How to Get Rid of Hard Skin on Feet: Step by Step Guide

How to Get Rid of Hard Skin on Feet

I love spring and summer. The flowers are in full bloom, the sun is bright and shining, and every day is perfect for a picnic or an outing. Putting on colourful outfits and walking barefoot on the grass is probably the best part of it. It’s an absolute contrast to the cold and dreary winters. Who doesn’t like all that? But like most good things, there’s a slight obstacle. If you have a busy life and a hectic schedule that involves having to run around a lot, then you must’ve noticed a layer of hard skin developing on the feet. Thus, while you might love to wear sandals and prance around the town, you might be conscious of that thick skin. That’s the reason why it’s probably a good idea to know how to get rid of hard skin on feet.

Step-by-step Guide on How to Get Rid of Hard Skin on Feet

how to clean feet

Here are a few steps you can follow to finally remove hard skin. Obviously, make sure the procedure is enjoyable to you.

Materials You'll Need

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    A large tub (comfortable enough to hold both your feet and still have some space for moving)
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    Warm (not hot) water
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    Baking soda
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    Epsom salt or sea salts (even common salt will do)
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    Lemon wedges
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    A pumice stone or a foot file or an emery board (depending on how thick the skin layer is)
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    Clean, dry washcloth
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    Foot lotion

Step 1

Fill the tub with lukewarm water. Test the temperature of the water using your feet, not hands. Hot water causes dryness and itchiness so ensure that the water is pleasantly warm and not boiling hot. If you have a bathtub at home, you can use it instead.

Step 2

Add the Epsom salt (or any salt) into the water and give the water one quick swirl so that it mixes up well. Also add the lemon wedges (or you can use a few drops of an essential oil).

Read More: How to Clean Feet at Home

Step 3

Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes. Read a book or listen to music while waiting. You can also just day dream a little bit.

Step 4

Wet the pumice stone (or the foot file) and sprinkle some baking soda over it. Afterwards, gently scrub your feet. You can apply baking soda directly to your soaked feet too if that helps you in any way. Concentrate on your heel, ball of the foot, and the outer side of the large toe because calluses tend to develop there the most.

Step 5

Wash your feet and then pat dry it with the washcloth. Make sure that you dry your feet completely, especially between your toes. Why is that? If you put on the socks, your feet will warm up. Moist and warmth make up for perfect conditions for fungi to grow (source). Therefore, you definitely want to dry them out as well as you can!

Step 6

Apply foot lotion to lock the moisture in the parts that tend to get dry. You can also give yourself a foot massage and use some essential oils. Here is an article on how to massage your own feet, if you’re interested!

Extra Tips

cleaning feet at home

Here are few little extras to have in mind and perhaps some interesting facts too!

  • Avoid removing the hard skin on your feet if you have any cuts or open wounds. It may lead to infections.
  • Keep washing the pumice stone in between to remove any dead skin debris sticking to the surface. That should also increase the life of your pumice stone.
  • Don’t get overzealous while scrubbing, especially over new, alive skin as it might cause tissue damage.
  • Epsom salts are useful to prevent and treat any skin-related issues. Common salt relieves stress and fatigue. That’s because bathing in salts increases magnesium levels in blood and its deficiency causes fatigue (source). Therefore, something as simple as Epsom salts can improve your health.
  • Lemon wedges or essential oils will get rid of any foot odour. Also, the acid in lemons helps to soften tough skin.
  • It’s recommended to do it just before bedtime. Use an oil-based lotion afterwards to lock the moisture in the skin. Petroleum jelly works too.
  • Avoid applying any moisturiser between the toes. Keep that area dry, because fungi tend to invade this area, especially if it’s moist.
  • Invest in well-fitting shoes to stop callus from developing. If you get calluses and corn regularly, then get your feet examined by a doctor. It can never hurt.

A Few Warnings

Like always, it’s better to know the possible dangerous rather than not! Here are the things you shouldn’t do or at least consult a doctor before doing them.

  • Do not try cutting your skin to improve the healing of healthy tissue (debridement) at home.
  • Avoid any foot razors and shavers as you might cut your feet and develop infections. In fact, foot razors are banned in some of the states!
  • If you’ diabetic, please consult your doctor before removing calluses on your own.
  • If you have painful corns and calluses, consult a podiatrist before starting any sort of self-medication.

Other Foot Baths for Soaking

home foot baths

Here are a few ingredients that you can add to your foot bath for a wonderful foot soaking experience. They can be very beneficial!

Read More: Buy an Electric Foot Spa

Apple Cider Foot Soak

Mix lukewarm water, mild soap, and a cup of apple cider vinegar. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Apple Cider Vinegar works well with stopping infections (source). Afterwards, scrub the hard parts with a pumice stone.

