Need a Foot Detox? What to Do and Recipes to Try

by Sarah DetoxificationComments: 13

foot detox spaMany health conscious people realize that gentle cleansing via the skin is a necessary undertaking in our polluted world. From the many emails I receive on the subject, however, a basic bathtub is surprisingly not available in some living complexes. In those situations, a foot detox is absolutely the next best thing!

A relaxing foot soak is also a good way to destress while watching a movie or reading a book in the living room. It is also preferable to a full body bath if you live in a warm climate and the thought of a hot detox bath is not appealing. I can relate! No detox baths for me during June, July and August!

Seniors sometimes prefer foot detoxing with a small portable tub given the risk of slipping and falling getting in and out of a porcelain or steel bathtub.

If the idea of a foot soak is something you would like to try, below are some health boosting recipes for you to consider. Depending on your physical condition and health status, one particular foot detox recipe may prove preferable to another. 

Foot Baths to Try (and Ones to Avoid)

Before we get started on the how-to, let’s discuss the what.

Detox foot bathing is best accomplished when the soak itself won’t contribute additional toxins to the process. In other words, it is best to avoid the use of a plastic foot tub if at all possible. Adding hot water and ingredients like vinegar have the potential to leech chemicals into the water. This would be counterproductive to the cleansing process.

If detoxing the feet is something you will be doing often, it is probably best to invest in a wooden mini tub or large porcelain bowl.

A galvanized bucket is a budget friendly, nontoxic option as well.

While a plastic foot spa works fine for alkaline soaks in warm (not hot) water, it is not ideal for all foot detox recipes like those using vinegar.

Best Foot Detox Recipes

Epsom Salt Foot Soak for Injuries

A soak in epsom salt is probably the most popular way to sooth and detox the feet.

If there are any bruises or an injury like a sprain or plantar fasciitis present, dissolve 2 cups of epsom salt into a gallon warm to hot water. A water temperature of about 100-102 °F/ 38-39 °C is ideal. Add additional hot water to fill the foot tub and soak for 20-40 minutes.

An epsom salt foot detox is not appropriate if there are any open ulcers or wounds present on the skin.

It is not a good idea to add vinegar to the water in the foot tub as the acidity of the vinegar competes with the alkalizing effect of the epsom salt. This renders the foot detox less effective. Feel free to add a few drops of essential oils if you desire instead.

I prefer epsom salt to magnesium flakes as epsom salt contains both magnesium and sulfur. Many people are deficient in both of these critical minerals. Sulfur, in particular, is important for effective detoxification. Magnesium flakes, on the other hand, contain magnesium and chloride. They also tend to be significantly more expensive.

Vinegar Soak for All Purpose Detox

A vinegar soak is very helpful for an all purpose foot detoxification effect. I prefer raw apple cider vinegar (ACV) packed in glass for this purpose. This is because vinegar packed in plastic will leech toxins into the vinegar. These toxins will end up in your detoxing foot bath.

In addition, GMO corn is the typical crop used to make conventional white vinegar, so beware!

If the price of quality apple cider vinegar deters you, try making ACV yourself. Note that some brands of ACV packed in glass are pasteurized and not raw. Read the label carefully to know what you are buying!

Wine vinegars can be used for foot soaks but tend to have an overly strong smell in my experience.

To do a vinegar foot soak, add 1 cup of ACV to a foot tub filled with warm to hot water and soak for 20 minutes. Again, a water temperature of about 100-102 °F/ 38-39 °C works well. Step out onto a towel and gently dry feet without rinsing. The ph balancing effect of the vinegar on the skin serves as a deodorant that helps keep tootsies sweet smelling.

I don’t suggest adding essential oils to a vinegar detox. Doing so may interfere with the pH balancing effect of the vinegar on the skin of the feet.

Baking Soda and Sea Salt Foot Detox

Baking soda and sea salt make a great combination for an effective foot detox. To make, dissolve 1 cup of sea salt or rock salt and 1 cup of baking soda in water as hot as you can stand in a foot bath.

Keep your feet in the foot tub for about 45 minutes until the water has cooled down.  If the foot bath is too hot, you can add some cold water if this is the only way you can manage to stay in for at least 30 minutes. Don’t add more hot water after beginning the foot soak, however.

Do not rinse the feet but simply pat them dry with a towel when the detox is complete. This foot bath may leave you very tired so do it before a nap or in the evening before bed if possible.

According to Dr. Hazel Parcells, this bath recipe is therapeutic for any exposure to environmental radiation, x-rays, plane flights or airport screenings by TSA (1).

Bentonite Clay Foot Soak

I don’t personally use bentonite clay for soaking the feet or the body for two reasons. First, it makes a bit of a mess to mix and clean up afterwards especially if a foot bath is used. Secondly, there is some concern that unless you are very comfortable with your source, the clay could be contaminated with lead. While lead is a naturally occurring mineral, the levels in bentonite clay according to some tests are unnaturally high according to the FDA (2).

Again, if you are very comfortable with your source, then by all means use clay for detoxing. As for me, there are plenty of other foot detox choices available that are very effective, so I don’t choose to use bentonite clay.

To use bentonite clay (also called montmorillonite clay) for a foot detox bath, mix 1 cup of clay in a foot tub half filled with warm to hot water (about 100-102 °F/ 38-39 °C). Mix well with a whisk until all the clumps are dissolved. You might want to wear a mask so that you don’t inhale any clay dust.

Fill the rest of the tub with warm to hot water and soak your feet for a minimum of 10 minutes to as long as 40 minutes. Rinse you feet and pat dry with a towel. The clay foot soak will help remove dead skin and leave the feet soft and smooth. The negative ions in the clay will also help draw out impurities and detoxify the body.

Skip the Listerine Foot Bath!

Some sources say that a 10 minute foot soak in 1/4 cup of Listerine mouthwash, 1/4 cup of white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of warm water will leave your feet soft and free of dead skin. While the experience will definitely tingle your tootsies, it won’t really remove dead skin as promised. An organic pedicure will do the job much better!

As for detoxing, given all the chemicals in Listerine including the preservatives benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, and carcinogenic caramel coloring, don’t count on the process helping to cleanse much of anything.

If you desire the antiseptic nature of Listerine to help with infections on the feet or ankles, then simply do a hydrogen peroxide soak instead. Add a cup of 3% food grade H2O2 to the warm water in foot bath  and soak for 20 minutes for a chemical free experience!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

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