Bentonite clay is a must-have item for a natural mama. Not familiar with all its uses? Contributing writer Kresha Faber will tell you everything you need to know. (This post contains affiliate links.)
So let me state for the record that I am officially crackers. I let my kids eat dirt.
And not only that, I make sure they eat dirt.
Okay, okay – it’s not just any dirt, although I will argue that eating dirt while they play can actually be quite a healthy thing, the dirt to which I am referring is mineral-rich clay. And not just any clay at that, but bentonite clay, a clay known for its excellent ability to detox heavy metals from the body and promote healing both internally and externally.
It’s known as “the clay of a thousand uses,” but as a mother of three young children, I find it especially handy for ten specific reasons.
10 Reasons Bentonite Clay Should Be in Every Mama’s Cupboard
No matter how healthily we eat or how healthily we feed our children, our bodies have to deal with a lot of junk. Environmental toxins exist all around us – and all we can do is minimize our exposure.
While our livers, kidneys, and lymphatic systems are still working hard to move those toxins out of our systems, they’re often overwhelmed, so the toxins get stored around the body, causing weakness, lack of energy, feeling foggy, and the inability to lose weight. Thus, we need a way to flush those toxins and usher them safely out of our body.
Clay works wonderfully for this because the small particles of clay are electrically charged and act both as a sponge and a magnet, pulling heavy metal particles to themselves and holding on to them as they leave the body.
See Kate’s detox method and how she uses clay, even as an exclusively-breastfeeding mama.
2. Prevent heavy metal residue
We are surrounded these days by warnings not to eat mercury-laden fish. However, this also presents us with a dilemma because most of those fish are also rich sources of the omega-3 fats that our bodies so desperately need, but mercury is a dangerous neurotoxin, as well as children’s behavior can be affected by heavy metals left in their bodies. Pregnant women, especially, need to be very aware of their mercury intake.
So, how can we eat beneficial fish without the toxic effect of the mercury? We eat it with a chelator, namely clay or chlorella! I’ve taken to adding a tablespoon of bentonite clay along with the mayonnaise when I make tuna fish salad, and since our clay is very fine, no one has noticed any difference in texture. You can also take clay capsules along with your meal or add chlorella to a smoothie.
3. Heal and protect baby bums
Clay is also excellent to heal skin, especially sensitive skin, like a baby’s bottom. When clay is dry, it is hydrophilic – water-loving. Therefore, it draws moisture to itself. In the case of a baby’s bum, this gives wonderful relief for an already-existent rash or helps prevent rashes in the first place, especially on babies that have lovely rolls of baby fat and lots of folds where moisture can get trapped.
Clay can be used as a baby powder just by sprinkling a bit of clay onto the bum or can be mixed into a homemade diaper cream to provide drying action in addition to a moisture barrier.
4. Stop itching and stinging from bug bites and bee stings
Summertime = bug bites. And bug bites are itchy.
Clay both soothes and draws out impurities, which is why even commercial calamine lotions use clay in their formulas! Of course, you can make your own homemade calamine lotion, too, or just mix clay powder and water into a poultice to smear on the itchy spots. Redmond Clay also has a ready-mixed tube of clay if you don’t want to take the time to mix your own. (And no, that’s not an affiliate link – we just love Redmond Clay!)
And when a child gets a bee sting, smear a bit of hydrated clay on the sting and let it dry – the drying action will pull out any remaining bee venom and help the wound heal more quickly. Or you can mix it with activated charcoal and make a drawing salve that works nicely.
5. Clean teeth
Clay gentles polishes teeth and is an effective, mineral-rich, alkaline dental cleanser. It’s also a great flouride-free toothpaste, whether you purchase a commercial clay toothpaste or make your own. It’s also an important ingredient in remineralizing tooth powder.
I especially like using clay toothpaste with my young children who are just learning to brush their teeth, as I don’t have to worry about them swallowing the toothpaste. If they swallow clay toothpaste, it’s actually beneficial!
6. Heal itching from nettles, chicken pox, eczema, etc.
Adding clay to a bath is a great way to reduce itching, just as oatmeal or baking soda does. The difference is that the clay will actually draw out any substances that are causing the itch in addition to providing a soothing feeling. Just be careful to not add too much clay or you can trigger a systemic detox, which can lead to headaches, irritability, and other unwanted side effects, especially in children. About 1/4 – 1/2 cup of clay in a warm bath should be just about right.
Read how to take a detox bath.
