Depending on the sources you consult, you will find both negative and positive views on using a foot detox bath. This detoxification process comes from soaking your feet with water and other materials. Some say that it pulls toxins, free radicals, and heavy metals out of the feet and into the water. You can find many holistic and alternative medicine clinics that offer foot detox methods. However, because there are so many conflicting ideas, you might be wondering if you can even trust them. Evidence proves that the results are purely anecdotal, but they are not harmful either. Many people experience other benefits from detox foot spa methods, even if they do not experience any actual detoxing. Keep reading to find out how a detox foot bath works, the benefits it offers, and how to make your own.

How Does a Foot Detox Bath Work?

There are several different ways that foot detoxes work because there are several different methods that people use. However, each of them has the same end goal in mind.

Regardless of the materials and methods you use, they are supposed to pull toxins out of your body through the skin of your feet. This then should provide you with a greater sense of well-being and health. However, as stated earlier, there is limited research, and opinions are often different regarding whether it truly works or not.

For example, the Center for Research Strategies published a study about the effectiveness of an ionic detox footbath. The study reports that each participant saw lower levels of aluminum and arsenic in their blood after an ionic foot soak. They did not see any change in the levels of cadmium, lead, mercury, or other heavy metals in their blood. However, the Center for Research Strategies has ties to the popular detox foot bath machine IonCleanse. This may have been a bias that affected their research.

A study in 2012 used the IonCleanse on their participants to test its efficiency. They collected water samples both before and after the detox, as well as urine and hair samples from the participants. This study found that there was no change in the level of toxins in the water, nor in the participants. It also did not stimulate detoxification within the body. However, the study only had six participants, so it does not reflect most people’s experiences.

Types of Foot Detox Baths

There are several ways to stimulate the detoxification process, so we will go over some of the most popular methods. This includes a regular foot soak, an ionic foot detox bath, foot pads, and foot masks. Depending on the method you use, you may need salts, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, or bentonite clay. However, this would be getting too far ahead of ourselves. You can learn how to make a foot bath detox home remedy yourself in a later section. For the time being, here are some popular methods to detox through your feet.

Ionic Foot Bath

You may have seen the infomercials that talk about an ionic foot detox bath machine that can show you all the toxins extracted through the water’s changing color. Using a detox foot bath color chart, you can then use the color of the water to see which parts of your body the bath detoxed. Unfortunately, even experts in the field have debunked using the color chart. But first, we need to discuss how the ionic foot detox bath works.

The ion detox foot spa works by using electrolysis. The machine uses metal plates and a small electrical current to break down the water in the basin. Salts in the water promote conductivity, and the water breaks down the water into positively charged hydrogen ions or negatively charged hydroxyl ions. You can set the machine to create either positive or negative ions, which then supposedly interact with the toxins in your body. Like a magnet, the positive and negative ions attract the oppositely charged toxins and pull them out through the skin of the feet. The electrical current also stimulates the body and allows it to rid itself of toxins through sweat and urine in the following two days.

Because there is limited research on these machines, you will need to take these claims with a grain of salt. It very well may work, but scientific studies do not prove it yet. As for the water changing colors during the detox, science does prove that the color does not come from toxins leaving the body. The machine uses metal plates, so the color comes from the oxidation of the metal. In fact, the water will change colors even if you do not have your feet in it. However, there are benefits that come from this foot detox bath, which we will discuss below.

Foot Soak

Another popular method to detox through the feet is to do a simple foot soak. This does not require a fancy machine; just a basin that will fit your feet and enough warm water to cover them. Some people will add Epsom salts, apple cider vinegar, baking soda, or essential oils for a greater effect. Besides, each of these additional materials will also soothe your feet and help you to relax. If you want to use a cheap and easy way to detox your body and experience better health and well-being, give this method a try first.

Foot Pads

Foot pads are self-explanatory because they are just pads that stick to the bottom of the foot. Most people put them on before they go to bed and take them off in the morning. Ideally, you will see all of the toxins on the pad in the morning. This works by making your feet sweat, and some people believe that this process will help draw out toxins. However, there is not any scientific evidence to support this either. If you do see a residue on the pad after taking it off, this is likely just the reaction of your perspiration and the vinegar on the pad.

Foot Masks

Another way to detox your feet without using a foot detox bath is to try a foot mask. Similar to using a face mask, you apply it to the skin and leave it alone for a set amount of time. After that, you wash the mask off of your feet and continue with your day. A common material that people use for their foot mask is bentonite clay. This cleans and softens the feet, and may have some detoxifying properties. Once again, there is no scientific evidence to support this, and the only evidence is anecdotal.

