Benefits of Bentonite Clay (& How to Use It)

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Benefits and uses of bentonite clay
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In modern times we have largely forgotten that cultures throughout the ages used bentonite clay and other healing clays for their nutrients and to help rid the body of toxins.

If we take a cue from nature, many animals will instinctively turn to eating dirt and clay to help remove poisons from their systems or during times of illness or distress.

More recently, healing clays like bentonite clay have once again gained popularity for internal and external detoxification, and with good reason.

What Is Bentonite Clay?

Bentonite clay consists of aged volcanic ash also known as “Montmorillonite.” The name comes from the largest known deposit of bentonite clay located in Fort Benton, Montana.

It is an odorless grey/cream color with an almost soft, very fine consistency. Unlike some other clays, it doesn’t stain and is easy to work with in beauty and natural remedy recipes.

Healing clays like bentonite have a high concentration of minerals including silica, calcium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and potassium. It also absorbs and removes toxins, heavy metals, impurities, and chemicals.

Because of this, bentonite clay is a common ingredient in detox and cleansing products. Common external uses include poultices, mud packs, detox baths, and skin care recipes.

Some (including myself) even use it internally. It has an alkalizing effect on the body and when taken correctly, it can help balance gut bacteria.

Bentonite Clay Benefits & How It Works

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, carrying a strong negative charge which bonds to the positive charge in many toxins.

When it comes in contact with a toxin, chemical, or heavy metal, the clay will absorb the toxin and release its minerals for the body to use. Bentonite also helps get oxygen to cells as it pulls excess hydrogen and allows the cells to replace it with oxygen instead.

Personally, I’ve seen people benefit from taking bentonite clay to help with:

  • digestive disturbances like acid reflux, constipation, bloating, gas, etc. (Kaolin clay was common ingredient in medicines like Maalox and Rolaids for years.)
  • helping with skin and allergy issues
  • providing minerals for the body
  • recovering from vomiting and diarrhea
  • detoxification
  • oral health preparations
  • externally for all types of skin problems and to speed healing

Even 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. Commonly they would carry balls of the dried clay in their bags and dissolve a small amount of the clay in water with meals to prevent poisoning from any toxins present.

In a study from Arizona State University, bentonite clay was found to be highly effective at killing MRSA as well as Salmonella, E. Coli and others. What is promising as research continues in this area is that depending on the method in which the clay kills the infection, it may not be possible for the MRSA or other bacteria to develop a resistance to it as it does with antibiotics.

How to Use Bentonite Clay

Bentonite (and other clays) are staples in my homemade herbal cabinet and medicine chest. I’ve used them internally and externally for various issues on myself, my husband my kids. I order from here and it is an inexpensive natural remedy.

