Homemade electrolyte mix, 1-10 cents/serving

After reading the homemade recovery drink thread, I thought I’d post what I have been doing for hydration. I went down this route last summer as I was doing a fair bit of indoor training in my warm to hot garage - maybe 70ish in the morning, to 85-90 if I did the workout later in the day. I do OK in the heat, but need to drink a lot, and spending $1-2 every training session for some salt water started to bother me. The below recipe is less than 1 cent/serving for the electrolytes, and 5-10 cents for the flavoring.

I based mine on this recipe:

I came up with the following. I based my target concentrations by reviewing a number of products out there and trying to pick something in line with those (I think I looked at Nuun, Osmo, Skratch and maybe a few others.)

my target (16 oz) 24 oz
Sodium: 350 mg 525 mg
Magnesium: 40 mg 60 mg
Potassium: 100 mg 150 mg
Calcium: 60mg 90mg

This translates to:
.600 gm light salt
.828 gm baking soda
.298 gm Epsom salt
.144 gm calc. carbonate
1.870 gm serving size

Everything except the calcium carbonate powder is available at the grocery store. The Morton’s lite salt is sold in 311 gram containers, so a batch that uses all of that is:

311g light salt recipe (518.3 servings) - good size for food processor
311 gm light salt
429 gm baking soda
155 gm Epsom salt
75 gm calc carbonate

I mix this in food processor which also helps break down the salt crystals. The serving size for a 24 oz bottle is about a heaping 1/4 teaspoon.

For flavoring I have been using “true lemon” (or lime or orange) powder. This ends up being the most expensive part of the mix, at about 5-10 cents/serving. (https://smile.amazon.com/True-Lemon-Lime-Shaker-Kit/dp/B004VND1XK/ref=sr_1_25?keywords=real+lemon&qid=1549601802&sr=8-25)

I have had some success at forming the electrolytes and the ‘true’ fruit powder into tablets. These tablets are somewhat effervescent, so they dissolve fairly well. Tablet presses for making pills are much too small, and even ‘pollen presses’ are a smaller diameter than is ideal for this. (Who knew pressing pollen into tablets would be thing? - I sure didn’t… :wink: ) Since I mostly use this for indoor training, I just use the powder directly, as it’s fairly time consuming to make the tablets.

(Update!) DO NOT mix the true citrus flavoring with the electrolytes in one big batch this causes significant clumping, and seems to also be hygroscopic, so it ends up being a damp sticky blob after a while. I keep them separate and only mix them when I put them in the bottle.
(The exception being when I form tablets, which I have only experimented with - I don’t know how shelf stable these are.)

I’ve gone through several hundred servings of this, and my wife is a fan of it as well, so hopefully other will find this useful or interesting as well.


I’ve been buying High5 Zero electrolyte tabs for years, but considering I usually end up throwing half a bottle away (I really should drink more on rides!) and the increasing cost of them, I’ve been looking for alternatives recently.

I came across a bag of pre-mixed electrolytes from Bulk Powders, which I paid around £12.00 for 1kg. You only need 1g per 500ml, so considering I was paying £12 for around 60 High5 tabs, £12 for 1000 servings seems a much better deal! Plus I don’t mind the slightly salty taste of it without adding flavouring, so avoid all the artificial sweeteners High5 use too! :grin:

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I have all my ingredients and just have a couple questions.
The 311, 429, 155, and 75 are all weight measurements and you probably use a kitchen scale?
Could you clarify the serving size for 24oz? How much of the lemon flavoring would you use for the above (311g of salt) mixture?


Yes, all the numbers you list are weights in grams, and I just used a kitchen scale - +/- 10 grams on any of these is not super critical. My scale goes from 0-1000gms in 1 gram increments, and that is what I used.
I did verify the serving size with a (cheap) precision scale, but that is really approximate too. The density of the powder depends on how tightly packed it is, so it’s hard to be very precise with measuring this.
I use 24 oz water bottles, so I add a heaping/rounded top 1/4 teaspoon of the electrolyte powder, with usually 2 servings of the flavoring. I have some orange flavoring in packets that I use two of, but with the lemon/lime that I have in shakers I just shake some in and estimate (I used to measure 1/2 tsp of those, which is two servings)
I’d experiment with the flavoring - that is really personal preference - I could imagine some people could tolerate it without flavoring if they don’t mind the salty taste.

Ohhh… I just re-read your question more carefully - DO NOT mix the citrus crystals/electrolyte mix in one big batch! These two thing actually react, seem to become hygroscopic (absorbs water from the air). It will first get very clumpy, then after a while will become a moist, sticky mess. I have tried mixing the two in pill cases, like was done by the author of the web link I referenced, and this didn’t really work. It would be OK if I used in within a few days, but after that became very hard to get out.

Hello everyone

I’m currently using SiS go electrolyte on my weekly long rides (over 3 hours) I do like SiS for this taste is great but just wondering if anyone has any home recipes or other alternative brands that have carbs and electrolytes in?


It’s been hard to buy even relatively cheap Gatorade powder in the grocery store, so I figured if I’m ordering this stuff online I might as well do it right. I’m typically a heavy, salty sweater (not sweat tested, but doing Precision Hydration’s online questionnaire they recommend I use the 1500 product for everything), and I’m trying to stick to the high end of carbs for sweet spot, threshold, or VO2max workouts. So I’m doing the following right now, in batches of 6 bottles’ worth:

  • 240g table sugar
  • 240g maltodextrin (Mike’s Mix Tapioca Maltodextrin)
  • 6g table salt
  • 6g sodium citrate (technically trisodium citrate)
  • 1 packet unsweetened Kool-Aid powder

Stir thoroughly in a mixer at the lowest speed.

