Whether you are making a first-aid kit to have at home or prepping to take it somewhere potentially dangerous, you should always remember about the essential products that can save you in case of an accident. One of such emergency products is Epsom salt.
Epsom salts can be used in many different ways, including the non-medical ones. Generally, the most common usage of Epsom salt is disinfection and removal of inflammation, but there are also some other no less useful ways that you can implement the salt in your life.
Before buying this miraculous product, many preppers find themselves asking the question: “Does Epsom salt expire?” Indeed, it is important to know the expiration date of one of the first-aid kit elements, as it directly affects your well-being.
So, to figure out whether Epsom salt can go bad or not, we firstly need to make it clear what exactly Epsom salt is and how it differs from other salts.
The Nature of Epsom salt
To tell it in a scientific way, the chemical composition of the Epsom salt is different from the table salt. Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate, while the table salt is called sodium chloride. It is a naturally occurring mineral, meaning it can be produced in natural conditions without any special chemical manipulations.
You might not tell by the appearance of it that you are dealing with the Epsom salt. It looks pretty similar to all the other salt types, however, it might have a bigger size of the salt grains. Sometimes, you can find scented Epsom salt on the market. Some people prefer it more to the unscented one, others do not like it at all. It all depends on the purposes of use.
Epsom salt is generally meant for external use. Although sometimes, people use it internally as well. For instance, magnesium sulfate can be treated as a natural laxative that can deal even with severe diarrhea. External uses of the Epsom salt are a lot more extensive, and we will discuss them in more detail later in the article.
Epsom salt can be easily found in grocery stores and other food shops. Grab it while grocery shopping and throw it in your first-aid kit as soon as you get home. You can also order it online and have it delivered right by the door of your house.
Where Does the Name Come From?
The name Epsom salt does not tell much about its uses or implementations in real life. If someone mentions table salt, you know exactly what they are talking about, but it is not the same with this kind of salt. So, what does the “Epsom salt” mean and where does it some from?
In the 17th century, there was a shepherd named Henry Wicker, who happened to travel through the town of Epsom , England. He stopped there to make sure his cows were hydrated enough, however, the animals did not want to drink the water from the water source at all.
Wicker found it very strange and tried to drink the water himself. It turned out that the liquid was bitter and clearly impossible to drink. Moreover, the water served as a laxative product. The shepherd also noticed later that cows who had entered the water reservoirs had their severe wounds healed much quicker than the other ones.
When the water dried out, on the edges of the cup Wicker had drunk from, there were some white pieces, similar to the salt ones. This is how the Epsom salt was discovered. It was decided to name it after the place of finding, and now it is known all around the world.
Epsom salt as a Treatment
Epsom salt is famous for its healing abilities and the variety of possible applications. To make you informed about them and to prove to you that Epsom salt is an indispensable item for preppers to have, let’s dive deeper into the possibilities of the salt usage.
- Irritation removal
Epsom salt can help to calm down your itchy skin and reduce swelling. Magnesium sulfate can reduce skin irritation of any sort, no matter where it comes from. Whether your skin was in contact with poison ivy, got red because of allergic reactions, or got itchy because of bug bites, the Epsom salt can provide you with instant relief.
- Disinfection of surfaces and body parts
Epsom salt has a good antibacterial effect, like any other dish detergent. You can use it as a grout cleaner to kill bacteria on your pots and dishes. But most importantly, you can use Epsom salt dissolved in warm water to disinfect wounds, toenail fungus, or medical needles and other close contact tools. For hygienic purposes, you can apply magnesium sulfate on your face, which will not only cleanse it but also save you from suffering from eye infections.
- Stress relief
Did you know that the amount of magnesium in your body affects the ability of your body to relax and sleep well? Many people use Epsom salt baths with hot water to get rid of stress, muscle soreness, and regulate electrolytes after a long day. An Epsom salt bath that has a stress reduction effect will also help you to get a good night of sleep without taking any medications.
- Getting splinters out
As a natural drawing agent, Epsom salt is great for removing any small pieces of wood or other sharp objects from your skin. Having magnesium sulfate in your bug out bag can help you to extract splinters in any emergency situations, especially in woods and other branched areas. With a quick relief of inflammation, Epsom salt makes it easier to prevent any further infections.
- Relief from sunburn pains
Continuing on the benefits of an Epsom salt bath, we must mention that this is a fantastic method of making your body ache less after being under direct sunlight for too much. Add magnesium to your bath (two cups are enough) and relieve sunburn pains and body aches.