  • On the Skin: Externally, I apply a paste of bentonite clay and water on any skin irritation like blemishes, insect bites, cuts, skin itching, or burns. I leave it on until it dries and wash off. This is said to be especially calming to skin itching from eczema, psoriasis, chickenpox, etc.
  • Armpit Detox: I use a mix of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar to detox my armpits. For more about why, see this post.
  • Skin Poultice for Bug Bites/Burns/Cuts/Stings: For more severe issues, I create a poultice by putting a thick layer of clay on the skin and applying a wet gauze or cloth over it. I wrap the area and leave the poultice on, changing every 2 hours. I’ve even applied this treatment on poison ivy.
  • Face Mask: Many beauty products use bentonite clay for its ability to bind with and remove toxins and impurities. For smooth and healthy skin, I make a bentonite clay mask simply by mixing a paste of bentonite and water. I leave on for 20 minutes and wash off with warm water. I typically do this once or twice a week. Bentonite clay powder mixed with apple cider vinegar also makes an excellent and balancing face mask.
  • Homemade Clay Soap: add clay to my homemade soapI to give it a silky feel. Bentonite clay soap is great for oily skin and acne
  • Detox Bath: I sometimes add about 1/4 cup of bentonite clay to bath water for a relaxing detox bath that softens skin.
  • For Oral Health: Because of its excellent ability to bind to heavy metals and toxins as well as to provide minerals, I use bentonite clay in my Remineralizing Tooth Powder Recipe. It can even be used alone for brushing and is tasteless and relatively textureless.
  • As an Oral Rinse to Whiten and Remineralize Teeth: Besides the use in my tooth powder, I use bentonite mixed with water as an alkalizing and toxin-removing mouth rinse. I mix 1/2 teaspoon of clay in 1/4 cup water in a small jar with a plastic lid and shake well. Then, I rinse with the water for 1-2 minutes and repeat until I’ve used it all.
  • For Mastitis: I’ve created a poultice or mask of bentonite clay and water and applied externally to the area. I repeat as needed every hour until the infection is gone. I also take internally during infection along with vitamin C and fish oil capsules.
  • For Baby Powder: Plain bentonite clay makes a very soothing baby powder for use when there is infection or redness. It can also be made into a clay “mask” to help speed recovery in this area.
  • For Digestive Problems or Morning Sickness: I took 1/2 tsp of bentonite clay in water during early pregnancy to ward off morning sickness. It helped with the nausea and helped me feel better. I checked with my doc/midwife first and was told this was fine. Check with your doctor or medical professional before using during pregnancy.
  • For Internal Cleansing: I drink 1/2 to 1 teaspoon most days in a cup of water. I combine in a glass jar with a plastic lid and shake until well incorporated. This has helped improve my digestion and also seems to give me more energy. Since adding this and getting gelatin in my diet I also notice that my nails and hair grow more quickly. Make sure that any clay taken internally is labeled safe for internal use. This is the one we use.
  • For Pets: For pets that are sick, vomiting or showing signs of illness, you can add bentonite to their water or mix and give orally with a dropper or syringe without the needle. I have seen several cases where this helped pets recover quickly from what could otherwise have been serious illnesses.
  • Other Uses: Though I have not needed to use for these reasons personally, I have read cases of bentonite and other healing clays being used internally to help reduce radiation exposure, in alternative cancer treatments, and in MRSA infections. It is also said to greatly help in parasite removal, though I have not tried this personally.

Best Bentonite Clay Brands (& Precautions)

  • Do not let healing clays like bentonite come in to contact with anything metal, as this will reduce the effectiveness. I mix with water in a glass jar with a plastic lid by shaking well or using a plastic whisk.
  • If you take it internally, do not take within an hour of food for best results and do not take within 2 hours of medications or supplements as it might reduce their effectiveness. Check with your doctor before using if you have any medical condition.
  • Because bentonite clays can contain lead (read my full thoughts on that here), it is important to get it from a reliable quality source. For example, a 2016 FDA study warned consumers not to buy a brand called “Best Bentonite Clay” out of Guthrie, Oklahoma, due to high lead levels.

Of course I always recommend that you do your own research, especially when it comes to controversial topics like lead exposure. Based on my findings, I feel perfectly comfortable using this brand externally and internally for our whole family.

We also use this clay-based toothpaste when we travel. The kids love the taste and I love that we’re keeping up on our oral health routine away from home!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Mariza Snyder, a functional practitioner. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Have you ever used bentonite clay or other healing clays? What did you use it for? Did it work? Share below!

Bentonite Clay and other healing clays have many health and cosmetic uses. Find out how this age old substance can help you.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


704 responses to “Benefits of Bentonite Clay (& How to Use It)”

  1. Sara Jimenez Avatar
    Sara Jimenez

    Hi Katie, I was just wondering if you think it is okay to use the clay while breastfeeding. I use it in my toothpaste, but I was wondering about it is okay to use to detox during breastfeeding? Like in the bathtub?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      It’s generally not recommended to detox while pregnant or breastfeeding. However, bentonite clay binds toxins so it works differently than detox methods that just release toxins from the body’s tissues. It’s a matter of personal preference and what you’re comfortable doing.

  2. Scott B. Avatar
    Scott B.


    For the benefit of others, including myself, can you please share info. which provides proof that bentonite does NOT carry out beneficial gut flora along with the pathogenic bacteria is has proven to bind to and remove?

    I’m still researching but haven’t yet discovered any concrete evidence. This can be very important for those with dysbiosis or compromised immune systems who want to use food grade bentonite.

