Best Epsom Salts

Updated March 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best Epsom salts

Last Updated March 2019

A long soak in the tub after a hard workday or workout can feel like just what the doctor ordered. Add Epsom salts to your bath water and receive added relaxation, including benefits like muscle and joint pain relief, detoxification, and even aromatherapy from scented salts. A big bag of these simple salts that’ll last multiple baths or foot soaks can cost under ten bucks. What’s not to like?

There’s more. Epsom salts, when ingested, is an FDA-approved laxative treatment to help temporary constipation. When sprinkled in your garden it can increase plant growth; when sprinkled on your walkway, it can get rid of slugs. It has skin and haircare uses. Lastly, its natural magnesium content can boost your body’s magnesium levels just by taking regular Epsom salt baths.

If you’re ready to try it out for yourself, you won’t be disappointed by our trusted top picks of Epsom salts. Not sure if these products are right for you? Keep reading our in-depth guide on all you need to know about these multifaceted, powerful salts.  

Epsom salt derives its name from a saline spring in Epsom, located in Surrey, England, where the compound of magnesium and sulfate was first distilled from water.

What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate (which is a combination of sulfur and oxygen). Though it’s translucent crystals look a lot like table salt, table salt is a totally different compound (sodium chloride to be exact). It’s slightly more powdery and can clump if exposed to moisture. Originally Epsom salt was distilled from mineral water from Epsom, England, and is now largely mined.

Uses for Epsom salt


Baths

The most common use for Epsom salts is in baths. Typically one to two cups are added to warm or hot bathwater. The granules will dissolve naturally, although it helps to sprinkle them evenly around the tub while it’s filling to ensure it is evenly distributed and dissolved in the water.

It’s typically recommended to soak for at least 20 minutes, with 40 minutes being the optimal time to reap the health benefits. When you soak in an Epsom salt bath, the magnesium and sulfate in the compound can be absorbed through the skin. Magnesium is an important nutrient for the body that is in charge of over 300 enzymes and that many people are deficient in.

A magnesium deficiency contributes to our stress reactions and can lead to heart issues, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses. If you don’t want to take magnesium supplements, which can have side effects (namely gastrointestinal), regular soaks in an Epsom salt bath can boost levels up to 35 percent.

Magnesium also acts as a muscle relaxer and relieves stress, which is why taking an Epsom salt bath before bed also helps you sleep. Magnesium can also reduce inflammation, and arthritis sufferers particularly benefit from Epsom salt baths for pain relief from inflamed joints.

The sulfate in Epsom salt assists the body in detoxification and is a very popular ingredient in detox bath remedies. Some alternative health practitioners claim that this mineral along with magnesium spark a sort of reverse osmosis that pulls toxins out of your body when you soak for long enough. 

Foot soaks

Another common use for Epsom salt is the foot soak. Half a cup of the compound is added to a large pan of warm water into which your bare feet are submerged. This provides relaxation, especially at nighttime, and relieves pain in sore feet. It can be a nice self-care practice, especially for diabetics, as it reduces inflammation and helps you keep tabs on foot care.

Internal use

Under the supervision of a doctor or licensed health practitioner, ingesting small amounts of Epsom salt dissolved in warm water can aid constipation by providing a laxative effect via increasing water in the intestines and cleansing the colon. Expect a bowel movement 30 minutes to 6 hours within consumption.

Skincare

For itchy skin, sunburns, or bug bites, Epsom salt is used topically in DIY remedies. Dissolve a tablespoon of Epsom salt into water in a spray bottle. Spritz on skin as needed. Using less water can also create a paste, which can be rubbed onto muscles to relieve soreness (although it will leave a chalky, salty residue until washed off).

Gardening

For organic gardening Epsom salt is an inexpensive solution. In place of chemical fertilizer, Epsom salt has been used for generations to help foster plant growth, making your plants bushier and improving flower blooms, especially where magnesium content is deficient in the soil.

Dissolve two tablespoons of unscented Epsom salts in a gallon of water and water your plants once or twice a month with this solution. Rose, tomatoes, and peppers are plants that require a lot of magnesium and could benefit from Epsom salts.

To keep slugs from eating up your plants, sprinkle your walkways with Epsom salts for a non-chemical slug solution. Again, unscented is best for outdoor use.

EXPERT TIP

A recent study shows that 68% of U.S. adults consume less than their recommended daily allowance of magnesium. An Epsom salt bath is a safe way to increase the body’s magnesium levels.


Staff  | BestReviews

Considerations

Ready to buy? First, consider the following.

  • Quantity: Epsom salts come in resealable bags by the pound, from one pound to six pounds. The package usually has a ziplock bag-type closure for secure closing and to keep moisture out. Larger quantities, like 19, 25 or 50-pound bags, are also available to the general public. Ordering the largest bag is economical and makes sense if you know you will use a lot of it, but they are heavy and bulky.
  • Grades: There are two grades of Epsom salts — USP and agricultural grade. USP is tested for quality and safe to use for personal care and consumption. Agricultural grade — also known as Industrial or Technical grade — doesn’t have to pass as strict of regulations and may contain impurities.
  • Granule/crystal size: Epsom salt sold for personal care tends to have larger crystals or granules than table salt. Granule size varies by manufacturer but all will dissolve equally into warm water.

