I didn’t really “get” baths until I became a working adult, and then a mom, and the chance to sit undisturbed in a tub of hot water went from sounding like a waste of my time to absolute bliss. Things got even better when I realized that I could multitask by actively supporting my health while I relaxed. A proper detox bath goes beyond just soothing and boosting our well-being by strengthening our immune system and preventing disease.
Our bodies are subject to more toxins than ever in our food, body products, water, and air. The truth is, toxins are unavoidable, but it becomes an issue when they are left unchecked, opening us up to irritation, harm, and destruction in the body. Thankfully, a detox bath is an easy and gentle healing therapy we can do to support our body’s natural detoxification system.
Read on for everything you need to know about taking your bath from calming to incredibly healing.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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How to Take a Detox Bath
- Add your detox agent to a standard tub full of hot/warm water. The hotter the water, the more you’ll sweat, and the better you’ll detox.
- If your bath water is not filtered, add 1 cup of baking soda to help neutralize the chemicals, primarily chlorine, as well as increase mineral absorption.
- Immerse yourself in the water—get as much of your body underwater as you can. Close your eyes, take some deep breaths and relax for at least 20 minutes.
- Once you are done soaking, get out of the tub carefully (it’s common to feel a bit light-headed). This should go away shortly and a quick rinse off with cool water can help!
- Moisturize, but steer clear of soaps, shampoos and lotions with artificial fragrances, dyes, and toxic chemicals as your pores are open post-bath and can more easily absorb the chemicals found in those products.
- Hydrate yourself with plenty of water before and after to support your body’s detox process. A great time to do the detox is before bed. Detox baths can leave you feeling drowsy and a great night of sleep post-bath is an amazing way to support your body’s rejuvenation process.
Tips for the Perfect Detox Bath
- Start slow. The more agent you use and the hotter the water, the more intense the detox.
- If the detox bath is making you feel uncomfortably nauseous, lightheaded, or just plain sick (common side effects of intense detox), try cutting back on the detox agent, switching detox agents, using cooler water, and/or bathing for a shorter amount of time.
- These detox baths are generally safe for kids, just reduce the amount of agent used. (Read more about detox baths for kids here!)
- Hate the tub? Get some of the benefits of the detox bath by doing a foot soak using a large container and soak those toesies away.
Types of Detox Baths
The most popular of the detox baths, Epsom salts are a salt made of magnesium and sulphate. Both are critical nutrients for the human body, but can be poorly absorbed from our food. However, soaking in Epsom salts counteracts this problem as these minerals both absorb readily via the skin. They have long been used to stimulate detoxification, reduce inflammation in sore muscles, lower blood pressure, promote healthy circulation, and help with relaxation and normalizing sleep patterns. Start out by adding one cup of Epsom Salt to your bathtub and gradually increase to two or three cups.
Pro tip: sprinkle just a bit of your fancy bath salts into a bath, then add more Epsom salts to make your pricey salts go further! You get the relaxing scent and benefits of the nice salt blend and the detox of the Epsom salts.
Taking a bentonite clay detox bath is a great way to remove heavy metals from the body. Bentonite clay is a naturally-forming clay that magnetically pulls toxins, heavy metals and wastes from the body. Bentonite clay also lowers the body’s PH levels, making it a perfect substance to take internally or use externally. Pour about 1/5 -1 cup of bentonite clay in a bath of hot water, breaking up the clumps. It is typically recommended to take start by taking a clay bath one a week, then moving to about once a month for maintenance.
Baking soda baths are naturally alkalizing and are beneficial for boosting liver function, supporting digestive issues and for combating a sore throat (including strep throat). When combined with sea salt, this bath is also great for combating any exposure to environmental radiation, x-rays, plane flights or airport screenings. Dissolve two to four cups of aluminum-free baking soda in your tub and soak for at least 20 minutes.
The apple cider vinegar detox bath is great for inflammatory body ailments, like arthritis, for those dealing with candida issues and can help with body odor. Like the ginger detox bath, it is an especially sweat inducing bath, which aids your body’s detox process, so don’t be surprised if you continue sweating for a bit afterwards. Add one to two cups of pure unfiltered apple cider vinegar and soak in the tub for up to 30 minutes.
Try this sweat inducing bath to fight off sickness at the first sign of any cold symptoms. If you don’t have access to a sauna or steam room the ginger bath is a simple and sure way to induce a sweat, clearing out all those nasty toxins out of your body and leaving you feeling energetic and cleansed. Add ½ a cup of grated ginger to a hot bath and soak for 15-20 minutes. The ginger bath will make you sweat profusely for at least an hour afterwards, so be sure to wear a robe or clothes you don’t mind getting sweaty.
Our Picks For the Best, Ultra Luxe and Non-Toxic Detox Bath
This post was originally published on March 13, 2020, and has since been updated.