How to Clean With Epsom Salts

You may have used Epsom salts to create a relaxing and healing bath, but Epsom salt is also a safe and nontoxic household cleaner. It's not truly a salt, but a mineral also called magnesium sulfate. Whatever name you go by, it helps scrub tile and grout and remove stubborn cooked-on food from pots and pans. Epsom salt is named after the small town in Surrey, England, where it was first discovered in a natural spring.

Close up of woman scrubbing pan
credit: stephenkirsh/iStock/Getty Images
Use Epsom salts instead of harsh cleansers to get rid of stubborn grease on pans.

Cleaning Tile and Grout

To clean tile and grout, first mix equal amounts of Epsom salts and liquid dish detergent. Dab the mixture onto dirty or stained tile surfaces. Let it sit for one to two minutes, and then scrub. Finally, rinse the tile or grout clean. You can also use regular table salt to clean tile by mixing 1 part salt with 4 parts vinegar.

Cleaning Pots and Pans

Sprinkle about a teaspoon of Epsom salts into the bottom of the dirty pot. Scrub with a nonabrasive scrubber or sponge to dislodge the food particles. You can use Epsom salts on metal or glass cookware. Regular table salt will also help scrub food off pots and pans.

Cleaning Washing Machines

Clean your washing machine two or three times each year to remove the residue left by laundry detergent, dirt and other contaminants. To clean a top-loading machine, fill the machine with hot water. Add 1 quart of distilled vinegar and 1 cup of Epsom salts. Close the lid and let the machine agitate for one minute. Stop the machine; open the lid, and let the solution sit for one hour. Run the machine through its complete wash and rinse cycles. For a front-loading machine, add hot water to the drum with 2 cups of vinegar and 1/2 cup of Epsom salts.

Cleaning Skin and Hair

Exfoliate by rubbing a handful of Epsom salts over damp skin, especially your hands and feet. To remove a buildup of hair styling product, add 1 cup Epsom salts and 1 cup lemon juice to a gallon of water. Cover, and let it sit for 24 hours. Pour the mixture over your hair. Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse off. Wash and condition as usual. For an easy facial, add 1/2 teaspoon of Epsom salts to your regular cleansing cream. Massage onto your skin, and then rinse with cool water and gently pat dry. Do not substitute regular table salt for solutions you use on your skin or hair.

Lisa Jensen

Lisa Jensen grows organic food and lives in an adobe house that she built. She teaches aikido, is an experienced back-country skier and backpacker and is active in her community. A graduate of the University of Calgary, Jensen writes about gardening, home projects, social sciences and sports and recreation.