Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

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If you’re planning on showing off your toes at the beach or love wearing flip-flops and sandals, you probably want to avoid the embarrassment of less-than-desirable toes plagued by fungus. When you’re in need of a home remedy for toenail fungus, take care in knowing that a variety of household items can greatly affect the appearance of affected nails.

toenail fungus

What is Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus involves the growing of a yeast-like fungus (similar to the type that causes athlete’s foot), which attacks under and within a toenail. The condition causes nails to thicken, become discolored, loosen, and even crumble [1].

Causes and Symptoms

Many different fungus, yeast or mold can contribute to toenail fungus. When the right environment presents itself, the fungus is allowed to thrive. Sometimes, toenail fungus runs in the family. Other times, your nail has suffered trauma or damage that makes it susceptible to fungus. Poor air circulation, sweaty socks, and tight shoes can also cause toenail fungus to develop.

A weak immune system additionally means your body cannot fight local infections, such as fungus. There is also a nail fungal infection to be on the lookout for called onychomycosis. This condition causes one or more nails to look distorted in shape, brittle, crumbly, thickened, dull with no shine, and darkened in color [2]. Sometimes, the infected nails will separate from the nail bed.

Toenail Fungus Home Remedies

When it comes to home remedies for toenail fungus, a great deal of suggestions focus on keeping moisture away from under the nails, while others aim to kill the fungus causing your symptoms. A few toenail fungus home remedies to consider include:

a) Zinc:

Increase your intake of zinc by taking a supplement or choosing foods high in zinc, such as oysters, roasted pumpkin seeds, chocolate, cocoa powder, and peanuts.

b) Toenail Clipper and File:

Regular nail care and trimming can treat infected toenails and help speed up healing. Shorter and thinner nails are better for combating many of the symptoms.

c) Antibacterial Soap:

In the morning, wash your toes with antibacterial soap .

d) Rubbing Alcohol:

Use a Q-Tip to scrub your toes with rubbing alcohol. Let dry before putting on any socks or footwear.

e) Salt Water:

Prevent bacteria and fungus from infiltrating your nail bed by soaking your feet in saltwater.

f) Garlic:

Use garlic as a natural antiseptic that offers internal and external remedy choices. For starters, you can add 5 to 6 teaspoons of garlic extract to your meals or liquefy raw garlic cloves in a blender for application to infected nails three times per day.

g) Vicks Vapor Rub:

Apply a thick coat of chest rub (such as Vicks Vapor Rub) to affected nails several times per day [3]. Some people claim to have their toenail fungus problem cured in about 45 days when using this method.

h) Listerine Soak:

Infected toenails have responded to a soak consisting of Listerine – a mouthwash with strong antiseptic properties.

i) Vinegar:

Some people claim to have cured their toenail fungus by soaking their feet in vinegar. There is research that shows that vinegar can slow down the growth of certain bacteria. For 15 to 20 minutes, soak your feet in a mixture of 1 part vinegar and 2 parts warm water. Rinse your feet well and pat dry after the soak.

j) Listerine and Vinegar:

Another home remedy for toenail fungus involves an equal blend of Listerine and vinegar. Keep the solution in a spray bottle and administer after a morning shower and before going to bed. At night, apply Vick’s Vapor Rub over the cuticles and under the nails after toes have dried. Place a covering, such as a Band-Aid, to protect your sheets and covers. ??

k) Dry Feet:

It is important to wear dry shoes and socks to combat the symptoms of toenail fungus.

l) Shoe and Sock Care:

When choosing socks, opt for natural fibers (such as cotton) to avoid further complications of toenail fungus. Avoid plastic or rubber shoes/soles when treating your condition. It is also important to frequently change your shoes and socks to promote faster healing and prevent a buildup of moisture.

m) Baby Powder:

Keep toes dry by regularly filling your socks and footwear with baby powder.

n) Bleach:

Undiluted household bleach has been used to treat toenail fungus. Soak a Q-tip and “paint” toenails with the bleach – around the cuticle and nail tip. Allow your toes to air dry. There are also reports that some doctors have even told their patients to use a diluted bleach mixture consisting of one part Clorox and three parts water to treat toenail fungus.


[1] http://www.permanente.net/homepage/kaiser/pdf/541.pdf
[2] http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/nail-fungus/DS00084/DSECTION=symptoms
[3] Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things by Reader’s Digest; pg. 123