Foot File Vs. Pumice Stone: Which One Should You Use?

It’s a vicious cycle. Women are more prone to foot calluses despite the fact that they are more concerned about the look of their feet than men are. The foot baring shoes themselves are what causes the calluses. It doesn’t help that most “pink collar” jobs require being on one’s feet for a long period of time.

A callus is a patch of skin that has become thick and tough due to irritation, pressure, and friction. They typically develop on the soles of the feet, particularly under the heels or balls. They may develop on the palms or knees if they are constantly in contact with some surface, but we will concentrate on the feet. Corns, which are much smaller, commonly happen on non-weight-bearing parts of the skin such as the toes.

Corns are ugly, often discolored protrusions. The skin is rough and flaky, often painful. So, let’s get rid of it! But what’s the best way to go about this? Some people say just file it off. Some people swear by their pumice stone. Which is really better?

foot file vs pumice stone

The Foot File Side:

What is a Foot File?

The foot file is a handheld device. It is made with a gritty material like metal or emery with the purpose of exfoliating. It works like sandpaper, removing tough, dead skin and smoothing it down. There are manual ones that can be used by hands and there are electric ones. Some people say these only work on dry skin. Some say a good soak is best for premium results. Find out what’s best for you.

What Does a Foot File Do?

The foot file removes dry and thick skin from the bottom of the foot. Removing the dry skin opens up the upper layer of the skin which allows more oxygen exposure. This makes smooth looking feet even healthier in appearance. Foot filing can provide the following benefits.

  • An improvement in circulation
  • Cleaning the skin.
  • Aiding in self-repair.

How Do You Use a Foot File?

First, feel your foot to determine where your problem areas are so you can work on those. Pick up a foot and put it on the opposite knee Flex your foot so the ball sticks out more. Hold the file against the foot and use a downward motion to scrape off the skin.

If you are working on your heel, hold your foot steady by the ankle and rub the file back and forth. It is unlikely you will have much callus in the center of the foot but use gentle circular motions here if you do. Occasionally stop to feel if your feet are soft enough or if you’re getting the right area.

Stop altogether if you notice any cuts, irritation or redness. When you’re done, rub your feet down and clean them with a towel. You may want to apply moisturizing lotion at this point. A massage will help your feet feel relaxed.

What To Use With a Foot File?

Some people use both the file and the pumice stone, largely regarding the pumice stone as supplemental. Other supplemental materials besides a moisturizing lotion could include spa socks, nail primer, and cuticle oil. Some people like to indulge in soothing oils or pleasant scents.

Are your toenails stained? You may use the same things you use to whiten your teeth or clothes such as toothpaste, hydrogen peroxide or whitening strips. Petroleum jelly will prevent cracking of the skin. If your skin is already cracked, you may need professional help.

Do You Use Foot Files Wet or Dry?

Even if you decide to soak your feet first, you should towel dry them before filing. In any case, your feet should be clean. Should you happen to be using a product that is specifically designed to remove hard skin while wet, see to it that you don’t file off much because this can make your feet too tender to walk on.

If you are taking away hard skin while your feet are dry, then it is recommended that you use an electronic foot file. As for the file itself, it should always be kept dry or it will lose its abrasiveness.

How Often Should You Use a Foot File?

About once a week should do it. Foot care should be a daily thing, washing if nothing else. You can file a bit more often if you feel like you need to. Diabetics are very prone to calluses but should probably see an expert to get them treated. Do not use a foot file if you experience neuropathy as you may not realize you are hurting yourself.

Is The Cheese Grater Bad For Your Feet?

No matter what your feet smell like, they are not cheese nor should they be treated as such. Due to infection issues, this tool is banned from use in professional salons in many states. Even if you use it at home and for your feet only and no one else’s (or worse, actually in the kitchen…ugh.) you are opening your feet up to yeast, bacteria, and fungus. The skin will just grow back thicker and harder and this time with scar tissue.

What To Use Instead Of a Foot File?

A pumice stone or nail file can be used. You can soak your feet in Epsom salt to soften the skin. Gel oils and anything containing urea will also soften the skin. Anything with alcohol will just dry your feet out more. If you’re healthy enough for it, a paraffin wax treatment can work wonders.

You can make your own foot scrub using two tablespoons of sea salt and equal parts of lemon juice and baby oil. Apply it directly to your feet and rub it in gently by hand. A sponge or brush will help take off the dead skin. Remember to rinse well with warm water.

An oatmeal scrub can really do some serious exfoliating. It’s great for any time you want to have a home spa treatment night. Blend oatmeal together with rose water and/or milk to make a paste. Apply this mixture to your feet and let it stay on for about twenty to thirty minutes. Use a foot brush to clean off the paste and exfoliate. Rinse your feet off with cold water and let them air dry. You can then apply a foot cream.

Do Electric Foot Files Work?

Not only do they work, but they work faster than manual files with better results and less effort. Make sure to get something with extensive features in order to get your money’s worth. You might like something lightweight, especially if you travel.

