There are a variety of foot soaks for achy, tired feet. The key to finding the right one for you is to think about why your feet are achy. The best foot soak for aching, tired feet is the one that meets your specific needs: In other words, pardon the pun, but there’s no one size fits all.
Below you’ll find a DIY foot soak remedy for the following types of aching feet:
- Tired Feet That Need to Get-Up-and-Go
- Ready-for-Bed Feet
- Achy from a Cold or Fever Feet
- Hot, Swollen Feet
- The Agony of De-Feet with Heel Pain
- Feet with Dry Skin and Cracked Heels
- Freezing Cold Feet
The good news is that you can DIY with simple home ingredients or you can order a foot soak.
Since a foot soak is simply a mini-bath for your feet, you can use a plastic basin you happen to have around. Or you can order a foot spa that bubbles.
Whatever your preferred way to soak, we’ve done the research required to help your feet find relief fast.
7 Best Foot Soaks For Achy, Tired Feet
Each of the foot soak recipes below uses a combination of natural ingredients that are easily found in your kitchen cupboard. If you have an aromatherapy collection, that will come in handy too.
Basic Tools & Ingredients
Use a plastic basin or a foot spa with bubbles. You’ll also want Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate, that you can find here or at any pharmacy.
If you want to buy a cost-effective, organic aromatherapy kit that includes all of the essential oils in the recipes below, Nirvana by Natrogix is my absolute favorite. It comes with 18 100% pure grade essential oils and a booklet that explains the benefits of each one.
A Few General Notes About Homemade Foot Soaks
Account for Water Displacement
The amount of water you put in your basin or foot spa will depend on its size. Just keep in mind that once you plunge in your feet, the water will rise several inches.
Spot Test Essential Oils
Also, you can skin test the essential oils to be sure that you don’t have any sensitivities to them by adding two or three drops on the inside of your wrists. Then wait a few minutes. If you do have cuts on your feet, the essential oils can sting, so you may want to cover cuts with petroleum jelly and a Band-aid first.
Start Hot and Add Cold Water as Needed
As far as water temperature goes, some like it hot. Others just like it lukewarm. The choice is yours, but if you’re opting for hot water, it’s smart to have a glass of cool water nearby.
Underfill your foot spa or basin just a bit and then add your cool water until the soak reaches your ideal temperature. You don’t want to have to get up and make adjustments once your tootsies are all wet.
Hot Tip: No Pun Intended
Throw your socks and towel in the dryer for five minutes before you start your soak. Then place them next to you so you don’t have to walk across a cold floor to retrieve them. Toasty feet are happy feet, at least to me!
1. The Get-Up-and-Go Foot Soak
Best Foot Soak for Achy Feet When You Need to Get On Your Feet Again Soon
My sister Rachel is always on-the-go. She does a lot of public presenting at conferences as part of her work.
I know that when she presents, which is often, she’ll put on some heels and be on her feet all day. If she’s lucky, she’ll get an hour or two break before she needs to get dressed to go to some dinner.
The Get-Up-and-Go Foot Soak is perfect for that quick break you get in between events, when your feet are crying for some help and you just don’t think you can bear to put on anything but slippers for the rest of the night.
You can pack these ingredients without taking up too much room in your luggage.
- Tea Tree Essential Oil, 15 drops
- Gallon of Warm Water
- 1 Cup of Epsom Salt
- 2 Tbsp Almond Oil
- Spearmint Oil, 6 Drops
If you travel frequently, consider ordering the marbles and bringing them with you everywhere. and carrying 1 cup of Epsom salt in a Ziploc plastic bag.
Dissolve Epsom salt in water. Add essential oil. Then drop in marbles. Roll your feet across the marbles, easing out any knots. Soak 10-15 minutes.
Dry your feet. Mix the almond oil and spearmint oil. The scent of spearmint will perk you right up, so you’re ready to go, go, go again.
Why Rachel Loves It
If you’re traveling, you might not have a basin handy. In a hotel room, you can either use the ice bucket or do what my sister does: she’ll fill the hotel bathtub with two inches of warm water. Then fold a towel over the ledge to make it more comfortable and do the Get-Up-and-Go Foot Soak there.
She says that rolling her feet over the marbles revives them for the rest of the night. I’ve tried this too, and it’s incredible how a handful of little glass balls can improve your life and relieve foot pain.
2. The Lullabye Foot Soak
Best Foot Soak to Relax Tired Feet Before Bed
Back in high school, I had a job as a hostess at a loud restaurant that had a bar. It was the kind of place where people yelled at the TV and spilled frozen margaritas on themselves.
