This Weird Cure for the Common Cold and Flu Might Seem Counterproductive — But People Claim it Actually Works

Have you ever been caught in a heavy downpour, where your umbrella could only do so much to save you? You get indoors but you’re drenched from the knees down, shivering, because water splashed the insides of your shoes too.

Not a good feeling. And it certainly doesn’t feel warm and cozy to have wet feet. But there’s a home remedy that’s been getting high marks for years with wet socks being the hero. Cold, wet socks! We know it sounds counterintuitive – even crazy – but doctors at Bastyr University have put it to the test.

It’s claimed to be a remedy for the flu, colds, and other respiratory illnesses. According to Bastyr’s Natural Health Center, it’s called a “heat compress”, and works by stimulating the body’s immune response. Cold, wet socks are worn overnight while the body generates internal heat to warm up, which in turn activates increased circulation.

As the body heats up, the idea is that the immune system will be fired up to start fighting infections. People who have tried the treatment report better sleep and less head and chest congestion in the morning. They also note that by the time they wake up, their feet are dry.

So, how is it done? Well, these instructions must be followed to the letter, and doctors at Bastyr caution that those with chronic conditions or severe health problems should refrain from it. They also pointed out that this treatment was used in conjunction with other flu/cold-fighting remedies. Do this at bedtime.


  • 1 pair thin socks (preferably cotton)
  • 1 pair thick wool socks (thick is emphasized)
  • Warm pajamas
  • Large basin for your feet filled with ice water


  1. Soak Your Socks

    Place the thin pair of socks into the ice water until soaked.

  2. Bathe in Warmth

    Take a warm shower or bath to warm up the body, especially the feet.

  3. Dry & Wring

    Dry off completely, wring out the cold socks, and place them on your feet.

  4. Double Up & Cover Up

    Put the dry wool socks on over the cold ones. Get dressed in your pajamas and go to bed, under the covers.

Should you become uncomfortably sweaty during the night, it’s okay to change pajamas but not your socks. The magic lies in the heat. It will get your body to keep the blood and lymphatic system pumping, reducing toxins and clearing some of illness out through sweat. What’s also amazing is that your feet should be dry once you wake up.

If you want to try this method, docs urge that you combine it with other home remedies like soup, vitamins, garlic, fluids, and rest. For this to be effective, you will also need to stay covered up (hence bedtime) and not walk around or be propped up in a chair. Remember to visit a physician if your condition doesn’t improve or is too serious to merit natural remedies.

Are you familiar with the wet sock remedy and did it work for you? Would you try this for the flu or a cold?