    I understand the theory of the hydrated bentonite becoming ‘positively charged’ and should only be attracting the ‘negatively charged’ pathogens & toxins. But it sure would be nice to see proof of this from a study which has already been performed.

    So far all I have found is the below:

    1) Intragastric administration of bentonite to rats for 28 days leads to hyperproduction of colonic yeast micro-flora (43)

    The point about bentonite and other clays used as an “intestinal broom” is that they don’t just carry out the bad bacteria in your gut. Clay cannot distinguish between species of microorganism – it just adsorbs it all and carries it out!

    Many thanks for any info. you can provide.

  3. Michael Szirtes Avatar
    Michael Szirtes

    When aprenticing as a Potter, my hippy teacher would get us to mix the wet porcelain clay in a glass and drink it. I would suggest seeking it our online in bulk, say a 50 lb bag for 50 bux, human grade. we’ll see. I paid that for human grade DE. It was cheaper by the bucket. I could drown myself in it. I give it away.
    Is bentonite clay expensive?
    Truckload – When bentonite is purchased by the full truckload (22.5 tons), customers can expect somewhere in the ballpark of $90-$100/ton, plus freight charges.

  4. Lynn Avatar

    Hello how much iodine is in benonite clay? I developed a goiter from the contrast from a cat scan which had high levels of iodine. I was thinking of using it on the goiter but I wasn’t sure if it had a lot of iodine in it. Thanks

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      From what I can find it doesn’t seem bentonite clay has much iodine in it. You could always try it and see if it helps or consult with your nautral healthcare practitioner for advice.

  5. Melissa Avatar

    I would avoid using the clay in a powder form to avoid breathing it in as clay dust contains crystalline silica particles “Silica dust is harmful when inhaled into your lungs. … Exposure to silica dust can lead to the development of lung cancer, silicosis (an irreversible scarring and stiffening of the lungs), kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.”

  6. Rupal Patel Avatar
    Rupal Patel

    My daughter had a titanium implant and a permanent metal retainer in her mouth. Can I use DIY tooth powder with bentonite clay? Please advise. Thanks in advance.

    1. SJ Winter Avatar

      You will need to double-check with your biological dentist. I imagine that the clay might stick to the metal since they are attracted to one another.

  7. Rivky Avatar

    You state – “Make sure that any clay taken internally is labeled safe for internal use. This is the one we use. ”
    I checked out the bentonite clay Starwest Botanicals Sodium Bentonite Clay (Food-Grade), 1 Pound (which was recomended)
    however I see the WARNING that this product contains a chemical known to cause cancer.
    Please advise

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      All bentonite clay is required to carry a prop 65 warning because of California law. Bentonite clay has negatively charged ions that bind with small amounts of naturally occurring inorganic lead in the soil. Because bentonite binds to toxins in the body (including lead), these toxins are thought to then not be bioavailable or absorbable. Studies on bentonite clay for internal use show it doesn’t elevate lead levels.

      Moosavi, M. (2017). Bentonite clay as a natural remedy: A brief review. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 46(9): 1176–1183.
      Williams, L. B., Haydel, S. E., & Ferrell, R. E. (2009). Bentonite, Bandaids, and Borborygmi. Elements, 5(2), 99-104. doi:10.2113/gselements.5.2.99

  8. guillermina Avatar

    Due to having put the clay externally on every organ for 2 days and having drinking it during 2 weeks, seems that it become a lot for the body and resulted in a very strong fever and all body pain. Should I consider it like a powerful detox effect?
    I stopped for 2 weeks and wonder if the internal take, substitute the intake of probiotics and most vitamins?

    Which is the recommendation to heal the gut: external use or intake?
    Last question, for wax in the ears, does it help, and how should I use it?

    Thanks so much Clay family

  9. Rachel Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    Wondering if you can use bentonite clay internally for babies when they have a stomach virus. I have used it for myself so I know it works. Is it safe for babies? If so how much? Any tips appreciated!

  10. Jessica Clark Avatar
    Jessica Clark

    Does bentonite clay harm someone that doesn’t need more iron? Will it take the iron out? What is the effect on a person that is too high in iron?

