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Simple home remedies for toenail fungus

Onychomycosis, which is the medical term for your common toenail fungal infection, is a problem which many people face today. Half of all nail fungal infections are of this fungus. Sometimes it is a problem that doesn’t generate any bothersome signs or symptoms, so it is left untreated. If you have yellowing of the toenail, a nail that is thicker than normal, cracking, peeling, swelling, or redness around your nail bed, then there is a good chance that you have toenail fungus.

Candida and dermatophytes can also cause similar symptoms when they create an infection as well.

That’s the bad news. Now here’s the good news. There are several simple home remedies for toenail fungus that can help you get rid of that bothersome problem in as little as 2-3 weeks. Most fungal infections of a toenail are completely curable and will only take a few minutes out of your day.

Which one of these home remedies for toenail fungus could work for you? Let’s take a look.

ImageDescriptionTreatment TypeOur RatingPrice
ImageDescriptionTreatment TypeOur RatingPrice
Fungus Stop by Zane HellasOil of Oregano3.8$
Probelle Extra Strength Natural Fungal Nail GelPatented3.8$$
Fungi Nail Brand Toe and Foot Pen SolutionUndecylenic4.0$
Tea Tree Essential Oil 4 ounce BottleEssential Oil4.4$$
Manuka Oil by Pur365Essential Oil4.5$$
Pacific Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot SoakFoot Soak4.7$$
Xenna All Natural NonyX Nail GelKeratin Exfoliant4.1$$$
Molecular AF Antifungal Oil SystemEssential Oil4.5$$$$
Woodward's Mycocide NS Antifungal Care KitAllantoin4.3$$
Vicks VapoRubEssential Oil4.6$

#1. Vinegar Paste

Vinegar has a mildly acidic pH, which allows it to get underneath your nail and attack the fungus that is causing the issues you see. You could waste 30 minutes of your time on a toenail soak in a solution that is equal parts water to vinegar, but there’s a better way. Create a vinegar paste instead.

Here’s what you do. Mix any type of flour with your preferred type of vinegar. It’s like making paste with flour and water from your elementary school days, but with a thicker consistency. You want the mixture to be smooth and thick, not thin and runny.

Apply the vinegar paste to all of your affected nails. If you think you might have athlete’s foot, then apply the paste to those spots as well. Then wrap your foot with clear cellophane so the paste won’t drip anywhere. You can leave the paste on all day if you wish, for 30 minutes, or whatever time suits you best. It’s up to you.

Once your feet are wrapped, you can then go about the business of your day.

#2. Tea Tree Oil

There are several products containing tea tree oil which will also help to work out the toenail fungus infection for you in a relatively short amount of time. Lotions, balms, and creams tend to work the best. If you find it as an essential oil, that will also work.

Apply the lotion, balm, or cream as directed.

If you have the essential oil, then you can apply it to a cotton ball and then hold against the affected nails for up to 10 minutes. You can tape the cotton to the nail so it stays covered as you go about your day.

You can also mix the oil into coconut or olive oil with baking soda and then scrub your toenails with a new toothbrush.

Repeating this method 2-3 times per day will usually provide the best results. For severe yellowing or cracking that isn’t painful, 4-5 times per day may be necessary for the first 7-14 days of the treatment.

#3. Baking Soda with Hydrogen Peroxide

It’s a combination that helps to make your teeth whiter and your toenails pinker. Mix a small amount of baking soda [1 tablespoon] with hydrogen peroxide [2 tablespoons] to make a baste. Apply it directly to the affected nail, focusing on the edges and the nail bed if exposed.

You may see the paste begin to bubble after applying it. This is normal when there are bacteria and fungi being killed by this application.

This paste can be covered if you wish, but unlike the vinegar paste, it will only be effective for up to 30 minutes at a time. You can apply this paste throughout the day if you wish, but do so at least 3-4 times until you begin to see results. Then you can lower it to 1-2 times per day or switch to a different simple home remedy for toenail fungus to continue the healing process.

