The internet is a vast, almost infinite place, rich with pockets of information, or “information,” that can tell you anything you want to know and reinforce anything you already believe. One of the most robust online pockets is the one full of life hacks—an entire genre of internet posting based on the idea that you can shortcut your way to a better existence by simply tweaking what you already do or repurposing items you already have. And one of the most commonly repurposed household items is alcohol. Vodka as bug repellant, beer as shampoo—there is a long list of ways alcohol can supposedly improve your life without touching your lips (unless you use it as a skin treatment). The one I chose to investigate is whether or not gin can save the world from stinky feet. To find out, I washed my feet with gin. Here’s how that worked out:
First, let’s deal with the ever-present comment whenever someone uses the makings of a Martini or Margarita for anything other than drinking: “UR WASTING ALCAHOL” (sic). We appreciate your enthusiasm for cocktails, but you’re missing the point. This isn’t necessarily about what should be done; it’s about what can be done. Why use a bottle of gin to find out if it can make your feet smell like a walk in a pine forest? As explorers before me have suggested: Because it’s there. Now, on to the logistics.
In order to really see the effects, I decided it was important to make sure my feet were in dire need of help. Before giving them a once over with the juniper-infused spirit, I put them through a 10 mile run, followed quickly by an hour of manual labor in the yard. I wore a thin, older pair of socks and shoes that were well-beaten with runs, hikes and even a few dips in the water. After I put my feet thoroughly through their paces, it was time for the before shot. I went to my wife and told her I needed her to smell my feet. At this point I should mention that, in the seven years we have known each other, this was the clearest expression of my wife’s love for me and I would like to thank her.
The initial feet review? “I think I might cry. They smell … musty. They smell warm.” As a temperature, warm is good. As a smell it is decidedly not. Then it was time to give the old dogs the gin treatment.
The internet has two ideas about how you should wash your feet with gin. One is to simply dip a washcloth in gin and wipe them. The other is to mix half a cup of gin into a tub of water and soak your feet for about 10 minutes. I grabbed the bottle that’s currently on my bar—D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin. With a price tag in the low $30s, it is not the gin I would use to do this every day, but it might be the best one to experiment with. Its rich, minty scent brings to mind natural personal cleaning products. If any gin could make me smell good, it'd be this one. I soaked one foot and wiped the other. The alcohol dried up quickly, and a little more than 10 minutes later, I was back asking my wife to prove her love for me again.
As she cautiously and reluctantly went in for a sniff she said, “They smell like nothing.” It was definitely not a ringing endorsement, but I’d come a long way from musty and warm.
Does washing your feet with gin work? Sort of. But it doesn’t make them smell better than if you just wash them with whatever you typically use in the shower. And if you aren’t the sort of person who devotes extra time to soaking or scrubbing your feet as part of regular routine, I doubt you’ll get much out of it. Would I do it again? Nope. The extra effort combined with the minimal returns convinced me that my gin is best used as tonic’s better half or my favorite part of Negroni.