Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I'll give the quick and dirty suggestion first and put the story toward the end, just in case no one happens to be interested in the randomness in my life which contributes to my bursts of DIY genius.
(The genius part was a joke.)
1) Find a large bowl. Large enough to fit both of your feet and a good bit of water.
2) Mix a quarter cup of white vinegar with three or four cups of hot water. Use enough water to cover your feet once you've put them in the bowl.
3) Get your tools of the trade. If you've got nail clippers, bring 'em. Nail file? Sure thing. One of those little cuticle scraper thingamabobbers? Absolutely. Pumice stone / nail brush / tire iron? Get it.
4) Find a comfy place to sit and read / watch tv / knit while you are soaking your feet.
5) Lay a towel down under the bowl, put your feet in, and kick back. I would recommend fifteen minutes of uninterrupted soaking. Trust me, your feet will not smell like vinegar when this is all over.
6) About fifteen minutes into the soak, use your tools to remove dead skin from your toenails, between the toes, and your heels. I recommend using a cuticle tool to clean around and under your nails. Use a pumice stone (or if you don't have one, any kind of brush with stiff bristles will do. No extra brushes laying around? How about a washcloth?) to exfoliate your whole foot. The vinegar and water mixture will have softened your skin so that removing dead skin will be much easier. If you are having trouble scrubbing dead skin away, soak your feet for another fifteen minutes or so.
7) Dry your feet off. Enjoy. It feels pretty amazing to bring your feet straight out of a vinegar bath like this. They'll be soft and clean and bright.
8) Optional: Embellishments. Sometimes I like to finish up with some foot lotion and nail clipping and painting. Other times, I just let it ride. Clean, fresh, and vibrant feet.
What I really like about this method is that the only person who touches your feet throughout this process is YOU and you're not sticking your feet into a bath where goodness knows what kind of feet have been before. And, of course, there are no harsh chemicals in the mix to irritate your skin. And there are no funny smells (like we often encounter in nail salons). Oh, not to mention that this method will save you the cost of your salon-style pedi. More money to spend on wine!
... Now for the story behind the glory. If you are interested, that is. This might be a bit too much information for some of you. But that's what makes life interesting.
One Sunday, a friend and I were sitting on my couch after a long night of partying. We had been out on the town in Athens, GA where the drinks are cheap (so you buy lots of them). We're laying around, unshowered, reeking of the previous evening's libations. I look over and I see that my friend has fixed her gaze on something. I glance down expecting to see a bug or perhaps a forgotten clump of food from the late night fast food run the night before. Instead, I see that she is, in fact, staring at my little toe. As I realize this, she says to me,
"K, you've got toenail fungus."
What?! I look down. Sure, my pinky toe was a little yellow. And hey, it even looked a little cracked... but that was normal, right?! She gets closer to my toenail.
"Yup. I've seen toenail fungus before and you've got it. That's toenail fungus for sure."
Great. How do I get rid of this $hit? What do I have to do?
"K, you need to go to the doctor. You need to get some medicine for that."
Pffff. I tend to turn my nose up at suggestions like that sometimes (admittedly, sometimes I stupidly turn my nose up to ideas that seems too "conventional" for me. But that's because I'm a stubborn a-hole). I did a quick google search and found a suggestion to soak feet in hot water and vinegar for thirty minutes a day in order to kill toenail fungus and to prevent future bouts with the sucker. I quickly pieced together a huge bowl, some hot water, and some vinegar. Within minutes, I was back on the couch, hoping for the tussin-like powers of the vinegar to take away the toenail fungus with which my friend had very recently diagnosed me. I kind of liked soaking my feet. In fact, I got all interactive on my feet. I clipped and cleaned my nails, used a scrub brush... by the time my vinegar feet soaking experience was over, my feet were lookin' good. The most surprising thing about the whole experience to me was how CLEAN the vinegar made my feet. And how soft they were afterwards. They were just about glowing when I was done with the whole thing. I thought that was kind of neat.
Oh, and the toenail fungus turned out to be a case of dirty feet; I had worn open-toed shoes the night before while we were out on the town. Pinky toe fungus averted! Cheap pedicure idea invented! It was destiny.