Is Listerine Good to Put on Your Feet?

Listerine, the popular mouthwash brand, has recently gained attention for being used on feet to help treat issues like athlete’s foot, foot odor, cracked heels, and more. But is soaking your feet in an antiseptic mouthwash really beneficial? Or could it potentially do more harm than good? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of using Listerine on your feet.

Pros of Using Listerine on Feet

Kills Bacteria and Fungi
Listerine contains effective antiseptic and antifungal ingredients like thymol, eucalyptol, menthol and methyl salicylate. These active ingredients make Listerine an efficient disinfectant and antimicrobial that can kill fungus, bacteria and germs, including the fungus Trichophyton rubrum that causes athlete’s foot. Soaking feet in Listerine creates an antiseptic bath that can help treat and prevent fungal infections.

Reduces Odor
The strong menthol scent of Listerine combined with its antimicrobial properties can help eliminate foot odor caused by bacteria. Soaking feet regularly in Listerine can reduce bacteria growth that causes unpleasant foot odor. The minty fresh aroma also leaves feet smelling cleaner.

Softens Calluses
The alcohol content of Listerine helps dry out and exfoliate thick, hardened skin on calluses and cracked heels. Soaking feet in Listerine can soften calluses to make them easier to remove. The antiseptic ingredients also keep calluses and cracked skin from getting infected.

Refreshes and Rejuvenates Feet
Listerine foot soaks can leave feet feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. The cooling menthol can soothe sore, achy feet similar to an ice bath. Feet will look and smell cleaner after a Listerine foot bath.

Easy and Convenient
Listerine is inexpensive and easy to find at any drugstore or supermarket. No fancy foot soak products needed! All you need is some Listerine, a foot tub or basin, and some water for an antiseptic foot bath at home.

Cons of Using Listerine on Feet

May Cause Skin Irritation
While the antiseptic ingredients in Listerine combat germs, they can also be harsh on skin. The alcohol content can dry out skin, and some people may experience skin irritation, redness, stinging or peeling from Listerine foot soaks, especially if they have sensitive skin. It’s a good idea to test Listerine on a small patch of skin first before full foot soak.

Not a Long-Term Solution
While Listerine can disinfect feet and temporarily reduce odors and fungi, its effects are short term. It does not cure underlying conditions like hyperhidrosis that cause excessive foot sweating and odor. Once you stop using Listerine foot soaks, problems like bad odors and athlete’s foot will likely return.

May Disrupt Healthy Bacteria
Listerine does not discriminate between bad and good bacteria. The powerful antiseptic ingredients can indiscriminately kill all bacteria on the skin. This includes beneficial bacteria that help protect the skin from harmful germs like staph infections. Killing off too much healthy bacteria can disrupt the microbial ecosystem of the skin, leading to other problems.

Not as Effective as Medicated Treatments
While Listerine has some antimicrobial ingredients, its formulation is not as powerful or optimized as treatments specifically designed for fungal infections like athlete’s foot. Over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays will likely be more effective for treating contagious fungal infections. Listerine also does not contain ingredients like urea to soften calluses as well as foot creams designed for that purpose.

Can Dry Out Feet
Frequent use of alcohol-based products like Listerine can dry out skin on the feet. This can worsen problems like cracked heels, fissures and calluses. Listerine foot baths lack moisturizing ingredients to counteract this drying effect. So it’s important to follow up with a good moisturizing foot cream or lotion.

In summary, soaking feet in Listerine can provide some temporary benefits in terms of reducing odors, bacteria and fungi. However, it also comes with some drawbacks like skin irritation and drying. While Listerine may help treat mild foot issues, it should not replace medicated antifungal treatments prescribed by a podiatrist for more severe foot infections like athlete’s foot. As with any at-home foot soak, take care to dry feet thoroughly after the Listerine bath to prevent secondary fungal or bacterial infections. Discontinue use if irritation occurs and follow up with moisturizer. Check with your doctor before trying any at-home remedies like Listerine foot soaks, especially if you have diabetes or poor circulation.