At-Home Pedicure Tips [All the Pampering with Less Cost!]

Whether you’re flaunting your feet in a new pair of summer sandals or wrapping them up in fuzzy socks all winter, it always feels great to take some time to pamper yourself. But what if a salon pedicure isn’t in the budget?

You can give yourself a great pedicure at home!

Experienced Parma & Rocky River, OH Podiatrist. Pedicure tips

All it takes is a few tools you probably already have in stock, so expenses are low. (Maybe even low enough you could splurge on a new nail polish color!) Take a minute to collect some basics you’ll need to have you feeling fantastic from heels to toes!

A List of Essentials You’ll Need

An at-home pedicure won’t break the bank. You might need to do a little digging to find the supplies you need, but here’s a quick list of things to grab before you get started!


  • Shallow tub with warm, soapy water
  • Exfoliant scrub*
  • Towel(s)
  • Nail clippers
  • Alcohol
  • Nail file (emery board)
  • Moisturizer of choice


  • Gentle foot file or pumice stone
  • Essential oil or bath salts for your foot soak
  • Nail polish remover and cotton balls
  • Cuticle stick
  • Nail polish/strengthener

That’s it! You’re ready to get your feet looking healthy and happy.

*If you don’t have an exfoliating scrub at home, you can make one yourself! Just take 1 cup of granulated sugar and slowly add olive oil until you reach a sand-like consistency. You can add a couple drops of your favorite essential oil for a great scent!

Prep Your Feet

First, take a look at your feet. If you have an open wound or sore on your foot, you might want to skip the pedicure today. Any break in your skin leaves you vulnerable to infection (especially if you have diabetes). Apply an antibiotic ointment and clean bandage and wait until the cut is healed.

If your feet are free of any issues, it’s time to start! If you have a soft foot file or pumice stone, gently rub it over any rough or hardened areas to loosen dead skin. The goal is not to completely eliminate the problem, but to soften and prepare your feet for a good soak.

Experienced Parma & Rocky River, OH Podiatrist. Pumice stone for your feet

Remove any nail polish on your toenails with remover and cotton swabs. If the nail polish is particularly stubborn, hold the soaked cotton ball on your nail for a few seconds before rubbing it away.

Make sure you have a shallow tub prepped with warm, soapy water. If you have nerve problems in your feet, and can’t feel temperature very well, test the water with the back of your hand or your elbow. It should be comfortably warm, and not hot.

Soak your feet for about 10 minutes. (Maybe read a good book while you’re waiting!) If you have a handful of marbles lying around, toss them in the tub and rub your feet along them for a nice massage!

Pedicure Basics

Now that your feet are prepped, it’s time to get your toes looking their best! If you have a gentle exfoliating scrub at home, now’s the time to use it. (Or follow our instructions to make one at home yourself.)

Rub your feet with firm, even pressure to slough off dead skin cells and leave your skin silky smooth. Make sure you rinse your feet thoroughly before patting them dry with a towel. Don’t forget to especially focus on the space between your toes! If water lingers, the damp environment can encourage fungus and bacteria to thrive.

Now that your feet are clean and dry, it’s time to attend to your nails! Clean your nail clippers with alcohol before using them to trim your nails. The cuts should be straight across, without curving the edges. Keep your nails short, so only a small sliver of white nail is showing.

If your trimming has left any ragged edges, grab your emery board and gently file the edge of your nail. Now, your cuticles provide a natural barrier between your nail bed and any bacteria or infection that might sneak in. So you don’t want to cut your cuticles. However, if you have a cuticle stick, you can gently push them back slightly.

Final step! It’s time to moisturize your feet. Some lotions work better for different people, so choose your favorite and apply to your feet, paying special attention to any dry areas, and avoiding the area between your toes.

Your feet should be feeling happy and looking great!

Experienced Parma & Rocky River, OH Podiatrist. Nail trimming

Nail Polish: Yes or No?

There is some debate as to whether nail polish is healthy for your toenails. Your nails are not impermeable. If you leave nail polish on long-term, it can seep into the top few layers of your toenails and leave them dry, brittle, and susceptible to infection, such as fungal nails.

However, nail polish is fun! It can be an expression of your individuality and add a little pep to your step. And like many things, so long as you are aware of the potential hazards, and protect yourself accordingly, you shouldn’t have any issues.

Consider wearing nail polish for a week or two, then giving your nails a couple weeks off. Or invest in some non-toxic nail polish that is less likely to damage your toenails.

If nail polish is a go for you, get creative! Pick red, white, and blue polish for the Fourth of July. Or add polka dots in a contrasting color. Have fun, and enjoy showing off your newly pampered feet!

Keep Your Feet Looking Great

Even though you probably don’t have time for an at-home pedicure every day, you do have the ability to maintain your gorgeous, healthy feet!

Here are a few tips:

  • Keep your foot scrub in the shower with you, and take a second every day to exfoliate dry problem areas (such as the heels or ball of your foot).
  • Moisturize every day and take the time to check your feet for any cuts or open wounds that might need attention.
  • Wear comfortable and well-fitting shoes and socks that don’t cause painful friction on your feet or trap sweat and excess moisture.

What to Do If You See Something Wrong

There are several signs you might have a skin or nail condition that needs attention. Keep an eye out for red, irritated skin; dry, flaky patches; yellow or brittle nails; warts; cuts or open wounds; black toenails; and any irregularities you haven’t noticed before.

Next step? Give us a call! Our expert team will examine your feet, diagnose your problem, and create a custom treatment plan for you. The best time to stop an issue in its tracks is early on. If you wait to address concerns with your feet or ankles, the condition could be more difficult to treat.

Dr. Joe Ripepi and our staff are on hand in both Parma and Rocky River to serve the Cleveland and surrounding communities. Call us at (440) 843-3692 or use our online contact form to schedule an appointment for you or anyone in your family today.
Dr. Joseph Ripepi
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Ohio podiatrist helping patients with diabetic foot care, foot pain, plantar fasciitis, and sports injuries
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