Detox baths are said to remove various toxins from the body and soothe and comfort those dealing with ailments like the common cold or flu. Different ingredients are used in detox baths, including Epsom salts (sometimes known as magnesium sulfate), essential oils, and natural products like ginger or apple cider vinegar. These are said to help detoxify the body and can offer some relief as they fuse with the warm water.

For some, a detox bath is just what they need when they’re feeling under the weather or in need of some relaxation! While medical research on detox baths and their ability to cure colds is limited, it can certainly help to alleviate certain symptoms like congestion, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches, and various aches and pains.

Detox baths can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour, depending on how much time you have on your hands. While colds should be monitored and expert medical advice is advisable, detox baths are a great way to relax and can offer some respite when you need a pick me up and want to soothe the body and soul.

If you’re going to tackle cold symptoms with a holistic approach, a detox bath might be a great addition to your treatment plan.

Here we explore them in greater detail and offer some tantalizing recipes for when you need to unwind.

What Is A Detox Bath?

A detox bath is essentially a bath with some detoxifying natural ingredients. The approach is based on osmosis theory, drawing out various toxins through the skin and then releasing them. Since we live in such a polluted world, these baths can really give the body a great break and boost health and wellbeing.

They are also fabulous for relaxation. Since stress is such a massive factor of modern living, and their benefits can aid in sleep, skin health, blood pressure, and body aches. While they shouldn’t be used as an alternative to medical care for serious issues, they can undoubtedly enhance wellbeing.

Girl relaxing in bathtub

Does It Work?

The jury is still out on the medical success of detox baths, but there have been some minor (and promising) findings.

While studies are limited, a small study conducted with 19 participants showed that Epsom salts could effectively raise magnesium levels. In turn. Increased magnesium levels can help the body get rid of lactic acid and reduce aches or pains.

Another small study explored these baths’ anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, mainly when certain essential oils are used. Eucalyptus can help with upper respiratory ailments and help with congestion, which is a common symptom of a cold.

Other essential oils such as chamomile offer soothing effects and help you relax when you feel sick.

Since many of these ingredients can also offer some respite from inflammation, they might also provide anti-inflammatory benefits for those dealing with arthritis and gout.

Are Detox Baths Safe?

It is advised that you only use Epsom salts that have been given the green light by the United States Food and Drug Association (FDA). These have been labeled as safe for human use and will come with a label that reads ‘USP.’ You should be able to find these at most health and wellness stores or even your local supermarket or pharmacy.

When it comes to other ingredients, check with your doctor which oils will work for you. Pregnant women and those with underlying conditions should always check in before soaking in oils.

Kids and those with kidney issues should avoid detox baths as their bodies might not be able to eradicate enhanced magnesium levels.

How to Use a Detox Bath

Add a cup or 2 of Epsom salt to your bath while the water is running. The temperature of your bath water should be warm but not too hot (around 92°F and 100°F is ideal!)

You can soak in the Epsom salt bath for as short as 15 minutes or longer if desired.

Once finished, be sure to drink fluids to keep hydrated and rest your body. Many opt to do a detox bath before they fall asleep for ultimate relaxation.

A detox bath can be as simple as a cup of Epsom salt or more intricate if you want to spice things up. Below we explore some healing ingredients that work well in a detox bath.

Healing Ingredients

Some key ingredients that you might find in a detox bath include the following. Each has an array of benefits that can perk you up when you are feeling unwell.

  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV)

ACV has several healing properties and can be a great addition to a detox bath since it can alleviate a plethora of skin conditions like eczema, yeast infections, or dandruff. This superfood is praised for its antimicrobial properties, with one study showing that it effectively helped certain bacterial infections.

It might also be effective for treating body odor. Adding a splash into your detox bath can be super beneficial.

  • Coconut oil: 

Coconut oil can add a hydrating element to your detox bath, offering extra moisturization for your skin. This is great for anyone prone to dry skin.

  • Essential oil: 

Tea tree oil is also said to provide fantastic anti-bacterial properties.

  • Olive oil:

Olive oil makes for a great carrier oil and can be used to dilute essential oils. This can reduce skin irritations. It is also rich in vitamin E, which can boost skin health, support wound healing, and enhance collagen.

Recipe Ideas

If you want to try out a detox bath, eradicate your aches and pains, or simply have a bit of your time to unwind, consider some of these delightful recipes. They’ll delight your bath and offer ultimate relaxation.

Salty Detox:

You will need: 

Mix 1/4 cup of sea salt, 1/2 a cup of Epsom salt, 1/4 of a cup of baking soda, 1/3 of a cup of apple cider vinegar, a delicious essential oil (lavender, lemon, Eucalyptus are excellent choices!


Dissolve the Epsom salt, sea salt, and baking soda in hot water in a mason jar or bowl. Add warm water after to your bath and mix in the vinegar with the oil of your choice.

Close up of hand with pink salt

Clay Detox

You will need:

1/2 a cup of bentonite clay, 1/2 cup Epsom salts, the oil of your choice.


Mix the salts in hot water and then make a paste with the bentonite clay and hot water, mixing it vigorously until all the lumps disappear. Add the two mixtures to the bath.

Lemon and Ginger Delight:

Lemon and ginger are both healing superfoods that can support inflammation and boost immunity.

You will need:

1/2 a cup of Epsom salts, 1/2 a cup baking soda, three tablespoons of ground ginger, 8-10 drops of lemon essential oil, or four tablespoons of fresh lemon juice.


Mix the salt and baking soda in warm water and add in the lemon and ginger mix. Pour into your bathtub while the hot water is running.

If you want to boost your immune system and treat yourself to some TLC, it might be time to try a detox bath with a recipe of your choice!

Let us know how it goes, and share your favorite recipe! A quality soak can do you a world of good. Of course, if your cold or flu symptoms persist, it’s best to go to your health care professional. However, a delicious detox might just be the thing you need.