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Have you seen the latest trend in detox?

Yep…foot pads!

They sound a little iffy, so today I’m explaining what they are and answering the kinda gross question…

Why do detox foot pads turn black?!

Let’s find out.


One of the prominent trends that claim to purge toxins from your body are detox foot pads.

They are marketed as a quick and easy solution to removing toxic substances through your feet.

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Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Essentially, detox foot pads are adhesive pads that are put on the soles of your feet before you sleep.

They can be made with a variety of ingredients and different types of materials. But usually, they include a mix of:

  • Herbs
  • Minerals
  • Plants
  • Vinegar

These components are put into the pad to attract and absorb toxic substances.

Depending on their purpose, they may incorporate concepts of acupuncture and reflexology to improve blood circulation.

Others may be made with bamboo vinegar or a combination of charcoal and herb extracts.

It’s important to note that each method and/or ingredient combo claims different benefits – and side effects.

To answer the question of “do detox foot pads work,” we need to address the main thing…


The primary mechanism of detox foot pads is to absorb toxic material excreted in the bottom of your feet.

The soles of your feet are the targets because this is where most of the body’s nerves end.

Therefore, they also become a place where waste products accumulate.

However, reviews from customers and doctors are greatly contrasting when it comes to whether or not detox foot pads can actually do what they claim.

Medicinal experts Dr. Debra Wilson and Dr. Dena Westphalen have both expressed their reluctance in the effectiveness of detox foot pads.

They mention that there isn’t sufficient research to show the body’s response to the detox pads.

Dr. Wilson adds that some detox foot pad products even go as far as claiming the ability to treat depression, insomnia, and arthritis, while removing fat and heavy metals from the body.

According to Dr. Wilson, these are all false statements.

However, based on the testimonials of detox pad users, using the product has significantly improved their blood circulation, boosted their energy, and helped them achieve better sleep.

For others, they consider the product as a legitimate way of detoxification, especially since it’s long been practiced in Asia.


Companies claim that colors are a result of the different toxic substances in your body interacting with the components of the detox footpad.

Since all detox foot pads aren’t made the same way, they can produce a variety of colors depending on which part of your body or organ is being detoxified.

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  • NATURAL PADS: Pack of 30 foot pads for 15 days of continuous use; Individually wrapped for...
  • PURE INGREDIENTS: Safe, non-toxic, and fragrance-free; All-natural high-quality bamboo vinegar,...

Last update on 2020-09-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

One detoxified region may create a different color than the other because it’s believed that each color has its own “signature” so to speak.


If you notice your detox foot pads turning black, this may meant the pad is absorbing toxic waste from your liver.

If there are noticeable black flecks, that may indicate that toxic heavy metals – such as mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and lead – are being flushed out.

Usually, these heavy metals are obtained from being exposed to materials like pipes or substances like paint and pesticides.


When detox foot pads turn dark green, it’s supposed to mean that the detoxification is occurring in your gallbladder.

Additionally, if your detox foot pads turn into a yellowish-green instead, it means that the detoxification is happening somewhere in your urinary tract, bladder, kidney, or the prostate area.


Since there’s almost no verified research that indicates the validity of the color changes, there could only be assumptions as to why detox foot pads don’t change color sometimes.

The effectiveness of the pads is usually measured by the color they produce.

And so, no color change may mean that the substances of the foot pad aren’t reacting properly to the body as a result of a product’s defect.

According to experts Dr. Wilson and Dr. Westphalen though, the color of the pads is usually just a reaction of sweat from the body and vinegar from the pad.

And so, if you find no color change, it might mean your feet didn’t sweat.


People have different opinions regarding what sort of effects detox pads have.

Some claim they have only positive effects, while others claim they only yield disappointing results.

According to some, the product is a healthier alternative to sleeping pills as it promotes better sleep.

They also mention how detox foot pad users report increased energy and effective cleansing without a healing crisis.

Also known as a herxheimer reaction, it happens when detoxing becomes too overwhelming for the body, causing symptoms like headaches, body pains, digestive problems, nausea.

Interestingly, although there are reported positive results, there seem to be no harmful side effects reported.

Some claim that’s because they don’t do anything at all, therefore they can’t cause harm.

These people are of the camp that any positive effects experienced are only an outcome of the placebo effect.


A lot of people don’t trust these pads because there aren’t enough studies regarding their effectiveness.

For Stephanie Barrett, M.D, the promises that detox foot pads make are fake due to the product’s inability to show accurate data and research findings.

She adds that without this data, it would be impossible for customers to know relevant information such as the toxin levels in their bodies, the type of toxins that were removed, and the specific substances absorbed by the detox pad.

Barrett also mentions that the mechanism of detox foot pads contrasts with human physiology and anatomy.

It would be impossible for toxins to excrete through the skin because detoxification occurs mainly through the liver and the kidneys.

These two organs filter out waste and send them to the urine.

While it’s true that sweat glands in the feet can push out substances and water, using detox foot pads can’t boost this function, according to her.

I think it’s important to note that natural remedies like these often don’t have adequate funding for the “myriad of studies” some want as proof before they’ll try something.

But anyways, one radio reporter based in California investigated the detox foot pads before and after they were used.

Results showed that both used and unused pads had heavy metal substances in the product, which means that the supposed toxins on the pad aren’t really absorbed from the body.

To further test the product, this reporter tried exposing the detox foot pad on steam from boiling water.

Later, it was found that the pad had reacted to the moisture and turned black.

This would indicate they don’t change color because of toxins.

Instead, it seems they’re manufactured to react to any form of moisture in order to show “results.”

Still, it’s hard to ignore the testimonies of so many users. Are they all lying? Is it all a placebo effect?

I guess it’s just one of those things you have to decide for yourself if it’s worth the try – and the potential waste of money. You can read my more complete detox foot pad review here.

They’re not very expensive, so there’s not a whole lot to lose if they don’t work.

If you’ve tried them, let me know what happened in the comments below!

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