#4. Vick’s Vaporub

This home remedy is only effective if you catch the toenail fungal infection in its early stages. If your nails have just started to turn yellow, grow thicker, or curl, then apply this ointment liberally to the affected nail 2-3 times per day.

For best results, you will want to make sure your feet are completely dry before applying it. The petroleum jelly in the Vaporub can actually trap moisture next to your skin so that the fungus can continue to grow.

#5. Oregano Oil

Oil of Oregano has many of the same properties that Tea Tree Oil contains. You can make the same pastes with this product or just apply it directly if you wish. For Oil of Oregano to be effective, you’ll need to give it at least 30 minutes to work. You’ll also need to apply it at least twice per day for a minimum of 21 days before being able to see results.

#6. Cheap Scotch

Forget using Listerine mouthwash or other oral cleansing products that will make your feet smell like bubble gum or cotton candy. Go for the real alcohol if you need to kill a tough case of toenail fungus at home. Anything that is at least 80 proof will work, but you do want to use alcoholic products that contain minimal sugar. For this reason, cheap scotch is the preferred method.

Irish whiskey will also work effectively if that is what your store prefers to carry. Most bottles will be $10 or less.

Place a tub on the floor and pour just enough cheap scotch into it so your affected nail is completely submerged. Sit there for about 15-30 minutes, allowing the alcohol to do its job. Perhaps pour a drink for yourself while you’re waiting. Once you’ve finished, make sure you throw that foot fungus scotch away and rinse off your foot.

This simple home remedy for foot fungus only needs to be once per day for most people. Continue to repeat until the infection clears.

#7. Fresh Garlic

Go to the store and purchase some fresh garlic. Get it peeled to expose the clove. Then slice that clove in half.

Now comes the fun part. Your affected toenail is now going to act a lot like a cheese grater. You need to run the half-clove of garlic directly up and down on your affected nail. This will cause the pulp to work its way into the affected nail bed so that the fungus won’t have a place to hide.

One of our readers has suggested using a toothpick to pack in the garlic pulp as far as possible for best results. You’ll begin to see results in 14-21 days.

Don’t settle for using dried garlic for this treatment. Not only is it ineffective, but it will make your feet smell like a week-old loaf of bread. Only use fresh garlic cloves. If you cannot find any fresh cloves, then canned minced garlic that you pack into the toenail will also be fairly effective. If you use canned garlic, remember to refrigerate it after opening so it doesn’t lose its treatment properties.

#8. Fresh Lemons

The acidic pH in vinegar helps to remove athlete’s foot and stubborn toenail fungus. This is the same properties that a lemon has with its citric acid. Just juice a fresh lemon and then apply it directly with a cotton ball to the affected toenail or infected area. Keep it there for 30-45 minutes and then rinse it off with warm water.

Other citric fruits also work pretty well. Limes are just as effective as lemons. Oranges can be effective, but avoid navel oranges if you can. Grapefruit should not be used because it can interfere with other medications you may using.

You cannot use the juice concentrate that is sold in grocery stores for this treatment to work. It has to come directly from the fruit. It is fine to include some of the fruit pulp in your treatment. It will take 4-8 weeks to begin seeing results in most cases.

#9. Lavender Oil

As an essential oil, lavender oil does an excellent job of clearing up a minor toenail fungus infection. For those who find that Tea Tree Oil is too strong for their sensitive skin, you can mix one-part lavender oil with one-part Tea Tree Oil to produce similar results.

You’ll want to soak a cotton ball with the essential oil(s) and then get it as far underneath your nail as you can. If your nail has already broken off to expose a majority of the nail bed, then just apply directly to the area. It needs at least 10 minutes to work, but don’t go over 20 minutes for each treatment session.

Rinse with warm water and then thoroughly dry your feet. You can repeat this 3-4 times per day and results begin to appear for most in 14-21 days.

Please note: Lavender oil is typically only available during the summer months due to the growing season for this plant, so its availability may be limited in some markets. Orange oil works as an equal substitute for minor toenail fungus infections. Orange oil can also be mixed with Tea Tree Oil if desired.