  11. Janet Avatar

    Just curious why you changed brands on your bentonite clay? I found your article on it over a year ago and bought the one you linked to then. I came back to your article to revisit some of your info and noticed that your links connect to a different brand now.

  12. Leanne Babcock Avatar
    Leanne Babcock

    Hi Katie, I have just started to use bentonite clay internally for IBS. I pre-make it into a paste so it’s easier to dissolve in water. When you use it internally, do you mix it from the powder each time? Does it matter if it’s already pre-mixed, even a week prior?
    I’d appreciate your thoughts about this.

  13. Stephanie Avatar

    Hello. the clay brand you linked to is no longer available on amazon from that seller. And it does not say “food grade” is that an issue…has it changed since you first linked to it?

  14. Hannah Avatar

    Hi – thanks so much for this helpful article. When using clay in a bath (as a soak), will it clog the drain/plumbing? If so, is there a way to prevent this?

  15. Phillip Avatar

    Thanks for all the wonderful info about Bentonite clay.
    I hope my experience will help someone.

    It takes time for the organism to adapt to the clay. When I started drinking clay for the first time, I had severe headaches. I drank 1 glass every day, with one teaspoon of bentonite clay. That’s too much to begin with this amount of clay for first time. After that, I followed the instructions for adjusting the body to clay from android app “Clay – cosmetic & healing” and I no longer had headaches.

    I use clay, especially bentonite and kaolin, in many ways and with positive results. I used bentonite clay for clay baths (for the first bath I was amazed at how dark the water was after bathing, for second bath it is not), massage for tired legs and feet, cleansing and softening the skin of the feet, activated clay for pimples and oily face (and for piling dead cells on face skin), for varicose veins in my grandfather (he has less painful legs when using clay masks – wraps). For internal use, I use sometimes bentonite clay for diarrhea – usually several days, and for heartburn where clay helps me almost instantly.

    Also, I experimented with spoons – I took 3 different metal spoons and filled them with bentonite clay. After about 10 days, I looked at the spoons and saw that one of them has different color partially. The other 2 remained exactly the same, which probably depends on the quality and type of alloy.

    It is the best to buy clays with less aluminum content in them.

    Best Regards

  16. Detta Jefferies Avatar
    Detta Jefferies

    The Indian Healing Clay be mixed with soy milk? Also is it okay to use on hair that is 85% grey?

  17. Carol A Avatar

    So many good informative comments from this wonderful blog!
    Learn so much!

    I didn’t see this mentioned anywhere on here .
    May have missed it.
    Another mom told me she uses Bentonite clay in an enema. She told me it was very healing and great for detoxing.

    I researched this. Yes! There are wonderful health benefits, and detoxing benefits, by giving a Bentonite clay enema.

    I found this page very helpful:

    If the article does not come up, Go to page. And do search there for enema.

    Gives instructions on how to prepared the enema.

    Suggested to administer with a bulb syringe.
    The blue enema bulb pictured on the page is, I’m sure, a 8 oz enema bulb syringe. Cost few dollars.
    I got mine at local Drugstore.
    Given a few enemas with it.
    Easy to administer a enema with it. Easy to clean and air out.

    I am going to do the Bentonite enema. Do a few of the enemas. Will, hopefully, come back in few days and let all know how the enema went.and how I felt.

    My friend gives the enema to herself and her two children.

    After I try it and talk to naturopathic doctor I may start giving the enema to mine.

    Always best to consult with a professional medical person, ie doctor, naturopathic doctor, pediatrician, etc, before giving any remedy. Including the enema.
    This is not medical advice.

    Hugs and

  18. Charlene Avatar

    I went to the affiliate link for the Bentonite clay and in the product title says food grade but the product in the picture says cosmetic grade. Is there a different one safe for internal use? Are you using the product in the bag internally even though it says cosmetic grade?

    1. Carol A Avatar

      Good blog!
      But, any way to reverse the way we read comments now?

      Have to scrolled through all of the hundreds of comments to read the most RECENT COMMENTS.

      Can’t it be set up that the most recent comments are at the top?

      1. Katie Wells Avatar

        We’ll look into it, but it is hard to do when people reply to others comments and setting it up that way would be challenging to read…

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