It’s heartbreaking to think of how Epsom salt has been relegated to the bottom shelf in the back of the pharmacy. Where’s the love? I’ve expounded on the miracles of Epsom salt foot soaks and why I prescribe them to patients on a daily basis, but for such a simple substance these little crystals might be the solution to household peace.
I grew up knowing the power of a good old-fashioned Epsom salt bath and was turned on to its clinical uses while studying Asian medicine. However, Epsom salt has become a medicine cabinet staple in my home due the reasons listed below. It’s composed of crystalized magnesium, sulfur and oxygen – which means it’s not used the same way one would use sea salt since there's no sodium in it. It can be used for everything from facial exfoliation to fertilizing your plants. I’ve seen other lists that include (for my friends in the Catskills) using Epsom salt as a raccoon deterrent – but I can’t stand by that one since I haven’t had that problem in Brooklyn. If it works for you, drop me a note and we'll update the list.
- Epsom bath soak: Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm bath and soak for at least 20 minutes to help relieve muscle sprains and tame tendonitis.
- Shower and foot scrub: A homemade Epsom scrub can provide a boost of magnesium and super soft skin. Mix 1 cup of Epsom salt with ¼ cup of almond oil and your favorite essential oil. Store any left overs in an airtight container since it will keep for months at a time!
- Facial exfoliation: Upgrade your favorite facial cleanser by adding a pinch of Epsom salt for weekly skin exfoliation.
- Blackhead removal: Mix a teaspoon of Epsom salt with 3 drops of iodine and ½ cup of hot water. Once the crystals have dissolved, dab the solution to your blackheads with a cotton ball to help naturally extract them.
- Hair mask: Combine equal parts of conditioner and Epsom salt and leave on hair for 20 minutes. Rinse well and let air dry for thicker looking silky hair.
- Beach hair: Dissolve 2 teaspoons of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of warm water and mix in 1 tablespoon of your favorite hair gel. Place the solution in a spritz bottle and spray on towel-dried hair that’s still damp. It leaves your hair with that awesome beach look without drying it out.
- Super smile: Not only can Epsom salt whiten your teeth, but it helps fight against periodontal disease. Mix equal parts Epsom salt and water. Once the crystals have dissolved, dip you toothbrush into the mixture and brush well. Gargle with the Epsom solution and rinse.
- Constipation relief: For occasional constipation, a teaspoon of Epsom salt dissolved in water can help clear the pipes. As always, check with your health care practitioner first.
- Splinter removal: Soak in concentrated Epsom salt water solution to soften skin enough to easily pull out a splinter.
- Bug bites: Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt in to ½ cup of water. Spritz on itchy skin or apply a wet compress to help relieve itching.
- Minor sunburn relief: Mix 1 tablespoon of Epsom salt with ½ cup of water and spritz on to minor sunburns to help take out some of the heat.
- Fabric softener crystals: Mix 4 cups of Epsom salt and 20 drops of essential oil for some homemade fabric softener. Use 1/4 cup per load and add at the beginning of the wash cycle.
- Tile/grout cleaner: Mix equal parts of liquid dish soap and Epsom salts to scrub tile and grout. If the grout is especially dirty, add a bit of ammonia to help. Rinse well for a streak free shine. To shine your floors, combine ½ cup of Epsom salt to a gallon of warm sudsy water. Add more salt if your floor tiles are especially dirty.
- Roses, tomatoes, and houseplants: Your plants love magnesium just as much as you do! Add a tablespoon of Epsom salt to the soil before planting tomatoes to boost growth. You can also help your houseplants grow by adding a couple tablespoons of Epsom to their water to keep them extra green. Epsom even helps roses bushes; sprinkle a tablespoon a week to the soil around the bush before watering for faster growth.