#10. ZetaClear

This product is specifically designed to help treat toenail fungus that is being stubborn. You just take it as directed and this combination of an oral homeopathic spray and direct nail application will get the job done in a remarkably short amount of time.

Of course medicine is an inexact science, so different people will see different results. Most who use ZetaClear report having clearer nails and fewer issues with athlete’s foot in about 14 days when consistently taking this product. Even tough cases of toenail fungus can clear up while using this product in as little as 4-6 weeks.

While using ZetaClear, it is important to avoid using moisturizers, lotions, and other products that may trap “wetness” around your feet. Fungi love to grow in moist, dark environments. Put moisturizer on your foot and stick it in a shoe all day and you’re giving that fungi that perfect home. You will want to keep your foot or toenail as dry as possible for best results.

#11. Bleach

Do not soak your foot in bleach. You will cause an injury to yourself even if it does kill the toenail fungus or your athlete’s foot problem.

The best way to use bleach is to apply a 1:10 bleach to water solution onto a cotton ball and then apply it to your problematic toenail. Even apply a small bleach solution to your nail can burn the surrounding skin around it, which can then cause the fungal infection to spread more than it normally would.

You can also damage other nails to make them more susceptible to a spreading infection with straight bleach.

If you do it right, then you can actually kill off this infection in just 7-14 days with bleach. The 1:10 bleach/water solution will take about 15 minutes to work compared to 5 minutes for straight bleach, but it’s also a lot safer to use the diluted solution.

Apply once or twice per day to see results. Rinse your foot thoroughly with warm water after applying this home treatment method.

If you continue to see problems with toenail fungus, athlete’s foot, or another fungal infection on your toes or foot, then it is time to go see a doctor.

These simple home remedies for toenail fungus and athlete’s foot have proven to be effective. Use the system which works best for you, apply it consistently, and your feet will thank you for your efforts in no time at all.

Do you have a home treatment remedy for toenail fungus or athlete’s foot that was not covered here? We’d love to have you share your home treatments with us and how you discovered it was such an effective method for your foot health!

22 Comments

  1. Laura
    March 22, 2015 at 4:28 pm Reply

    Plain clear aloe Vera gel WORKS. Apply a thin coat to the affected nail allow to dry and it will kill the fungus. Takes time for your nail to grow out of course but it will grow in normal.

  2. Nick
    June 29, 2015 at 6:24 pm Reply

    Hi,
    I injured my big toe, and subsequently developed a fungal infection under the nail which persisted for 3 years, and spread to the other big toe. I religiously used a prescribed remedy without any effect, so decided to try garlic, don’t ask me why? Method cut your nails back as far as you can to reach as near as possible healthy nail bed, to expose the pappy infected tissue, do this yourself because it is easier to avoid pain. Take a clove of raw garlic, fresh ‘wet’ new garlic is essential, and cut it skin on diagonally in half, then grate it against the nail edge, pushing the pulp underneath if possible, the work it further under with a blunted toothpick. This does not sting or hurt in the least, and it coats the nail surface with a resilient lacquer. I did two applications 2 weeks apart for a totally miraculous 100% cure. Trust me it works
    Nick

    • Mega
      October 18, 2015 at 7:15 pm Reply

      Your comments about the use of garlic sounds good but what about the odor. I live in the tropics and have been fighting toenail fungas for years. I have bought many of the prescribed medicatons recommended by pharmacy, Dr’s and friends to no avail. I never wear shoes in the house and all of my floors are marble and mopped daily by the maid. I want to try the garlic but do not want to stink like garlic all day and what about crawing into bed with the garlic still under the nails. Advise please.
      Mega

      • An anonymous toenail fungus survivor
        October 18, 2015 at 11:36 pm Reply

        Fresh garlic certainly doesn’t smell as much as the dried garlic that you often get on Garlic Bread. Give it a try, and if the smell is too much, just wash it off. Also, I’m not entirely sure on what Nick did, however I’d recommend washing your feet before bed to remove any garlic from under the nails.

