Hot Foot Bath


  • Basin deep enough to hold sufficient water to cover the feet and ankles
  • Thermometer, if available. If not, test the water temperature with your elbow. Temperature should be between 39-43° C/103-110° F
  • Washcloth (to use as a cold compress as needed), bath towel, and sheet
  • Rubber sheet or plastic to protect the bed or floor around the chair
  • Bowl of very cold water
  • Pitcher or dipper to add hot water

Some Precautions to Keep in Mind

It is best to determine first if a patient has a pre-existing condition or may be taking medications that would make the use of the hot foot bath unsafe, and consult with their physician before administering the treatment.

Getting Started

  • The room should be warm and free of drafts. All necessary materials should be at hand. The patient can either lie on the bed or sit in a chair.
  • Pour hot water, to tolerance, into the tub to the level that it will cover the feet and up to two inches above the ankles.
  • Once the patient’s feet are in the tub, drape the patient with the sheet, draping also around the tub.
  • As the water in the tub begins to cool, add more hot water. The purpose is to maintain the water temperature at 39-43° C/103-110° F. This in essence gives the patient a fever. Continue this for 20-60 minutes.
  • If the patient becomes too warm, begins to sweat, or has head congestion, wet the washcloth in the cold water, wring it out, and place it on the patient’s forehead. Continue re-wetting the washcloth to keep the patient cool. If sweating continues, give the patient water through a straw.
  • When finished, remove the washcloth from the patient’s head, lift his/her feet above the tub, and pour the cold water over both the feet and ankles.
  • Dry the feet thoroughly, including between the toes with the bath towel.
  • The patient should rest for 30-60 minutes following the treatment.