3 Simple Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

toenail fungusNail fungus; be it on your toenails or your fingernails is an unpleasant business to have to deal with. Officially known as onychomcosis, it is most often caused by moisture trapped in a warm dark place (because of shoes, this is why it more commonly effects toenails) which is the environment fungus thrives in. In some cases it can be caused by mold, or yeast, but it’s still collectively called nail fungus-nail mold or nail yeast just doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.

What Does It Look Like?

Generally a nail fungal infection will start off as a white or yellow spot on the tip of the nail. As it begins to develop, the nail may become thickened, brittle/crumbly/ragged, change shape, become darker in color, or get dull. If the nail starts to separate from the nail bed, it is called onycholysis, which can be quite uncomfortable. Without treatment, toenail fungus can go on indefinitely. Even with treatment, it can occur on and off.


1. Tea Tree/Orange Oil Rub

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Tea tree oil is a natural disinfectant, possessing fungicidal and anti-bacterial properties that make it popular in treating toenail fungus. Orange oil has also shown promising results when it comes to getting rid of fungus, and can be added to the mixture as well. Always remember to dilute the essential oil before applying to the nail.

You will need…

-1 teaspoon of tea tree oil
-1/2 teaspoon of orange oil (optional)
-1/2 teaspoon of grapeseed or olive oil
-Cotton balls

essential oils and grapeseed oil

Directions

As soon as you notice the tell-tale signs of nail fungus, mix together 1 of tea tree oil, ½ teaspoon of orange oil, and ½ teaspoon of grapeseed or olive oil. Soak a cotton ball in the mixture and apply to affected nail pressing it on gently but firmly so the liquid comes out. Let this dry naturally. Alternatively, you can place 4-5 drops of tea tree oil in enough water to soak your feet in, and do that for 15-20 minutes. Both treatments should be done faithfully morning and evening.

essential oils and nail fungus

2. Baking Soda and Vinegar Soak

Baking soda is not fungicidal-that is, it does not kill the fungus. It is, however, fungistatic, which means it can prevent fungus from growing and spreading. The reason it acts like this is because it is alkaline-the opposite of acidic-and fungus is able to flourish when its environment is more acidic. It seems counter-intuitive then, that using vinegar to kill nail fungus would be a good idea, but vinegar is a fairly weak acid, and will help kill off the fungus without altering the Ph. of the environment in a harmful way.

You will need….

-4-5 tablespoons of baking soda
-1 cup of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
-Water
-Something to soak your feet in
-Paper towels

apple cider vinegar and baking soda

Directions

First, mix 1 cup of your chosen vinegar with enough water to soak your feet in. Soak for 15 minutes, and then pat dry with paper towels. Follow this by adding several tablespoons of baking soda to enough water to soak your feet in, and soak for 15 minutes. Pat feet completely dry with paper towels. Do this twice a day. The idea is that the vinegar will kill off the fungus, while the baking soda will then inhibit the growth of more.

apple cider vinegar soak

3. Just Coconut Oil

Bear with me-I am about to get a little bit scientific here, but I find this to be an exciting way to combat fungus without using harsh chemicals. Medium chain fatty acids are almost miracles in how they work as natural fungicides. The fungal membrane is crucial to maintaining the “life” of the fungus, which is why many antifungal treatments target the fungal membrane. Fatty acids, such as the ones found abundantly in coconut oil, naturally insert themselves in the lipid (fat) layer of the fungal membrane and disturb it, leading eventually to cell disintegration and the ultimate destruction of the fungus (to put it in a nutshell.)

You will need…

-A bit of coconut oil
-Gloves or a sink and soap to wash hands between applications

coconut oil

Directions

Wearing gloves or washing your hands between applications (if you have more than one affected nail) rub coconut oil onto the area and let it absorb and dry naturally. There is no need to gob a whole bunch on-a thin layer will do. Repeat 2-3 times daily.

coconut oil fungus remedy

Like athletes foot, you can work towards preventing enail fungus by keeping feet clean and, most importantly, dry. Don’t re-wear socks, and stick to open toed shoes if possible. It takes time and patience to get rid of toenail fungus, and for the nail to grow back healthy and normal again. Be diligent about applying your treatments (I can’t stress that enough, it’s really the key to getting these to work the best they can) and don’t overlook preventative methods to keep the fungus from coming back.


Tip for best results: Before using these treatments, trim back as much of the effected nail as you can with a clean nail clippers (don’t peel with your fingers!)

3 Simple Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus- get rid of your toenail fungus at home.

Make sure to disinfect the clippers after using them to prevent the fungus from spreading. Rinse feet in warm water, and pat dry.