Different motor speeds are always a plus. the handle should be angled so that you can have the best leverage and control. Chargeable batteries and changeable heads would also be great.

How Do I Use Electric Foot Files?

Different models will have their own methods of use. Read the instructions. You should, of course, start with clean and dry feet. No real prep is needed. Use the electric foot file as directed. Do not use too much pressure.

Do not hold it in one place for more than ten seconds. Remember that slow and steady will win this race. Most of the good electric foot files will have safety features to keep you from hurting yourself, but don’t be foolhardy.

The Pumice Stone Side:

What is a Pumice Stone For Feet?

When lava and water mix, that makes pumice. It is in its natural form an igneous rock with a foamy appearance. This light yet abrasive stone has been used to remove dead skin and unwanted hair since ancient times. Most stones sold in stores will have a rough side and a relatively smoother side. It is used to soften calluses and corns.

What is a Pumice Stone Made Of?

A natural pumice stone is made out of volcanic rock with a pitted texture studded with volcanic glass. Unlike many rocks, it is lightweight enough to float on water until it becomes waterlogged. The pores in a pumice stone are formed much like the holes in Swiss cheese.

Gas bubbles are trapped in the rock during the early formation process. The magma that makes up the mineral cools down so rapidly the atoms that make it up are unable to form a crystalline structure. When used to make a health care tool, a nylon rope or wooden handle is attached to make it easier to use.

What is a Pumice Stone Used For?

Would you believe the Parthenon? Concrete made with pumice aggregate was used to build this ancient Greek temple way back in 126 A.D. Heavy-duty soaps may contain pumice. It’s used in landscaping as a drainage rock as well as soil conditioning.

It can be found in kitty litter as an absorbent. What you want to use it for is to get smooth feet. There are foot scrub creams that have pumice as an ingredient, but you can cut to the chase and just rub the stone itself right on the feet.

Why is Pumice Good For Rubbing Dead Skin?

While pumice is rough enough to abrade dead skin, it is more fragile than a metal file. If you press down too hard with a pumice stone, you are more likely to harm the stone than your feet. This natural exfoliant is a safe and gentle way to remove dead skin cells.

How To Use a Pumice Stone On Feet?

First, you soak your foot in warm and soapy water for about five minutes or until the skin becomes soft. After you wet the pumice stone, you rub it on the still damp callus with light to medium pressure for about two or three minutes. You can use the stone daily but remember to rinse the stone after every use.

Also, remember not to take off too much skin or do anything that could cause bleeding or infection. The pumice should be used with caution if not avoided altogether by people who have diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, or peripheral arterial disease.

How Often Should I Use a Pumice Stone On My Feet?

You can do this every day if you want. At least three times a week is recommended. You can use one while showering or bathing. You only need to do it on the bottom of your feet. Don’t forget to rinse the stone so it doesn’t smell too much like feet.

Do You Use a Pumice Stone On Your Feet Wet Or Dry?

The stone itself must be wet. You must never use a dry pumice stone on your skin. A wet pumice stone will easily glide across your skin and this will lower your chances of injury. Give your feet a soap and bath and pat them dry with a towel before you use a pumice stone on them. Should your skin still feel rough to the touch, soak them for a few minutes more before patting your skin dry.

How Do You Disinfect a Pumice Stone?

You can share your pumice stone, but only if you disinfect it between uses. You may even want to bring your own pumice stone to a salon treatment. The method for this is simple. Just do the following.

  • Blend one part of bleach with ten parts of water.
  • Immerse your stone completely in this solution.
  • Let the stone sit in the solution for ten minutes.
  • Remove the stone and rinse it with warm water.
  • Let the pumice air dry.

How Do You Clean a Pumice Stone At Home?

Cleaning a pumice stone makes it last longer. Some would recommend a five-minute boil, but a five-minute soak in clean water might be enough. You should clean your pumice stones after each use to get rid of dead skin and other debris. Moisten the stone plus a toothbrush with warm water.

Put a little liquid dish detergent on the toothbrush. You should then use the brush to scrub at all of the sides of the stone for quite a few minutes. Rinse the stone thoroughly in warm water in order to get rid of every bit of all of the soap, dirt, and oil.

How Long Should You Keep a Pumice Stone?

Just as you would a bar of soap, it’s time to replace it when it becomes too small or too smooth to do the job. A little crumbling is to be expected but if you find that you need to press very hard for it to work, it’s time for a replacement.

What Can I Use Instead Of a Pumice Stone?

A simple washcloth or loofah might be all you need to clean and exfoliate your feet. A foot brush scrubs your feet clean and invigorates circulation. Organic foot scrubs can moisturize and revitalize. Electric heel smoothers and foot files can remove dead skin.


The secret to smooth and beautiful feet is exfoliation. Pumice stones and foot files are both capable of this, though the pumice stone is gentler about it. Which is more suitable for your personal needs?



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