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Does the Listerine foot soak or bath really work? Putting Pinterest to the test

Pinterest has quickly become the go-to source for everything from recipes and interior design tips to makeup tutorials and DIY tips for pretty much anything you can imagine.

One particular Pinterest post got our attention with a claim that soaking your feet for just 10 minutes in a mixture made with Listerine mouthwash — of all things — will leave those tootsies free of dead skin.

Who wants corns and callouses and rough heels, right?

But is a 10-minute soak in 1/4 cup of Listerine, 1/4 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of warm water enough to give you beautiful, smooth feet? Given that we tend to be as hard on our feet as much as we tend to take them for granted, we decided to put it to the test.

 

For science!

Two noble test subjects — one of whom went on an epic five-hour trek and had very sore, blistered feet by his journey’s end — offered to soak their feet in the peculiar mixture to test the post’s claim that dead skin would “practically wipe away."

But the amounts of Listerine, vinegar and warm water suggested by the original Pinterest post were not enough for either test subject, and they probably won't be enough for you. So go ahead and double the recipe. Heck, triple it or quadruple it if you have to. Keep going until you can submerge your feet and really get that aaaaaah effect.

After a 10-minute soak in the mouthwash foot bath, both people felt relief from the day’s stress on their feet. Only Tester 1 was particularly aware of a pleasant tingling sensation that she credited to the Listerine. We wonder if Tester 2 didn’t feel tingling on account of walking for five hours prior to soaking his feet. However, neither tester felt their feet were remarkably softer after 10 minutes, and Tester 2 said he didn’t really see a difference between soaking in the mixture and soaking in plain warm water.

Both testers decided to keep soaking for a full hour. After one hour, both felt their feet were notably softer, and the dead skin, while not wiping away at all, was well ready for a pedicure. Tester 1 still enjoyed that tingling sensation, and by the next morning both testers said their feet — even the calloused parts — still felt very soft. But by the next morning, both testers also found that they had a case of Smurf feet. Rut roh! Don't worry, they got better.

 

Findings

So the foot bath didn’t deliver on its very big promise. It still felt quite nice. The soak is also a nice alternative for anyone who happens to have mouthwash and vinegar at home, and wants a little something more than just warm water but doesn’t have Epsom salt or foot soaks on hand.

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Comments

Submitted by Nanny K on

I wonder how affective foot-soaking in mouthwash or vinegar would be for those who have fungal infections under their toenails?? Sounds like it might help.

Submitted by Ama on

Nanny K, don't know if you ever tried this, but I can tell you that I had that icky fungus just on my baby toenails (both, go figure). I read about the listerine fix so I figured what the heck, won't cost much to try it. Instead of soaking my whole feet in Listerine, I gave them a wash, then used a small cosmetic brush to brush a lot of straight Listerine, nothing mixed in, on each nail twice a day - AM and PM. Made sure to really soak them, and try to get it under the top of the nail as well. I let it air-dry, then went on with my day (or night). After a few weeks, I started seeing a difference. It takes a while, but it does work. Couldn't tell you exactly how long it was, but several months at least. And even now, after the ick is gone, I still slather those nails with Listerine after every bath or shower, just to be sure it doesn't come back. Good luck!

Submitted by CK on

Tried it.. It's hoax don't do it your servy faild to mention the blueing stain from the listerine

Submitted by Merc on

It works! I tried it for 10 mins but added more to the mixture to make it deeper and it works! afterwards my skins was all flaky but it was easy to scratch it off! no more dead feet for me ! yay for pinterest! so handy cuz most people would have all the items needed anyway!!

Submitted by Susan on

It was very relaxing and refreshing! My son and I both did the soak, and then afterward, we used the Pediegg and the callouses came off quickly with ease! Getting ready to do now :) My athlete's foot is bothering me so it may sting!

Submitted by Debbi Aubee on

They now make a clear listerine that can be used instead of the blue or other colors.

Submitted by Robin Kalvoda on

I tried this last night, after working on my feet for over 6 hours, only I probably double or tripled everything to make it a deeper. I soaked for about 20 minutes. My feet felt so good after, I don't know about softer, but they were hurting due to standing in one spot on concrete floors for so long. The pain was gone. I then used an electric massage machine and gave them a good massage. This morning when I got up, I was ready to go back to work again. :)

Submitted by MEMERE G on

PLAIN LISTERINE CAN CURE ATHLETE'S FOOT, IT SHOULD BE ABLE TO CURE FUNGAL INFECTIONS
.

Submitted by Trish H on

The above commentary did not address the effectiveness regarding toenail fungus??

Submitted by Vivian Lee on

Just FYI, the article was about trying out the effectiveness of this particular foot soak, which claimed to soften dead skin and allow you to peel it away. It did not address toe nail fungus, which is a separate issue entirely, and one we will likely cover specifically in the near future.

