20 Surprising Uses For Epsom Salt

This common household item can help with poison ivy, acne, sunburn, and aid in the garden. Check out why you should have some in your home.

Epsom salt, chemically known as magnesium sulfate, has a variety of surprising uses throughout your home. Grab that carton from under the sink and put it to use in these clever ways.

What Is Epsom Salt?

Epsom salt (or “salts”) was first found in the waters of a town named Epsom, in England. As early as the 17th century there are records of people taking advantage of its natural properties. It was once the most popular medicinal remedy in England.

20 Uses For Epsom Salt

The incredible health benefits and versatility of Epsom salt—not to mention that it’s inexpensive—make it a must-have for every home medicine cabinet.  Try some of these remedies:

1. Alleviate Body Aches

One of the most common uses for Epsom salt is to treat body aches. The magnesium and other compounds are absorbed into your skin and work to relieve aches and pains caused from tension and inflammation. Epsom salt draws toxins from your body to relieve swelling, sprains and bruises. To use, add 2 cups of Epsom salt to your bath and submerge yourself for at least 20 minutes.

2. Stress Relief and Sleep Aid

When your body is deficient in magnesium it can lower your serotonin levels, making you sad, while also affecting your appetite and sleep. When you soak in a bath of Epsom salts, it aids your body in the production of serotonin. Magnesium in the Epsom salt not only helps to reduce stress and improve your mood, but it also helps you sleep. Plus studies show that those suffering from Lyme disease can greatly benefit from Epsom salt soaks. Just be sure the water is not too hot (keep it at 98 F).

3. Healthy Feet

Not only can Epsom salt be used to help relax tired feet, it can also be used to treat athlete’s feet and toenail fungus. Add 1/2 cup to warm water and soak those feet.

4. Constipation Relief

For mild cases of constipation, Epsom salt can be used internally as a gentle laxative. Dissolve 1 teaspoon plain (no fragrances) in 8 oz. of water and drink. It is always wise to consult a physician before taking anything internally.

5. Anti-Inflammatory

Epsom salt is a great anti-inflammatory and has been shown to decrease inflammation while also increasing the elasticity of your arteries. Soak yourself in an Epsom salt bath a few times a week to lower inflammation that can lead to joint aches.

6. Sunburn Relief

Following a long day at the beach, we often find ourselves grabbing a bottle of the more commonly used aloe vera to soothe sun-baked skin. Epsom salt’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great alternative for relief from too much sun exposure. In an empty spray bottle, mix in 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 cup of water. Spray affected area.

7. Splinter Removal

Stubborn splinters often lead us to painstakingly digging at our skin with a pair of tweezers. Instead, try soaking in a bath of Epsom salts first. This increases the osmotic pressure of the skin, which will help draw the splinter to the surface. The magnesium will also help reduce inflammation around the splinter, making it easier to remove. If it’s just a toe or finger, dissolve 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt in a cup of warm water and soak.

8. Exfoliator

No need to break the bank on expensive exfoliants or spa treatments. Epsom salt is a great natural exfoliant. To help get rid of dead skin and to remove impurities, add a pinch to your normal face wash, gently rub in a circular motion, and rinse.

9. Acne Treatment

Epsom salt is also an effective natural face cleanser, containing antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral properties, making it a fantastic choice to treat acne. Before bed, mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt with your normal facial cleanser and wash as normal.

10. Blackhead Banisher

In addition to removing dead skin and clearing blemishes, Epsom salt works well at extracting blackheads. Mix one tsp of Epsom salt with four drops of iodine in a half-cup of hot water. Stir until dissolved. Once slightly cooled, massage the mixture into the affected skin, dry completely, wash with warm water and pat dry.

11. Healthy Hair

Not only will your body thank you for adding Epsom salt into your daily routine, your hair will also benefit. To remove build up of styling products, including hairspray, mix 1 cup each of Epsom salt and lemon juice into a gallon of water. Cover and let the mixture sit for 24 hours before use. Simply pour over hair and let the mixture sit for 15-20 minutes. Wash and condition as usual. To add volume to your hair, combine equal parts conditioner and Epsom salt. Apply to hair and let sit for 20 minutes. The Epsom salt helps remove excess oil that weighs hair down.

12. Moisturizing Hand Wash

Want to keep your hands soft? Mix equal parts Epsom salt and baby oil or olive oil. Store the moisturizing hand cleanser in bottles and keep by your sink. Massage in and rinse after washing your hands.