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By Claire Goodall

Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→

      

We Want to Hear from You! Let us know which remedies work and do not work for you, ask a question or leave a comment:

46 Comments

  1. antoinette says:

    Hi Claire i would like to have your input on R/A and natural cure or help for it please

  2. Laura says:

    I read your article about natural remedies for nail fungus. I got fungus under my big toenail after I fell off my bike and the nail got a small hole in it. I don’t take any medications and I tried EVERY natural remedy known, including the ones you list. (probably 100′s…) After a year, it had gotten so much worse that the nail was only attached by the skin around it and I was certain I would lose the nail. And then I stumbled on a phrase in an article about something else: fungus can’t grow on salt. Here is what finally worked for me: Scrub with baking soda and warm water to get the crusty stuff out from under the nail, dry it and pack it with himilayan pink salt and dab some coconut oil on the nail/skin to keep it soft and to work more of the salt as deep into the gap as possible. It stings a little at first, but it works. Within a week, the nail was growing back at the root pink and healthy! I was so desperate and discouraged and this really worked. And of course I don’t tell anyone because who wants to talk about their nail fungus! I have never seen it written anywhere before or since – pretty sure I invented this cure. Haha.

    • Anita says:

      Definitely gonna try your advice on nail fungus.i am struggling for years now with no improvement.thanx for your tip.

    • mete says:

      ı have fungus in my nails for more than a year .First year ı used medicine pills whıch my doctor gave me. ı read and tried many many natural remedies but they were all topic remedies.as we know the fungus lives in the nail root but topic remedies cannot reach there .ı still struggle desperately.

    • Amber says:

      What do you mean by “pack it with himilayan pink salt”.

      Like crush the salt and put it on your nail?

      • Jane says:

        I think she means put as much salt under the actual nail (as these infections tend to lift the nail) also place on top of nail especially where the cuticle is. Try that. Salt water also kills the bacteria that causes eczema to become infected. Salt is a good all rounder for many things! But you must use a pure salt. Celtic salt or himilayan salt which looks pink in colour. You will find it at most health shops.

      • mary says:

        Packing it means after getting all the crust out if not most of it out from under the nail then putting the salt inside the opening or gap so the salt make direct contact with the infected skin under the nail and leaving it in to kill the fungus repacking as needed. Bye to showers or washing feet Ect.

  3. Bobbi says:

    Wouldn’t it help to mix the Tea Tree and Orange with the Coconut Oil and rub it on???

  4. Sherri says:

    Claire, do you have any input on the salt remedy for nail fungus? I have nail fungus under on of my thumbnails and it has been totally resistant to any and all treatments I’ve tried. I think at some point the nail must have become slightly detached from the thumb and allowed water/moisture to get underneath the nail. We know how fungus loves moist areas. The rest is history! Thanks for any information you can provide.

  5. naturalremediesexpert says:

    great also Allow air to reach the infected toe as much as possible. Moist socks and shoes breed fungal growth. Go barefooted as much as you can. Wear sandals whenever possible. Do not wear your sock or hosiery more than one day without washing. White socks that can be bleached are a plus.

    Dry feet thoroughly after getting wet

  6. Kris says:

    I had fungus on my thumb nails and 1-2 other nails. I also had it on my large toenails. On the fingers, I kept a small bottle with a dropper screw top filled with apple cider vinegar. Every time I thought of it, I put a drop of vinegar (more on the fingers than the toes–convenience, lol) I kept the bottle by the computer, I would apply it several times a session, letting it go under the nail, and just air dry. I did also put it on my toenails, but somewhere during this time I started taking coconut oil in my coffee everyday. One day I noticed the fungus was gone. I have also put the coconut oil directly on the nail and rubbed it in, esp. during sandal time.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Where do u get pink salt my mom had the toe fungas on all her toes they are so bad can hardly cut them they stick up and hard for her to wear her shoes she is 97years but would love to give this a try as nothing else has worked

    • Claire Goodall says:

      You can order Himalayan (pink) salt from a number of sources online. I get mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. I hope these remedies help your mom (and wow! 97 years is impressive!)

  8. hemamt saini says:

    plz hlp me coz my toes nail(both left nd right toes) growing into my skin nd its vry painful… I had took a help frm a doc.nd he remove my nail(surgery)…bt its nt useful…nd its become more worst…

  9. Liz says:

    I put Vicks vapor rub on my fungus nail 2-3 times a day for about a month and now it is back to normal.

  10. Celestial says:

    Hi, I was wondering why you need to wear gloves when applying the coconut cream. Coconut seems harmless enough, on your fingertips too, doesn’t it?

    • Claire Goodall says:

      The coconut is perfectly safe, the gloves are an option that can decrease the risk of spreading the fungus or re-infecting the toe.

