DIY Detox Foot Bath with Epsom Salts & Apple Cider Vinegar - Dr. Axe

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DIY Detox Foot Bath with Epsom Salts & Apple Cider Vinegar


Detox foot bath - Dr. Axe

Our bodies are exposed to toxins on a regular basis through our environment — from sources such as the water we drink, processed foods, commercial meat consumption and heavy metal exposure. Many of our organs, including the skin, function to naturally remove toxins from our bodies.

Unfortunately, we often have a heavy accumulation of toxins at a cellular level that may require help in removal from our bodies. Most licensed Naturopathic Doctors (NDs) prescribe a variety of detox therapies for their patients as part of their comprehensive treatment plan. These detox treatments used by NDs can range from dietary treatments to skin and foot soaks. Similar to my foot soak recipe, my DIY Detox Foot Bath can soothe tired, aching feet and may also draw out impurities through the skin.

To make this DIY detox foot bath, you will need to gather a foot soaking tub or inexpensive dish basin, Epsom salt, Dead Sea salt, bentonite clay, apple cider vinegar (ACV) and your favorite essential oils.

Detox Foot Bath Ingredients

Epsom salt is considered the MVP of body soaking salts because of its detoxifying and pain-relieving qualities. The magnesium contained within the salt is known to decrease inflammation and pain, and the combination of magnesium with sulfur and oxygen is believed to stimulate the detox pathway in the body.

In addition to assisting in detoxification, soaking in Epsom salt helps to naturally boost serum magnesium levels through transdermal absorption, which supports neuromuscular health.

Known for its many health benefits, studies show that apple cider vinegar demonstrates antimicrobial and antifungal properties. For this reason, ACV is a great addition to a foot soak or foot bath detox recipe. Apple cider vinegar helps regulate the pH of the skin when used topically or in baths and has been said to help with foot odor and foot fungus. 

How Do You Detox Your Body Through Your Feet?

Although there are no current published medical studies or literature to back up the claim that your body can be detoxed through your feet, Eastern medicine has prescribed the practice for centuries. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners believe that the meridians that run through the feet affect every organ and part of the body, and foot baths are a regular part of good health practice.

Wondering how to detox through your feet at home? Alternative healthcare practitioners encourage several ways to detox through your feet at home. The most common would be by soaking feet in a tub of warm water, with a blend of salts, herbs and essential oils, such as the foot bath detox recipe below.

Other ways to detox feet at home include using detox foot pads, foot masks, foot scrubs and even foot massages. 

Does a Foot Detox Work?

Although foot detox baths have been used for thousands of years throughout Asia, there is some controversy today as to whether or not foot detoxes actually work. In fact, a study was performed in 2012 to look at hair and urine samples, as well as to test the water before and after foot detox baths were completed. This study was not able to find evidence that foot detox baths eliminate toxins from the body. There are other studies, however, that have found that ionic detox foot baths remove heavy metals from the body, which cause a plethora a health concerns. 

Despite a lack of studies on foot detoxing, few will argue the simple relaxing and stress-relieving benefits of a foot bath!

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Detox foot bath

DIY Detox Foot Bath

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  • Author: Dr. Josh Axe
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 bath 1x


This DIY detox foot bath can soothe tired, aching feet and may also draw out impurities through the skin.


  • 2 gallons warm water
  • 1 cup Epsom salts
  • 1 cup Dead Sea salt
  • ½ cup bentonite clay
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • (optional) 10–20 drops of essential oils (my favorites for this recipe are wintergreen and lavender.)


  1. Carefully pour warm water to a basin large enough to comfortably accommodate your feet. Be sure to not use metal bowls, as this may reduce the effectiveness of bentonite clay.
  2. Add Epsom salts, Dead Sea salt, bentonite clay, ACV and your favorite essential oils to the water.
  3. Soak your feet for 20–30 minutes.


After soaking, it is a good time to gently scrub your feet with a pumice stone or with my DIY foot scrub to remove calluses and dry skin buildup. Apply a good moisturizer to finish.

  • Prep Time: 10 min

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  1. Kim on

    Does anyone know where to find a non toxic bpa free foot bath/soaking tub? For those how do not have a bathtub and need some other way to do this.

  2. Rob Hoffman on

    My left toe was crushed. The toe nail has turned black & is loose. I’ve been soaking my feet in Epsom Salts. When I removed the bandage, it started to bleed. I’m going to check out the ES & AC V combo.Hope it works. Ty Rob

  3. kathi Marissal on

    Hi Dr. Axe
    I having been looking for a detox foot machine but really don’t know which one is good to detox parasites/worms which I found out I have unfortunately. Do this ingredients really detox worm etc??? can you see them come out like they do with the ionic detox foot machines?
    thank you for your time

  4. Hank on

    I guess I might be answering my own question but if you have minor fissures or open cracks on your feet can you still use this recipe just may burn a little from the vinegar?

  5. moses on

    Seems like it would be easy to get a test of the water before and after the foot bath and this would conclusively answer the question of efficacy at least for heavy metals detox..

  6. Rebecca on

    A number of years ago I was exposed to smoke from a fire that included melted plastic. I couldn’t get my lungs to clear. I did an ionic foot bath and the water turned black. I felt better and the pain in my lungs was gone.

    • Shelley on

      (Reply to the idea of a whole body soak w this recipe)
      A whole body bath with this recipe would be nice except some essential oils may not be recommended for that, like wintergreen, I think. Lavender and several other would work well however, so just check which ones are recommended for a bath.
      Definitely love this recipe for feet!!

  7. Hope Hills on

    The soles and tops of both of my feet feel numb (for months now the soles have been numb and now the tops are as well). It is like there are extra layers of skin so that it doesn’t let the direct feeling through. I have told my 2 med people and they showed concern, but didn’t go any further. I can handle it, but it does slightly impact my balance!

    • Caren on

      Omg me too. Have you figured out what’s happening to your feet and body are you swelling also holding water. You sound like me and all the doctor wants to do is tell me to drink a half a gallon of water a day no more and give me a diuretic.Plus weight gain from fluid retention.

      • LJ on

        Barbara O’Neil suggests you take one grain of Celtic sea salt and crush it in your mouth before drinking the water. This gets the water into your cells instead of around them gathering in your feet. Look for her online on Instagram. Good luck.

    • Shelly on

      Possibly a pinched nerve in your lower back. I had nerves crushed in my L4-L5 region causing numbness in my foot. An outpatient procedure cleaned out and opened up the space. Pain is gone!

  8. Alexander Szabo on

    Hi doc,
    Why test hair and nails for toxins to see if detox foot-baths work? The thing I’d like to know is/are the substances found in the water before and after the foot-bath. If any toxins found in the water that weren’t there before the foot-bath you’d already have more ground to assume that foot-baht actually work.

  9. Debbie on

    Do you recommend the same detoxing recipes for people with high blood pressure? Are they at risk if they regularly soak in Epson salt – for body baths and foot socks?


  10. sharon Harper on

    I enjoy the foot soak recipe. I have a few toenails that are benefiting from the foot soak. After that I use oregano, and tea tree essential oil mixed with a carrier oil on my toe nails. Working well for me. Also, there is a detox bath soak I really like. It consists of Epsom salt, apple cider vinegar, with a few drops of lavender and lemon essential oil mixed in some castile soap.

  11. Kay M Merrill on

    I am allergic to lavender , I think could use wintermint or peppermint would that work for foot soak I grow peppermint could I use that ? Also your collagen products have watermelon allergic to that to , I am hypersensitive to a lot of fragrances, what would you recommend .


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