Is Epsom Salt Safe for Your Hot Tub? (No, Do This Instead)

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

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A lot of people enjoy throwing some Epsom salts into a bath. After all, the right combination of salts can really help you to feel relaxed. But, can you add them to a hot tub?

Epsom salts are not safe for a hot tub. They can disrupt the chemical balance, which can lead to irritated skin, or even increased bacteria growth in hot tub water.

Obviously, neither of these are going to give you the relaxation that you expect from Epsom salts. Spa crystals or hot tub aromatherapy products can be a good alternative.

Let's give you more of an idea about why you should probably avoid using Epsom salts in a hot tub. We also want to run you through some of the alternatives out there.

Are Epsom salts a good option for your hot tub?

No, and there are some good reasons for this.

Epsom salts are made from three different components:

  • Sulfur
  • Magnesium
  • Oxygen

There may be a few additional things thrown into the Epsom salts, but you don't need to worry about those too much. The issues come from the main elements.

Epsom salts are highly acidic. This means that, right away, they are going to cause an imbalance in your spa chemicals. Low pH can lead to the growth of bacteria, which can cause skin irritation and make the water unhygienic.

Not only this, but the increased acidity is going to place extra wear on the various internal hot tub components. It will make them corrode. This means that you may be looking forward to expensive repair or maintenance bills.

The issues won't end there, though. Oh no. The worst is yet to come.

Magnesium and chlorine should never be combined. If they are combined, you could potentially run the risk of flash burns on your skin. This can be serious. Not only is it painful, but it can also lead to skin infections later.

Basically, Epsom salts should never, ever be near your hot tub water. Keep them confined to the bath.

What alternatives are there for Epsom salts in a hot tub?

There are some people that will throw various herbs and spices into their hot tub. Some (including mustard powder) can provide surprisingly relaxing benefits in hot water. However, I tend to recommend that people avoid this. This is because some of these herbs and spices can end up staining the hot tub or having unwanted interactions with the chemicals, and any stains can be incredibly difficult to remove.

There are a few viable alternatives out there for Epsom salts though—we suggest you keep an eye out for aromatherapy products that have been designed especially for hot tubs. These products are essentially aloe-vera enriched crystals that dissolve as soon as they hit the water.

The hot tub aromatherapy products are going to have almost exactly the same impact on you as Epsom salts would do. However, you get to enjoy the fact that you aren't running the risk of increased bacteria growth in the hot tub, nor skin irritation or burns.

An alternative may be spa crystals. You can pick these up easily online or from most places that sell spas. The price shouldn't be too high and, once again, they are going to have almost exactly the same benefit as Epsom salts would have:

InSPAration Lavender Crystals, 19 oz, Purple
InSPAration Lavender Crystals, 19 oz, Purple
View on Amazon

Final word

It is important that you do not use Epsom salts in your hot tub. Not only do you run the risk of a chemical imbalance in the water, but the Epsom salts will also react with chlorine. This can lead to skin burns. Look for other options, like spa-safe aromatherapy products or spa crystals.

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