• Join our People's Pharmacy Page on Facebook
  • Follow JoeGraedon on Twitter
  • Follow Us
  • Free email newsletter

Print This Page

Listerine and Vinegar for Beautiful Bare Feet

  • Currently 3.5/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 3.5/5 (253 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!

Q. Thanks for a tip you offered. A woman recommended a combination of Listerine and diluted vinegar for toenail fungus. She mentioned that it also made her feet soft.

I don't have nail fungus, but as a "barefoot girl" I do have a problem trying to get my feet presentable to go to work in sandals without paying for an expensive pedicure every week. I tried soaking my feet in the solution and I'm so thrilled.

It made my calloused feet look and feel better, and it also got the garden soil off bare feet better than a bleach solution. It's a nice beauty aid for a barefoot-loving professional!

A. Thanks for sharing your success. Only old-fashioned amber Listerine should be used as a soak. Another reader tried the blue version and got blue feet as a result.

You might be interested to know a little history about Listerine. This familiar mouthwash actually got its start in the late 1800s. It was named after a famous surgeon at Glasgow University in Scotland. He realized that germs were causing a lot of post-surgical complications, particularly blood poisoning. Dr. Lister came up with an antiseptic called carbolic acid and pioneered improved hygiene during surgery. 

When two enterprising inventors in St. Louis came up with a unique new surgical antiseptic in 1879 they decided to name it after Dr. Lister. Listerine was originally used by surgeons and later by dentists and didn't hit it big as a mouthwash until the 1920s.

The Lambert Pharmaceutical Company marketed Listerine aggressively to treat dandruff as well as bad breath. One 1927 ad shows fingers pointing at the shoulders of a man wearing a dark suit. The copy reads, "Guilty! End dandruff. It offends all, this disgusting and common condition. Consequently, it affects your chances in love, society and business."

We started hearing from readers of our syndicated newspaper column nearly 20 years ago that Listerine foot soaks could help clear up nasty nails. The alcohol and herbal oils (thymol, eucalyptol, methyl salicylate and menthol) have anti-fungal activity so it's not surprising that soaking your feet in this formulation might eventually overcome all sorts of foot fungus. Adding vinegar may enhance the effect since the acetic acid also discourages fungi. If you would like to read more details about the Listerine and vinegar foot soack, check out this link

And if you want to get rid of dandruff, you might want to give Listerine a go. One reader confessed: "Back in the mid 1900s when Listerine used to be advertised to combat bad breath, it was also recommended to cure dandruff. I began massaging it into my scalp for 30 seconds every morning, and I still do. I have never had dandruff since then."

Another reader reminisced: "I remember that years ago, the Listerine bottle included instructions for use in treating dandruff. I've used straight Listerine many times with 100 percent success within two to three days."

People have used Listerine to kill lice (here is a link for more details) and to ease the pain of shingles (another link). 

If you find these sorts of practical, affordable home remedies of interest, you may wish to subscribe to our free online newsletter. It offers questions and answers about drugs, home remedies, nutrition and non-drug approaches to healing; commentaries on the most pressing health issues of the day; special alerts on breaking health news as it happens and coverage of the top health headlines of the week. Just click on the link below:

Sign up for our Email Newsletter

Stay informed with us, The People's Pharmacy.

  • Currently 3.5/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Not Helpful ..... Very Helpful
Was this information helpful? Average rating: 3.5/5 (253 votes)
What do you think? Click the stars to vote!
If you have more to say, post a comment below!


| Leave a comment

A week ago I received rapid success in applying Vicks Vapor Rub to eliminate a toe nail fungus per your suggested remedies. However, that toe nail now has a resulting underlying black stripe which I presume to be dead fungi. Will the Listerine & vinegar remove the black?

Hi. I am really interested in trying this treatment. One question, what are the measurements for this creating solution? Please let me know. Thanks!

Is Listerine and vinegar (used in combination or separately on the feet) safe if I have diabetes?

I read your article on Listerine and vinegar for toenail fungus and am trying it for a condition I have had for years. However, I need more information: what is the ratio of Listerine to vinegar, and how much water is used to dilute the vinegar? How often and for how long should I soak my toes; and when should I see results?


What is the ratio of vinegar to listerine? How long and how often? thanks, susan

I had the same question as some of you. I read in the previous article that the mixture is an equal amount of Listerine and Vinegar (50/50). Hope this helps. Some people chose to apply Vicks VaporRub and putting socks on over their feet for an additional night treatment.

