relief

DIY Foot Soak Recipes

You might think giving your feet a quick daily scrub in the shower is enough to keep them clean. But your feet do a lot of work every day, moving you around for work and pleasure, all while being squeezed into socks and shoes much of the time.

You can do better for your feet.

Treat them to a relaxing, refreshing DIY foot soak—a spa treatment for your feet that you can do right at home.

Here are eight simple and effective foot soak recipes to give your feet the care and attention they deserve.

Introducing the Art of the Foot Soak

A foot soak is one of the simplest things you can do to relax and soothe sore, tired feet after a long day. You might associate foot baths with a foot detox, but that practice focuses on drawing toxins out through the feet.

Foot soaks, on the other hand, are all about relaxation. You can give yourself a luxurious foot soak right from home, complete with essential oils, lotions, warm water, soothing candles, and your favorite music in the background.

The best part about a foot soak is that you can personalize the recipe to contain exactly what helps you relax, whether it’s rosemary or lavender oil, Epsom salt, honey, or another ingredient. And you can use a spa-caliber foot bath with massaging features for the ultimate luxury experience at home.

Benefits of a Foot Soak

Beyond relaxation, foot soaks can have several other benefits, depending on the ingredients used.

You can stir up an antimicrobial foot bath to help battle foot odors or soak in a freshening mixture of warm water, Epsom salt, and peppermint essential oil. You can even use a foot soak to exfoliate your skin and leave your feet feeling soft and smooth.

Meanwhile, use the time you set aside for your foot soak to turn off the screens, close your eyes, and focus on mindfulness.

What You’ll Need for a DIY Foot Soak

You only need a few simple ingredients for a relaxing foot soak:

  • Warm water
  • A bucket or tub
  • A towel
  • Your choice of ingredients

You’ll find that the main ingredient in all of the recipes below is warm water. According to the Arthritis Foundation, heat can help relieve joint stiffness and muscle soreness. Soaking in warm water helps increase blood flow to your feet, which promotes relaxation in the muscles and joints that do so much work.

In addition to water, the most common ingredients are Epsom salt and essential oils, but there are plenty of ways to spruce up a foot soak for an even more relaxing experience.

Turning a Foot Soak into a Spa Treatment

To add another dimension to your relaxing foot soak, try using a massaging foot bath instead of a standard tub. A foot bath with kneading massage nodes can work into knotted muscle tissue and help alleviate soreness.

You can also use a heated foot bath that will keep the water warm while you relax, so you can enjoy longer foot soaks and take full advantage of the massage.

8 Simple Foot Soak Recipes

You don’t need complicated ingredients to whip up a soothing foot soak, but feel free to customize these recipes to find what helps you relax best.

1. Heated Foot Bath

Heat can be an effective part of soothing soreness and stiffness in your feet, and a heated foot bath is the simplest of all foot soaks. This recipe’s great for squeezing in five minutes of you-time or finding relaxation even when you don’t have any other ingredients handy.

Simply fill a bowl or tub that you can fit your feet into with warm water and let your muscles relax. Sit in a comfortable chair, close your eyes, and focus on taking deep, steady breaths.

Using a heated foot bath will keep the water warm, even if you don’t have long to rest before getting back to your daily tasks. A foot soak can also be a great part of your bedtime routine to help you wind down and prepare for sleep.

Whether you enjoy 5 minutes of relief or 30 minutes of quiet relaxation, your feet will thank you for the break.

2. Vinegar and Water

To refresh your feet and help fight foot odors, soak in a simple mixture of vinegar and water.

Ingredients:

  • About 3 cups vinegar
  • About 6 cups water
  • Small tub or large bowl

This refreshing foot soak in warm water and vinegar uses a ratio of approximately two to one. Mix it up in a tub or bowl that’s big enough to submerge both of your feet and let your feet rest in the water for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Vinegar may irritate cuts or other wounds, so if this recipe feels uncomfortable, try using a different foot soak recipe. Finish this and any foot soak that uses ingredients other than water by rinsing your feet in cool water and drying thoroughly with a towel.

3. Epsom Salt and Water

When it’s time to exfoliate your feet for softer-feeling skin, turn to Epsom salt.

