What can I use instead of Epsom salt? (9 alternatives)

In this article, we will answer the question “What can I use instead of Epsom salt?”, and what are the health benefits of using Epsom salt?

What is a good alternative to epsom salt? 

You can use sea salt as an alternative if you do not have Epsom salt available. Similar to Epsom salt, sea salt has exfoliating properties and also moisturizes the skin when mixed with oil. 

Other alternatives include:

  • Essential Oils for Foot Soak.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • Oatmeal.
  • Baking Soda.

Epsom salt is the common name for magnesium sulfate. It is widely known for its exfoliating properties and health benefits like enhanced sleep and reduced fatigue. It is never recommended to consume Epsom salt orally.

Atopic dermatitis (AD), a common skin disease, affects up to 20% of children and 6% of adults. AD is associated with significant utilization of health care resources, as patients with AD cost the health system $3,302 more annually in the United States than patients without AD. Some traditional remedies, such as apple cider vinegar, can be useful to treat this skin disease (4).

 What is Epsom salt?

Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate. It is often called bath salt. It looks like salt but tastes very bitter. This salt is not used for food purposes, instead, is famous for its excellent medicinal properties.

It has been used to treat insomnia, fibromyalgia and constipation for a long time. Enriched with magnesium, this salt provides immense benefits for your skin. . Magnesium deficiency can increase levels of substance P, which is related to the pain intensity of fibromyalgia. Thus, magnesium was suggested to be beneficial for symptom relief in patients with fibromyalgia. Magnesium sulfate occasionally decreases the amount of anesthetic used during surgery (1).

When added to water, epsom salt releases magnesium and sulfate ions that help detoxify skin and its exfoliating action helps cleanse the skin of the dead cells and impurities. It can be used topically in bath water to enhance skin softening, relieve muscle tension and to promote relaxation (3).

Alternatives to Epsom salt

Sea salt or table salt

Sea salt and table salt can be used as a foot soak and bath salt instead of Epsom salt. The fine grains of sea salt or table salt exfoliate, cleanse and hydrate the skin. Sea salt is also effective to get rid of patchy and scaly skin that occurs due to psoriasis. It helps rejuvenate skin.

The benefits of bathing in salt water, especially solutions prepared from the Dead Sea salts, have nourished the body and soul of humans since antiquity. The putative benefits of bathing in Dead Sea salts have been attributed to the magnesium in the sea composition, not the sodium or potassium (3).

You can either use dead sea salt or the colored varieties that come from India, France, and Hawaii. Table salt can be combined with borax, baking soda, and essential oils for the bath.

Essential oils

Essential oils like lavender, thuja, tangerine, peppermint, and white pines can be used as an alternative to epsom salt in foot soak. They help release stress and relax tired feet muscles.

Natural plant oils are commonly used as topical therapy worldwide. They are usually easily accessible and are relatively inexpensive options for skin care. Many natural oils possess specific compounds with antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-itch properties, making them attractive alternative and complementary treatments for xerotic and inflammatory dermatoses associated with skin-barrier disruption (5).

Use salt to get rid of flaky feet.

Apple cider vinegar

Adding apple cider vinegar to a hot tub of water helps relax the aching muscles. It has excellent cleansing properties. You can dilute it with some water and rinse your hair with this solution at the end of the bath. This cleans the hair scalp and makes hair shiny and soft.

Apple cider vinegar has been shown to have antibacterial effects and has been used to treat dermatitis, due to its effect against Staphylococcus aureus (4).


Oatmeal is a mild exfoliator. It can be used instead of epsom salt in your bathtubs for a gentle cleansing and exfoliation. Mix some oatmeal with water to make a paste and gently scrub on your skin.

Many over-the-counter oatmeal colloidal emollients claim to soothe and protect irritated or eczematous skin. Oats may reduce irritation in various xerotic dermatoses through its anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties, likely mediated by phytochemicals called avenanthramides (5).