Who Should Consider Trying a Detoxification Process (and Shouldn’t)

Other than a few exceptions, anyone can and should consider these detox foot bath methods. These practices are not harmful and can be a great way to relax at the end of the day. You may not see drastic detoxification as the infomercials claim, but you may see some detox benefits. There are also other benefits from them that we will discuss in the next section. There are a handful of people who should not try a foot detox bath at home because some of the materials can have negative effects on them. The following should avoid these detox methods or consult a doctor before trying one:


People who are diabetic

Pregnant women

Those with open sores on their feet

Those with pacemakers or other electrical implants

The effects of a detox foot bath recipe can be harmful to these people for a variety of reasons. For example, those who are diabetic may not have as much feeling in their feet. This can lead to burns if they leave their feet in hot water for too long. Be sure to talk to a doctor before trying any of these methods to reduce any potential risks.

The Benefits of Using a Foot Detox Bath

Though you may not lose all of the free radicals and heavy metals in your body during a foot detox bath, there are still multiple benefits.

For one, it is a great way to relax after a long and tiring day. Warm water on your feet will ease the tension in the muscles and soothe any pain you may have. In fact, the warmth will make your feet more receptive to massage, so you can always end your foot detox bath with a massage. If you are using essential oils in the water, a massage will help diffuse the aroma around you. There are several benefits of each oil, so you can use whatever you want to both help your skin and provide yourself with some aromatherapy. Epsom salt and baking soda will also soften the skin and help prevent cracks. There are several benefits to a good foot soak, so there is not a reason to not give it a try.

How to Make Your Own Foot Detox Bath at Home

If you want a good foot detox bath DIY project that you can do at home, there are several guides on the internet that will do the job. You will most likely see results that are just as good as going to an alternative medicine clinic. This can help you to save money without cutting out the benefits. If you will be soaking your feet, make sure to use a ceramic or wooden basin. Plastic can be counterproductive because it can leach chemicals into the warm water, and the goal is to avoid toxins. Once you gather all of your supplies, you are ready to get started! Below is a video tutorial if you need an easy how-to guide.

Recipes for a DIY Foot Detox Bath

The most popular way to give yourself a foot detox bath is to submerge your feet in warm water. You can find several sources for a foot detox bath recipe, but we have compiled a few here that are a great place to start. There are also great guides for making a foot mask online if you want to try one of those. This way, you can figure out which method works better for you and gives you better results.

Soak Recipes

Here are three great ones to start with. Remember, you can add essential oils to any of these if you would like to experience additional benefits.

Apple Cider Vinegar Soak

  1. To start, fill your basin with warm water and add one cup of apple cider vinegar.
  2. Soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes.

Some people also drink this kind of vinegar to promote detoxification, but you may or may not notice a difference from doing that. However, apple cider vinegar can deodorize your feet.

Baking soda and sea salt bath: Once you have your basin filled with enough water, add one cup of baking soda and one cup of sea salt. Soak your feet for 30 minutes, and you are sure to have softer skin.

Epsom Salt Detox Foot Bath

  1. Add enough water to your basin so that it covers your feet.
  2. Next, add a cup of Epsom salt.
  3. Soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes, and notice the difference!

Note that you should not use this soak if you have open sores on your feet.

A Simple Mask Recipe

If a foot soak is not quite your thing, you can also try a mask. To start, you will need to following materials

3 tablespoons of bentonite clay

3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

3 drops of tea tree essential oil

3 drops of lavender essential oil

Here are the instructions:

  1. Mix all of the materials together until it forms a thick paste. You can add a bit more clay or vinegar to make sure the consistency is to your liking.
  2. Next, apply it to your feet and wait for it to dry, which should take about 30 minutes.
  3. After that, wash it off and pat your feet dry with a towel.

This recipe is also great for those with foot odor or fungal infections.

Final Thoughts on Foot Detoxes

When it comes to a foot detox bath, people’s opinions differ depending on who you talk to. The scientific evidence differs as well. Some studies claim that you can stimulate the detoxification process with these methods, but others claim that it does not make a difference in toxin levels within the body. Scientists still need to conduct more research before we can say if it truly works or not. However, it is definitely worth a try. We do know that a foot detox bath can soften your feet, eliminate stress, and reduce foot odor, so there are at least other proven benefits. There are a few DIY recipes listed here that you can try to see if they offer the benefits you desire. If you like them, you can continue to use them. If not, there is not any harm in trying.

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