Many of us like to shower off before going to bed, but we may overlook our sweaty, tired feet in the process. Board-certified dermatologist Joel Schlessinger says this is a big “no-no” and that washing your feet before bedtime is critical to maintaining good foot health. An evening foot-washing reduces itch and odor-causing bacteria and fungi that accumulate while wearing hot, sweaty socks and shoes during the day and keeps your feet clean and dry for about 8-10 hours each night. Want to get a “leg up” on proper foot washing? Dr. Schlessinger offers the following tips for keeping your tootsies clean and fresh.
Prepare the Foot Bath. Fill a tub or basin with warm water and then add an herbal foot solution or bath salts such as Epsom salts to the water. A good 10-minute soak is recommended.
Loofah and Brush those Feet. Loofah is a plant in the cucumber family that, when dried, has a rough, wiry texture that can slough off dead skin cells. Use your loofah to scrub the tops and bottoms of your feet. Then use a nail brush with soft bristles and gently move around the nails and toes. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you can keep your loofah bacteria-free by rinsing it and letting it dry out after each use, washing it weekly in a diluted bleach solution for five minutes, and replacing it with a new loofah each month.
Towel off those Tootsies. Take a soft towel and carefully dry off both feet. Bacteria and fungi love to hide in warm, wet crooks and crevices, so make sure that the areas between the toes are completely dry.
Go Nuts. Give your feet a treat by slathering on coconut oil and then putting on a pair of comfy socks. In addition to being an excellent moisturizer, coconut oil contains capric and lauric acids, two fatty acids that have proven antimicrobial properties.
Foot washing offers several additional health benefits: it improves circulation, relieves tired muscles, and can smooth dry, cracked skin. And while nightly foot cleansing promotes hygiene, it’s best to consult with your health care provider if odor, itching, or redness persists.