Baking soda

Add borax and baking soda to your bathtub. Borax helps cleanse skin and baking soda is an excellent exfoliator. It is known for its therapeutic properties to get rid of sunburnt and itchy skin. A mixture of these two when added to the bathtub makes the water more silky and helps relax aching muscles.

Baking soda has therapeutic properties that have been widely studied to demonstrate its effectiveness against several pathologies. In particular, for skin pathologies, it can be employed as an antimicrobial and for treatment of aquagenic pruritus. It is effective in treatment of psoriasis (6).


Clay is packed with minerals and has excellent detoxifying properties. Green clay and white kaolin clay can be added to a bath or a face mask to remove skin impurities. Clay masks formulas have the ability to enlarge pores and improve skin cleansing by removing dead skin on the surface. Clay masks get rid of all skin problems like it unclog the pores and remove pimples as well as acne marks (7).

Mustard powder

Mustard powder has rich detoxifying properties. It can be used instead of epsom salt in bathtubs and for soaking feet to get rid of impurities and help relax your muscles.

However, mustard oil is known to increase blood vessel permeability and trigger acute inflammation within the skin. Due to its immense everyday use in many countries, further evaluations are needed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of mustard oil (5).

Rock salt

Use pool rock salt instead of epsom salt for bathtubs or feet soaking. It is very economical. The benefits of Rock salts have been attributed to the magnesium in the  salt composition, not the sodium or potassium (3).

Prune juice

Epsom salt diluted with water is used to relieve constipation. If you do not have epsom salt, use natural prune juice instead. Because prune juice contains a high amount of fibers, it can relieve constipation (2).

Other FAQs about Salt which you may be interested in.

How does salt lower the freezing point?

Does Himalayan salt taste different?

Health benefits of using Epsom salt

Rich source of magnesium

Though there is not enough evidence, bathing in epsom salt dissolved water helps the magnesium to absorb in skin through pores.

Helps with constipation

Magnesium citrate or magnesium hydroxide, taken orally have been found to possess excellent laxative properties. It helps relieve constipation by drawing water into the colon. Hence regulating the bowel movements. However, long term use of epsom salt as a laxative has resulted in bloating and liquid stools in some people.

Drink a lot of water when taking epsom salt as a laxative.

Enhances workout performance

Taking a hot water bath dissolved with epsom salt helps soothe the tired muscles. It does so by helping the body to use lactic acid and glucose.

Reduces pain

Patients of fibromyalgia and arthritis suffer from magnesium deficiency. Taking hot water baths dissolved in epsom salt has been found to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia and arthritis.


In this article, we answered the question “What can I use instead of Epsom salt?”, and what are the health benefits of using Epsom salt?


  1. Shin, Hyun-Jung, Hyo-Seok Na, and Sang-Hwan Do. Magnesium and Pain. Nutrients, 2020, 12. 
  2. Gallegos-Orozco, Juan F., et al. Chronic constipation in the elderly. Off  j Am Coll Gastroenterol, 2012,107, 18-25.  
  3. Polefka, T. G., R. J. Bianchini, and S. Shapiro. Interaction of mineral salts with the skin: a literature survey. Int j cosmet sci, 2012, 34, 416-423.
  4. Luu, Lydia A., et al. Apple cider vinegar soaks do not alter the skin bacterial microbiome in atopic dermatitis. Plos one, 2021, 16, e0252272.
  5. Vaughn, Alexandra R., et al. Natural oils for skin-barrier repair: ancient compounds now backed by modern science. Am j clin dermatol, 2018, 19, 103-117.
  6. Mazzarello, Vittorio, et al. Efficacy of a Topical Formulation of Sodium Bicarbonate in Mild to Moderate Stable Plaque Psoriasis: a Randomized, Blinded, Intrapatient, Controlled Study. Dermatol Ther, 2019, 9, 497-503.
  7. Londhe, Swati Siddheshwar, et al. Formulation and evaluation of clay face pack. Int J Pharmaceut Invest, 2021, 11, 437-440.