Submitted by notyou on

A 4 oz bottle of white iodine applied 3 times per week will take care of nail fungus. It is safer, easier and less expensive than the alternatives such as Lamasil or even most other topical treatments. You should see major improvement in as little as 3 weeks and cost is under $10.

Submitted by Ronnie on

I used it full strength to soak my feet for 10 minutes twice daily for about a week. The athlete's foot began disappearing right away. The toenail fungus began to go away as well. But I think it will take a little longer. I believe it works. After soaking, take a little time and let your feet air dry before putting on socks. For about an hour after the soak, I had this wonderful tingling effect on my feet. I recommend anyone who had these problems to give it a try. Like I said., I believe it works.

Submitted by Teddy on

Has anyone considered adding bleach and/or peroxide? Also if this stuff work on feet I wonder how smooth my body would feel if I bathed in this mixture?

Submitted by Vivian Lee on

I am speaking candidly here -- it is beyond me why anyone would use something they use to bleach their hair (peroxide) or use bleach -- which we use to clean our tubs and eats away at grime -- on *skin*. I caution against it.

Submitted by renee on

I have been told by a medical doctor to give my son a bleach bath once a week for staph infection. There is nothing wrong with it and it won't hurt you as long as you don't lay flat in it or drink it.

Submitted by Kristy on

My son's doctor told me to use bleach in his bath for his skin. I also make my hubby put hydrogen peroxide in his bath water. If you use a little bit i think that is ok.

Submitted by Rob on

DO NOT add bleach to anything containing vinegar!

Unless you REALLY want the lung problems caused by breathing in chlorine gas, that is.

Submitted by Alison on

Never, EVER mix bleach (or any other cleaning agent) with anything - especially lemon. It is a highly dangerous practice and could result in permanent lung damage due to fumes produced.

Submitted by Tori on

Listerine contains ethanol, which kills bacteria, fungi, and germs that can lead to athlete’s foot.

Submitted by Brian on

I have psoriasis so I have dead skin everywhere. Is it safe to bathe in this? I think it might kill all the dead skin.

Submitted by Leah on

Have you ever rinsed your mouth out with Listerine? That burning/tingling feeling is it killing germs and bacteria. If you SOAK in a tub of Listerine, something tells me you won't be in it for long enough to do any good. Any place where you have bacteria, even the good kind, it will burn like crazy and probably not be healthy for your system as well. Just my thought on it. Maybe, if you are really determined to try it, just do individual body parts as much as you can to see if it works before submerging your entire body.

Submitted by steve on

okay don't do that..it'll burn you in bad places.and after all you you can't kill dead skin its already dead

Submitted by Sonja on

I did a search on this subject and found varying details of success...I decided it couldn't hurt me. I have only recently (in the last 2 years) developed psoriasis on both elbows and knees. Every morning and every night I take a q-tip and rub each area with Listerine and a cream moisturizer called "Vanicream" you can get it at Walgreens...it is a good size white jar with a pump and runs about $17.00 dollars but last a very long time. With in 3 days of starting this routine I noticed a huge difference. The areas didn't itch all the time anymore, the flakiness was cut by half. After 2 weeks of the routine there was hardly any flakiness and the bright red the areas use to be were down to a soft pink. I know there is no cure, and that there are "prescriptions" that may work better, however, I know that those prescriptions are terribly expensive, and after reading up on the side effects of some of them I decided I would rather deal with the ugly spots and itching. That was what prompted my search for more realistic ways of coping. I hope this has helped, and on a final note...I am not sure actual bathing in it would be safe.

Submitted by Amanda on

I love using vicks overnight on my knees and elbows when my psoriasis flares up. Cheapest and most effective remedy I have found in 15 years.

Submitted by No more scales on

I use a bath sponge that you can insert bars of soap into and mix the Canus Goat Milk Soap and Paul Mitchell Tea Tree soaps. Use this in the areas where you have the psoriasis...or anywhere else.
This will take away your psoriasis.
I found it by accident.
Good luck.

Submitted by douknowjello on

How does one soak their feet in 1 cup of liquid? lol Just wondering if when this was tested they increased everything by ratio.

Submitted by Bob on

I'm reading this as I soak my feet. The vinegar is about ten years old from the back of the cupboard, and smells funny. Will my feet smell like p*ss in the morning?

Submitted by Kathy on

Probably

Submitted by PRDiddy on

If you have 10 yr old vinegar in the cupboard, your feet probably already smell like piss, so I wouldn't worry about it.

Submitted by python2 on

LOL terrific response......LMAO

Submitted by Janelle on

I don't think that works

Submitted by Will Davis on

I qradrupled ingredients, did not help dead skin much, but I have daibetes and infection in heels, did seem to relieve pain and maybe help kill infection, so I'll take it!

Submitted by Tara &Lindsay on

WE both have blue feet and they feel rougher than they did before... ~ We've wasted bottles of vinegar & listerine! Only positive outcome... I'll never buy blue Listerine again!