That yields 20g fructose, 60g glucose, 667mg of sodium in about 80g, which seems to be near the upper limit of what I can get mixed into water. I did 1.5 and 2.5-hour trainer workouts this weekend on 2 and 3 bottles of this mix and I didn’t have any GI issues nor did I feel undernourished or wasted afterward.

This works pretty well in the relatively controlled environment on my trainer: temperature and humidity stay pretty constant, and I feel great sticking very closely to 1 bottle an hour. Doing a long endurance ride outside I’m inclined to separate calories and hydration, because I might drink anywhere from 1-3 bottles in an hour, and that could mean massively overpacking my gut.

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Bringing it back from the grave…

Does anyone have a recipe for electrolyte powder using sodium chloride instead of baking soda?

Gut doesnt handle bicarbonate well.

Using salt instead of the bicarb would be an easy substitution.
NaHCO3 is 27.3% Na by weight: 23/(23+1+12+48)
NaCl is 39.3% Na by weight 23.0/(23.0 + 35.5)
(.273*.828)/.393 = .575 grams NaCL per serving (instead of .828 bicarb)

I am planning to try sodium citrate for my next batch, as I hear that is better from a flavor perspective. My last batch was so big I likely have a year supply left, so it will be a while.

Just to clarify, does this remove the calc bicarb only or does it remove calc bicarb and baking soda?

This just removes the sodium bicarbonate.
The Calcium carbonate (not bicarbonate) remains. Calcium is not that important in electrolyte replacement, so you could just leave that out.

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Thanks a bunch.

I know its an ask, but can you revise your initial post recipe to include this non-baking soda variant? I keep this thread stickied because I forget the ratios often and it would be really helpful to have the recipe at the top as well rather than having to search for it. Also, would help new people who come along see it quickly

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I cannot understand your translations here, particularly for the epsom salt. It seems to me this mix has far too much magnesium in it. Isn’t epsom salt essentially 100% magnesium?

It’s about 20% Mg by weight:
MgSO4 is 20.1% Mg by weight. 24.3/(24.3 + 32.1 + 4*16)

That said, I only put in the magnesium and calcium to copy what is in the commercial products. As I’ve looked into this more, I don’t think that is worth the effort, as hardly any of these elements are excreted as part of your sweat. Just adding sodium is probably all you need to do, and maybe some potassium. My take is that the rest of the stuff is added mainly for marketing or ‘check box’ comparisons against other product. They don’t really add to the effectiveness of the product, but are super cheap to add, and make it ‘look better’.
I’m almost through the huge batch I made using the formula above. I plan to next try using sodium citrate for the sodium, as I’ve heard that has a ‘better’ (or less bad) flavor. If I didn’t already have calcium carbonate and epsom salt from the last batch, I would not buy them.

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Thanks! Appreciate the replies. Now I’ve bought the ingredients to try your recipe out, but your points are probably valid so I may skip the epsom salt and calcium next time too.

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Is it sufficient to replace electrolytes with just table salt? It doesn’t contain much if any magnesium or potassium, so how would that affect performance?

If potassium and magnesium are necessary, then would sea salt not be a cheap way to get the right minerals?

My (non-expert) take on this after looking into it is basically yes, just table salt is fine. Sodium Citrate is likely a better option from a taste and osmality perspective.
Sodium is by far the most important electrolyte to replace, as that is the primary one that is lost through sweat, with potassium a distant second, and the rest are very small amounts.
I think that what we see with commercial offerings is that at scale it is a trivial cost to add magnesium, calcium, etc., and makes the product seem ‘better’, but I don’t think it will meaningfully affect the performance of the product.
(Note that at the extremes - ie RAAM or Tour de France, it may be more important to replace the other electrolytes vs what is needed for ‘normal’ athletic events.)
(Edited to reflect that potassium a distant second, had sodium twice in that sentence before.)


I do not have any expertise on the correct ingredients/ratios for electrolytes, but wanted to add a helpful tip.

Certain cocktails taste better with a bit of salt mixed in. Handling and dosing and mixing dry salt is a PITA for bartenders.

Some have instead made the salt into a concentrated saline solution with water, adding that in with an eyedropper or mini measuring spoon etc.

I think doing the same with whatever mix of electrolyte salts y’all come up with, is a good idea as well for both ease and consistency of dosing.

Mixing them in the right proportions can be difficult, particularly if you are adding magnesium or calcium. What I ended up doing was mixing about 1000 servings at a time - weighing each ingredient with a precision scale. I then put all the salts in a food processor to mix them. This worked well, however the fine powder that results tends to clump (due to moisture I think), and storing the powder in a container with a desiccant helped keep it powdery.

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Yup, doing a larger total quantity is the way for sure, to even things out and dampen any measuring/ratio errors. Making a liquid solution of it is still beneficial though, without actually testing, it is hard to know for sure that a mix of powders hasn’t settled in some way, is evenly dispersed etc.

It did occur to me now that some substances like the calcium for example, may not dissolve well especially at higher concentrations. I’d try mixing the concentrate anyway and putting it in something like a ketchup squeeze bottle. Whatever formulation that would make it simple to just add a tablespoon of that shaken liquid to each of my water bottles.