7. Relieve and heal burns
Clay soothes and promotes healing for minor burns, as well, which for children can be especially welcome. In this case there aren’t toxins to draw out, per se, so keep the clay wet to maximize the soothing effect. Merely smear a thick layer of hydrated clay over the burn and wrap it with plastic wrap, gauze, or cheesecloth to keep it from drying out.
8. Relieve diarrhea and sore tummies (including morning sickness and acid reflux during pregnancy!)
Clay can restore balance in a number of ways to an upset stomach or GI tract. It can help diarrhea and constipation become more “regular” (except in cases of severe constipation), it can ease little tummies that are complained of being “owwie,” and it is an excellent digestive aid for stomach issues, such as ulcers, nausea, and acid reflux. We even use it with our daughter, who is prone to car sickness. And in small doses, it’s good for pregnant women who want to alleviate morning sickness, avoid acid reflux, and safely deal with other illness. (Oh, joy of joys!)
This is especially good when a toddler is fighting a stomach bug and you’re fearing dehydration due to the inability to keep any liquid down – it is quite possible that by slowly giving small amounts of clay, the stomach and gut can experience a bit of relief long enough to take in water or other sustenance.
Dr. Weston A. Price, in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” reported that several native cultures, including those in the Andes, Central Africa, and Australia, consumed clays in various ways, most often carrying balls of dried clay with them as they traveled and dissolving a small amount of the clay in water with meals to prevent poisoning from any toxins present.
And just to illustrate clay’s effective properties when dealing with stomach bugs and infectious disease, there is even anecdotal evidence that clay was used to treat cholera and the Plague.
9. Protect from infection on cuts and scrapes (and clear internal infections, like mastitis)
Every mama wants to have something quick and easy to apply to the cuts and scrapes that inevitably come with a child who is living life to the fullest (that is, who is outside exploring, discovering, and playing to the max). A well-stocked natural first aid kit is a blessing!
Applying a thick smear of hydrated clay over cuts and scrapes will help prevent infection, thus promoting quicker healing as well. Just keep it covered, both to protect the wound and to keep it from drying out.
And due to clay’s ability to draw toxins out, it’s also an excellent home remedy for mastitis, where the breastmilk needs to be drawn out of the inflamed area. Merely mix clay and water to create a thick poultice and apply as needed every 1-2 hours until the infection is gone. In this case, you want to let the clay dry, as that is what creates the “pulling” action.
10. Beauty treatment
We mamas are often well aware of how our bodies show the proud signs of age, childbearing, and breastfeeding, so anything we can do to “feel pretty” is much treasured. Here are a few ways I like to use clay in this regard:
Using a clay facial mask will soften skin, draw out impurities (like blackheads), and smooth wrinkles.
Clay can smooth skin and reduce itching after shaving. Just rub dry clay over the shaved area.
Clay detoxifies the scalp for lustrous hair. Just mix clay and water into a thick paste and rub vigorously into the scalp. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse well. Repeat at least once a week.
And you can even use it in homemade make-up!
Hey. Enjoyed the clay article. For safety and efficacy, which brand of clay do you recommend? Thank you!
Hi! Would this be similar to using activated charcoal to bind and remove toxins? I read that the risk of charcoal was that it rids the body of everything – nutrients included – so you should take it3-4 hours before or after food. Would that be the same with the clay?
[…] I’m over at Modern Alternative Mama discussing these 10 ways to use clay in your home. It’s an excellent addition to both your natural medicine cabinet and your […]
Thanks for this! I’ve been doing alternative health and detox stuff for years, but somehow I’ve never gotten around to checking into clay. Weird.
Would this be similar to taking food grade diatomacious earth?
Hi there! Could you list the names of any books/websites you might’ve used as resources for this article? I’m especially interested in finding out more information about how clay can remove/prevent heavy metal toxins in the body. Thanks so much!
I have an infection in one of my molars….what can I put on it to draw it out. I have been putting tree tea oil and my homemade clove oil on it for the pain. What else can I do?
My girlfriend recently had viral pinkeye. We were driving to Florida from Texas on vacation when it started spreading to the other eye. I have used clay for years and absolutley can attest to its many, many amazing qualities, but this story takes the cake.
We stopped in baton Rouge at the Whole Foods there and bought some Aztec Healing Clay. When we got to the hotel in Mobile, I made a clay rinse that she used to flush her eyes out with. It was absolutely incredible the oohey, gooey, gunky, nasty crap that immediately started coming out of her eyes. It wa incredible! The next morning they were’nt so badly crusty and closed up. We did another treatment and her eyes looked SO much better. We did another treatment that night and her eyes, after, looked completely normal.
We had succombed to her having viral pinkeye for the entire vacation, but yet again, clay saved the day.