Submitted by Willow on

Vinegar poured on the hair removes the glue of nits....listerine kills smothers the lice...don't get in eyes.lice become resistant to the pesticide, gave it a try seemed to work. Blonde hair used original no blue hair.

Submitted by Amanda on

I think I'll stick with conditioner and a nit comb thanks.

Submitted by KSharun on

My husband, who is on his feet all day, has begun doing the soak. While the dead skin does not wipe away, his feet are ready for a pedicure, just as the conclusion above states. Before, his skin is calloused, dead, and scratchy. After the soak and a bit of scrubbing and attention, his feet feel softer. They are no longer rough, and he said he also feels some relief from the pain.

Submitted by jmcbride on

I have REALLY bad feet. As in should probably get a pedi every couple of weeks. This works very well for me. I don't always have the time or $$ to get a pedicure, but this trick works! Yes the listerine will stain your feet temporarily but comes off in the shower. I dry my feet after soaking and then scub with a common skin/foot sander and the dead skin comes right off. Also, toenail fungus can be cured using Vicks Vapo rub (spelling?). My sister had been taking meds for two years to try to cure hers. Saw this remedy and applied it morning and night. It took about 6 weeks but completely went away. Much better than those liver harming pills! Hope this helps you all...good luck!

Submitted by Joe on

Copied and pasted this from WebMD when I did a search on this subject.
"To soften super-dry areas, soak your feet in original Listerine Antiseptic Mouthwash (yes, Listerine!) once or twice a week. Mix one part Listerine with two parts warm water in a basin and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes. Then apply a moisturizer like Eucerin Plus Intensive Repair Foot Creme, which contains hydrating urea. In addition to skin-sloughing benzoic acid, Listerine contains ethanol, which kills bacteria, fungi, and germs that can lead to athlete’s foot."

So if you don't want Smurf feet use Original Listerine. Notice the recipe as well too. Broken down in parts and not cups. Plus, use a moisturizer when finished as well.

Going to give this a try.

Submitted by Suzann on

My routine for getting rid of toe nail fungus went like this: wash feet before going to bed, put original Listerine all over the affected nail(s) with a cotton ball, then cover the pad part of a Band Aid with Vicks VapoRub & put that over the nail. When you get up in the morning, remove the Band Aid, wipe the nail clean & again use a cotton ball soaked in the Listerine to wipe down the toe well & let it dry. This worked for me, I think it was the thymol in the Listerine & the Vicks.

Submitted by denimum on

I had no listerine in the house so soaked in warm water and vinegar, works better than just soaking in water to soften up dead skin before pedicure. Great idea!

Submitted by Sara on

Tried it, It did work, but i think had i just used salt and water it would have worked the same. However one odd thing did occur, my mouth had the taste of Listerine for the next 24 hours after doing this, it was a little concerning.

Submitted by Jc S on

I love it! I usually soak my feet for 30 minutes and then use my Ped Egg afterwards. It actually works. For me, my feet feel like my 2 year old nephew's. I definitely suggest this DIY method!

Submitted by JLAyers on

While the listerine doesn't actually help pull the dead skin off, it is known for killing bacteria and fungus quite well. Soaking feet in listerine kills athletes foot pretty quickly. It is good for something. ;)

Submitted by Alexis T on

I'm soaking my feet as I'm typing this comment, I tripled everything because I have horrible feet. Hopefully it works for me, I'm going to try and leave my feet in the soak for about an hour. I also boiled a big pot of water, I rather use scorching water than warm!

Submitted by Amazed on

What a croc of shit, who wants to bath in mouthwash , heres an idea ,
And im just putting it out there, use mouth wash to wash your mouth, try radox for in the bath , and if ur feet are really that bad!!'?? Go to a chiropidist,

Internet makes people stupid!

Submitted by Catie on

A person commenting that the "internet makes people stupid" shouldn't talk, especially when they have incorrect comma placement, besides other punctuation errors. Also, spelled chiropodist incorrectly. Yes, irony. The internet makes people stupid.

Submitted by Elisabeth on

I'm getting so tired of these attention whores on the internet. "This is crazy". Bite me! This does NOT work better than anything else. Hot water and natural soap does the job nicely. Even: Soak Your feet in clean, hot water for ten minutes and lots of dead skin comes off..

Submitted by MK on

YES, it does work!! I put enough White Vinegar, & Listerine in a Pan to cover my heels & read for maybe 1/2 hour. The dead skin turned white, what did not rub off I buffed off with stone. Pushed my cuticles and declared the best ever pedicure!!
Since then friends have been made believers by doing this too! We have pedi party's and enjoy the privacy our friends share!!
I don't know if people aren't soaking long enough or not enough solution, but this works for me and many friends! Of course someone selling a chemical product won't agree!

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