Let’s just say it wasn’t really my scene. Plus I had to fake-smile all night as I walked people to their seats.
When my shift was over at about midnight, I’d soon go home and get in bed. Man, did my feet ache plus the noise from the restaurant would still be pounding in my head.
I would lay in bed with my eyes wide open for hours, occasionally reaching down to massage my toes. If only I’d known about the Lullabye Foot Soak back then!
- Cedarwood Oil, 30 drops
- 1/2 Cup Epsom Salt
- 1/4 Cup Baking Soda
- 1 Gallon Warm Water
- Lavender Essential Oil, 8 drops
- Jojoba Oil, 2 Tbsp
Dissolve baking soda and Epsom salt in water. Add cedarwood oil. Soak 10-15 minutes. Dry feet. Combine lavender and jojoba oil. Massage into feet. Wipe off any excess oil.
Why My High School Self Would Have Loved It
Science shows that inhaling cedarwood oil can induce sleep. And as my mind was lulled to dreamland, my feet would have loved the soothing combination of baking soda and Epsom salt. The lavender oil massage at the end would have been the piece de resistance.
3. The Breathe Easy Foot Soak
Best Foot Soak to Use When Congested
When I get the sniffles, I am the biggest wimp ever! I can hardly stand how achy I feel all over. Sometimes I’m sniffling from a cold and sometimes it’s from seasonal allergies. Either way, I always enjoy a little extra TLC.
I created this foot soak to reinvigorate me to get through the day. I find that sometimes, when I’m congested, I don’t have the energy for a full-on bath. This is a quick remedy.
- 1 Cup Epsom Salt
- 1 Gallon Warm Water
- 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil, 15 drops and/or 6 Cinnamon Sticks or 2 Tbsp Dried Cinnamon
- Eucalyptus Oil, 15 drops
- Shea Butter, 2 Tbsp
Dissolve Epsom salt and baking soda in warm water. Mix cinnamon leaf essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil into olive oil. This is an important step because the cinnamon leaf oil that’s not mixed into a carrier oil can irritate skin. (If you don’t have it, try dried cinnamon or cinnamon sticks.)
Soak 10-15 minutes.
Dry your feet with a soft towel. Then mix 2 Tbsp shea butter with peppermint oil. Massage feet with shea butter mixture.
Why I Love It
Eucalyptus oil comes from the Blue Gum tree and has been used as a natural decongestant for hundreds of years. Many vapor rubs for the chest contain this important essential oil, which can also increase the function of the immune system.
Inhaling cinnamon leaf essential oil in water can alleviate a cough, so the combination of these two essential oils leaves me breathing easier.
The warm water stops any shivers and the Epsom salt relieves my aching toes. Most importantly, though, if you can muster the strength to fix a foot soak—or get a friend or partner to do it for you—you’ll feel cozy and cared for like you truly need.
I always fix myself a mug of hot tea when I do this soak. Plus the shea butter applied after leaves my skin nourished and adds to the overall feeling of giving yourself some much-needed Tender Loving Care.
Plus, long after I take my feet out of the soak, my skin keeps tingling in an energizing way.
4. The Calm Down Foot Soak
Best Foot Soak for Inflamed, Sweaty, Swollen Feet
I can hardly relate to the problem of having hot feet because mine are always freezing cold, even in the summer.
But living in Texas, where a July day can easily be 110 degrees Fahrenheit, I frequently hear my friends complain that their feet are swollen from the heat.
I created this foot soak for my friend, Kim. She loves it and even made a few adaptations.
She tells me that after a day walking around her condo complex’s pool barefoot, she wanted an antifungal agent in her summer foot soak. That’s why we added vinegar to the mix.
- 1 Cup Epsom Salt
- 2 Cups White Vinegar
- 1 Gallon Cool Water
- 2 Tbsp Dried Sage or Chopped Fresh Sage
- Coconut Oil, 1 Tbsp
Dissolve Epsom salt in warm water. Then add vinegar, cool water and sage. Soak 10-15 minutes.
Follow by rubbing your feet with coconut oil. Coconut oil is antimicrobial and moisturizes your feet with a summery scent. Rub off any excess.
Why Kim Loves It
Here’s why this recipe is the best: The cool temperature naturally relieves inflammation and swelling, and the Epsom salt reduces achiness. The vinegar and sage work well together to prevent bacteria growth.
