epsom salts for washing machine

Are Epsom Salts Safe for Washing Machines?

There are countless articles online about using Epsom salts in laundry. They are touted as a natural alternative to fabric softener.

Fabric softeners often contain fragrances that can be irritating to the skin. Plus, they are mainly oil-based, so they can leave a residue on your clothing. This is why some people seek out natural alternatives.

So, are Epsom salts safe for washing machines? Read on to find out whether you should add them to your next load of laundry.


Can You Put Epsom Salts in the Washing Machine?

Yes, Epsom Salts are safe to put in washing machines, but only when properly diluted.

Epsom salts are soluble in water. However, if you add them directly to your washing machine, they may cause a build-up.

epsom salts


Can Epsom Salt Be Used as Laundry Detergent or Fabric Softener?

Whilst you may be able to safely add Epsom Salts to your wash, it doesn’t mean you should.

Water naturally contains magnesium and calcium, minerals that make water hard. Even soft water contains minerals, albeit in a smaller concentration.

Epsom salt is another name for magnesium sulphate. When added to your laundry load, the magnesium will increase the hardness of the water and therefore, your clothes.

Hard water not only makes your clothes stiff and scratchy, it also stops soap being as effective. The soap binds to the magnesium and doesn’t disperse throughout the water properly.

In addition to this, because the soap doesn’t properly dissolve in the water and get to all the clothes, it can leave a build-up of soap scum on your clothes or your machine.


What Can You Use to Soften Clothes Instead of Epsom Salts?

hair conditioner and white vinegar as fabric softener

There are many products you can use instead of Epsom salts to soften laundry. These include fabric softener of course, but there are also lots of fabric softener alternatives you can try.

Some of these alternatives include:

  • White vinegar, which is mildly acidic helping to cut through soap build-up, leaving clothes softer.
  • Dryer balls, which also reduce static and help clothes dry quicker in the tumble dryer.
  • Soap nuts, which are a natural alternative to laundry detergent that can also help soften clothes.
  • Hair conditioner also acts as a good fabric softener and can be combined with vinegar to make an effective fabric softener which also smells pleasant.


What Can You Use Epsom Salts For?

epsom salt

If you’ve already bought a big bag of Epsom salts, don’t despair. While you shouldn’t use them in laundry, they have alternative uses:

  • Muscle relaxer: Dissolved in a bath, Epsom salts can help relax achy muscles.
  • Sleep aid: An Epsom salt bath can also help you drop off due to its relaxing properties.
  • Plant fertiliser: If you want to make your own fertiliser, add in Epsom salts for some nutrition.
  • Remove grease: If you have food or grease caked on to your pots and pans, you can add Epsom Salts to the pan along with washing up liquid to help lift the dirt. They can also be used to scrub stubborn stains on your grout too.