My husband has deep crack within 1" thick callus on his feet. I have started to have off the callus, but need to soften and treat is condition at some point. What is the ratio of theListerine/vinigar/water? So we soak his feet every night? Time limit?

I want to try to Listerine & diluted vinegar for toenail fungus but would like to know the proportions of it all.


I used Listerine after my shower each day. My toe nails are now perfect. It took a while, so do not give up.

What is the ratio of Listerine and vinegar to water?

I googled and found this:

I'm trying it!!

Take a 16 ounce bottle of apple cider vinegar and a 16 ounce bottle of original Listerine and mix them in a tub big enough to soak your feet in, but make sure this tub has a lid that will put a tight seal on the mixture. Don't dilute this formula with water. Soak your feet 20 minutes everyday, this formula can be reused everyday as long as you keep it covered when not in use.

Take the time out of your day to do this soak before bathing or showering and you will see a huge difference in not only the fungus problems you're having but also in any dry skin, callous or corn problems you may be having.

A Little Dab will Do Ya!

Now if you're not a foot soaking type of person then you can still take one of these mixtures and soak a cotton ball or even a paper towel in the solution and dab it on the infected area. I can't promise it will work as fast but it's better than not trying to use these recipes at all simply because you don't like soaking or don't want to deal with the fuss of a footbath.

Most Important: Make sure you completely dry your feet between your toes and anywhere there is moisture. If you have to, wrap your feet in a towel for about 5 minutes to be sure you soaked up all the moisture. After all, ignoring the moisture in your feet is what got your feet into this mess!

What is the ratio of Listerine and vinegar?

I have used Vick's & it does work if I use it. It takes about 6 months to grow out a nail; some people don't like to hear this but it is no longer than any other product, including Lamisil which can be a dangerous drug.

I do not see the formula for the Listerine/vinegar treatment for nail fungus. Also, how long should I continue treatment?


Yes! I've been doing this for a month and lo'n behold! It works! Here's what I do. Big pan (big enough to get both feet in. Any kind of vinegar - Cider or White. 50% Vinegar and 50% Listerine (didn't turn my feet blue at all by the way - but now I use the non-color one.) About 3" of the solution before putting your feet in and in go the feet. YES, if you have a cut or an open sore you will scream bloody murder/ but I don't so it's fine. Soak both feet under the kitchen table at breakfast and dinner ---- what I do --- I don't mind the smell (I live alone). Soak until I forget I'm soaking my feet (about 30 min). Take feet out / not just the one or two toes with fungus - pat dry and hit'em with the hair dryer... until dry. Yep I do this.

At night top'all them toes with Vics (brand name has THYMOL in it

Okay... soak / rinse / dry / Vic's - socks - repeat.

You'll get used to this routine and learn to love it when you see your new flat, pink toenails growing in. Clip clip off the old as soon as you can / not too close - don't make more problems.

I do believe this will take 6-8 months to cure my fungus. It makes the nail intolerable to fungus and the soak gets into your skin, killing the fungus. The fungus is not in the nail. I mean, you can't just hit the nail and be rid of it, you have to soak the surrounding skin.

THYMOL is the anti-fungal (originally it's an oil I think) that is what makes this work.

This is why. This is how. Don't listen to the Fungi-B-Gone sellers... they just want your money... I tried Lamisil and my liver #'s ran high ---- NO WAY.... to dangerous.

It's working... it's working. Of course it is.

My toenail fungus has affected all my nails and on four nails it's very bad. I have been using a 50/50 mixture of Listerine and vinegar for about 4 weeks and for the first time I'm actually seeing progress! I had bought many expensive products with absolutely no luck!

Let's not get into the articles I read from people I didn't know whether to believe or not. I had almost lost hope until a friend of mine who knew I was in misery read an article from the People's Pharmacy in the Readers Digest. I had very little hope, I mean Listerine and vinegar? It was cheaper than anything that I had tried. It just seemed too simple... however 4 weeks later, the fungus is dying! A few of my nails have come off where the fungus was (and I've knocked my nails off, so I know they will be back), but one of my smaller nails is back and it looks great!

It's important to note that my fungus seems to be yeast based and this method works well with that sort of infection. Seriously, it's so hard to believe just words on a page, but in all honesty this seems to be working for me and if you are suffering, I urge you to give it a try. I'm soaking 30 minutes a day at least twice a day. I use a cotton ball to dab straight Listerine on my toes between soaks. I'm not of the woods yet, but my daughter noticed that it seems to be retreating yesterday, so I'm feeling better about it.

