Vinegar can have a variety of uses, such as in cooking, cleaning, or alternative medicine. This is because vinegar contains acetic acid, which has antimicrobial properties.
Vinegar may help improve the following conditions:
- foot odor
- athlete's foot
Different types of vinegar contain varying amounts of acetic acid. For example, white vinegar contains around 4 to 7 percent acetic acid, whereas cider and wine vinegar contain about 5 to 6 percent.
How to make a vinegar foot soak
Different types of vinegar, including white or cider vinegar, are suitable for foot soaks.
Make a vinegar foot soak by using the following recipe:
- filling a basin with 1 cup of vinegar
- adding 2 cups of warm water
- continuing to add 1 part vinegar, 2 parts water until the basin is full
- soaking feet for 10 to 20 minutes
Repeat this process daily or until foot problems disappear.
The type of vinegar a person uses is unlikely to make a significant difference in the effectiveness of the soak. However, it may be better to avoid herbal or fruit vinegar as they contain additional ingredients.
Why might vinegar be useful for feet?
The skin on the feet is susceptible to developing problems because of dehydration and exposure to environments where bacteria or fungi can grow.
Vinegar contains many useful properties that could help address these problems.
Bad foot odor can result from sweating, which can build up around the feet. Some people find their feet sweat even when they do not engage in exercise or other strenuous activity.
Sometimes, foot odor is made worse by the growth of bacteria and fungi on the feet and in footwear.
Because vinegar is antimicrobial, soaking the feet in a vinegar bath for 10 to 20 minutes may help to kill the bacteria or fungi contributing towards foot odor. Clean the feet with a regular, soft soap before and after soaking.
Athlete's foot is an infectious skin disease caused by exposure to certain fungi. It affects the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, moist environment for the fungi to grow. It often develops between the toes and causes the skin to become dry, sensitive, and susceptible to damage.
Being barefoot in public places, such as in gyms or swimming pools, can lead to athlete's foot.
As vinegar has antifungal properties, soaking the feet daily in a vinegar foot bath could help fight off fungal infections, such as athlete's foot.
However, there is currently no reliable evidence to suggest that any home remedies, including vinegar, are useful in the treatment of athlete's foot. However, a vinegar soak may soothe and ease symptoms and is unlikely to cause any harm.
Medications are still the most effective form of treatment for athlete's foot.
Vinegar has antimicrobial properties that may help prevent warts.
Warts are skin growths caused by a viral infection.
The virus that causes warts is the human papillomavirus (HPV). It is possible to pass warts from one person to another through close contact with the skin.
Warts can occur on the feet. They are not usually painful and have no links to cancer, but they can be unsightly.
As vinegar has antimicrobial properties, it could protect against viruses. It is possible that a vinegar soak could help treat or prevent the growth of warts on the feet.
There is currently no evidence that vinegar can fight infections caused by viruses, such as HPV. However, research has found that the acetic acid in vinegar can be useful in preventing skin infections in people with burns.
Vinegar is mostly safe when used in moderate quantities. People should still use vinegar with caution, however.
It is possible for vinegar to irritate already inflamed skin. Vinegar is also not appropriate for treating wounds on the foot.
People who have diabetes should avoid using vinegar for foot problems. Although diabetes can cause a range of foot conditions, including warts and athlete's foot, these will often require specialist care.
Currently, there is little substantial evidence to support using vinegar in this way, but a vinegar foot soak is unlikely to cause any harm in most cases and could provide some benefits for foot-related problems.