On those days when you just can’t wait to get home and take off your shoes, wouldn’t it be nice to have a special treat ready for your hard-working feet? Something that would relieve the pain and help you unwind at the same time.
A soothing foot soak could be the answer. It’s actually easy to make at home and inexpensive too. You may even already have the ingredients needed on hand.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite DIY essential oil foot soak recipes. They can be made in advance so it’s ready when you are.
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What are the Benefits of a Foot Soak?
A foot soak helps you to relax. It forces you to slow down and be still. There are many physical benefits too, including:
- Soothing muscles and relieving aches and pains
- Hydrating and softening skin so it’s easier to exfoliate
- Preventing bacteria (or fungus) from getting into blisters, cuts, or under toenails
You can get more benefits by adding essential oils and using Epsom salts.
What is the Best Essential Oil for a Foot Soak?
Personally, I think it’s best to use a blend. Whenever I do a homemade foot soak, I always include peppermint essential oil because it’s one of the best oils for foot pain. Other essential oils that you can mix it with include:
- Lavender oil helps you relax and is a natural pain reliever. It is ideal for sore muscles.
- Cypress oil is a natural deodorant so it will fight foot odor.
- Rosemary oil works wonders on tired muscles and also has antiseptic properties.
- Cedarwood oil is effective on Athlete’s Foot because it is an antiseptic and antifungal.
- Eucalyptus oil has calming properties. It also purifies the skin.
- Tea Tree oil comes from the leaves of the Australian tea tree plant known as Melaleuca alternifolia. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm irritation and swelling. Tea Tree oil also helps with unpleasant odor.
Remember a little goes a long way with essential oils. You will only need a few drops. Also essential oils should never be put directly on the skin. Mix the oils in the water to dilute them.
What Equipment do you Need for a Foot Soak?
Ideally, you would want a foot spa for your foot soak. The ability to add bubbles will make the soak feel more relaxing. Be sure to check the manual for the specific model to make sure that it can be used with salts and essential oils.
Don’t worry if you don’t own a foot spa, there are some easy alternatives. You can use a large bowl or even a big plastic storage container. Basically anything large enough to fit your feet and some water.
Essential Oil Foot Soak Recipe
There are many ways to make a foot soak. It may take a little tweaking and experimenting with the recipe to figure out the best formula for you, but at the end it will be worth it. A relaxing foot bath is a welcome reward.
If you want to keep things simple, you only need a few ingredients:
- Epsom salt - This is not the same as table salt, it is for external use only. Epsom salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate. It can help reduce stress, ease muscle strain, remove foot odors, improve circulation, and treat some skin problems. (Get Epsom salts on Amazon here.)
- Baking soda - You can use the same baking soda that you use to bake a cake. In a foot soak, it will help soften skin and remove foot odors.
- Essential Oils - Adding essential oils to the foot bath will bring additional benefits as described above. During the holiday season, you could try one of these Christmas oil blends.
- Carrier Oil - Use your choice of carrier oil (I like to use sweet almond oil like this) to dilute the essential oils and make your skin feel softer.
I like to make a big batch of the foot soak mixture so it is ready when I need it. Typically I use 1 cup Epsom salt to ¼ cup baking soda. This will last me about two months depending on how frequently I do a foot soak.
Essential Oil Blend Suggestions for a Foot Soak
There are unlimited possibilities when it comes to the different essential oils that you can blend for a foot bath, but here are a few of my favorite:
- To relieve foot pain and relax: 8 drops peppermint oil, 7 drops lavender oil
- If you want something calming and to help with pain: 7 drops eucalyptus oil, 4 drops rosemary oil, 3 drops peppermint oil
- For those worried about Athlete's foot: 7 drops tea tree oil, 3 drops cedarwood oil, 2 drops peppermint oil
Feel free to experiment on your own to find out the mix that you like best.
Optional Ingredients for a Foot Soak
There are a few additional ingredients that you could mix into the salt mixture to make your foot soak more luxurious:
- Peppermint tea - Get more of the benefits of peppermint by adding some peppermint tea. You can use loose leaf tea or cut open a tea bag. (Check out peppermint tea options here.)
- Chamomile tea - If you are having your foot soak in the evening, add some chamomile tea to help you wind down. You can use loose leaf tea or cut open a tea bag. (Check out chamomile tea options here.)
- Dried flowers - The petals smell heavenly and make the foot soak look more luxurious. I like lavender or rose petals like these.
You could also add these fresh ingredients to the foot soak just before dipping your toes in:
- Lemon slices - Citrus is refreshing and will revive tired skin.
- Chopped fresh ginger - During those cold months, add ginger to warm your feet and make them nice and toasty.
- Drizzle of honey - It will moisturize, soften and sooth dry skin. The natural antioxidant properties in honey will help detox your feet while you soak.
- Herbs (I like rosemary) - Adding fresh herbs to the soak provides a energizing scent.
How to Make a Foot Soak
Combine the salts and baking powder in a bowl and mix well. In a separate container combine the carrier oil (about 2 tablespoons) and your choice of essential oils (up to 20 drops). Then add the oils to the salt mixture and stir. Set aside and prepare the water.
Fill the bowl (or whatever you are using as a foot spa) with hot (not boiling water). It needs to be warm enough for the salts to dissolve, but be sure to allow it to cool off a bit before submerging your feet. Keep extra hot water on the side to add in as the water starts to cool down during your soak.
Add about a ⅛ cup of the salt mixture and stir so the salts melt into the water. Adjust the amount of salts as needed depending on the size of your foot bath and personal preferences. Then you can add your choice of optional fresh ingredients and once the water is a comfortable temperature dip your feet in.
Grab a book or play some music to help yourself relax. You can even light a few scented candles. It’s best to let your feet soak for at least 15-20 minutes. After the time has passed, rinse your feet off in a bit of cool water, then pat dry.
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Note that you can use this recipe for bath salts for your entire body or try our essential oil bath salts recipe.
After Your Foot Soak
After your foot soak, there are a few important things that you need to do to maximize the benefits of the treatment. First, dry your feet well so there is no oily residue.
While the skin around your toenails is soft, it could be a good time to take care of your toenails (i.e. push back the cuticles). You could also take some time to give yourself a foot massage. Then apply a moisturizing lotion and/or use some moisturizing socks to help maintain your hydrated skin.
Storing Your Essential Oil Foot Soak Salts
Remember the mixture that you created contains essential oils so it won’t last forever. To maximum its shelf life be sure to store it in an airtight container like this.
How Often Should You Do a Foot Soak?
Try to do a foot soak once a week if possible. It can be done more frequently too. If you want to mix things up a bit, also try our recipe for a detoxifying foot bath.
Foot Soak Safety
A foot soak can be a wonderful way to relax, but there are a few things you should keep in mind for your own safety:
- Be careful not to burn your feet. Check to make sure the water is the correct temperature before putting your feet in.
- Don’t do a foot soak if you have any open sores, cuts, or blisters on your feet. It could make things worse.
- While all the ingredients are natural, it is possible to have an adverse reaction. If your skin gets irritated or you develop a rash stop doing foot soaks and speak to a doctor.
- Talk to your doctor if you are pregnant or have any health concerns before doing a foot soak at home.
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