Benefits of Sleeping with Onions on Your Feet

Though you might be more used to seeing them in the kitchen, onions have been used for making traditional homemade remedies for centuries.
Benefits of Sleeping with Onions on Your Feet

Written by Ángela Aragón

Last update: 30 May, 2022

Sleeping with onions on your feet at night when you have a cold or cough is one of those old “wive’s tales” that garners a great deal of interest and curiosity. Some of you might have tried it, while others might have felt so baffled by the idea that you never even considered trying it out for real.

Why an onion?

When you have a cough, as well as following any instructions given to you by your doctor, the best thing to do is make sure to maintain a balanced diet, drink plenty of water, and try to maintain certain humidity levels in your home to help expel the build-up of mucus in your airways.

Onion is an ingredient which, when cut into small pieces and placed in close proximity to you, can help to keep the air humid, acting as an expectorant and helping to relieve symptoms.

According to Dr. Manuel Viso, onion is also a proven bactericide, and can even help to loosen mucus. So, as long as you can stand the smell, you could try placing a plate of chopped onion in your bedroom.

Instead of instantly resorting to over-the-counter cough medicine, the best thing to do is look for methods that will help to loosen and expel mucus, such as steam. That way, you can clear your airways, and start to feel better.

Why put an onion on your feet?

According to popular belief, it’s thought that, in order for the onion to be most effective, you have to place slices of freshly chopped onion in your socks, and wear them in bed. There is no scientific evidence to suggest this could increase the benefits. However, there are still those willing to give it a shot.

While some people have also suggested that putting onion on your feet could also help to relieve other forms of discomfort, such as pins and needles (caused by circulatory issues), there is no scientific evidence to confirm this belief.

onions on your feet

Furthermore, according to some branches of alternative medicine (such as reflexology) placing an onion on the feet could help to relieve symptoms because it is there that we find the “meridian points”, which are similar to acupuncture points.

It’s believed that, as these points contain significant electrical properties, stimulating them could help to relieve discomfort in various different parts of the body. So, if you place onion on the soles of your feet, the bacterial properties of the onion will come into contact with these meridian points, providing relief.

How to sleep with an onion on your feet

  • Take a small onion and cut it into slices.
  • Put the slices in your socks before going to bed, placing them on the arches of each foot. It’s said that it’s there that the meridian points are located.
  • The next morning, take the onion out your socks and throw it in the trash. 

** There is little information as to which type of onion you should use. It shouldn’t really matter whether you choose a white or a red onion.


The fact that onions possess antibacterial properties doesn’t mean that every remedy involving them will be effective. As for sleeping with onions in your socks, we’d like to stress again that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that it works, despite what many believe.

If you’re looking for relief from a cough or congestion, follow the advice of your doctor, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.