Regular tap water can be a source of many chemicals from chlorine to fluoride and many others. At our house, we have a water filter for our drinking water and we also use filters on shower heads.
Since most of our kids are not old enough to take showers yet, I also wanted to find a good option for bath water. I’m yet to find a filter adapter for a bath tub, but I’ve told my dad (an engineer) that he needs to work on one of these!
In the meantime, I wanted to find ways to reduce the chemicals my children were exposed during bath time. My son had allergies and skin troubles since he was a baby (though we’ve almost completely eliminated them now) so this was especially important for him. Switching to more natural bath products and even bath bubbles helped, but I wanted to do something more…
Chemicals in Bath Water?
In the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged that a person can absorb more chlorine and other contaminants from bath and shower water than even from drinking water polluted with the same substances.
Unfortunately, this puts children most at risk, as some children bathe for 45 minutes or more several nights a week. Since children also have a larger surface-area-to-body-weight ratio, they may absorb chemicals more quickly and be more severely affected by them.
Children’s tissues, organs and biological systems are still developing, with several stages of rapid growth and development occurring from infancy to adolescence. This rapid development, combined with the immaturity of body organs and systems, predisposes children to potentially more severe consequences within certain age ranges and windows of vulnerability.”
These are the most common things we do to reduce the chemicals in bath water:
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is great for the immune system, but it can also play a role in reducing the chemicals in bath water. Most municipal water supplies use Chlorine to help reduce the number of pathogens in the water.
Unfortunately, the cure can sometimes be as bad as the disease, as Chris Kresser says in this post:
“When chlorine is used as a water treatment, it combines with organic matter to form compounds called trihalomethanes (THMs), also known as disinfectant byproducts. One of the most common THMs formed is chloroform, which is a known carcinogen. (2) Other THMs formed include the di- and trichloramines formed when chloramine is used as a disinfecting agent. (3) These compounds are toxic when consumed, inhaled, or applied to the skin.”
Carbon block filters (like the one we use for drinking water) will remove chlorine, but they can be tough to use for shower/bath water. Another simple option is to use Vitamin C to neutralize the chlorine in bath water. Vitamin C will also neutralize Chloramine (chlorine and ammonia) which is also often used in treating water and which can be more dangerous than Chlorine.
Two forms of Vitamin C will work to neutralize chlorine more effectively:
If you are interested in the chemical reactions and the by-products, you can find them here. Personally, I prefer to use Sodium Ascorbate form since it has less of an affect on the pH, but either form will work.
Just a teaspoon of either of the above forms of Vitamin C should be enough to neutralize a tub of water and it is best to put the powder in for a 2-5 minutes before getting in the bath to allow it to work.
If you aren’t a fan of having to add powder to the bath each time, there is actually a bath ball de-chlorinator that you can use to accomplish the same thing and it is good for over 200 baths!
Healing clays, like Bentonite Clay, bind to heavy metals in the body and help remove them. This same action can happen externally, and clay is often added to baths for detoxing.
One of my favorites is Bentonite Clay (from a previous post):
“Bentonite Clay is a unique clay due to its ability to produce an “electrical charge” when hydrated. Upon contact with fluid, its electrical components change, giving it the ability to absorb toxins. Bentonite is known for its ability to absorb and remove toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.
As Mountain Rose Herbs explains:
“Bentonite is a swelling clay. When it becomes mixed with water it rapidly swells open like a highly porous sponge. From here the toxins are drawn into the sponge through electrical attraction and once there, they are bound.”
I use Bentonite Clay to detox my hair and as a “shampoo” of sorts, but I also regularly add bentonite clay to my kids’ bath after removing the chlorine.
Note: Don’t use metal when dealing with Bentonite, as it makes it less effective. I mix 2 tablespoons of Bentonite Clay with water in a glass jar with a plastic lid and shake well. I then pour this in to the bath after the chlorine has been removed. The two types of clay I’ve personally used and had good results with are:
3. Salts & Minerals
I’ve written before (a lot) about magnesium (tired of hearing about it yet?). Due to depleted soil levels of magnesium and use of synthetic fertilizers, many of us don’t get enough magnesium. One of the easiest ways to help kids avoid this problem is to add these minerals to their bath water. From this article about Epsom Salt:
Studies have shown that magnesium and sulfate are both readily absorbed through the skin, making Epsom salt baths an easy and ideal way to enjoy the amazing health benefits. Magnesium plays a number of roles in the body including regulating the activity of over 325 enzymes, reducing inflammation, helping muscle and nerve function and helping to prevent artery hardening. Sulfates help improve the absorption of nutrients, flush toxins and help ease migraine headaches.
At our house, this is what I do:
“I regularly add a cup of epsom salts or magnesium flakes and a few tablespoons of Himalayan salt to my kids baths. When I have the time, I take relaxing baths in this mixture also.
When I can’t take the time for a bath, magnesium oil also helps. Amazingly, I notice the benefits of transdermal magnesium (baths or magnesium oil) much more quickly than when I take internal forms of magnesium.
My favorite Magnesium Bath Recipe
- 1-2 cups of epsom salts or magnesium flakes (magnesium flakes are absorbed much more easily)
- 1/2 cup Himalayan or Sea Salt
- 1/2 tsp of natural vanilla extract
- 10-15 drops of essential oil of choice (I love lavender and mint)
I mix the salt and magnesium flakes and then sprinkle with the vanilla and essential oil. The whole mixture gets added to a warm bath, and I soak for at least 20 minutes, though 30 is preferable.I try to make time for this at least once a week, though my kids get it added to their bath each night. (Plus some homemade bubble bath.)
For intensive therapy (illness, eczema, etc.) these baths can be done daily, though you should check with a doctor if you have any medical conditions.”
Do you add anything to your kids’ bath water? Share below!