  3. Lotus
    July 28, 2015 at 6:17 pm Reply

    I am really happy to have found Oregano oil and Melaleuca Oils. Applying first the Melaleuca and then after a few minutes then the Oregano oil. I have found that a full year of nightly applying the oils is essential to totally kill the fungus.

    • An anonymous toenail fungus survivor
      September 11, 2015 at 4:16 am Reply

      I haven’t heard of using these oils to treat toenail fungus before, but if it worked for you then great! I hope other people might find your tip useful.

  4. Barbara
    September 2, 2015 at 6:40 am Reply

    I am a beauty therapist and always recommend tea tree oil for treating fungal infections with good results. However one of the most important things to remember is to treat your shoes with the oil (just the once) at the same time as your feet as this can be where the fungus is also living.

    • An anonymous toenail fungus survivor
      September 11, 2015 at 4:06 am Reply

      Great tip Barbara! Thanks for your comment.

    • Tom
      July 4, 2016 at 12:52 am Reply

      Barbara, How do you treat your shoes?

  5. LindA
    March 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm Reply

    Trying garlic and will let you know. Directions confusing! Was that two treatments daily for Two weeks?

  6. Nancy
    May 1, 2016 at 5:07 am Reply

    I for one who has has many different problems with my feet all my life. As I get older it is just getting worse. I tried bleach the helped in some small way but it did eat at my skin so I stopped. tried some anti-fungal creams and spays. Wast of money! Then I heard of using Listerine so I bought the generics brand. This helps some with out eating my skin but it is far from getting rid of fungus. (I like how is make my feet feel. Not like the bleach) Talk about The downright strange ideas that I heard. 1, using lemon. 2, clear nail polish. 3, a salt past. so now with the comment of garlic,Vicks VapoRub,Urinating and Sand paper and paint thinner. I think it is safe to say I have heard it all. Well good luck to all. I hope we all find the one that works.

  7. Louise Lydon
    June 3, 2016 at 5:25 am Reply

    With all of these treatments does the nailbed die off? Have tried the tea tree oil, and vinegar soaks also caster oil. they all kill the nail bed takes long time the nail bed still doesnt grow back.
    Does nail bed have to die off and break away. Had to go to ER have it cut off. bled and new nail grew back again with fungus. I might try garlic as I have been told it kills the worms that are in the fungus. Considering taking a probiotic at the same time. Thank you so much to your site and helping us help each other. I have had all nails and feet involved almost 30 years got hospital after the birth of my son. Also liked the idea of Aloe Vera gel. Louise

  8. Carla
    June 22, 2016 at 3:25 pm Reply

    I have used tea tree oil directly on the toes for over a year. (Not consistently) It worked on smaller toes, I was told to dig all the yuck under the big toe and clean the file, really well, before using it again. The trick is to be consistent morning and night with tea tree oil, and keep feet clean and dry, before you put your socks on.

  9. S K
    June 29, 2016 at 7:47 pm Reply

    First cut your toe nail the best you can. Clean the fungus underneath. To stop fungus growth, stop FEEDING IT. Avoid yeast (bread), and use cocconut oil suplements ($12 at local CVS). My toes cleared within two monts. Wonderful feeling.

    Try it, wort the shot!!! Good luck!!!

  10. Matt
    August 15, 2016 at 5:42 am Reply

    Allicin (from garlic) is the answer! I have been relying on Allicin capsules for years now, whenever my immune system needed a boost. So when I recently spotted toenail fungus beginning to form on my middle-toe, I thought I would give the cream a try. The fungus had progressed halfway up the nail and was in the nailbed below the cuticle, I wanted to treat the fungus before it took over the entire nail. Every night after I showered, I pushed the cuticle back and swabbed the area with rubbing alcohol. I did this to clean the area & prevent further infection. When the alcohol dried, I put a small dab of the Allimax cream (which looks & smells like garlic mayonnaise) on a cotton swab. I painted the cream all over the nail and rotated the swab away from me at the cuticle, to drive cream into the nail bed. This was my first experience with toenail fungus, and I thought it would have to grow out of my nail once I stopped it below the cuticle. I have seen several gruesome photos and heard equally intimidating stories, so I was not expecting a miracle. I was prepared to try the treatment a month, I figured that was enough time to see at least some progress at the base of my nail.

