Are you curious about the salt water flush recipe and wondering about the benefits and possible side effects? Here’s everything you need to know before getting started with a salt water cleanse. 

A woman squeezes a lemon into a tall glass of salt water cleanse recipe.

Did you know 16 out of 100 adults suffer from symptoms of constipation in the United States? For adults 60 and older, that number increases to 33 out of 100. 

Constipation is the most common digestive complaint in the U.S. Chronic constipation can persist for several weeks or longer. 

If you’re suffering from irregular bowel movements or you feel uncomfortable in your stomach, you might like to try a salt water flush. It is a natural alternative that is used to detoxify the colon. 

Some suggest a salt water flush can effectively flush waste buildup from your digestive tract. While success rates fluctuate, a salt water flush may be beneficial for chronic constipation and as part of a detox diet.  

Before deciding to do a salt water flush, read this guide to learn how it works.  

What Is a Salt Water Colon Cleanse?

A salt water flush is used to cleanse your colon to treat constipation, bloating, and eliminate toxins. 

Salt has been used in natural remedies and to cleanse germs for centuries. From rubbing salt into wounds to rinsing it in mouths. One of my favorite uses is as a nasal flush for colds or allergies. Despite what you might have heard, salt helps you stay hydrated and promises good vascular health. 

As the salt water goes through the body, it does not separate. Instead, it moves through uninterrupted, cleaning out toxins on its way through the intestines. 

Drinking salt and warm water has a laxative effect. It generally causes bowel movements within 30 minutes to an hour, although this differs from case to case. It is purported as a safe, natural, and inexpensive alternative to enemas or colonics. 

Supporters of this process believe that salt water cleanses can help remove nasty toxins, waste, and parasites inside the colon. It is a safe practice, but you may only want to do them once or twice a week.  

A close-up photo of pink Himalayan Salt granules with a small wooden scoop.

What Is Himalayan Salt? 

Salt water cleanses use Himalayan salt, which is effective at helping your body create an electrolyte balance and achieve healthy sodium levels. Celtic salt is another great option. 

Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps with various body functions. People generally lose sodium through urine and sweat. That’s why people who exercise frequently require electrolytes to restore balance in their bodies. 

People with low sodium often experience lethargy, nausea and vomiting, confusion, and muscle weakness. 

Low blood sodium (or hyponatremia) is also standard in older adults, especially those living in long-term care facilities or hospitalized for a significant amount of time. Hyponatremia can cause seizures, coma, and even death in severe cases. 

Some suggest that you can achieve healthy levels by ingesting pink Himalayan salt. That’s because Himalayan salt consists primarily of sodium chloride and up to 84 other minerals and trace elements.

Its rich mineral content may also help your body detoxify and promote bacteria removal. It can also aid in: 

  • Digestion
  • Hydration
  • Sleep 
  • Lower blood pressure 
  • Weight loss 
  • Kidney and gallbladder function
  • Thyroid function 
  • Muscle cramping
  • Mental health 

People who live in “Blue Zones” often consume Himalayan salt as part of their Mediterranean diet, leading to longevity. 

A hand pours a small dish of salt into a liter sized jar of warm water on a marble kitchen counter.

How to Do a Salt Water Flush 

To make your salt water flush is relatively easy. For one cleanse, heat water until it is hot but not boiling. 

Once warm, pour 34 oz of water into a large glass or mug. Take care when handling the glass as it will be very hot. Choose a double-wall glass or a mug to prevent the glass from cracking. 

Then, add two teaspoons of pink Himalayan salt and stir until completely absolved. After that, feel free to add as little or as much lemon as you want. The drink will be very salty if you don’t, so keep that in mind. 

Drink the salt mixture within the first five minutes of making it. If you can, avoid going to the bathroom within the first 20 minutes. This will give your body enough time to absorb the salt. 

Within 30 minutes to an hour, you should feel the urge to go to the bathroom. It is normal to go more than once.

Your first bowel movement may be runny. However, it will improve as time goes on. After the cleanse, make sure to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

If you feel like the salt water flush isn’t working, try massaging your stomach and laying on your side for 30 minutes. You might also like to walk or do light yoga to stimulate bowel movements. 

The key to a good salt water flush is using high-quality Himalayan salt. The higher the quality, the better the outcome.  

When to Drink Your Salt Water Cleanse Drink

Most people do their salt water flush first thing in the morning, as that’s the easiest way to ensure an empty stomach. It also helps you get going in the morning. 

If you’re too busy in the morning, it’s perfectly fine to wait until evening. You can treat it like a (large) cup of evening tea. Just be sure to wait a few hours after eating as you shouldn’t do a salt water flush on a full stomach. 

Hands hold a hot mug filled with hot lemon water.

Salt Water Flush Benefits

While there aren’t any official medical guidelines stating who a candidate is, advocates recommend the procedure for those who are chronically constipated or experiencing irregular bowel movements.

They also suggest a salt water flush as part of a detox diet or juice fast. 

The scientific research behind salt water flushes is limited. However, its purported benefits are broad and encouraging.  

