Epsom salt is a useful and potent chemical that can help preppers keep their bodily functions running smoothly. One big question people have is, does Epsom salt expire? If it does, how long does it take? Read on to find out the answers and more.
In these modern times where people turn to manufactured foods and products more than traditional homemade options, a lot of pressure has been put onto whether or not expiration dates mean anything, Epsom salt included. This article will not only cover whether or not Epsom salt expires, but what you can use these salts for to aid you through not only a survival situation but in your current day to day life.
What Is Epsom Salt?
Epsom salt is the common name for a naturally occurring mineral otherwise known as magnesium sulfate. The reason this mineral is referred to as Epsom salt is because it was discovered in the town of Epsom in England and it has an appearance similar to normal table salt. Its chemical makeup consists of the elements of magnesium, sulphur, and oxygen. Epsom salt is an incredibly common chemical, it is found all over the world in mines and limestone caves and the water that builds up in them. Within the United States of America, the state of California has some of the most prominent Epsom salt mining operations.
Epsom salt is a unique multi purpose chemical compound that has a wide variety of properties and uses. The properties of the chemical make it one of the most useful utilitarian substances that can give preppers an edge when it comes to helping their body recover from the wear and tear they endure while trying to survive a cataclysm.
How Does Epsom Salt Work?
Epsom Salt is somewhat still a mysterious chemical and some of its most popular functions are debated to this day on how exactly it interacts with the human body, mainly focused on the external use of the chemical. According to years of tradition and common practice, Epsom salt dissolved in bathwater is supposed to leech into the skin. This process is supposed to do a number of things such as “detox” muscles, relieve muscle soreness, and even give the body magnesium.
However, though there is no supporting science to prove whether or not an Epsom salt bath works or not. Taking Epsom salt internally has more definitive results despite there not being that much science to back it up — the proof is in the pudding.
Does Epsom Salt Expire?
No, Epsom salt does not expire. However, if it is not kept in a dry cool place, its quality may deteriorate.
Then why have an expiration date on the bag? People often confuse that date printed on the bag being an indication of when the product becomes obsolete or harmful, when in fact it usually doesn’t have anything to do with personal safety. In non-perishable foods and non-food products the main purpose of an expiration date is actually to indicate when the product merely loses its “freshness.” For example, that that box of cereal will most likely still be safe even years past that date but the flavor isn’t going to be what the company would want it to be.
Epsom salt is water soluble, which means that it breaks down in water. This can be an issue when trying to store it because if any moisture gets to it the crystals will begin to stick together and become one large clump. The expiration date on the bag is the latest date that their packaging efforts should be effective, after that they’re no longer liable.
Even if your cache of Epsom salt were to clump together it is still just as effective as it was before; you will just have to use a little elbow grease to get the desired amount.
8 Reasons to Stock Epsom Salt
Epsom salt has been used for a very long time throughout much of the world due to its natural abundance and potency. While some of its traditional use may be just an old wives tale with no science to back it up, there are plenty of other uses that more than make up for any of the shortcomings that you may encounter. Following are 8 uses for Epsom salt, each its own reason why you should stock it with your food storage.
#1 – Muscle-Fatigue Reduction
Based upon decades upon decades of tradition, and the fact there is a major lack of hard scientific evidence to either prove or disprove Epsom salt’s efficacy, people still swear by using the mineral in their baths to release fatigue in their muscles. Generally people will dissolve about 1 to 2 cups of salt in a single bathtub full of hot water and soak in it for at least fifteen minutes.
#2 – Simple Laxative
Constipation is an all too common and uncomfortable condition that can be difficult to push through (pun intended). There are a plethora of pharmaceutical solutions that are available at most pharmacies and related stores that can help with this problem but they can be hard to find in an emergency situation. Using Epsom salt can be a perfect alternative in the event you can’t get your hands on anything else. For adults and children above 12 years old, a mixture of 2 to 4 teaspoons of salt to 8 ounces of water should do the trick. Do not administer more than 2 doses a day.
#3 – Sunburn Relief
It’s all too easy to get a sunburn especially when working out in the elements without proper protection from the sun and its intense rays. Severe sunburns can be potentially harmful if left untreated and on top of that they are usually quite uncomfortable and can tax on your mental fortitude. Taking an Epsom salt bath will help to reduce the inflammation and ease the pain of the sunburn.
#4 – Poison Ivy / Poison Oak Relief
Just like a sunburn, poison ivy rashes are incredibly uncomfortable and can weigh down on your mental health especially if you are in a survival scenario and have to deal with marshaling the resources needed to live. An Epsom salt bath or two will help keep the rash from spreading and reduce the irritation from the vicious plant.
#5 – Scrubbing Dishes
Even with all the modern advancements and chemicals available today, cleaning encrusted dishes is a very difficult chore to pull off. Even soaking caked-on food and char doesn’t always quite do the trick. Epsom salt can be an impressive aid in getting the toughest of messes off of your dishes. The best way to use these salts to clean dishes is to soak the dishes in hot soapy water and add the salt to the mixture.
#6 – Cleaning Grout
Grout is another difficult part of your home to clean and can be quite a headache when trying to remove things like mold. Epsom salt poses another solution to get in the deep and intricate corners of the grout’s surface. You will need to mix equal parts salt to dish detergent, then work it into the grout, let it rest for about five minutes, then wipe it away and it should remove most of the debris.
#7 – Cleaning the Washing Machine
Debris and gunk develops on the inside of washing machines and can affect how good of a job it does at cleaning your clothes. Using a concoction of one quart vinegar to one cup of Epsom salts in a single hot cycle should remove much of the dirty residue that has built up in the machine.
#8 – Keeping Pests Like Slugs Away
It can be difficult to keep annoying and destructive pests away from your garden and other precious food supplies without the help of potent chemical pesticides that can do unexpected damage to the plants, soil, and unintended lifeforms.
Epsom salt, being a naturally occurring chemical, can keep your food and gardens clear from pests as well as restoring some of the mineral content in your soil which will support your plants. One cup of Epsom salt to five gallons of water can be spread onto the foliage of your plants and it should be more than enough to keep any unwanted insects and slugs at bay. If you yourself are bitten, check out our article on natural bug-bite remedies here.
While Epsom salt can be a great assistant to bodily functions and the other purposes I’ve mentioned, there can be a point where Epsom salt can be somewhat dangerous. One of the main concerns is that taking the mineral can cause severe diarrhea, which can also lead to severe discomfort and dehydration.
If you are already dealing with issues such as a lack of water or other needed resources this can be a severe disadvantage and potential downfall of your survival situation. There can also be some serious results from taking baths if your body rejects the salt; it may be a good idea to test an Epsom salt bath water mixture on a small patch of skin before going in for an all out soak. Never take an Epsom salt bath if you have severe skin inflammation or infection.
Does Epsom Salt Expire and Various Uses Wrap Up
Even though people have generally left Epsom salt and the understanding of how it works to the widely accepted legends and wives tales, there is still plenty of reason to utilize Epsom salt for your survival plan. The inexpensive nature of the chemical and how widespread it is makes Epsom salt a perfect item to stock up on well before a potential collapse of society were to happen.
Try incorporating Epsom salt into your life now to ensure that you won’t be dealing with any unforeseen consequences or negative reactions that will affect your chances of survival. Stock up with either 8-pound or 50-pound bags.