Bentonite Clay Detox: Composition, Benefits and Side Effects

February 20, 2015 at 8:06 AM

Bentonite clay is a type of clay found in volcanic ash. When it was first discovered, researchers weren’t familiar with its remarkable properties and this clay was just like any other clay. However, a research conducted in 1961 changed the view of people, in which the researchers found out the different uses of this clay such as the absorption of toxins and transporting them out of the body. Do you want to know more about bentonite clay detox? If so, then read this article as it will tell you about bentonite clay detox, and its benefits and side effects.

Bentonite clay is actually formed when the ash from a volcano settles down for some time, in the presence of water. Due to the presence of a negative charge on it, it behaves like a magnet when surrounded with water. Because of this property, it takes away all the toxins present in the body. It also provides the body with some important minerals as it effects the body’s pH.


Now let us look at the composition of bentonite clay. Bentonites usually occur as the layers found between different rocks and are usually formed as a result of a volcanic ash. Mineral montmorillonite is the smectite (part of the group of clay minerals) present in bentonite, however, this isn’t always the case. Although some other factors also affect the properties of bentonite, smectite plays a major role in determining the properties of bentonite. It is because of smectite that sodium bentonites have different chemical properties from calcium bentonites. About 80% smectite is present in most bentonites.

Sometimes the composition of bentonite clay is also known by the analysis of bentonites. This is done by knowing about the X-ray power diffraction patterns. Impurities are also present in bentonite, such as quartz, carbonates, fledspars and silica mineral carbonate. Other than this, opal is also present in some types of bentonites, especially white bentonite. People confuse opal-C with crystalline critobalite. However, a test checking the solubility of NaOH, is used for distinction between the two. Some tests are also run for deep analysis of smectite. They determine whether the smectite is pure or mixed with impurities.


There are different varieties of bentonite clay, and it mostly depends upon the elements present in it. Elements like potassium, calcium, sodium and aluminum, are present in different quantities. Calcium bentonite and sodium bentonite are two well-known types of bentonite clay. It is made from a flat crystal flake, Montmorillonite, which has strong negative charge. It is called sodium bentonite or calcium bentonite by the absorption of a cation to the interior of the molecule. The cation plays a very important role. For example, Calcium bentonite provides calcium to the body while taking away toxins. Same goes for sodium bentonite. The only difference between the two types is that sodium bentonite is basically, for taking away toxins from the body whereas calcium bentonite is just for providing the body with calcium.


To get the best quality bentonite clay, there are a few things you need to consider:

  • First of all, you should get some information about the company from where you are buying the clay. Ask yourself questions like, “Is it a genuine company?” “What is the reputation of the company?” “Will this company fulfill my needs?” Go to the website of the company to make sure that they are an authentic source of clay. You should go for the best quality clay. The reason is that this clay has a downside too. As the clay acts as a magnet, make sure that the clay doesn’t absorb toxins from nearby and put it on your body.
  • Once you have sufficient information about the company and have made sure that it’s genuine, the next thing you need to inquire is about the mining method of the clay. This might sound like an irrelevant question to you but considering the fact that it acts as a magnet for all the positive charged toxins, the mining equipment of the clay matters a lot. You shouldn’t put the bentonite clay in metal utensils, because positive charges from the metal can be pulled towards the clay. Now when you use it, it would be useless and won’t have any effect. The reason is that the clay is already surrounding by many positive metal charges around it. The same happens when it is passed through the mining process. You want a fully active clay, not the one which has already been filled with metallic cations. Make sure that the clay has been mined through stainless steel mining equipment; this method doesn’t allow the metallic ions to attach to the clay.

How to Use Bentonite Clay

For using bentonite clay, mix it with water after getting it into some powdered form. This process has to be done outside the body, as it is difficult to mix clay with water. Although bentonite clay can be used in tablet form, but it isn’t that much effective.

To mix bentonite clay with water, put one tea spoon of clay and put it in a glass of water for two to three hours, which is the ideal time; otherwise a minimum of 30 minutes is required. You should make this glass of water every day before sleeping. You should take the precaution of removing the metallic spoon from the glass, otherwise, all the metallic ions will be attracted to the clay and the clay will become useless. Proper time should be given for the clay to completely soak in water. With the passage of time, the glass of water is converted into a medicine as the electromagnetic charges of the clay are transferred into water. This is very beneficial for the detoxifying action of bentonite clay.

As it is best when taken with an empty stomach, taking bentonite clay before bed time or in the morning is the ideal time. It can lessen the stomach pains, when taken before meals. People with constipation should generally take the clay during evening time. It is also recommended that you should drink loads of water. Another thing is very important to mention here is that you should store clay in darkness. However, before taking it, you should expose the clay to sun.

