly -
    I've lost the ability to speak clearly - my son says I sound like Steven Hawking - there is brain damage but the degree is still unknown - I can think and write well - but the words simply have to swim through too much pea soup to come out right - I have tongue thrusting issues to - after a bath with lots of Epson salt my speech and thoughts are clear I can sleep. This is still in the beginning stages so I have to see docs to get further assessments but . . . I am so very thankful for Epson Salt - I just wish I had my own tub -

    1. I am sorry but I can't assist and give medical advice and neither can Hannah. Please make sure to get the attention you need.

    2. Tamara,

      I'm happy to see you've seen good results with epsom salt. I wonder if it is the magnesium that helps relax your muscles and improve speech? I would ask your doctor about that. I know magnesium is a very beneficial mineral. I take it every day in the form of "Natural Calm" supplement. Ask you doctor if this would be safe for you. Best wishes. ~Hannah

  11. I was just reading another article about home made laundry soap (hubby has allergies and I have chemical sensitivities so we're moving to more natural home made cleaners) that had epsom salt in one of the 'recipes'. I think I'm going to try that.

    And, if you have Dollar Tree near you, check them out...I got 4 lb bags of epsom salts for $1 at mine yesterday. I bought 6...Going to stop today and get some more.

    1. Thanks for the dollar store tip! I'll have to check that out next time I go. I've also used salt in dishwasher detergent, it's especially great for hard water.

  12. Don't have time to soak in a tub? Adding the epsom salt to your body wash on a pouf provides some relief when showering too! It's a quick pick me up for those mornings you're in a hurry.

      1. Not as good as I do when I can soak but it does help. I have fibromyalgia and work out 5 days a week. I have LOTS of achy muscles πŸ™‚ I try to soak a couple days a week and add the epsom salts to the pouf other days, especially after the gym.

        And, I use it in my hair too! Even a quick shampoo or condition with epsom salts helps. I've never left it though. might have to try that!

    1. oh, i like that idea! i can easily add the salt to my body wash. i already have used it as an exfoliate /moisturizing scrub.

  13. Hi Adrienne!
    I was so thrilled to find this list. My dad was a pharmacist and insisted on sprinkling our baths every night as kids with Epsom salts and we always thought it was so funny. After sporting activities, he always insisted I use it as well, and now I know why. This is going on my shopping list right now - I had no idea it had so many uses. And who doesn't want thicker hair!? lol.
    Thanks so much for the great info. Hope your week is off to a good start.

  14. I pretty much only use epsom salts for baths, but I love the idea of using it a hair volumizer. Even though I've got "large and in charge" hair to begin with. The bigger the better πŸ™‚

  15. Here is one other great tip about Epsom salt:
    Stops preterm labor contractions! Now, Iam no Dr, but this is what worked for me. Please consult your Dr or midwife! I have a history of pre term labor for several pregnancies. I have what all my Drs have called "an irritable uterus". Each time I was admitted to the hospital for preterm labor they flooded me with lots and lots of fluids ( so #1 was to drink tons of water ( and I often would also drink some Chamomile tea). They other thing they did was hook me up to an IV and give me mag sulfate (also used for toxemia!) , which I learned by baby #5 was what was in Epsom salt! I maybe went a little overboard, but I dissolved a bag of Epsom salt ( I found it at Walmart) into my bath (@2 cups, I guess) and soaked for a min of 10 mins. Then I went to bed to rest and continue drinking my tea or water. Afterwards I could litterally feel everything relax! It was really astounding to me, one minute contracting every 2-3 mins, to total calm! I always keep a bag on hand 20 weeks along and after. If they didn't stop, I would've then called my midwife. But for me, this worked!

  16. Just soaked my hand in epsom salts this morning for a splinter and it really does work along with using for a relaxing bath. There are some new ones for me on this list but I keep epsom salts on hand, pretty cheap RX. Thanks for the post.

    1. Yes, epsom salt is super cheap you can get it almost anywhere, glad to see you've had success!