5 Steps to Prettier Feet Now

At-Home Treatments for Toenails and Feet

If you have no time for a professional pedicure, there are some easy and effective at-home ways to keep your feet pretty and healthy. Besides saving time, a simple do-it-yourself treatment has the added benefit of being easy and cost-effective because it uses inexpensive products you probably already have at home.

This article offers easy-to-follow steps that will soothe and refresh your feet and have them looking and feeling better fast.

Woman's feet wearing sandals on light purple flower petals
Alicia Bock / Stocksy United

Step 1: Start With a Soak

Add a few tablespoons of bath salts or Epsom salts to a basin of warm water and soak your feet for five to 15 minutes. This will cleanse and soften skin and nails, which makes it easier to trim toenails and remove calluses.

Step 2: File Calluses

Once your feet are dry, use a foot file tool or large nail file to gently file any corns or calluses. Using light hand pressure, file corns and calluses until the skin appears and feels smoother.

Sometimes larger corns and calluses will need to be professionally trimmed by a podiatrist, especially if they are painful. Avoid callus shavers because they may cut healthy skin and cause bleeding.

Step 3: Exfoliate

To remove dead skin cells and diminish rough skin, gently massage your feet with an exfoliating foot scrub product. Be sure to avoid any wounds. After applying the exfoliating scrub, rinse your feet thoroughly.

If you prefer, you can make your own scrub. Dilute two tablespoons of sea salt with equal amounts of baby oil and lemon juice. Other types of oils that can be used are olive oil, coconut oil, or canola oil.

Step 4: Toenail Treatment

Here is a quick and simple routine for improving the look and health of toenails:

  • Remove any nail polish.
  • Trim toenails straight across so that some of the white remains.
  • Lightly brush the surface of toenails with a nail buffer or fine grit nail file.
  • Apply some lemon juice with a cotton swab on and around the nail to further remove dead skin and give nails a healthy shine.
  • If your toenails are discolored or yellow from frequent nail polish use, scrub them with a paste made of baking soda diluted with water.

Step 5: Moisturize

Once feet are dry, finish by applying your favorite lotion or cream. For areas that tend to get cracks or calluses, try applying a heavier moisturizing product, such as a heel cream or balm.

More Foot Care Tips

In addition to this five-step routine, provide some care for your feet every day. These tips can help you avoid infection and keep the skin and nails healthy:

  • Do not cut toenail cuticles: They protect the nail and surrounding skin from infection.
  • Prevent toenail discoloration: Toenails can absorb some of the pigment in nail polish, causing a yellow discoloration. To prevent this, don't always paint your toenails: if you have nail polish on for two weeks, take two weeks off so they can return to normal, and you'll see less discoloration.
  • Avoid drying out nails: Nail polish removers with acetone can dry out nails causing a chalky appearance. Try an acetone-free nail polish remover or apply a moisturizing product to the nail after removing the polish.
  • Care for calluses: Apply moisturizing products at least once a day to callused or cracked skin.
  • Treat or prevent sweaty feet: Use an over-the-counter foot powder or sneaker spray if your feet tend to sweat. After a long day in shoes, rinse feet to minimize the ravages of sweat, which can irritate skin and increase the risk of athlete's foot.
  • Get medical care when needed: Seek medical treatment for any slow or non-healing wound, rash, or toenail infection.


Soaking, caring for calluses, exfoliating, carefully trimming nails, and moisturizing are some of the easy ways to ensure your feet stay healthy and pretty. In addition to these steps, you can make an effort to avoid infection and treat sweaty feet or other ailments with home treatments.

By Catherine Moyer, DPM
Catherine Moyer, DPM, is a podiatrist experienced in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the foot and ankle.