Features

Scent/aromatherapy

These may be added to scented Epsom salts to add a spa experience in the comfort of your own tub. Lavender is a popular scent added that induces relaxation. Peppermint, eucalyptus, or menthol is another that revitalizes you and helps clear your sinuses. If you are sensitive to fragrance, select products scented with essential oils rather than synthetic fragrance. Pure Epsom salt has no scent.

Added ingredients

Additions like shea butter and coconut or avocado oil can be found in some Epsom salts to help hydrate the skin. Baking soda is another added ingredient designed for foot soaks to remove odor and detoxify.

Epsom salts prices

A 2-pound bag of Epsom salts cost between $2.50 and $8. This price range includes scented Epsom salts. 

A 3-pound bag of Epsom salts costs between $3 and $9. Ones with more beneficial properties like aromatherapy and moisturizers tend to be at the higher end of this range.

A 5-pound bag of Epsom salts costs between $6 and $15. Bags on the higher end of this spectrum may be Kosher, non-GMO, or have a higher purity.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Use Epsom salts with a USP certification, which deems it safe for human use according to regulatory standards by the FDA and United States Pharmacopeia.

Tips

  • For easier removal of a splinter, soak the area with warm water and Epsom salt, which will draw out the splinter.
  • Store your bag of Epsom salt at room temperature and away from heat and humidity.
  • If an Epsom salt bath isn’t doing the trick to relieve your stress, try floating in a float tank. These soundless, lightless, “deprivation” tanks contain 800 to 1,000 pounds of Epsom salt dissolved into water. Many people find this an extremely relaxing if not profound experience.
  • Try Epsom salts as a DIY cleaning product on bathroom tile by mixing equal parts Epsom salts and liquid dish soap. This solution works effectively on grouting, too. 

Epsom “salt” is not actually salt because it doesn’t contain sodium. It derived this moniker partly because it looks like salt, but it is in fact a completely different chemical compound.

Other products we considered

One of the purest Epsom salts on the market is SaltWorks Ultra Epsom Premium Epsom Salt. If you prefer smaller granules, this product offers fine crystals that dissolve quickly in water. It also offers different sized bags up to 50 pounds. We love that it’s cruelty free and Kosher, not to mention non-GMO. All in all, this is a very high quality, USP-grade Epsom salt.

Often value comes with bigger quantities, but who has room to store a 50-lb bag of Epsom salts in their bathroom? This is why we love Solimo Epsom Salt Soaking Aid for their inexpensive 3-pound and 1.5-pound bags that come in packs. With a choice of lavender or eucalyptus scent, you can reap the relaxing benefits of the salts and the aromatherapy that’ll fill your bathroom sanctuary.

Epsom salt is an affordable self-care product that you can buy at your drugstore. It’s usually placed in the aisle that has Ace bandages and rubbing alcohol, or in the laxatives section.

FAQ

Q. Can I use Epsom salt instead of table salt?
A.
No. Epsom salt is flavorless and not edible. While it can be taken orally (under doctor supervision) as a holistic remedy for constipation, it’s generally not for consumption. It won’t add flavor to your food — which table salt, sea salt, Himalayan pink salt and Kosher salt all do — and may give you an unwanted run to the bathroom if you attempt to salt your meal with it because of the its high magnesium levels.

Q. Will bathing in Epsom salt dry out my skin and hair the way swimming in the ocean does?
A.
No, Epsom salt will actually soften your skin. While this isn’t scientifically proven, it is a widely reported benefit for hundreds of years when people soaked in the mineral baths of Epsom, Surrey. Epsom salt shouldn’t dry out your hair as much as ocean salt. In fact, it’s used in hair treatments to volumize hair because it helps reduce excess oil that can weigh down your hair. Mix two tablespoons of Epsom salt with two tablespoons of your conditioner and apply as a mask, leaving it in for 10 to 20 minutes before washing out. If you have dry but textured hair, this mix may also add definition to your curls or texture. Be aware that Epsom salt’s magnesium content might react with color-treated hair.

Q. What are the potential side effects of Epsom salt?
A.
Internal consumption of Epsom salts can interfere with absorption of some medications, like antibiotics, because of the magnesium content. Consult with your doctor if you’re taking medications or are pregnant or nursing before ingesting Epsom salt. Also, taking too much can cause gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea or nausea, and in extreme cases, allergic reactions. 

Q. Can I put Epsom salts in my hot tub?
A.
No, that can cause damage to a number of components, from your filter to the finish of your hot tub. Only add Epsom salts to a normal bathtub and rinse the tub after use.

The team that worked on this review
  • Ana
    Ana
    Writer
  • Elaine
    Elaine
    Writer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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