  11. Jan belcher says:

    My cousin was treated by his doctor for a nail fungus. It ended up being melanoma. He had to have part of his thumb removed. So if the remedies don’t work please go to the doctor.

  12. Kiara says:

    If you do the vinegar treatment, do you change the vinegar for every treatment or can u use the same more than once?

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Change it, as you don’t want to re-use anything that could possibly be contaminated from a previous soaking. You can use less than a cup if you like, just make sure the nail is covered :)

    • Paul says:

      You could re-use it a few times. The fungi which cause athlete’s foot and toenail fungus can’t survive in vinegar. It’s too acidic.

      • Paul says:

        Oh, that’s is you use it without the baking soda, which you should. Baking soda neutralizes the acid in the vinegar, so I would use the vinegar straight without adding anything.

    • Xavier says:

      For the vinegar treatment, do you use cold, warm or hot water?

  13. Regina says:

    I was so sick all this week a coughing that ran 4 3 nites sore throat ear ache the works. After not sleepin due to continueus coughing I went on line an found u. u saved my life I found the decongested it worked immediately. Thank u

  14. Callie says:

    Should all three of these treatments (coconut oil/tea tree orange oil rub/ baking soda vinegar soak) been done together or should you just pick one at a time to try?

  15. Claudia says:

    Hello.

    Can I wear nail polish while treating the nail fungus with the above treatments? Believe it or not I have hid it from my husband for almost 2 years now. I am so ashamed by it. :(

    Thank you!

    • Claire Goodall says:

      Don’t be ashamed! We all have stuff like this going on. There are two trains of thought with nail polish and nail fungus. One is that it does absolutely nothing harmful, the other is that it prevents any treatment from reaching the nail with the utmost efficiency. I am inclined to say that the treatments would work their best without polish, however I also don’t think they would be rendered ineffective if you did choose to use it. If you feel more comfortable with the polish, keep it. If you find you aren’t having success, try it without. And don’t fret over what your husband will think, he chose to marry you, and a little toenail fungus isn’t going to change anything ;)

    • Sarah says:

      Claudia,
      You might consider a “water-based” nail polish, such as Acquarella. It’s “halaal,” which, to Muslim women, means it allows water to pass through and reach the nail. I’m not sure if all water-based polishes are considered halaal, but I know Acquarella is. I don’t know if this would mean that any “treatments” would still get through to the nail, but I do know this polish allows your nails to breathe at least.

      Also, the Gimme-Five blogger says he treated his nail fungus by putting vinegar (or Nonyx gel) at the base of his nail twice or three times daily. If you leave a little space around the base of your nail bed where you don’t polish, which looks better anyway, this particular treatment might be affective, as it would reach the nail where it needs to, which still allowing your nails to be polished.

      I’m with you–no matter how much my husband loved or supported me, I’d want to spare him from having to see fungus nails. It’s the same concept as shutting the bathroom door, but we’re all different. Some men may not think a thing of it! I agree with Claire–don’t feel ashamed by it. Good luck with your treatment! :)

  16. Bill Nye says:

    Mixing vinegar and baking soda together makes the acidity in vinegar neutral as sodium bicarbonate is a base. Using baking soda and water as a paste after you’ve soaked in vinegar will work like an abrasive and clean any debris/fungus away that was weakened by the vinegar. Mixing the baking soda with the vindgar will do you no good.

  17. Vikash says:

    Claire, a great article. Thank you for helping people selfisly. What I liked further more is the scientific explanations such chain of fatty acids of coconut oil. Else, I was wondering how coconut oil could help fighting fungus instead it would provide food to them.

    I am stilled puzzled about alkaline solution (Baking soda) and acidic (Vinegar/lemon juice). Some writing says fungus don’t grow in acidic environment hence Vinegar controls the growth. But you are saying alkaline environment controls the growth and acidic medium enhances its growth. Am I missing something here.

    I have toenail fungus and I am treating it with vinegar, lime juice or salt water. Will try Baking soda if I would better understand it.
    Thanks again.

  18. Bev says:

    You can get Himalayan Pink sale at Whole Foods… they sell it in bulk so you can get just small amount at a time.

  19. Michelle B. says:

    For nail fungus. I have been taking Apple Cider Vinegar pills. They are supposed to change the ph of your body. My nails were clearing up until I stopped for a few weeks. I also use Coconut oil rubbed on the nails. With ACV pills be sure to take potassium, as they will deplete it.

  20. S says:

    MY FUNGUS IS GONE!

