How to Clean Deep Dirt in Calluses on Feet

Exfoliate and rid that gross stuff from your heels.
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Calluses are thick, hardened, yellowed skin that tend to form on the heels and other areas of the foot that are subject to pressure or friction. Calluses -- which may be slightly tender or uncomfortable, but not painful -- are usually caused by running, walking barefoot, wearing poorly fitting shoes, or standing for long increments. Over time, the surface of calluses collect dirt, making the unsightly appearance even more noticeable. However, daily washing and use of a pumice stone are effective ways to smooth calluses and remove embedded grime.

Scrub your feet with a washcloth and soapy water. Use a gentle, fragrance-free soap.

Soak your feet in warm, soapy water for about five minutes to soften the calluses.

Dip a pumice stone in the warm water. Applying light to medium pressure, rub the damp stone over the callused area for two to three minutes in order to remove the top layer of dry, hard skin. Removing thick calluses may require several treatments, so always be gentle -- do not damage the skin by rubbing too hard.

Rinse your feet with warm water, then dry them with a soft towel. Apply a moisturizing lotion or cream to your feel while the skin is warm and slightly moist.

Rinse the pumice stone thoroughly to remove soap and dead skin cells.

  • See your physician if your calluses are unusually thick, or if they are painful or bleeding.
  • Never attempt to remove calluses with a knife, razor blade or other sharp tool.
  • Be careful with chemical peels, corn pads or over-the-counter products containing salicylic acid -- they may over dry and damage skin further. Always use products strictly according to the directions on the label.
  • Wear thick socks whenever possible. Padding the feet helps prevent the development of calluses. You can also pad the callused area with moleskin or lamb's wool.

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.