16 Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

Step barefoot in the wrong place at the local watering hole and you could face a summer filled with itchy toes and frustrating treatment routines. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is persistent with symptoms that last for an average of four weeks. To actively battle this common foot condition, equip yourself with the knowledge of home remedies for athlete’s foot.

Home Remedies for Athletes Feet

What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot (also known as tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that thrives in moist crevices located between your toes and at times – on other parts of the foot. The organism behind this medical condition multiplies best under warm, damp conditions.

Causes and Symptoms

Athlete’s foot is notoriously contagious and can spread or develop in many different ways. The most common causes of athlete’s foot include sweat-drenched footwear, tight shoes, and frequenting public places (like swimming pools, saunas, and locker rooms) – where direct, skin-to-skin contact with an infected person often occurs. The fungus is also transferred to objects that come in contact with people. Bed linens, clothes, mats, floors, rugs, and shoes are common surfaces plagued by the fungus. Even man’s best friend can pass on the fungal infection to their owners.

Common signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, stinging or a burning sensation that appear between the toes and/or on the soles of the feet [1]. Itchy blisters may form. The skin can crack and/or peel. The bottoms and sides of your feet may display excessively dry skin. Toenails are sometimes affected, becoming thick, discolored and jagged. In worst-case scenarios, a fungal infection of the nail called onychomycosis may arise.

Athlete’s Foot Home Remedies

Ignoring athlete’s foot will place you at risk for complications, including secondary infections and allergic reactions, where blisters may appear on your fingers, toes or hands [2]. In order to avoid further headaches between your toes and other parts of your body, consider the following home remedies for athlete’s foot:

a) Garlic:

Try slipping a couple of slices of fresh garlic into your shoes and wear throughout the day.

b) Anti-Perspirant:

Keep your feet dry by spraying on an underarm anti-perspirant, which not alone takes away the places that athlete’s foot fungus may grow, but can also kill the infection.

c) Aspirin and Rubbing Alcohol:

Place six aspirin in ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and allow to dissolve. Shake mixture well and apply to dry, clean feet. Repeat this regimen three times per day for three days or until your symptoms disappear.

d) Cold Compress:

Treat inflammation, reduce itching, dry up sores, and enjoy pain relief by applying a cold compress to affected areas for 15 to 20 minutes.

e) Saltwater:

To reduce the amount of perspiration that takes place about the feet, as well as repel athlete’s foot fungus, create a saline solution (two teaspoons of salt per every pint of warm water). Place the solution in a basin and soak your feet for 5 to 10 minutes at a time.

f) Dead Skin Removal:

As your athlete’s foot starts to heal, expect an increase in dead skin, which needs to be removed to prevent reinfection. Soak your feet or take a bath to soften skin. With a bristle scrub brush, vigorously go over your entire foot, especially between your toes. Thoroughly rinse to remove residual dead skin cells.

g) Toenail Treatment:

Fungus tends to gravitate to toenails and can easily breed in the undersides. Every couple of days, scrape clean your toenails using a toothpick or wooden match. Do not use a metal nail file, which can leave behind scratches in the nail that fungus can make their new home.

h) Baby Powder:

Keeping your feet dry is an essential part of remedying athlete’s foot. After a shower, allow your feet to air-dry for 5 to 10 minutes before slipping on your socks and shoes. Dust feet (and in-between toes) with baby powder to absorb any leftover moisture.

i) Hair Dryer:

Athlete’s foot fungus thrives in overlooked moisture left behind on feet not completely dried off before you put on your socks and shoes. Hold a hair dryer about six inches away from your foot. Wiggle your toes to make drying between them easier.

j) Mouthwash:

Choose an antiseptic mouthwash (free of added sugar) to treat a mild case of athlete’s foot. To apply, soak a cotton ball in the mouthwash and treat affected areas. Some people have experienced a stinging sensation, which is completely normal. Expect results to surface within a few days.

k) Baking Soda:

Baking soda is used to dry out an athlete’s foot infection. Try dusting your feet (as well as your socks and footwear) with dry baking soda. Another remedy is to create a paste by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with ½ teaspoon of water. Rub the mixture between your toes. Allow it to dry and then wash off after 15 minutes have passed. Before placing your feet back into your shoes, make sure they are completely dry.

l) Apple Cider Vinegar [3]: Ease the symptoms of an athlete’s foot infection, such as itching, by rinsing your feet in a basin filled with undiluted apple cider vinegar. Repeat the rinse for 3 to 4 times per day over the course of a couple of days. To make sure the infection doesn’t linger in your socks, soak them in 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water for 30 minutes before tossing them in the wash.

m) Lemon Juice:

Treat the cracks that athlete’s foot may bring by rubbing lemon juice into affected areas two times per day for 10 days.

n) Itchy Relief Concoction:

Mixing one tablespoon of vinegar and vegetable oil with one raw egg will create a cream to treat the itchiness and burning of athlete’s foot. Rub the concoction into your feet for two to three times per day. Store leftover cream in the refrigerator.

o) Dry Socks:

Keep a dry pair of socks handy, as damp conditions cause the athlete’s foot infection to thrive. Additionally, do not wear a pair of socks two times in a row.

p) Toss Away Tight Shoes:

If you can’t fit into a pair of shoes, toss them away to eradicate a case of athlete’s foot. Squeezing into ill-fitting footwear not only agitates the skin, but also causes your feet to sweat. Plastic shoes will also cause problems for an athlete’s foot infection.


[1] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/athletes-foot/DS00317/DSECTION=symptoms
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/athletes-foot/DS00317/DSECTION=complications
[3] Reader’s Digest Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things, pg 356

Reader Comment

“All I can say is stay out of public areas. Athlete’s foot is found in nasty locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, and public baths and showers (like at the gym). If you must go in, wearing something on your feet is a must!