Lavender Foot Soak

Mix lukewarm water, Epsom salt, sea salt, lavender oil, and dried lavender flowers. Soak your feet in this solution for 20 minutes. Afterwards, scrub your feet with a pumice stone. Also, you could potentially add the ingredients (excluding water) into a small glass jar and have it ready for use. That’s something I would give as a gift to the loved ones too. Therefore, you should definitely consider that!

Vinegar Soak

Combine lukewarm water, 2 tablespoon Epsom salt, and a cup of plain white vinegar.  It’s a mild soak which you can use for at least 30 minutes. The acetic acid (vinegar) will act on the thick skin and soften it (source). Finally, scrub with pumice stone and enjoy your lovely feet.

Listerine Soak

Mix 2 parts of lukewarm water with 1 part of vinegar and 1 part of Listerine mouth wash. You can soak your feet for the maximum of 20 minutes. Afterwards, scrub those feet. You’re probably wondering why we’re using Listerine. That’s mostly due to the fact that it contains thymol, which has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties (source).

Baking Soda and Vinegar Soak

Mix lukewarm water, baking soda, plain white vinegar and salt. Afterwards, soak your feet for around 30 minutes and scrub them with a pumice stone. It’s definitely an interesting combination that will make even the hardest skin soft.

Home Remedies for Hard Skin on Feet

Aspirin Paste

You may find a few Aspirin tablets lying around your house. They’re helpful with softening thick skin on your feet. Crush 5-6 tablets of aspirin until they become powder, add half a teaspoon of lemon juice and some water to make a paste out of everything. Afterwards, apply it to the affected areas, then wrap your feet in a hot or warm towel and seal them with a plastic bag. Let your feet stay that way for around 10 minutes, then take everything off and scrape gently using a pumice stone. WARNING: If you’re allergic to aspirin, it’s better to avoid this remedy.

Read More: How to Get Rid of Calluses on Feet

Bread and Vinegar Paste

As strange as this may sound, this remedy is legit. Soak a slice of bread in a half cup of distilled white vinegar. Mix them together to get a paste. After you have soaked your feet, wrap this paste over the tough skin and secure it with a bandage. Leave it on overnight. Finally, remove the bandage on the following morning and apply some moisturising lotion.

Lemon Peel

Like I mentioned before, the acid in the lemon is useful for getting rid of hard skin. This is an effective remedy if you have tough skin on a small area. An example of that would be on the sides of your toes. Put a bit of lemon peel over the callus and wrap it up with a bandage. Let the lemon peel work its magic overnight. Do this daily and use new lemon peel each day.

Sea Salt Exfoliator

Exfoliation is the key to removing dead skin. You can use sea salt to rub your feet. Mix it with olive oil in a 1:1 ratio to form a paste. After you’ve soaked your feet, gently scrub the mixture into the hard skin on your feet using circular motion. Rinse them with warm water and dry them out. Afterwards, you might want to apply a thin layer of oil to seal in the moisture but that’s not an absolute necessity.

Chamomile Tea

Home Remedies for Hard Skin on Feet

Chamomile can do wonders for hard skin. It’s especially useful if your feet are painful or swelling. Chamomile is mildly anti-inflammatory and doesn’t irritate skin. To make the bath soak, brew 2 cups of chamomile tea and pour them into a foot basin. Soak your feet in it for at least 20 minutes. Afterwards, pat dry them, moisturise, and slip on socks. It’s a perfect remedy to use just before going to sleep.

Why You Should Use Castor Oil

As I said earlier, it’s wiser to use an oil-based moisturiser for your feet. If you’re like me and using natural products, then here’s what might help – castor oil. It’s high in ricinoleic acid, which is anti-inflammatory and analgesic (source). Therefore, it can protect the feet from infections and provides with pain relief. Here is one way to use it: if you have localised callus or skin hardening, follow the procedures mentioned above. Afterwards, soak a cotton ball in castor oil and use it to cover the affected portion. Finally, secure it with a small piece of tape. If you have a corn, you can use the non-medicated corn caps and dab on some castor oil. Repeat this daily and see the magic happen.

Other Way to Use Castor Oil

If you wish to remove the hard skin that’s all over your feet, then mix one part of castor oil and one part of apple cider vinegar in a large pot. Slightly warm the mixture up. Afterwards, pour it into the foot basin, and soak your feet for at least 15 minutes. Rinse off the residue with warm water and scrub off the dead skin using a foot file or a pumice stone. Do this daily for about 3 to 4 days. Remember to wear well-fitting shoes and cotton socks to keep your feet happy. If condition persists, do see a physician.


Now that you know how to get rid of hard skin on your feet, try some of my natural remedies and tips! While hard skin, calluses and other foot problems can be very annoying and tiring, do take care of yourself and get rid of them. It’s very important to find some time for your body to make sure that more serious problems don’t come up in the future.

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