    I am happy to report the fungus is gone, the nail is clear again (even below the cuticle), after only 5 treatments! I was impressed, it is nice when you find something that works better than expected and is all-natural. I continued using the cream a few more days, just in case there were any microscopic spores remaining. I also had a small patch of athlete’s foot between two of my toes, so I rubbed some cream on there too; it was gone after 3 days. Obviously, my toenail fungus was minor, and if you have a more advanced case it will take longer to see the same results I enjoyed. One word of caution: The first night I applied the cream to my nail, I wrapped it in a Band-aide. About three hours later, I awoke because it felt like my toe was on fire. I immediately removed the bandage and fell back to sleep without further issues. I am guessing the burning was caused by the bandage either being too tight, or the fact that it was waterproof and did not allow air to reach the nail. The next four days, I did not wrap the nail, and just let it “breathe” on top of the covers; I did not experience any burning. Based on my experience, my only “complaint” would be that the container is too big. I probably used less than a tablespoon of cream to cure my toe-nail. Also, be sure to store the cream in the refrigerator, to increase its potency.

  11. kt good
    August 23, 2016 at 4:06 am Reply

    I have had breast cancer and got chronic myloid leukemia from the treatment, as well as numerous physical things the last one being feet that are very sensitive and fungus under nails as well as nails that are coming loose. I have to continue to take chemo for the CML until I die. Has anyone found anything that is natural that will work for feet/nails that have been damaged by chemo? I bought some cider vinegar,but that seems like it’s not really going to do it. I will try the tea tree oil and the garlic. Any other suggestions? Thank you.

  12. MaryAnne
    August 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm Reply

    It is bad! It is so bad! But you know what works? I have recently heard a lot about natural wooden inserts of cedar and now i tried them out after my mum got me a pair from the internet. I would NEVER have believed it, but you can clearly see a difference in the foot already. Have a try!

  13. TK
    August 27, 2016 at 8:15 am Reply

    I had problems with my big toe for about 6 years now. At first I was given some samples of Naftin from my dermatologist, but that didn’t work. So I took to the Internet and saw that people had some success with tea tree oil, vinegar, and listerine, so I combined all three. This works, but it takes time, and it can come back if you’re not consistent with it. Mine came back twice because I didn’t learn my lesson. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with one part listerine (you don’t have to use the brand name; I used my local store’s generic brand), and soak your toes in it for 30 minutes every day. Then rinse off your feet and dry them completely before applying some tea tree oil to your affected toes, making sure to get it as much under the nail as possible. Use a q-tip if you have to. And keep your nails short. I’ve done it both ways where you can clip your nail down until there’s almost no more yellow or just keep it a little shorter than normal. My toe is looking really good now and I didn’t cut it down to the nub this time, but I don’t think it matters. However, I did have problems with my nail becoming ingrown after I cut it really short. If that happens to you, what I did was let my nail grow out and then shoved tiny pieces of cotton at the corners, even dipping them in tea tree oil before doing so. And I also cut my nail straight across, not curved.

    This method works and I swear it. I would post pictures if I could because I actually kept a weekly progress log. It will take time though. It’ll probably be a couple weeks before you see any significant change, mostly because it takes a while for an infected nail to grow. And you have to stay consistent. The fungus came back for me because I saw my toe get better and I let up. Don’t stop until it’s completely gone and the color of your nail beds resemble your other toes.

  14. Justin
    September 13, 2016 at 3:29 am Reply

    I heard that the feet need sun, as I am never without shoes and/or socks. So, 12 summer I made sure and sat outside for 20 to 30 minutes several times over the course of a month. Believe it or not, the fungus went away! Not sure if it was the Vitamin D or B they talked about from the sun, but I was shocked at it slowly diminished! It has been 7 years, and in the last year has returned. I just haven’t found the time yet to kick back outside shoe less, but definately going to!!