Epsom Salt Soak Recipe

Epsom salt container

By Cat, Feb 2019 (image, right, from drugs.com (5))

Epsom salt – magnesium sulfate – has many uses in natural healthcare, but my favorite is for soaks – bath soak, finger/hand soak, foot soak, and so on.

Note that Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) is not the same as table or Kosher salt (sodium chloride).

Soaks are helpful for (reference 1, or as noted):

  • Skin infections (1,4)
  • Sore muscles (2)
  • Joint pain (such as arthritis)
  • Bruises and sprains
  • Fibromyalgia, a condition that makes your muscles, ligaments, and tendons hurt, and causes tender points throughout your body
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Insomnia
  • Psoriasis, a disease that causes red, itchy, scaly skin
  • Soreness from diarrhea during chemotherapy
  • Sunburn pain and redness
  • Tired, swollen feet

See also: 1. Natural Healing Remedies Menu


What kind of water to use?

It is best to use filtered water, to avoid the presence of toxic substances dissolved in the water, that could cause trouble for your skin.

How hot should the water be?

Don’t heat the water to boiling, just to the scalding point – when steam begins to swarm above the water, but the water has not started to bubble. Remove pot from the heat and let it cool a bit – it should be hot but not uncomfortably so. And remember, it will continue to cool as you stir in the Epsom salt. (4)

How much to use:

  • For a full bath, dissolve 1 – 2 cups of Epsom salt in the tub of hot/warm water; the amount of Epsom salt depends on the amount of water in the tub. If your tub is:
    • small or shallow, use 1 cup;
    • a soaking tub, use 2 cups.
    • a hot tub, whirlpool or other tub with jets, “Don’t use Epsom salt in [these tubs] unless the [tub] manufacturer says it’s OK.”  (1)
  • For specific body areas such as a finger, hand or foot: the general recipe is (2):
    • dissolve ½ cup Epsom salt in 1 quart (4 cups) of hot water; or
    • 2 Tbsp of Epsom salt for every 1 cup hot water.
  • If a finger is infected: ⅓ cup Epsom salt in a shallow cup of hot water (3).

Stir the mixture until the Epsom salt is fully dissolved, then let it cool to a degree of warmth that is comfortable

How long to soak:

  • For a full bath, soak at least 12 minutes (1, 4); however, I tend to feel so good that I stay in the bath until the water is too cool for comfort.
  • For finger(s): Soak for 6-10 minutes, and repeat multiple times daily. (2) You may want to repeat this soak 2 or more times in a day, and for more than one day, especially if the finger is infected, to get the infection under control. “Frequency is more important than duration here.” (2)


  1. webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/epsom-salt-bath#1
  2. leaf.tv/articles/how-much-epsom-salt-to-soak-a-finger/
  3. healthfully.com/cure-infected-finger-4512223.html
  4. livestrong.com/article/368695-how-to-use-epson-salt-for-infection/
  5. drugs.com/otc/591077/epsom-salt.html 

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