Benefits of Bentonite Clay

Now let us look at the benefits of bentonite clay detox. Below are mentioned some benefits of bentonite clay:

For Healing Skin

Bentonite clay is quite helpful to skin and helps in treating skin conditions like dermatitis and Eczema. It should be applied on the skin by mixing with water. The clay removes the toxins and bacteria from the surface of the skin. This clay also helps in fighting allergic reaction from soaps and removing the redness from skin. Wounds are also healed from this clay. Providing Oxygen to the Cells – As it has the ability to remove the excessive amount of hydrogen from the cells, therefore, it provides oxygen to the cells. The body becomes more energized when the cells get more oxygen. This makes bentonite clay helpful for athletes and hard work out guys.

Bentonite Clay For Hair

Bentonite clay is quite beneficial for the hair as it cleans them by removing bacteria and toxins from them. Most people are disgusted only by the thought of putting mud in your hair. If you are one of those people, you should go on and try your own home remedies. And if nothing works for you, at least give it a try. Mentioned below are the ingredients of making the bentonite clay shampoo:


Approximately 8-10 drops of essential oil, a cup of cider vinegar, 1 cup water (or herbal tea), 3/4 cup bentonite clay.


First of all, heat the water and then let it cool it to room temperature. After that, add cider vinegar in it, and put the mixture into a food processor. Make sure that the bowl you use is non-metallic. Now keep on adding a tea spoon of bentonite clay from time to time. Stop adding the clay when the mixture is smooth. Lastly, add essential oils in it. You have now made the bentonite clay shampoo. Before using it, store it in an air tight container for almost a week. After that, take it out and apply it on the hair the same way you apply a shampoo by starting at the roots and thoroughly applying on all the hair.

Bentonite Clay Toothpaste

Clay tooth paste is quite beneficial for your teeth and it will leave your teeth with a better look than before. The plus point of bentonite clay toothpaste is that it doesn’t contain glycerin, an ingredient commonly found in commercial toothpastes. Some researches have indicated that the use of toothpaste can weaken teeth over the passage of time.

The ingredients needed for making clay tooth paste are 8-10 drops of peppermint oil, 1/4 table spoon salt, 2 cups boiling water, 10-15 drops stevia, 1/4 cup bentonite clay.


To make bentonite clay toothpaste, get the clay in powdered form and put it into a bowl and add salt and water in it. Now mix the clay thoroughly. After that, add essential oils and peppermint oil to the mixture. Put the tooth paste in a jar with an airtight lid. The toothpaste is now complete and ready for use.

Bentonite Clay Face Mask

Another benefit of bentonite clay is that it can be used as a face mask. The mask should be applied for 30 minutes at least. Within a week of use, you will notice changes in yourself. The choice of how often to use the clay is upon you. You can apply it once a week or many times a week. However if you have just started using the clay, you should use it once a week.

The ingredients which you would be needing for making bentonite clay face mask are a plastic bag, 1-2 cups of bentonite clay, apple vinegar cider and face brush.


Firstly, put the bentonite clay into a plastic bag. You can also use bowl but only the non-metallic ones. Add apple cider vinegar or water into the plastic bag and keep on adding it until consistency is achieved. After that, close the bag and shake it until all the ingredients have thoroughly mixed with each other. Now with the help of a face brush, apply it onto your skin. Leave it for 25-30 minutes. After that, with the help of a washcloth, remove the mask from your face and wash your face with soap or cleanser.

Bentonite Clay Deodorant

A major benefit of bentonite clay is that deodorant can be made from it. The good thing about the clay deodorant is that it is aluminum free.

The ingredients for the bentonite clay deodorant are essential oils, 1 tablespoon coconut oil and cocoa, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoon bentonite clay, 1 tablespoon shea butter and bee wax and 1 capsule probiotic powder.


For making clay deodorant, put coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa in a bowl and heat until they are melted. Add baking soda and bentonite clay to the mixture after it has been cooled for some time. Mix the solution until it becomes smooth and add essential oils in it. Let the mixture cool for some time and after that, add probiotic powder in it and mix it thoroughly. Take a deodorant container and put the mixture into it. Refrigerate it for several hours. Now the clay deodorant is ready for use.

Bug Bites and Rashes

Bentonite clay can be made into something known as “poultice”, which is quite beneficial for protection against bug bites. It can also protect the body against burns and rashes. Moreover, it is helpful against some plants like poison oak and poison ivy. Urishol is a chemical commonly found in the plants which causes skin irritation. Bentonite clay shields the body against this chemical.

The ingredients to make poultice are 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of warm water and bentonite clay.