5. The Agony of De-Feet
Best Foot Soak for Heel Pain
There’s nothing worse than when you’ve walked on high heels for too long and you’ve got that pain in your heels. Ugh. I hate that.
My friend Kathy is a pro at reviving her feet after a day in high heels. She actually told me about this foot soak and together, we tweaked it to perfection. It’s the real deal and uses one absolutely crazy ingredient: Listerine mouthwash.
As it turns out, Listerine contains an ingredient called methyl salicylate which is nearly identical to aspirin. (For this reason, children should not use this foot soak.)
Researchers found that methyl salicylate applied topically truly relieves aches and pains. But don’t try this foot soak if you’ve got an allergy to NSAIDs, or if you’ve got open sores or blisters.
Your heels will love you after this!
- 1 Cup Listerine
- 1 Cup Epsom Salt
- 1 Gallon Warm Water (as warm as you can stand it)
- 1 Bag Glass Marbles
- 1 tsp Arnica Massage Cream
- 2 Tbsp Shea Butter
Dissolve Epsom salt in warm water. Mix in Listerine. Drop marbles onto the bottom of your foot spa. Rub your heels over the marbles to work out any knots. Soak 10-15 minutes.
Dry your feet with a soft towel. Then mix arnica with shea butter. Rub into your feet and especially, massage into your heels. Feel a soft burn as the moisturizer works its magic.
Why Kathy Loves This
Kathy loves this because she’s an out-of-the-box, open-minded thinker. She recognizes the odd genius in this foot soak—genius that delivers results when it really, really counts. When your heels hurt, you will try anything for relief. And when you get it, it’s delicious.
6. The Soothe My Step Foot Soak
Best Foot Soak for Dry, Cracked Skin
I recently had the opportunity to interview skincare guru Ann Webb for this blog. She gave me Expert Advice About How to Hydrate Your Skin in the Tub. During our conversation, Ann clued me into the healing power of oatmeal.
That’s why this foot soak features oatmeal, as well as baking soda, which is also excellent for soothing dry skin.
- ½ Cup Ground Oatmeal
- 1 Cup Warm Coconut Milk
- 1 Gallon Water
- 1 Tablespoon of Jojoba Oil
- Petroleum Jelly
Grind ½ a cup of oatmeal in the blender. Warm one cup of coconut milk. Add oatmeal and stir. Next, add a gallon of warm water. Then stir in jojoba oil. Soak 10-14 minutes.
Dry feet with a soft towel. Apply petroleum jelly, aka Vaseline. If doing this soak before bed, put a plastic bag over each foot and then a thick sock. This will help the petroleum jelly penetrate deeply as you sleep.
Why My Uncle Loves This
My uncle lives in Boston. I told him that I was writing a post about foot soaks. He asked me what a foot soak is. Once I explained, he told me how his feet are dried and cracking in the severe winter weather.
I suggested this soak. I don’t think he used the jojoba oil, but he had the other ingredients on hand so he went for it. He called me a few days later. “That soak thing works!” he said.
7. The Defrost Fast Foot Soak
Best Foot Soak for Too-Cold Feet
I moved from Massachusetts to Texas to get out of the freezing cold. And guess what? My feet are still icy a lot of the time. I put together this foot soak to relieve my feet when I just can’t seem to warm them up any other way.
I especially don’t like going to sleep with cold feet, so I like to do this before bed and then put on some wool socks. Just for the record, even here in Texas, it gets down to 40 degrees Fahrenheit some days!
- 2 Ginger Tea Bags or 1 Tbsp Dried Ginger
- 4 Tbsp Honey
- Rosemary Essential Oil, 15 drops
- 1 Gallon Hot Water
Add ginger tea bags to hot water. Mix in honey until dissolved. Add rosemary essential oil. Soak 10-15 minutes.
Dry feet with soft, warm towel. Then massage each foot with a dime-sized amount of Healthifeet Warming Cream and put on warm socks. Ahhh!
Why This Is My Favorite Foot Soak Of All Time
This is my favorite foot soak of all time because it really gets the circulation going in a big way. The ginger and the rosemary essential oil get thanks for that. And the honey is moisturizing. But what really brings on the heat for the rest of the night is the Healthifeet Warming Cream.
The Best Foot Soaks Aren’t Just For Your Feet
My acupuncturist firmly believes that every point on the feet maps to a different part of the body. Massage the heels to help your lower back. Press on the third toe to relieve a toothache. You may be a skeptic.
But after trying these foot soaks, you’ll know for sure that tending to your feet can bring whole body happiness and relief.