Listerine Foot Soak: Why It Works & How To Do It

A Listerine and vinegar foot soak works wonders on dry feet and heels!

When I originally encountered this Listerine foot soak, at first I had a hard time believing that anyone would actually soak their feet in Listerine! But if my years of blogging about home remedies have taught me anything, it’s that sometimes the wackiest ideas are the most effective, so I figured I should give it a try before writing off the idea entirely.

While I was fairly skeptical about using Listerine as a foot soak, I’m happy to report that this miracle foot soak actually works! After a 15-minute soak and a few minutes of filing, most of the thick dead skin was gone and my feet (and my heels most especially) were much softer and smoother. Just check out these before and after pictures:

While I do enjoy the occasional foot soak to soothe sore feet, knowing this foot soak with Listerine can also help to prevent and repair the dry cracked feet I’ve suffered from for most of my life is pretty great too! Here’s everything you need to know so you can try it at home.

Vinegar And Listerine Foot Soak: Recipe & How-To

Note: This Listerine foot soak recipe makes one quart of foot soak mixture. So you may want to double, triple, or quadruple the recipe, depending on the size of your foot bath.

Use yellow Listerine for the foot soak, as the blue and green can stain your skin.

1. Prepare The Foot Soak

Start by adding one cup of Original Listerine (or another yellow antiseptic mouthwash*), one cup of white vinegar, and two cups of warm water to a foot soaking bath. (Don’t have a foot bath? Any wide, shallow container that can fit both your feet in it will work!)

*Note: Bright blue or green menthol mouthwashes can have a tendency to stain skin. The stain fades quickly, but you can avoid potential stains entirely by using yellow mouthwash instead!

Soak your feet in the Listerine foot soak for at least 10 to 15 minutes.

2. Soak Your Feet For 10-15 Minutes

Place your feet in the foot bath with the Listerine foot soak and relax for 10-15 minutes, or longer if you have a substantial buildup of dead skin. (For an antifungal effect, you can soak for up to one hour.)

After soaking, use a pumice stone or foot brush to remove dead skin.

3. Remove Dead Skin With A Foot File Or Pumice Stone

After soaking, use a foot file or pumice stone to remove the softened dead skin. Rinse your feet well, dry them off with a clean towel, and apply a generous amount of moisturizing lotion to your newly soft, smooth feet.

Repeat the Listerine Foot Soak as needed.

4. Repeat The Listerine Foot Soak As Needed

I found it easy to file off most of the dry skin after just one soak, and I have no doubt that a couple of repeat treatments will take care of the rest! If you suffer from dry, cracked heels like I do, I definitely recommend giving this a try — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the results!

Listerine Foot Soak really works, as these before and after photos show,.

Other Benefits Of This Listerine Foot Soak

Soaking your feet in a diluted Listerine solution may also help with athlete’s foot and other fungal conditions. To eliminate foot fungus and toenail fungus, you should soak for 45 minutes to an hour, in order to allow more time for the vinegar and Listerine to soften your nails as well as your skin.

The vinegar in this soak has benefits too — the acetic acid can help kill yeast and bacteria, and may even aid in wound healing. (Don’t use Listerine or vinegar soaks if you have an active infection or open wounds, and stop using it and consult a doctor if you experience any skin irritation!)

Have you tried any foot soaks for dry, cracked heels and feet?

Listerine Foot Soak

Listerine & Vinegar Foot Soak (Step-By-Step Guide)

Jill Nystul
As odd as it sounds, this easy and inexpensive foot soak can help get rid of tough dead skin and leave your feet soft and smooth.
3.87 from 116 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Active Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes


  • Foot bath
  • Foot File or pumice stone


  • 1 cup Listerine or other yellow mouthwash
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water


  • Add all ingredients to a foot bath. Soak your feet for 10-15 minutes.
    Listerine Foot Soak
  • Use a foot file or pumice stone to remove the softened dead skin.
    Listerine Foot Soak
  • Rinse and dry feet, and repeat as needed.
    Listerine Foot Soak

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Natural Remedies

  • Sounds like an interesting soak! My “secret weapon” for soft and smooth feet has been Beekman’s1802 unscented whipped body cream, and also B1802’s unscented body wash, and an occasional quick scrub with a Flowery Original Swedish foot file. All are available at Amazon. Beekman’s is goat milk based, and absorbs so well into skin that it leaves no residue and won’t cause feet sweat, either. It’s wonderful! Also, from Amazon, I wear Shevalues summer arch support slippers around the house and those helped get rid of some foot calluses I used to get! My feet are better than ever, but I’d be up for a pampering foot soak, regardless!