To make poultice, first of all, mix together olive oil and warm water in a bowl. When they are thoroughly mixed together, add bentonite clay in it. Keep on adding bentonite clay, spoon by spoon, till the mixture becomes thick and consistent. Now it is ready for use. Put it onto the affected area and cover the area with a thin sheet. Now wait for 2-3 hours. After that, remove the clay and see the effects. If you think that the results aren’t up to your expectations, you can reapply the mixture. After removing the clay, your skin might become tighter than usual but don’t panic.

Immune System

A research conducted in the University of Arizona proved that bentonite clay is useful for the treatment of several harmful diseases like MRSA and E. Coli. Although this research points towards the fact that bentonite clay is useful for certain diseases, the results are still inconclusive and more research is needed to give a final verdict. Bentonite clay also supports the gut wall. This is very beneficial for the immune system because when the gut wall functions properly, the bacteria and toxins won’t be able to make their way into the body. This way, the overall health of a person is improved.


Fluoride is usually present in water, which contaminates it. Research has shown that bentonite clay might help to remove this fluoride and make drinking water clean. It can be used in water purification methods by mixing it with magnesium.

Toxins in the Diet

Different toxic substances are present in small quantities in foods like cooking oils and peanut butter. Aflatoxin is one such toxin. If something isn’t done about it, it might weaken the immune system of the body. Other organs of the body are also damaged by this toxin. The effect of this toxin can be lessened by using bentonite clay.

Toxins in the Air

Different harmful chemicals are present in the air all around us, which are emitted from paints, factories, industries, offices and educational institutions. A general term given to all these different kinds of substances is VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). These compounds can make a person prone to many health problems. Bentonite clay is helpful against these chemicals. Although more research is still needed, there is sufficient evidence to suggest that bentonite clay shields against these dangerous chemicals.

Baby Powder

Bentonite clay can be used as a baby powder alternative. It can be applied to the red or itchy areas of a baby. The main advantage of this clay is that, just like any other traditional baby powder, it is quite gentle.

For using bentonite clay on a baby’s skin, cover the affected area with clay and leave it as such for 15-20 minutes. After that, remove the clay with water.

Side Effects of Bentonite Clay

There has been a long debate about the side effects of bentonite clay. Some researchers say that there aren’t any side effects of the clay whereas others say that there are some side effects of the clay. Some possible side effects of bentonite clay detox have been mentioned below:

Clay Detox

People in general have high hopes for bentonite clay and one the major reasons they use it is because of its detox benefits. Studies have supported the fact that bentonite clay helps in fending off certain dangerous diseases. Most people use this mud due to its ability to attract the toxins and remove them from the body. However, it isn’t as simple as that. It provides many benefits to the body at the cost of intestinal problems. To help with the side effects, people drink excessive water. Some side effects which you will experience when your skin is being cleansed are pain in the muscles, fatigue, stiffness in the joints, and headaches. These side effects are experienced by everyone who uses bentonite clay. However, the good news is that these side effects minimize after using the clay for two to three times.

Skin and Hair

Bentonite clay is used externally for skin and hair. It is the safest way of using bentonite clay. It is used externally by applying mask on the face or making bentonite shampoo and applying it on hair. But there are some side effects of using bentonite clay externally on skin and hair. When bentonite clay is used on skin and hair, it can cause itchiness. The reason for this is that the clay can react with certain metals, which can cause skin problems. Skin problems can also be caused when a person is allergic to clay.


There is a buzz all over the internet about how beneficial calcium bentonite is for bathing. Although it is a proven fact that bentonite clay baths are beneficial for skin detox, the story doesn’t end here. Research has shown that when bentonite clay is used for longer durations of time, the side effects subside. That’s why scientists and researchers recommend the use of bentonite clay for bathing every now and then. The main thing which causes problem in calcium bentonite baths is the presence of aluminum in the clay. There are many side effects of aluminum. It has estrogen-like properties, therefore, it can be damaging for the health. It can also lead to the growth of breast cancer tissues.


When bentonite clay is consumed internally, the general health of a person improves, as the clay causes a boost in the immune system. Different toxins and bacteria are also removed from the body. The toxins created from different illnesses are also removed. However, when consumed internally, the clay also destroys all the good bacteria present in the gut and intestines. Other than this, nausea is a common complaint of people who ingest bentonite clay. Constipation and other digestive problems are also caused because the clay can get stuck in the intestine.

Hydrated Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is commonly used by people in hydrated form. The major side effect of this clay is that it can react with water. When there is excessive water in the stomach, different digestive problems like bloating and constipation are caused.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Physician
Article resources: [1]
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Published: February 20, 2015 at 8:06 AM
Next scheduled update: February 20, 2017 at 8:06 AM
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