13. Cold and Flu Relief

woman soaking in a bath

Soaking in an Epsom bath my boost your immune system, increasing white blood cells to help fight off infection. Epsom salt soaks also relax muscles and aches which aid in restorative sleep to help fight off infection. Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the bath for easy breathing.

14. Poison Ivy Relief

A cold Epsom salt compress may help bring some relief to poison ivy sufferers by relieving irritation and swelling. Soak a cotton washcloth in an Epsom salt and water solution (2 tablespoons Epsom salt and 1 cup cold water), wring it out, and apply to the affected area.

15. Bug Bite Relief

To relieve the annoying itch of bug bites, mix 1/2 a cup of hot water and 1/2 a cup of Epsom salt in a spray bottle. Spray onto the affected skin. This spray also works well for other causes of itchy skin. Or try this remedy!

16. Pots and Pans Scrubber

The abrasive textures of the salt crystals help to remove stuck-on food, without hurting your cookware. Simply pour a small amount of Epsom salts onto your pots or pans before you scrub them.

17. Grout Cleaner

Mix equal parts Epsom salts and liquid dish detergent to create an effective tile and grout cleaner. Apply this mixture to stains in your bathroom or kitchen. Let it soak for a few minutes, scrub away grime, and rinse clean.

18. Washing Machine Cleaner

Your washing machine can get surprisingly grungy. With use, laundry detergent and other contaminants build up inside machines. Epsom salt helps keep your washer running efficiently by removing unwanted gunk. Let the washing tub fill with hot water. Add 1 quart of white vinegar and 1 cup of Epsom salt. Let the machine agitate for a minute and then stop the cycle to let the solution sit in the machine for about an hour before continuing to finish the cycle. Run a rinse cycle before adding clothes.

19. Helper In the Yard and Garden

Beautiful blue hydrangea or hortensia flower close up. Artistic natural background. flower in bloom in spring

The benefits of Epsom salt do not stop in the house. Head out to the garden, where magnesium sulfate is great for greening up your yard and fertilizing your plants. It will also remove unwanted pests and slugs—just sprinkle a line around your garden to keep them out.

According to the EpsomSaltCouncil.org, Studies show that magnesium and sulfur, two naturally occurring minerals that are major components of Epsom salt, may help plants grow greener with higher yields and more blooms. Magnesium creates an environment conducive to growth by helping seeds to germinate, increasing chlorophyll production and improving phosphorus and nitrogen uptake. Sulfur is also a key element in plant growth, helping produce vitamins.

Adding Epsom salt to your soil before planting vegetables gives it a boost of magnesium (test soil for deficiency first). You can also sprinkle Epsom salt around your plants for healthier foliage. About 1 tablespoon per 12 inches of height (once a month). Tomato plants also benefit from Epsom salt treatments—just water your vines with 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt dissolved in a gallon of water every two weeks. Acid-loving plants, like hydrangea, azaleas, roses, rhododendrons, blueberry, and hibiscus will also appreciate the treatment. 

20. Healthier Plants

Golden Pothos

If your houseplants are turning yellow, they may have a magnesium deficiency. Epsom salt to the rescue! Try adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt per gallon of water and water as usual, and occasionally spray the leaves with the solution, to help them grow more lush and green.

Note: Epsom salt is not an all-purpose fertilizer. It will create healthier, greener, bushier houseplants only if your houseplants are deficient in magnesium or sulfate.

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Natalie LaVolpe

Natalie LaVolpe is a freelance writer and former special education teacher. She is dedicated to healthy living through body and mind. She currently resides on Long Island, New York, with her husband, children, and dog.

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Lots of useful information here. Just have to say, don’t ever use baby oil on your skin! It’s one of many products allowed to be sold in the US that actually ought to be banned! (google for your own research)

nargaret watkins

is epson salt useful in koi ponds?

Sandi Duncan

Hi, it does have some benefits in ponds, working against bacteria, but we do recommend checking with a reputable koi or pond resource.


Epsom. Epson is a printer.


Hi there please allow me to say my parents have always keep Epsom salt at home and used it for sprains, wash cuts, and to clean the stomach of worms

Leonie Cent

That’s interesting ! Especially the information about worms. Thank you.


Clean the stomach of worms? Seems like a waste of time.
You get them dried off and they hop right back into the dirt.

Sandi Duncan

Yes, it is an oldie but a goodie. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of what our parents and grandparents used.

Robert Pressley

Im so excited to know all the things that Epson salt will do. I have a closit at home full of it now !!!