Ingredients:

  • About 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • Tub of warm water

Give your feet a relaxing soak in an Epsom salt foot bath by filling a small tub or a large bowl with warm water. Mix in about half a cup of Epsom salt and submerge your feet.

Make sure your chair and sitting position are comfortable and let your feet soak for between 10 and 20 minutes. In a 2018 study, participants who did foot baths with Epsom salt felt reduced joint pain and stiffness.

4. Essential Oils

Essential oils bring an entire palette of potential ingredients to your foot soak, from relaxing—lavender and chamomile—to reinvigorating—peppermint and eucalyptus.

Ingredients:

  • A few drops of your favorite essential oils
  • Tub of warm water

Simply drop some of the essential oils (just a little) into the water and let your feet relax in it. And use a massaging foot bath for added relief.

You can try a variety of oils for different occasions. For example, with scientific evidence showing that it can help promote sleep, chamomile extract can be an especially useful foot soak ingredient for your wind-down routine.

5. Coconut Milk and Honey

Want to moisturize your feet for soft, smooth skin and potentially remove dry, cracked skin? Try a foot soak with coconut milk and honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup honey
  • Tub of warm water

Heat up enough water to cover your feet in a small tub. Then, stir in the honey and coconut milk until the ingredients are fully dissolved and mixed.

Let your feet soak in the mixture for up to 20 minutes. You can also add your favorite essential oils to enjoy the fragrance while you relax.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar

The apple cider vinegar you may keep in your pantry can help turn a simple foot soak into an exfoliating spa treatment.

Ingredients:

  • About 4–6 cups apple cider vinegar
  • About 4–6 cups warm water

Fill up a small tub with enough apple cider vinegar to cover your feet halfway. Then mix in an equal (or greater) amount of warm water and submerge your feet. Soak them for up to 20 minutes and let the acetic acid in the apple cider vinegar gradually soften callused skin. The antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar can help refresh your feet, too.

Finish up your foot soak by using an exfoliating scrub to rid your feet of dead, dry, cracked skin.

7. Baking Soda Soak and Scrub

Soothe your feet and your mind with a warm foot soak featuring baking soda and magnesium salt.

Ingredients:

  • 2–4 tablespoons baking soda
  • Epsom salt
  • Tub of warm water

Mix the baking soda into a tub of warm water and add Epsom salt if desired. The high amount of magnesium in Epsom salt can help soothe dry skin. In a 2005 study, participants who soaked in water mixed with magnesium salts showed improved skin hydration and reduced roughness.

After soaking for 10–20 minutes, mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water in a small bowl to form a scrub. Rub the baking soda into your feet, slowly exfoliating the skin. Finally, rinse off and dry your feet thoroughly with a towel.

8. Peppermint Essential Oil

A stick of peppermint gum to refresh the mouth, a spritz of peppermint oil to refresh a room, and a few drops of peppermint oil to refresh your feet—these are just a few examples of what makes this essential oil so versatile and especially rejuvenating in your foot soak.

Ingredients:

  • A few drops of peppermint essential oil
  • Epsom salt
  • Tub of warm water

Mix Epsom salt into the warm water for additional relief and drop in some peppermint essential oil. It only takes a few drops to enjoy this oil’s fresh fragrance, and you can even rub a small amount directly onto the soles of your feet before submerging them.

You’ll feel the cooling effect of the peppermint oil on your skin and enjoy the pleasant smell as you soak up the relaxation and feel any tension dissipate.

Melt Away Tension with a Warm Foot Soak

A DIY foot soak is one of the simplest ways to get the soothing experience of a spa at home. With so many foot soak recipes and room for personalization, you can truly create an experience that’s just for you.

Keep exploring for more relaxation tips and see how a massaging foot bath can bring even more relief.

Medical Disclaimer: This content is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. 

Resources

  1. 4 Ways You Can Avoid Stinky Feet – Cleveland Clinic
  2. Essential oils for aromatherapy
  3. Heat Therapy Helps Relax Stiff Joints | Arthritis Foundation
  4. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar – PubMed