People who recommend a salt water flush as a detox method claim that it: 

  • Cleanses the colon 
  • Eliminates toxins
  • Contracts muscles in the digestive tract
  • Reduces inflammation 
  • Clears fluid retention 
  • Balances electrolyte/mineral levels 
  • Facilitates metabolic processes 
  • Eases sore throat

Some claim that a salt water flush may also help with migraines, body odor, and improve skin health. 

Salt water flushes appear to be both safe and effective.

If you have a hard time going to the toilet, salt flushes are a much better option than taking a laxative. Salt flushes are gentler on your stomach and only need to be done on an occasional basis. 

Salt Water Flush Side Effects

It’s essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks of any home remedy, as well as their benefits.

There are some side effects that you may experience during a salt water flush. Keep in mind side effects can vary from person to person.

Common side effects may include: 

  • Muscle spasms 
  • Weakness
  • Twitching 
  • Numbness
  • Confusion
  • Lethargy 
  • Seizures
  • Changes in blood pressure 
  • Convulsions 
  • Vomiting 

If you experience one or more of these side effects, you should stop immediately and consult your doctor.

If you have high blood pressure, kidney or heart disease, or other severe medical conditions, you should avoid detoxes. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also advised not to undertake salt water cleanses. 

Tips for Doing a Salt Water Detox

If you’re doing a salt water detox for the first time, it’s essential to be precise with your measurements and use good quality salt. 

Here are some other helpful tips to guide you through your first salt water detox: 

  • Use good quality filtered water 
  • Add half a lemon to combat the saltiness 
  • Drink within five minutes of preparing the mixture 
  • Stay at home near the toilet 
  • Ensure the salt has completely absorbed 
  • Only cleanse one to two times per week 

Our bodies are equipped with built-in mechanisms to eliminate harmful substances: the liver and kidneys. However, cleansing your gut once or twice a week may improve your digestion and energy levels. 

The night before your salt flush, drink a cup or two of tea. Choose a herbal tea that has a laxative effect. For example, you might like to drink peppermint, ginger, or green tea.

This will help to soften your bowels before the salt flush. Some suggest taking your salt flush on an empty stomach upon waking. It can also be performed in the evening, a few hours after your last meal. 

Keep in mind salt flushing on an empty stomach increases your chance of vomiting when you drink the mixture. 

It is also advised for women not to flush near their next period cycle. That’s because your body needs all the strength it can muster. Save it during the middle of your cycle. 

If you are currently on medication or are pregnant, consult your doctor before trying any colon cleanse. It may not be an appropriate remedy during this time. 

Should You Try a Salt Water Flush? 

Your body detoxifies itself, and supporting its natural detoxification systems naturally with a plant-based diet, exercise, and plenty of water should be enough to keep your gut healthy. However, most of us today are exposed to environmental toxins and overindulge from time to time. 

A salt water flush is likely to help cleanse your colon and flourish your gut with good bacteria, as well as promote good ongoing digestive health. 

Unless you have a severe medical condition or your doctor advises against it, doing a salt water flush is unlikely to cause any severe damage. 

If you’re feeling sluggish, try a salt water flush. However, it’s okay if it isn’t for you. What works for someone won’t work for another. As always, it’s important to check with your doctor before starting any new nutrition programs or supplements. 

Six glasses of colorful freshly pressed juices.

What to Eat After a Detox or Cleanse 

After any type of fast, detox, or cleanse, it’s a good idea to introduce gently foods back into your diet. A probiotic or low-sugar yogurt is also helpful in replenishing good bacteria. 

Try kitchari (my recipe for this Ayurvedic is in my cookbook, Vegan in an Instant) or a vegetable soup

More Detox Recipes

Yield: 1 liter

Salt Water Flush

If you're interested in trying a salt water flush for its cleansing and detoxifying benefits, here is the recipe you're looking for!

A woman in a white shirt squeezes fresh lemon into a glass of warm salt water flush recipe.


  • 1 liter filtered water
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himilayan salt or Celtic salt
  • 1/2 fresh lemon


  1. Bring the water to just barely a simmer in a kettle or saucepan. Pour into a liter-sized jar. Warm water from a black kettle pours into a liter mason jar on a marble kitchen counter.
  2. Add the salt and stir or shake to combine until the salt is dissolved. A small dish of salt is poured into a jar of hot water to make a salt water flush.
  3. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
  4. Drink while warm. The recommendation for a salt water flush is to drink the liter of salt water within about 5 minutes and then lie down.
  5. Be sure to stay near a bathroom for at least an hour.


First thing in the morning is the best time to do your cleanse, as it's important to start with an empty stomach. If evening works better for you, just wait a few hours after eating.

Possible Benefits

Cleanses the colon 

Eliminates toxins

Contracts muscles in the digestive tract

Reduces inflammation 

Clears fluid retention 

Balances electrolyte/mineral levels 

Facilitates metabolic processes 

Eases sore throat

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1 liter
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 12Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 4852mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your favorite calculator.