Wow!! Thank you so much for this informative article. I had no idea that there are so many uses of Epsom Salts!! I remember years ago, l had a splinter in my foot and my dear 80 yr old friend Doris, got some Epsom salts in a dish of warm water, l soaked my foot, and in 20 minutes it literally had pushed itself out. I was amazed and now l’m finding out about all the other uses. I’m a new subscriber Farmers’ Almanac. Thank you so much for these useful tips.


I was told a half teaspoon day would help clear arteries over time. Is this true.


Susan Higgins

Hi Kay, we recommend you check with your doctor on that one, to be safe.


I have heard it helps make your artery walls flexible. That is not the same thing as clearing your arteries. The only thing that can “clear your arteries” though in lowering your cholesterol. That is the only thing that builds up in your arteries. A half a teaspoon is the correct amount for helping make your arteries flexible.

Last edited 3 years ago by Chris
Vivienne MOULT

absolutely scientifically wrong. It will have no affect on your arteries


Everything we consume has an effect on our arteries. Some good, some bad.
Is Epsom salt good or bad?


Hi, Can Epson Salts be used as an Air Filter?

Susan Higgins

We’re not familiar with this use, Geoff.

Elaine Lillie

Can Epson Salt be by used on a dog’s feet. He has been scratching them & making them sore.


I would have their feet checked by vet, that’s a sign of foot cancer, it happened to our dog.

Scott J

Sorry for your doggie.

Susan Higgins

Elaine, I would take him to the vet. When dogs are scratching, it’s usually something in their diet that’s bothering them. Check ingredients, and good luck.

Amanda Weber

It very well could be an allergic reaction to something your dog is picking up on their feet outside. Pollen, pesticides, you name it. Only 10% of dog allergies are food related. See your vet, they can do an allergy test.


Our schnauzer had foot issues and our vet told us to soak her feet 2 times a day in epsom salt. It was a challenge for sure!

Sam Kivaa

Epsom salt is marvelous


Thank you for this nice article! I was just about to get some for baths, and now I have even more reasons : )

Jubril Ellams

Good to know you.


Great information it really works had try a few before


These are a lot of wild claims. There is zero evidence magnesium is even absorbed through the skin never mind increasing serotonin.

D. Smith

Jason, obviously you know nothing about the ways of the human body, absorption, and or how magnesium really and truly works. Find another place to air your gripes. Not happy unless you’re raining on someone’s parade, huh?


I did not know of the benefits, but somehow my body intelligence just made me always go for Epsom salt for my very tired feet

Rachel munoz

Do you know that for a fact???? I mean are you doctor,scientist or anyone with some back up ‍♀️ ‍♀️Just sayn

JoAnna Booker

It’s not rocket science! If you work hard n on your feet a lot as I do..I have soaked in a bath of Epsom salt or soaked my feet in it for 10 minutes and pain is gone n I have felt totally refreshed! That is a tried n true fact! So give it a try !?


Yes. My doctor has recommended me to soak my feet twice a day for any feet ailments (soreness, bacteria…) Also helps with athletes foot and for smelly feet.


I almost always have a bag. It’s one of my first go to’s. Nice article, thanks

Susan Higgins

Thanks, Susan, glad you enjoyed it!

Gary Singletary

I have been using it on plants for years now. It works great.


Can Epson salts help on cherry tomatoes? How much do you use & how?

Susan Higgins

Hi Kristin, we found this helpful information for you: https://harvesttotable.com/epsom-salt-tomato-and-pepper-growing/


I have a lemon tree that would only bare 1 or 2 small lemons per year, and drop and other fruit before it could mature, I mixed 1 cup of Epsom salts into 5 liters of warm water and put this around the lemon tree, This year I have over 50 lemons all big and real healthy looking, what an amazing difference.


Great news about your lemons ‍♀️ my mom used salts,vinagers,peroxid etc back in her day. Now I’m going old school. Back to things that have ALWAYS WORKED ✅


My lemon tree loves a constant application of coffee grounds and egg shells. I apply it all year round. The egg shells take a long time to break down so that’s the reason for the constant application.

Gary Koontz

As a family hereditary problem, I would get massive blisters on my feet when walking, mostly in the summertime. These blisters were often 1 inch or more and sometimes layered one over the other. It was very painful. I would pop the blister to let excess fluid out then soak my feet in hot water with epsom salts in it, One or two nights of this and I was able to walk again. was not to long after, all was healed! Never got an infection from broken blisters! This was passed on to me from my dad and his dad who had the same problem. This really works !