Hi! Could you please tell me how to make a clay rinse for eyes? Or point me in the right direction?
I assume you use water with it? Doesn’t it need to be sterile? I often have dry, irritated eyes and use a sterile solution from the store (that costs a lot!), once a day so I’m really curious about this. Plus I’ve had pink eye and it is horrible.
Re-hi, I forgot to say, Thank you. I’m feeling poorly from a stomach bug and it’s effecting my brain. 😉
I just bought some Redmond Clay and it says this under the internal use instructions: “This product contains trace amounts of lead and may not be appropriate for consumption by children or pregnant women.” I wanted to take it internally for detox. What do you make of that? I definitely didn’t want to add heavy metals to my body.
Kresha, this is such a helpful post! Thank you SO much! I got some clay as a freebie (giveaway) and honestly, it’s still sitting there unopened because I have no idea what to do with it – that was until this wonderful email hit my in-box! I will definitely be sharing this with my social media fans this week. You have so many wonderful, helpful tips. Thanks again for taking the time to share your wisdom with us! Lots of blessings, Kelly
What about the clay thatss in my back yard. We are full if it. Beautiful mixer in our soil in back yard. Not for eatting (although my 3 year old and 1 year old sure do eat when we’re in the garden) I want to use it on our bodies?? I would prefer not to buy something that I already have?
What’s your thought
I am wondering how much clay should be ingested, and at what frequency (for both children and adults)? Do you just drink it with water or some other liquid? Blend it into a smoothie? Just curious how easy this goes down. I have Redmond Clay and love it for homemade toothpaste and other things, but I would love to use it as part of a detox regimen. Thanks!
Thank you for this wonderful and informative post! I am trying to change things in our every day lives to become more natural and all that good stuff and will definately be adding in clay!!! 🙂 Thank you for this!
As for taking clay internally – is this something you only do for a certain length of time when you want to detox? or is it something you can take daily? intermittently/sporadically (as the mood strikes, so to speak! LOL) …
And if you are using it to help with an illness/stomach bug – is the dosage the same? (1 tsp for an adult and 1/4 tsp for a child? preferably at night? …that is what I gathered from reading here.
(First time visiting your blog and I like it!)
When you mix clay into your mayo for tuna salad, does that absorb the nutrients you’d be getting from the food (by eating the food and clay at the same time)?
This was a great post! Thank you!!
[…] bentonite clay powder (bentonite is an edible clay) – use […]
If clay capsules are taken daily, should they be taken at night? And how do the toxins leave your body? Are there any negative or unpleasant side effects?
Great article! We love Redmond Clay. My daughter can’t have red dye, but was given some in a treat at our church one day and we came home and I had her drink water with clay and she didn’t have her usual reaction. It was wonderful, because her normal reaction is ugly.
[…] 7. Clay: Clay is a great home remedy for skin irritations, bug/bee stings, as well as burns. It’s also good to have on hand for upset tummies. Clay can be used as a face mask and you can use clay to make your own toothpaste as well. See this post for lots of great info on clay. […]
I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing this article! I am currently 10 weeks pregnant and I was having such horrible morning sickness, I couldn’t get off the couch except to run to the bathroom. Which is not good when I also have a 16-month old daughter to take care of! I tried all sorts of remedies with no success and just as I was about to give up hope that my daughter would ever get fed a decent meal or get a bath ever again (just kidding), I read your article and immediately bought some of this clay. Within an hour of taking it I started feeling better and I have been taking it for about a week now and I feel about 85% better! It’s really been a life-saver, so thank you!!
Also, in response to one of the earlier posts about the lead warning on the Redmond Clay, I called them and asked about it and they said that there product is completely lead free but they have to put that warning on there because of a new law that requires it. Just wanted to let everyone know!
Just in case it’s helpful to anyone, I ran across this comparison of different clays, including ones that are beneficial to ingest and ones that should be left for external use only.
[…] can activated charcoal do? Much like clay (you can read Kresha’s comprehensive post on clay here), activated charcoal has several […]
I eat the edible clays, the edible clay blends and I Choose the perfect edible clay supplement for my needs. Traditionally, clay supplements are used for detoxification and for trace mineral supplementation and I recommend this useage any day. ;0)
Can I use bentonite clay as detox for a 19 month old? I have been recommended chelation/vaccine detox by a homeopathic Dr., but my chiropractor was against it for him. He only had vaccines up to 2 months and then we stopped. But, he isn’t walking or talking yet (although he is very alert, social, and follows directions amazingly) and the homeopathic Dr. thought that there may be “lesions” in my son’s brain… possibly due to vaccine additives?? Anyway, I would like to try the clay if you can give me a protocol for using it for my son. Any other thoughts are welcome as well. Thank you!
