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How To Use Soda Crystals To Treat Swollen Joints

How To Use Soda Crystals To Treat Swollen Joints blog article by Jane Goodman of Goodman Holistic Therapies, Northampton

Here is a useful, natural home remedy for a swollen joint, such as the knee (i.e.: 'Housemaid's Knee') or ankle, using Washing Soda - soda crystals (sodium carbonate).

Washing soda is traditionally used as a water softener and assistant to degreasing (useful for oily massage towels) but it also has the useful property of attracting moisture.

To this end, we can use was washing soda as a highly effective tool to reduce swelling in a swollen joint, such as an ankle or knee.

It is important first to establish that there is no inflammation in the joint, indicated by heat, bruising, redness or tenderness. (If there IS inflammation, use the earlier-posted remedy for using Apple Cider Vinegar (scroll below)).

This remedy can be used on anyone and is easy to apply.


Washing soda comes in two forms: crystals and flakes. If the crystals are used then they must be crushed (use a rolling pin) to the consistency of coarse salt. Crystals are preferable as the flakes tend to be a little too small.

Once crushed, they should be placed into a piece of cotton (eg a handkerchief) which is then folded to make a pack approximately 5cm square. The pack must be kept completely dry.

The pack is then placed on the LOWER part of the swelling and is held in place by a piece of elastic bandage or even an old pair of tights.

The washing soda can draw a lot of fluid from a swollen knee or ankle, and so the area should be wrapped in a small towel, which will soak up the fluid. Again, this can be tied on using tape or anything that will hold it in place.

The pack is best applied just before bedtime as it is best left on for around 6 hours.

Frequency: Until a satisfactory reduction (or complete elimination) in swelling has been achieved, packs can be applied every other night, but no more than three times a week.


Any cuts or grazes in the area should first be coated with a thin layer of Vaseline, otherwise the soda will irritate the cut and cause great discomfort.

Care should be taken to avoid any fluid coming off the swelling from running into any orifice, as again, irritation will occur.

Those with high blood pressure or heart disease might prefer, at first, to apply the pack for shorter periods during the evening, to avoid any radical removal of fluid from the system, and if in doubt, seek medical advice.

If there is no reduction, or if the pack remains dry, try changing the position of the pack until it finds a point to draw from. The working principle is osmosis and it may take a couple of attempts to find the optimum place for drainage to occur.

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