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How do I Choose the Best Callus File?

By Tess C. Taylor
Updated May 21, 2024
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If you are searching for the best method to safely remove calluses, consider using an effective callus file for the job. Callus files come in a variety of sizes and types, from natural hand-held files to more powerful electric files. First decide how you will be using yours to remove the built-up and unsightly rough skin on your heels, feet or other areas of your body that take the most abuse. Choosing the best callus file for your needs can be made easier if you know more about the types of files available on the market.

When choosing the callus file that’s right for your needs, it’s often best to start out with a simple low-cost option that can be purchased in a health and beauty store. Hand-held callus files come in natural wood or colorful plastic handled forms ranging from just a few dollars to more expensive name brands. The surfaces of the callus rasp or pumice can range from light to very heavy, depending on your needs, so you may need to try a couple different varieties for assorted body uses.

Another option in files includes the type that includes a handle with a metal scraper or replaceable blade in the base. By gently applying pressure, a callus file of this type can be very effective in removing large calluses in areas where they are continually building up, such as the soles or heels of the feet. This type of file should be used with caution only for removal of the worst calluses or under doctor care.

Many consumers prefer double-sided files which may feature a pumice stone or ceramic callus remover on one side and a metal grater or blade on the other side. This versatile callus remover is easy on the budget and can be used to treat calluses all over the body instead of necessitating buying several files. With proper use and storage, a dual-sided callus file will last a long time.

One of the best options for long-term use is the electrical callus file system which can be found in specialty health and wellness stores. This type of unit features a base with a rotating head mount which is powered by a cord or battery and interchangeable heads which come in different sizes, shapes and textures to treat a number of calluses on the body. Placing the heads onto the unit and then placing them against the callused area grinds them down to reveal softer skin.

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Discussion Comments

By Mae82 — On Jul 23, 2011

If you find you have sensitive skin on your feet, do you think it is better to use a quality callus file on your feet or a pumice stone?

I find that during the summertime I always get calluses when I start to wear sandals and find that they really make my feet sore after awhile. I have tried lots of lotions but they just don't seem to do the trick.

I find all of my skin to be sensitive and I am the worst at enduring any kind of discomfort, so choosing between a pumice stone and a callus file is tough. I am looking for whichever one will do the job without hurting my feet.

By manykitties2 — On Jul 22, 2011

Keeping a callus file on had is a great idea if you want to keep your feet looking their best. For myself I have tried some cheaper callus files that I have picked up for a dollar at discount shops and they worked just fine. I find I have to replace my file though about every 3 months, but that doesn't really bother me.

With the more expensive callus files, how long do they usually last for? Or rather, how long should you keep using it for? Is there a set time limit on the package?

With the inexpensive files I buy I usually wait until my file is starting to seem too dull to do the job.

By Perdido — On Jul 22, 2011

It just seems safer to use a callus file on damp feet than dry ones. I suppose I’m afraid of getting something similar to carpet burn, but from a file.

I have a Sally Hansen callus file that is meant to be used in the shower. Using medium pressure only, I swipe it briskly across my foot once a day. I have heard that filing more than that or harder than that can thicken calluses.

After I’m out of the shower, I apply a foot cream that contains lactic acid. This helps slough off the dead skin while keeping the rest moisturized.

By kylee07drg — On Jul 21, 2011

I use the Diamancel Diamond Foot Callus File. It cost $40, but it has the reputation of being the best. Many people have raved about it online, and I personally am happy with it.

This powerful file is quite safe, because it has no blade. Though I do use it on my calluses most, I can also use it on my cracked, dry heels that appear in the summertime. It works best when your skin is dry.

The file is easy to maintain. I simply wash it using a soft brush and soapy water. Then, I rinse it with running water.

By Oceana — On Jul 21, 2011

I’m afraid of blades and bleeding, so I found a callus file that cannot nick my skin. It is the Dr. Scholl’s Callus Reducer.

This file has two sides to its stainless steel head to reduce the pain of calluses and the pressure when wearing shoes over callused feet. These two abrasive surfaces have metal bumps on them that are larger on one side than the other. I choose sides based on how much dead skin I need to remove.

The handle is easy to grip and the head is washable. I have had it for four years now, and it doesn’t seem to be showing signs of wear.

By lighth0se33 — On Jul 20, 2011

The two-sided callus file helped my husband out with his calluses. He works on his feet all day in a warehouse, and he has to meet a quota. He gets calluses, but he cannot slow down because of them.

Though he probably could’ve gotten away with using a callus razor, he deemed it too great a risk. It could seriously knock his production level down if he ended up with an infected foot.

He first uses the metal grater to get the bigger chunks off. Then, he flips it over to the pumice side and files the bottom of his foot down to a nice, sandpaper-smooth finish.

By turquoise — On Jul 20, 2011

I like the double sided callus files that come with a regular file on one side and a finer file on the other. I use the rougher side first to remove the dead skin and then the finer side to smooth the skin.

It works really well because it gives me control over what I'm doing. If you file away too much skin, you can hit fresh skin and that will hurt very much. But if you remove a layer of dead skin this way first and then switch to the fine file, you won't risk hurting yourself.

By JessicaLynn — On Jul 19, 2011

@KaBoom - I agree with you, being able to change the blade is an essential feature on a callus remover. I also like your idea about using pumice in the shower to prevent more serious calluses from building up. I think I will try this.

I must admit, I'm a little scared to use an electric callus file as mentioned in the article. It just seems like it could get out of control.

By KaBoom — On Jul 19, 2011

I like to use both pumice and a callus file. I use the pumice almost every day when I'm in the shower, and this prevents most calluses from building up in the first place.

However, when calluses do build up I like to use a hand held foot file to remove them. I like the kind that are circular shaped and can be held in your hand easily. Also, the one I have has a blade that can be removed and refilled so you don't have to buy a whole new callus remover when it gets dull.

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