I disagree about letting anyone eat clay. Silica is a large part of bentonite clay, and silica has serious issues including autoimmune diseases. Please read my blogs Death by Food and Stand for More Research. We have all been told silica’s inert and won’t harm you. Really? http://jesusdiedandlives.wordpress.com/
Is Zeolite similar? My nutritionist just started me on it. Thank you!!
Hmmm. Perhaps my dad could use this on a very annoying nail fungus…?
Hi, thank you for the info, would u recommend a good brand for a food grade Diatomaceous Earth?
Is it cloth-diaper safe to use clay as a baby powder?
Hi – Great article! Could a clay mix help with cold sores as well? Anyone have any experience with this?? Thanks!
Thank you for the post and the comments! I just came across large quantities of food grade diatomaceous earth at my local pharmacy but they don’t carry bentonite clay (it can be ordered in however). I am looking for ways to deal with my 5 year olds nasty molluscum contagiosum on her upper legs. It is starting to slowly spread to other areas and my other 2 children now have a bump or two on their legs. I have used urine therapy (seriously!) on a nasty wound on my own leg and it is almost cleared up within a week (nothing else was working and it was getting worse), so I have started it on her. However I would like to try the clay and earth poultices for the molluscum, as well as planters warts. Praying for results when the doctors say “just wait it out!”
Sometimes I feel like it would be easier to have one big health problem to “solve” rather than a bunch of molehills that add up to a mountain…
Mag, have you tried papaya?
I just purchased some clay and I can’t wait to try it out! I knew it would be good for something but wasn’t quite sure yet…Thanks for you post!
Start off slow and gradually build up to what you feel is right for you. I do this every night. In my blender 8 to 12 ounces distilled water that I re-mineralize with organic ionic minerals. 1 heaping teaspoon bentonite clay. Mix gently for 2 seconds. Let stand while I go brush my teeth. Add to the blender 2 HEAPING tbs diatomaceous earth, 1/2 tea EDTA disodium, 1/4 tea malic acid. Blend on low a couple seconds and while running add 2 HEAPING tbs whole psyllium husks and drink down immediately. Drink an additional glass of water. Go to bed. In the morning you will have 2 to 3 of the most beautiful bowel movements you’ve ever experienced shoot out of you with extreme rapidity and ease, all before you even leave the house. Probably a couple more before lunch. No diarrhea, no constipation, no more worms, no more parasites, and peace of mind knowing you’re removing aluminum from your brain and heavy metals from every where. Also you will feel lighter and cleaner.
I use Calcium Bentonite Clay from Global Light Networks. they have many other beneficial products also. Perry Aldredge (sp) has written a book on clay and is very informed on clay
How do you prepare the clay when using it to brush your teeth? I take clay every morning an hour before I eat and can’t say enough what a positive effect this has had on my health. I’d like to start using it to brush my teeth and was just wondering what is the best way to do it. Any help would be appreciated. And thanks for the great article as well as some of the answers in the comments!
My 1 month old has many red bumps on her skin, like pimples. I live in Thailand and it’s hot, so she sweats a lot – I think that’s why. I bought the bentonite clay as an alternative to baby powder for her bum and area, but can i use it for her skin even on her head, neck and face? The stories about adults using too much of the power in the bath and getting a headache scare me a bit so I was wondering if others have used it for babies in this way safely and with success? Thanks for your advice.
I personally take Clay daily. I believe the recommended dosage on my brand says 2 to 4 ounces per day. I was considering giving some to my son since he will be starting preschool. He will be four in December. How much should I give him daily?
[…] At any rate. Natural dental health makes a big difference! And clay should be in every mama’s medicine cabinet. […]
My son is 3 years old. I just started clay bathes for him. He has a lot of food intolerances, speech delay, and sensory processing disorder. My daughter is 7 months old. I am trying to prevent her from going thru what my son is going thru. Can I give her a clay bath in her baby bath. An how much?
Loved your article! This is so helpful. Question – what dosage would you recommend for a pregnant woman? I’m currently 20 week along and I’m trying to find pregnancy safe ways of shrinking uterine fibroids. I heard clay can help a lot. Any tips?
[…] Clay is a great home remedy for skin irritations, bug/bee stings, as well as burns. It’s also good to have on hand for upset tummies. Clay can be used as a face mask and you can use clay to make your own toothpaste as well. See this post for lots of great info on clay. […]