There are thousands of articles on homemade bath salts on the internet. Unfortunately there’s a lot of misinformation and hype out there in the cyber world as marketers try and sell you their products. You’re not going to find that here. In fact, you’re never going to find that on this site. We think our readers deserve better. Ready, set, let’s do some exploring into the ingredients that go into homemade bath salts!
What you sprinkle on your celery or mashed potatoes is a salt. It’s purified sodium chloride (NaCl). Sodium chloride is the primary salt found in our oceans. In fact, roughly 80% of the minerals in seawater consist of sodium chloride. It’s primarily the other minerals that benefit your skin. That’s why you should use sea salt rather than table salt in homemade bath salts.
Not that you care, but we’re going to tell you anyway. To produce sea salt, the water is evaporated away leaving the salt and residual minerals. It is sold as Pacific sea salt, Mediterranean sea salt, etc. However, regardless of where the salt comes from, the bulk of what you are buying is sodium chloride.
When making homemade bath salts, the main benefit of adding sea salt is its ability to help prevent prunification (my word). Who likes wrinkled up toes and fingers?
There are numerous benefits of Epsom salts for homemade bath salts. In fact, there are too many to cover here, so to get the full skinny on this marvelous (and cheap) bath salt click here.
Dead Sea Salt
Dead Sea salt, like Epsom salts, have so many benefits that we have made a separate article dedicated to Dead Sea salt. To read the full story on Dead Sea salt click here.
Sodium bicarbonate, better known as baking soda is an interesting salt in that it forms carbonic acid and an hydroxide ion in water making the solution slightly alkaline. Carbonic acid neutralizes bases and the hydroxide ion neutralized acids. Keep in mind that carbonic acid is extremely weak and very unstable when exposed to water (it converts to carbon dioxide gas and water), therefore it may lose much of its ability to effectively neutralize a base when exposed to the natural humidity in air. Sodium bicarbonate can be produced by adding sodium hydroxide (NAOH) (a strong base) with carbon dioxide (CO2) which gives you sodium carbonate (soda ash) and water (Na2CO3 + H2O). When you add more carbon dioxide, you get sodium bicarbonate (2 Na2CO3). Now that’s enough chemistry for now, let’s move onto the uses for baking soda. Suffice it to say that sodium bicarbonate is indeed a very interesting substance.
Baking soda will neutralize the pH of water. Internally, sodium bicarbonate is an important component in our blood chemistry. In addition it is used as an antacid. Externally, sodium bicarbonate is used to treat poison ivy, oak and sumac and other other rashes and as an exfoliant. It is also used as a treatment for hemorrhoids. However, in homemade bath salts, its primary function is to soothe rough skin.
We don’t recommend using borax in bath water. Borax softens bath water and is often used in homemade bath salts, however borax can be absorbed through the skin. Borax may be toxic (causes liver damage), it’s best not to use it in your bath. However, it’s antifungal properties may make it useful as an occasional foot bath.
Borax shouldn’t be used in homemade bath salts. But wait, there’s two more. Sodium hexametaphosphate is a heavy duty water softener that is used in some bath salts. Its dry form can be irritating to sensitive skin. Sodium Sesquicarbonate also used in some bath salts can cause skin irritation and the dust may be an irritant to mucus membranes and the upper respiratory tract. Hey, you don’t need to use these salts anyway.
In summary, here’s what we know. To simply soothe your skin, you can make homemade bath salts with baking soda alone. To enjoy the many benefits that magnesium affords, use either Dead Sea salts and/or Epsom salts. We recommend using a combination of Dead Sea salt and Epsom salts. These two salts will afford you the maximum benefit of increased magnesium, potassium and sulphate in your bath. (Be sure and read the more extensive articles on the benefits of Dead Sea salts and Epsom salts.) Regardless of which salt or combination you use, be sure to rinse your skin well after your bath.
If you stick with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Dead Sea salt, and Epsom salts, you can make the perfect bath salt that will benefit your body the most. No troubles for our readers!!
Three Basic Homemade Bath Salts
- To make bath salts with Epsom salts, add 1 to 2 cups to a full bath.
- To make bath salts with Dead Sea salt, add 1 to 2 cups to a full bath. Higher concentration of this salt are needed for treating psoriasis and other skin conditions such as eczema
- To add bath salts with baking soda, add ½ cup to a full bath.
Now go have fun and relax.