Listerine & Vinegar Foot Soak: Help or Hype?


listerine vinegar


Update: Since writing this post, I have discovered a combination of products that if used appropriately and consistently, can achieve the feet you’ve always wanted. One product, Baby Foot, did such an amazing job removing dry skin from my husband’s feet that I shared the experience (with photos) in Blown Away By Baby Foot.  After reaping the benefits of a good foot peel from Baby Foot, I maintain my soft feet with my version of the Best Ever DIY Pedicure.

Curious about the claims, I asked Family Savvy’s contributing dermatologist, Dr. Jo Herzog, to weigh in on the “listerine and vinegar foot soak” recipe that has been widely circulating on Facebook. If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is….

Ideal to help with those crusty feet! Get it right ladies!! …the BEST way to get your feet ready for summer. Sounds crazy but it works! Mix 1/4c Listerine (any kind but I like the blue), 1/4c vinegar and 1/2c of warm water. Soak feet for 10 minutes–the dead skin will practically wipe off!


Dr. Jo Herzog

Dr. JoI have been asked to comment on a widely circulating Facebook post about a new method to soften feet for the summer. It involves soaking the feet in a mixture of listerine, vinegar and water. So, is this help or hype?

You can actually google this foot soak and find many old-time remedies for dry feet that include these ingredients. I guess you won’t know until you try it. It certainly couldn’t hurt, and it might even help.  Your feet will surely be clean and tingly when you are done, especially if you use cool mint listerine. The two main ingredients are inexpensive and readily available in most homes, so the most you can lose is ten minutes and a few cents.

Listerine contains Thymol, an ingredient that does kill some bacteria and fungi. Although the concentration is lower in this than in some prescription products, it probably does “kill germs.”  I am not sure, however, whether  it would cause skin to exfoliate.

Vinegar is acetic acid. This also has some antibacterial properties and in a high enough concentration can cause irritation. Acetic acid contributes to cavity formation by eroding enamel from teeth. This might lead some to think that in low concentrations it can work to soften the skin and make it easier to exfoliate. There have been several things written supporting the notion that vinegar and water soaks can be used to soften dry cracked heals. Some even recommend this for mild athlete’s foot.

There certainly is nothing wrong with or worrisome about soaking your feet in something safe enough to put in your mouth, so why not try this and see for yourself. Let’s hear what everyone thinks of this foot soak.  Maybe I will try adding a touch of peppermint and eucalyptus to make my own foot spa.

Addendum: My take on the listerine vinegar foot soak…The soak is tingly and refreshing but does little to dramatically exfoliate most dry skin. The fact is, exfoliation requires much more than a soak (unless you are using acids such as those found in Baby Foot).  Instead of listerine and vinegar, what WILL prove effective are fruit acids found in foot peels like Baby Foot.  So… I reserve the listerine for fresh breath and reach for Baby Foot when I need a real foot makeover.