    I have had a problem with itchy, scaly feet and thick fungus ridden toenails on one foot for years. I think a lot of the home treatments didn’t work because I wasn’t doing them every single day. So, here’s what I did: one day I would do a foot soak of half vinegar half water for 10ish minutes, the next day I would do a half peroxide half water soak for 10ish minutes (always erring on the side of more water for each soak). I alternated days for two weeks and then occasionally afterwards, like, maybe 2-3 times a month I’d do one soak with either the vinegar OR peroxide. Occasionally I use coconut oil when my feet are dry, so I’m sure that helps, but it’s not consistent.
    Anyway, my nails have grown in completely clean, it took time for the nail to grow, obviously, but the new growth was fungus free.

    I hope this helps someone out there, I was so happy it worked so well.

  21. Jesse says:

    Hi Claire,
    I have a comment on the baking soda and acv remedy. You mentioned that baking soda is alkaline and helps to resist fungus growth an acv is acidic, which the funguses normal environment, but helps maintain the ph. However, I’ve read that fungus thrives in alkaline environments and the ph of acv is weaker acid and safe for skin, but the reason it works is because it will make it an uninviting environment for the fungus to live- and in turn, is killed off. Do you have any information that I am missing in this? It seems baking soda may not be the best. Thanks.

  22. Wayne says:

    I was successful with apple cider vinegar. Had used prescription “polish” from my Dr and over the counter stuff…nothing. I didn’t want to sit with whole foot soaking all the time so I got a bag of small balloons, filled with ACV – sometimes Listerine and ACV mix, stuck it on my big toe and now I was mobile. My bride shook her head but I could get up and do stuff around the house like normal or go outside. Within a week or two, could tell the new nail coming out was clean…did this for a month or so.

  23. Lidia says:

    I have been treated before for yiest overgrowth but the minute I go back to eating flour based food or some sweets, the red inflammed sorta of pimples on my face come back, as well as the athlete’s foot and the constant itching on my head. The itching on feet and head get worse at night and the area around the sorta pimples gets red and inflammed.

    I started treating the yeast with probiotics, oregano oil and garlic capsules. After 2-3 weeks all of the symptoms are gone. I keep taking the garlic tablets and the probiotics and will continue to so, I guess, forever. Of course, eliminating sweets and white flower, which feed the fungus, would work better but I just don’t think I could sustain that type of diet.

  24. Gail says:

    I have read a lot about rubbing Vicks Vapour Rub into the nail a few times a day.. That it also kills the bugs.. Never tried it. But if you google it. You will see a lot about it….

  25. susie says:

    My toenails have white on them,and I noticed they’re getting a little brittle they’re not thick or crusty. just wondering if this is a fungus. Which remedy would be better for me.

  26. Jenni says:

    Hello Claire I am thinking about using the remedy of using Vinegar and baking soda for toe nail fungus I am wondering when preparing the soaking process is the vinegar and baking soda added together in the water, that creates a solution? Or is it better using a seperate/clean bowl of water when using the baking soda next?

  27. Tim says:

    Hi Claire I’m wondering if you can help advise me, I have had a fungal problem now that started a year ago on my right thumb nail. Doctors have been unhelpful with treatments to the point I have been sent to see a dermatologist. My doctors never took sample before prescribing treatments. I have spent a lot of money on raw coconut oil. I have found that it causes the skin around my thumb to harder and cause more pain. My problem is that over the last few weeks 8 of my toes have turned fungal. I found a recipe using Baking soda and a few drops of tea tree and lavender to make an anti fungal drying foot powder, it’s complete aggravated my situation and I too had been using foot soaks as you describe above. Obviously I can’t type everything here that I have tried but I have been persistant, when I showed my doctor my toes yesterday, he looked puzzled that could be so bad when my feet look so healthy otherwise. To get to my point I have been saying to them that the source of this is internal. But they say its not showing in blood test.

  28. Cathy says:

    The only reason I can think of that caused darkening of both my toenails was wearing nail polish without a break all summer. I read here that wouldn’t cause it though. Thanks to all for treatment suggestions. I will try them.

  29. Jim davis says:

    Have the toe nail fungus with in grown nails I must dig out. Nothing worked for fungus or infections from in grown toes . I then started wetting the tops of my socks with tea tree oil and most has cleared up in my work boots where it used to get worse. The dead nail is not sore any more too. Just pink and healthy. Infections do not stand a chance that’s a big bonus.

  30. angela says:

    my mum has severe toenail fungal infection in her toenails what should she use?are these remedies safe?please reply do u recommend an over the counter medicine or ur at home treatments?pls help im at my wits end worrying about my mum!

  31. Marry says:

    hey thanks for the article… Ive had toenail fungus for years.. And tried everythin out there… Last option is laser treatment but its too expensive… I have tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil at home.. What can i doo?? Can i mix tea tree oil and coconut oil n put on my toes with cotton? or
    Apple civer vinegar alone?

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