Hello. I just tried the 50/50 Listerine & White Vinegar mixture a couple days ago. I didn't have a lid for the container so I used tin foil and now my mixture has a powdery brown dust in it. Is it supposed to look like that?? Or is that why everyone keeps saying to make sure you have a lid. Please help. Thanks!

I heard of this concoction a few days ago on the internet. And am now soaking. 50/50 Vinegar and Listerine in a 6x9 plastic deep container that has a cover. When I am done soaking, I will cover it and store for the next days soaking. Currently while soaking, I am feeling tingling like...the feeling of menthol in between the toes and all over the bottoms of my feet. Its the greatest refreshing feeling. :D I have a fan running in the living room and it maybe cooling/heating the menthol effect. :D Which is glorious.

As for my feet, I have had a fungus infection for over 10 years. It started on my big toe with an injury. Then it spread onto the whole foot and onto the other foot. Now I have all toes infected. I have tried ointments, creams, polishes and been to the Dr. I have for 10 years used fake nails to cover up the fungus and I'll try anything. :D So this is my next Ck Off on the list of things that may/may not work before going back to false nails :D (beside me ready to be glued and polished :D) Wish me Luck :D

I have also had this problem for quite a few months now.. I told my doctor and he gave me a pill that I took daily for only about a month or two.. I was done with that medication a few months ago and still have not seem results.. It's very embarrassing, and as much as I want to keep my toenails painted, I hear that it is bad because it won't let the fungus breathe to heal or whatever. It is only on my big toes.. I am currently now soaking my feet in an apple cider vinegar in hopes that I can continue it and it will work.. Am I best off mixing it with listening also? Or is just vinegar fine? And also one of the toes is way worse than the other one, I've lost almost the whole nail, like its almost completely detached but I don't want to take it off and and have an embarrassing foot.. Do I have to take the dying nail off? Or can I just continue with treatment and let the new nail grow out? I've took most of it off.. But this is just embarrassing.. I plan on going to Mexico in the spring so I would love to not have to worry about this .. I also bought tea tree oil a while back but haven't been so consistent with putting it on.. But at this point I am ready for this ugliness to be over!!

Any help would be greatly appreciated.. I'm trying.
I'm glad I'm not the only one out there with this problem, but I don't know anyone personally with this issue also so that doesn't help my self esteem..

1/4 c. Vinegar 1/4 c. Listerine 1/2 c. Warm water.

it is 1/4c of listerine 1/4c vinegar 1/2c water soak for 10 min then wipe the dead skin off

This works! I like the blue Listerine because it smells good and I add baking soda to make it all fizzy.


Ok so I am going to try this for my feet, I do not have fungus but really bad dead skin. Question-how would one go about using it for the groin variety fungus, i.e. jock itch?

I used the blue Listerine with white vinegar and warm water (equal parts). My feet were a little blue but since I used my pumice stone after the soaking, the blue was actually useful in showing where I still needed to work! What didn't come off with the pumice came off with a damp rag. I followed it by massaging a good cream for extremely dry skin and put on my cotton socks. My feet felt so refreshed and looked better by the next morning. Now if I can just make myself do this a couple of times a week...

can't wait to try!!

Use all Listerine (Amber color only) or 50% Listerine & 50% Vinegar. Soak for 30 minutes. Do this only once a week. Dry feet really well after doing this.

I am absolutely amazed by the results, I used 1000mls of foot bearingly hot water 100 ml of mouthwash and 100ml of sarsons malt vinegar.

I sat for 20 mins (which is quite difficult) soaking my feet, when I had finished I patted feet dry and rubbed the hard skin that had softened considerably with my fingers.
I could not believe how easily the calloused skin came away from my feet, I then applied my few drops of lavender oil to my big toes to prevent the dreaded fungal nail...

Ok so you left me hanging in the wind???? How did it work? How long did you do it for? I would really like to know what happened to your feet.

The black line under the nail can be a mole or can be a symptom of cancer. Please see a dermatologist.

Need to know the measurements for this please.

if it kills lice how about fleas and ticks?

Tried this on my daughters hair she has so much shine and bounce the dandruff is miminal. How often should she wash it?

Leave a comment

Share your comments or questions with the People's Pharmacy online community. Not all comments will be posted. Advice from other visitors to this web site should not be considered a substitute for appropriate medical attention. Concerns about medications should be discussed with a health professional. Do not stop any medication without first checking with your physician.

Check this box to be notified by email when follow-up comments are posted.