A dermatologist shares expert advice on the Listerine Vinegar Foot Soak for soft, smooth feet and helps separate expectations vs reality.
Does the Listerine vinegar foot soak recipe REALLY remove bacteria, heal Athlete’s foot, soften feet, and remove dry, dead skin? A dermatologist weighs in……..
What exactly IS the Listerine Vinegar foot soak?
Several years ago, the official “Listerine Vinegar Foot Soak for Soft Smooth Feet” was a viral post on Facebook. Here is exactly how the wording appeared:
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, 1/4c vinegar and 1/2c of warm water. Soak feet for 10 minutes–the dead skin will practically wipe off!
This “recipe” was forwarded and reposted literally millions of times! From Facebook to Pinterest to Instagram and more! The viral nature of the post left questions if the minds of many. First, I’ll share how Dr. Jo Herzog, my longtime friend and dermatologist, feels about the foot soak. Second, I’ll share my experience and the comments from many readers who’ve weighed in.
Dr. Jo Herzog
I have been asked to comment on a widely circulating Facebook post about an amazing foot soak comprised of a mixture of listerine, vinegar and water. The claim is that this soak causes dead skin to “peel off.” So, is this truth or hype?
First, I’ll address the question, “Does a listerine and vinegar foot soak remove dry dead skin? If you have dry feet, this soak 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 most you can lose is ten minutes and a few cents.
I am also asked by many patients, “Does listerine kill foot fungus?” The answer is a clear yes. 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.”
Patients also ask, “What happens when you soak your feet in vinegar? Vinegar is acetic acid, and in a high enough concentration, it 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. In addition to acidic properties, vinegar can act as an antibacterial agent.
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. If nothing else, the soak could help with smelly feet, which I write about in this post.
Hope this helped,
Hi….it’s me. Now that we’ve heard from Dr. Jo. I’d like to share my experience with the foot soak, which I tried firsthand so that I could see for myself. ….Below is my “recipe’ of ingredients:
What is the official “recipe” for Listerine Vinegar Foot Soak?
The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup each of vinegar and Listerine with 1 cup of water. My proportions are as follows.
Family Savvy Recipe for Listerine Vinegar Foot Soak
1 cup of listerine
1 cup of vinegar
warm water to cover top of feet
How long do you soak your feet in listerine and vinegar?
The answer is at least 10 minutes but ideally 20 minutes. The former is the minimum time needed to soften feet and prepare them for a good exfoliation. The latter is ideal for perfectly soft, supple, exfoliation ready feet. This is also a good time to rest and relax:-)
For quick foot soaks, I use an aluminum pan, but for DIY “pampering,” I invested in this Brookstone Foot Spa, and I feel like I have a bona fide pedicure soak any time I want one. Water can be heated to several temps, aqua jets can be turned on or off, and foot massagers and a pumice stone are placed inside also. Below is a photo of how I do my foot soak with the foot spa.
NOTE: I recommend only original or clear Listerine, as some folks’ feet or toenails turn green or blue (temporarily) with the mint versions. Although I’ve used the green with no issues, it is safer to use the original. IF your feet do discolor, Dr. Jo says it will go away within a matter of days in most cases.
Note: When using the Listerine Vinegar solution in the foot spa, I use the heat function and soak for 20 minutes or so. I do NOT use the aqua jets, as it foams and bubbles. I only use aqua jets with plain water and Epsom or magnesium salts..
Following the foot soak, I exfoliate using the listerine vinegar sugar scrub for feet (get the recipe here). If you don’t want to make your own scrub, I link to my fave store bought scrub below.
My take on the listerine vinegar soak? The claims are partially true. This foot soak by itself won’t cause dry dead skin to “peel off.” But done along with a few other DIY procedures it absolutely can and will remove dry skin and leave feet feeling soft and supple.
Disclaimer: If you have diabetes or foot conditions that require medical supervision, always consult with a doctor before self treatment.
My Favorite Products for Soft, Smooth Feet
- 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.
- 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.
- The listerine vinegar sugar scrub for feet is a listerine vinegar combo that works to keep feet smooth and soft. It is inexpensive and easy way to keep feet exfoliated. NOTE: if soft silky HANDS are also a concern, I share my secret $3 or less DIY solution in this post.
- For easy scrubbing of feet without bending over.….the the FootMate System is another “treat for feet” that I put directly on my shower floor. Used daily with the rejuvenating gel, it cleans, massages, and softens feet (without my ever having to bend over:-). It tends to “tickle” the feet at first and takes some getting used to, but it is refreshing once you learn to tolerate it.
- For stubborn callouses, we pull out the big gun (pictured at right)~the AmopÃ© 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).
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. The video shows the system and the products that I am using now.
All of the products that I use (with a few more faves) are below.
If you want even more ways to use this powerful mouth rise, check out my post~9 Savvy Ways to Use Listerine Besides Mouthwash. There are so many ways to use it besides oral care:-)
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 products, so please feel free to leave comments! As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay soft feet savvy:-)