Many Detoxes Don’t Work—But This Is a Self-Care Practice We Can Get Behind

Get your soak on.

By Hannah Zahner
Blonde woman wearing towel in sauna.

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I didn’t really “get” baths until I became a working adult and then a mom. 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 that supports our body’s natural detoxification system.

Read on for everything you need to know about leveling up your bath from calming to incredibly healing.

Featured image from our interview with Janessa Leoné by Teal Thomsen.

Minimalist luxury terracotta bath tub.

How to Take a Detox Bath

Incorporate your detox agent. Add your chosen product to a standard tub full of hot/warm water. The hotter the water, the more you’ll sweat, and the better you’ll detox.

Add baking soda. 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.

Step out. 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. 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. Drink 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.

Lighting salt and stone candle on nightstand.
Image by Michelle Nash

Tips for the Perfect Detox Bath

  • Start slow. The more agent you use and the hotter the water, the more intense the detox.
  • Take it easy. 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.
  • Get the kids involved! These detox baths are generally safe for kids, just reduce the amount of agent used. (Read more about detox baths for kids.)
  • Do a detox bath for your feet. Hate the tub? Get some of the benefits of the detox bath by doing a foot soak using a large container and soak those toes away.
Bath towels and products in white bathroom.
Image by Danielle Sabol

Types of Detox Baths

Epsom Salt Bath

The most popular of the detox baths, Epsom salts, are 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. 

Bentonite Clay Bath

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 into a bath of hot water, breaking up the clumps. It is typically recommended to take start by taking a clay bath once a week, then moving to about once a month for maintenance.

Baking Soda Bath

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.


Ginger bath

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 from 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 afterward, so be sure to wear a robe or clothes you don’t mind getting sweaty.

Apple Cider Vinegar Bath

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 afterward. Add one to two cups of pure, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and soak in the tub for up to 30 minutes

Marble bath tub.
Image by Michelle Nash

The Best Products for an Ultra Luxe and Non-Toxic Detox Bath

Maude Tub Kit® No. 1

This set includes the No 1 Bath Salts and Coconut Milk Bath Soak. The No. 1 Bath Salts is a calming salt blend that softens and rejuvenates all bodies, featuring hand-harvested salt crystals from the southern Dead Sea along with nourishing vitamins and minerals. The Coconut Milk Bath Soak is a soothing soak with a gentle mix of coconut milk powder to soften and hydrate skin, and hand-harvested salts from the southern Dead Sea.


“The Martini” Emotional Detox Bath Soak

This bath soak, infused with Himalayan pink salt, helps take the edge off during turbulent times. The soak is made with Epsom salts, chia-seed oil, passionflower, valerian root, myrrh, Australian sandalwood, and wild-crafted frankincense.


OSEA Gigartina Therapy Bath Soak

Gigartina seaweed is the primary ingredient in this formula and delivers skin-softening mineral hydration. The fine powder fizzes and foams for an immersive bathing experience.


HATCH Mama Calm Bath Soak

This milky, mineral-rich bath soak soothes the body and calms the spirit. The blend nourishes skin as it stretches, relieves tired or swollen muscles, and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth. Coconut milk and acacia fiber hydrate and soothe dry, hormonal skin, while Himalayan sea salt supports relief of swelling and tired limbs.


Primally Pure Sea Soak

This luxurious, soothing sea soak is formulated with precious salts and clays to relax sore muscles and provide the skin and body with vital minerals. Featuring organic essential oils of eucalyptus, peppermint, and spearmint, it’s sure to relax the body and mind.


Herbivore Botanicals Calm Bath Salts

Infused with a beautiful blend of Himalayan pink sea salts, ylang ylang and vanilla oil, the natural ingredients in these calming bath salts helps to calm your senses and ease your mind.


Naturopathica Sweet Birch Magnesium Bath Flakes

Sweet birch with magnesium bath flakes to re-invigorate sore muscles and stiff joints. Magnesium is traditionally accepted as an essential mineral, crucial for proper muscle function. Similar to epsom salts, research suggests that transdermal absorption of magnesium can provide therapeutic benefits for symptoms such as chronic muscle aches, cramping or stiffness.