  • I’m going to try the tea tree oil tip for toenail fungus..It’s not my feet that have the fungus. My mom is almost 80 with the yellow toenails and some of them are next to impossible to trim. I’ll have to suggest this to her. We’re hoping she won’t have to go to a Podiatrist. I already do for my Arthritis in my feet. I have Hallux Rigidus + it’s a form that basically affects my big toe, very painful.

    • I also have this problem. I purchased a callus/corn shaver at CVS many years ago. I’m able to remove some of the calluses during my bath, but the shaver is much, much more effective.

    • Ugh! I get those all the time too no matter what time of year it is or shoes I wear! I don’t understand why. I use the “cheese grater” foot scraper in the shower which helps keep it at bay but it is such a pain in the butt to have this unattractive problem. So I feel your pain!

  • Vinegar in water will do the same thing. epsome salt foot bath will do the same thing.
    even just plain water will do the same thing if you leave your feet in long enough.
    taking a shower does not give your feet a very long time in water like soaking in a tub would.
    that is why dry heels seem to be more and more because most everyone just take shower these days and foot soaking has become popular because it does give the feet time to, well, soak! Removing dry skin after a while will happen now matter what you soak your feet in, just give it time and take care. You absorbe a lot through the soles of your feet so be careful you do not put sometihng in your water that you may be allergic to or can cause harm over time.

    • Sam, I scrolled down to say the same thing.I have tried just plain water and water with all of the ‘miracle’ additives and found that everything works the same as just the plain water. I’ve been experimenting with all of the ‘miracle’s for over 50 years and nothing works any different than just the plain water. I keep experimenting because I’m trying to find something that removes the dry skin for good.

      • Plain water never helped me. Vinegar and water is effective to remove death skin from my heels, i am so happy with this.

      • Epsom salts really feel good to me. I pour a little bit of lavendar scented bubble bath in the foot soak (or, put epsom salts in the bathtub along with the bubble bath) and enjoy a nice foot or whole body soak along with a lovely scent. Helps with dry skin, and helps me calm and unwind too.

  • I’ve done this before it works. My main problem with my feet is the sharp little pieces of skin on the bottom of your feet. These hurt like crazy. I would love some ideas on how to get rid of them.

    • I think you’re talking about dry skin bits that, if you try to pull them off, they go too deep? Try a callus shaver (the mini-grater looking type) to take off the dry part without tearing the skin.

  • ONG! Can I give ten stars, this foot scrub is from heaven! I did a treatment and my feet are like a baby’s bottom.

    I doubled the ingredients because I wanted more liquid in the basin. I soaked, then used my assorted instruments to remove the dead skin and shape around the nails. The plus was I didn’t have to work as hard or long as in the past. It took a quarter of the time, (I didn’t finish my movie) that was certainly a prize. I dried my feet, applied lotion and I can’t keep my hands off of my feet!!! I love it!!!

    Thank you sooooo much for this post, Jillee, you have made me a very happy woman!

    Gotta go finish dancing on my new feet!!

    Thanks again.

  • This year I tried something new! I applied a small amount of leave in hair conditioner after a shower. I put on white socks and after only a couple times, my heels were super!

  • Like 2 others that replied, I rub a generous amount of Vaseline (I prefer that brand and it isn’t costly) on my feet after bathing, then put on cotton socks. Leave the socks on as long as possible. It’s amazing how much softer my feet feel the next day if I’ve had the socks on all night. I only done this once periodically when my feet have been dry and I’m sure if I wasn’t so lazy, several days in a row would be even better. This works great for hands too. I prefer cotton gloves instead of plastic gloves. Plastic will make your hands too hot.

    • I too use a type of vaseline product that is called Live Clean (for babies) It is a non-petroleum based product. Sometimes I put a smidge in my hand along with a pump of hand/foot cream and that works too.

  • My husband is diabetic and had dry, cracked heels until I applied True Blue Spa Cracked Heel Treatment with glycolic acid. It’s a miracle worker. I use it on my hands and arms.

  • I have been using Listerine and Vinegar in my footbath since last year. Added to that I also use Epsom Salts, Peppermint oil, Lavender oil, Lemon oil and for the topper, I add Hydrogen Peroxide. You can also use Apple Cider Vinegar as a substitute. Many of these products are fungus fighters and will help to prevent corns, blisters and calluses.

  • “Dermal Therapy” is the only creme that works on my feet (and toes), along with a soak and foot file. I also use it on my fingers which look more like a scalpel lanced them or big paper cuts. Painful. Guaranteed to work!