Susan Higgins

Gary, we’re so glad Epsom salts gave you relief. Sounds like a painful condition.

Connie nelson

Will Epsom salt soak relieve arthritic pain in hands?


Personally, I don’t know about relief from arthritic pain. But I do know that taking a bath will help relieve any body aches and pain.


Have used epsom salt many times for sprains, works very well.

Pam Mullen

I also use it on bee stings and bug bites… A pinch of Epsom salt with a few drops of water directly on the sting/bite… Lightly moisten as needed for about 7-10 mins … Works like a champ!


Witch Hazel also works for bug bites, soothes any itchy areas on your body (I would keep away from any body parts that are covered by clothing). My Mom told me that Witch Hazel also helps with bruises. But I have not tried that one yet.


im looking forward to trying Epsom for acne! THANK YOU!


I use 2 Tbsp epsom salts in my laundry as a fabric softener. Works as well as the smelly stuff loaded with chemicals(that makes me itch!) and if you miss that nice smell, add 20-40 drops of essential oil(like lemon or lavender) to a container of epsom salts and store in a glass jar.

Jan Harker

I mix 1/2 Epsom Salt and 1/2 honey for my hand cleanser. The honey helps heal scratches, etc.

Debbie Scott

This information is very interesting. I had no idea that epsom salt was good for that much stuff.

Very good info will try.

I use it a lot and will try more. Thks


I have read to use in your fish tank to eliminate fungus. Dont kniw how much to use

craig van aken

We use vast amounts in the organic garden that I am the garden manager. Plus after a ling hard day we soak in a detox bath ofcider vinegar baking soda episode salt sea salt to cleanse our joints


Will it exfoliate the whole body? How much should I use for this? Thanks for your help!!!


To exfoliate your body just turn the water off after you shower, take a small handful of epsom salt and rub it over your skin, and rinse off.
Be aware that the epsom salt will make the tub slick so be careful not to fall.


I mix one half cup of epsom with one half cup of grapeseed or avacado oil. Put a tablespoon of favorite body wash in and mix. Use this as body exfoliator for the next week. Can make larger batch but keep closed lid tight away from moisturize. Small batches are best. Great for hands and feet too. Keep off face.


Great info-thank you! Also use 1 gal water, 2 cups Epson salt, 2 T Dawn to kill weeds–works great.

Terry Lowe

Do you think this will cause concrete to flake?

Leonie Cent

I thought Epsom salts enhanced plant growth, not killed it !!
Save yourself some money and just use the Dawn by itself.


While I did know about a lot of these, there were quite a few I didn’t. Thanks! I’ve always used it on my roses and it made them seem to grow like crazy! I’ve also used it to soak in the tub but never thought of using it as a cleanser. My dad used to use it as a laxative but I couldn’t get past the taste. Yuck. Time to restock!

audrey tidwell

a good product healthy for use in many ways.Didn`t know.


Thank you for your help . Can’t wait to try it out!!!


Good stuff

Doris Sheeley

Very helpul information !!


Would I be able to use Epsom salt to soak my lower leg that had a blood clot in it?


It’s about time that epsonsalt information is finally coming out!

Surf Dogg

This was a very informative & well written article. TY☺


Thank you for all these health, beauty and cleaning tips! I had no idea that bag of Epsom under my sink was so versatile.


Had forgotten the value of epsom salt, thank you for this reminder!!


I am going to experiment with half a teaspoon of epsom and monitor weight and arteries

Nancy Ford

It also helps on your tomato and pepper plants. Great stuff.


I love this stuff!! Use it all the time.


Just a little note. do not use if you have cancer in the lower extremities. I did and i believe it was shrinking the tumor. Pain Pain Pain


Awe Theresa hope your healing from cancer just lost my kid brother to cancer of the lungs. Was a long time smoker anyway I believe what you say. And thank the dear Lord. Be blest Theresa

Leonie Cent

I’ve read scientific articles showing magnesium sulfate can cure certain cancers. You can Google it. I woulda thought enduring the pain of shrinking tumours would be worth it, if you got cured ?


Amazing; I never knew that epsom salt could be used for so many different conditions! Very Informative~!


the past four generations have been using Epsom salt ,also use it on my animals works on them the same way.


How do you use it on the animals please


Great tips. I plan on passing it along to some friends. Especially, using it to clean grout.


This is very helpful advice. Many of the remedies listed I never knew. Going out to buy some Epsom!

karen patterson

sound like some good advise


I can’t wait to try on my roses!

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