- Cure from upset stomach
You can also use Epsom salts to treat constipation, which might be caused by an unusual diet, especially if you are somewhere in the extreme environment. All you need is one cup of water soluble Epsom salt (2-4 tablespoons). The effect will be felt within a half an hour. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water after taking the Epsom salt to restore your water balance.
- Fertilizer for your plants
To make your plants greener and your harvest bigger, use Epsom salt in your garden as well. It does not only heal a human body, but can also stimulate the growth of your greenery. Moreover, it can help with getting rid of pests.
As you can see, Epsom salt can be anything from pain reliever and wound healer to face cleanser and garden fertilizer. That is why it is so useful to have it in your bug out bag.
Storing Epsom salt Correctly
To store Epsom salt, you do not need to apply much effort by creating some special conditions. It is safe to just have it in your necessities prepper bag. Don’t be afraid of accidentally getting a little bit of water on the Epsom salt: it might get a bit lumpy, but still, it is okay to use.
If you notice that your Epsom salt is turning yellow, do not rush to throw it away. Despite the fact that you will not be able to use it internally, you still can get plenty of use from that salt. Changes in color do not make magnesium sulfate any worse in its healing properties.
If you plan to store Epsom salt at home, it is a good idea to put it in an airtight container to prevent any moisture exposure. What is more, the Epsom salt will last much longer if you place it in a proper storage. A cool location of the sealed container in some dark place can make your Epsom salt last for many years.
The Quality of Epsom salt
As with any other product we consume, it is important to pay attention to the quality of Epsom salt. There are two ways in which Epsom salt is produced, and these production methods directly affect the quality of the product.
The safest option is to choose food grade Epsom salt. This is the Epsom salt that is used for taking in with food or water. It is approved by the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC), as it is produced naturally. Such Epsom salts do not contain any additional chemicals, and they were not modified in the production process.
When Epsom salt is processed by some chemical operations, it has greater chances of getting dirtied either by people who control the processing or by the mechanisms that perform it. So, manufactured Epsom salt is not as good as the naturally collected one.
The cleaner the Epsom salt, the better. Just think about it: you might be putting this salt on your open wounds or even consuming it. Nobody would want to use contaminated products for these purposes. That is why unprocessed Epsom salt is the better option.
So Does Epsom salt Actually Expire?
So, the main question is, does Epsom salt expire? With its numerous healing qualities, one would certainly wonder how long does Epsom salt keep its usefulness. We will not wait any longer and tell you right away that Epsom salt is good to use even past the expiration dates that are written on the package.
Usually, the expiry date and the manufacturing date are mentioned solely for legal purposes. You can store Epsom salts long past their expiration date, and unless there are no visual signs of it getting bad, it is good to use both externally and internally.
But how to know when your Epsom salt expires ? Well, if you see some changes in color and big clumps of salt, it does not mean that the actual expiration date (not the one written on the package) has come. It has simply changed in quality, but still can be used on the outside of your body.
The components of the Epsom salt work in a way that they kill all the harmful bacteria and stop the salt from getting rotten. That is why technically there is no expiration date. The useful qualities of Epsom salt last basically forever. Just keep it in the proper conditions and your magnesium sulfate will keep you safe from many troubles.
Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ
What is Epsom salt used for?
Epsom salt has plenty of useful qualities. One of the most important ones is disinfection. You can clean any item that you have, or even sanitize your wounds and scrapes. Epsom salt also reduces inflammation and swelling, which helps to extract splinters. You can take baths with Epsom salt to relax, or throw the grains on your plants to make them grow faster.
How long does Epsom salts last?
The Epsom salt does not expire. It can change in consistency if you do not store it properly, but it would still be usable. The expiration date that is put on the package is there only for legal purposes, as the manufacturers are obliged to mention it.
Does Epsom salt kill bacteria?
Epsom salt has a fantastic antibacterial effect. You can clean surfaces, pots, and dishes by the mixture of water and salt. You can also clean and disinfect any open wounds or scraps to prevent any further inflammation or infection. The ability to kill bacteria also makes this salt last very long.
What does Epsom salt do for feet?
Epsom salt can reduce aches in your feet, if you put them in water where the salt is dissolved. It also softens any rough skin, reduces skin infections that are prone to appear between toes, and gets out any pus accumulated in the toenail. Moreover, if your feet are swollen, you can put them in a bath of Epsom salt and watch how they reduce in size.