  • I see someone mentioned Vicks Vapo Rub, Podiatrists recommend a Listerine foot soak followed by a Vick’s Vapo Rub application to get rid of that toe nail fungus…

    • I have yet to see anything help with toe nail fungus! My father’s toe nails are absolutely gross! He is 86 years old & we don’t think there is anything that will make them normal….he even goes to the foot doctor to get his nails clipped because we cannot even clip them for him! Seriously, they are totally the worse I have ever seen! I wish there was something that would work….I may try Vick’s!

  • I think I might be the queen of cracked feet. I have used listerine & vinegar and found it works the best! It also makes you sit down for a few minutes at the end of the day to soak them! Bonus !

  • This was my cure. Athlete’s foot cream. After years and years of dry and cracked heels, I decided to give Athlete’s foot cream a try. It works. No more cracked heels. You have to be diligent in using it all the time, especially if you get pedicures, or it will come back. The reason I decided to try it is because I started noticing my skin wanting to be dry and scaling near the tips of my toes. Which, of course, is one of the signs of Athlete’s foot. I used the cream all over my feet and Voila! No more cracked and dry heels!

  • I’ve used vinegar in my foot soak forever. It’s good for a lot of skin ailments. Never have put listerine in it though. Seems the alcohol would work against soft skin.

    • I use bag balm and old cotton socks as well. I also use bag balm and plastic gloves, or sometimes just a finger, for cracks around my fingernails. Works overnight. A container of bag balm has medication of some kind in it and lasts forever.

  • Hi! I have tried this, and it does work very well! To keep my feet, and most importantly, my heels soft all through fall, winter, and spring, I use CeraVe Healing Ointment on my feet every night, covered with socks. Works amazingly well!

  • I use Vaseline Body Lotion – unscented because of my allergies everyday after my shower. It is surprising how well it works on not just dry skin but also calluses The best part – it’s not expensive. In fact it works so well that when I go in for my pedicure the nail technician is always surprised at the softness of my feet.
    I have been using it for many years.

  • also, another thing that works good on itchy,peeling skin is Aveeno lotion but get the one for itching skin. I used it on an area of the heel of my hand and it really cleared it up.

  • sounds great – will definitely try this! Also, I wonder how noxema skin care cream would work? I know someone who always used that on her feet for dry skin and said it also helped with neuropathy pain.

  • Found out I had diabetes last winter and one of the things that was part of it was my dry skin, especially my feet. I tried every single lotion I could find even the expensive stuff until one day I saw that Gold Bond had a body lotion for diabetics. I started using it and within a week my feet were back to normal, no more scaly skin on my heels or under my toes! It’s a miracle lotion for me, even the girls where I get toes done were amazed and now they are all using it. It’s inexpensive and really does the job and I can’t recommend it enough!

  • About three years ago I began using a long handled foot file, one side coarse and the other fine, on dry feet. Don’t get carried away the first time or you will feel it the next day. I know. When you finish, smooth Petroleum Jelly on your feet just as you get into bed. Cover each foot with a plastic grocery bag followed by a sock. Don’t try to walk with these on your feet. They are VERY SLIPPERY! In the morning you will awaken with the smoothest feet you have ever had. I go bare foot or wear sandals as much as I can and never, ever have anything but soft healthy feet.

  • just stop using the pumice stone and any other tool to scratch the heels. In this way, after a period of adaptation, the heels will heal spontaneously and there will no longer be these problems.

      • Yes, ruin the sheets. It’s like going to bed with cleats on. You can HEAR a nylon sock tearing away from the foot as the fibers rip during the pulling. Ugh!!

    • This is not the best advice (heels do not “spontaneoulsy heal” and certainly would not apply to most dry skin sufferers–many of whom do not use pumice. I’m a lab technologist and vet technician meaning I have a grasp of the healing and rejuvenation process(es). Personally, I soak 10-15 minutes in warm water with an essential oil of choice and then use a washcloth to exfoliate. Once my foot is dry and relatively smooth I use AVON Foot Works to moisturize. Likely I will discontinue with AVON altogether as they continue to test their products on animals. Boo.

  • Does it matter what kind of vinegar is used with the yellow mouthwash? Can it be apple cider vinegar? Or did you use plain white vinegar? I want to try this and I have terribly dry, calloused feet! Thanks, Amy in Alabama

    • Apple cider vinegar has SO many health benefits that I would definitely go with it. We take in and expel toxins through our feet so I am not sure Listerine would be the best. My poor feet need attention BADLY. Sadly, I don’t even moisturize the poor things that carry me through long and busy days!

      • This is my very strange solution. I use the sponge type sandpaper (like a wedge with rough edges) in the finest grade on dry heels. Then after a shower or bath I use it on the moist skin. You can find these in the hardware area and be sure to get the fine grade. It is cheap and it works well. (Don’t use this. sponge for anything else.) Have used sponges for a year as they are rinse-able. Strange but excellent.

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