Listerine Vinegar Foot Soak For Soft, Smooth Feet: Help or Hype?

Will a listerine vinegar foot soak really work to make dead skin “wipe right off?” A dermatologist gives her opinion, and I try the soak myself. Interested? Read on!

listerine vinegar foot soak for soft, smooth feet

By now, most everyone has seen the following viral Facebook post:

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!

Sounds convincing…but is there any TRUTH to the claim? Dermatologist Dr. Jo Herzog gives her medical opinion, and I weigh in after trying the soak for myself. First, let’s hear from Dr. Jo….

Dr. Jo Herzog

Dr. Jo Herzog, dermatologistI 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 truth 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. As I said earlier, it is worth a try if you have the time and the ingredients readily on hand.

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.

Hope this helped,

Dr. Jo

Jamie Tarence, Family Savvy

Now I’ll share my take on the listerine vinegar foot soak after trying it firsthand. I modified the recipe as follows:

1 cup of listerine
1 cup of vinegar
2 cups of warm water

Method: I put all the ingredients in a shallow aluminum pan that held just enough liquid to cover my feet completely. I soaked my feet for 20 minutes, adding hot water twice to keep the water warm.

The results? The soak was cool and refreshing, and my feet felt fresh and tingly afterward.  Although my feet were slightly softer after the soak, there was no noticeable removal or peeling of dry skin. So, for me, the Facebook ad didn’t live up to its claims. 

My Take: The key to removing dead skin lies in exfoliation and cannot be achieved by a foot soak alone. More vigorous measures, such as the use of a file or pumice, are needed to complete the job. Even more options are available in the form of fruit acids, chemical exfoliants, and exfoliating salts and scrubs. For those who want to try some of the more additional treatments, here are a few that I use regularly with great results.

  1. For removing dry, dead skin, one of the best products I’ve found is Baby Foot. I blogged about my husband’s experience in Blown Away By Baby Foot. Baby Foot uses fruit acids to penetrate into the skin. It is basically a chemical peel for feet, and it really works.
  2. For maintaing soft feet after a good peel or pedicure, I routinely practice my version of the Best Ever DIY Pedicure. The products that I use are inexpensive and really work if used consistently.
  3. The listerine vinegar sugar scrub for feet is a listerine vinegar combo that works to keep feet smooth and soft. It is inexpensive, easy to use, and makes feet feel Amope electronic pedicure fileabsolutely amazing! This scrub has gotten tremendously positive feedback from Family Savvy readers who have tried it and love it.
  4. For stubborn callouses, we pull out the big gun (pictured at right)~the Amopé Pedi Perfect Electronic Pedicure Foot File. I LOVE this and use it weekly to smooth rough heels and the tops of my big toes (which get very dry for some reason).
  5. To learn how to safely remove callouses, you can read Dr. Jo’s advice in Callouses: To Remove or Not To Remove?  The post includes a photo of my daughter’s callous after using the callous remover.

So the bottom line on soft, smooth feet is this: there is no “magic pill” that will do it all. The key is using good products, consistently, and establishing a good foot care routine. Here is a system that works for me.

  • EVERY 3-4 Months–foot peel using Baby Foot.
  • EVERY  1-2 Weeks–Best Ever DIY pedicure.
  • EVERY DAY or AS NEEDED–Listerine Vinegar Sugar Scrub for Feet

So….there you have it; my tried and true products and techniques for achieving and maintaining soft feet. I’d love to hear back from you if you try any or all of these. As always, thanks for reading, be blessed, and stay savvy!

Note: Some links are referral links. My full disclosure policy is here.