How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus


Having to look at disgusting yellow toenails – yours or a friend’s – is the stuff of nightmares. If your discolored, yellow nails have nothing to do with lack of hygiene, you might be suffering from a nail fungus.

Having a nail fungus is perhaps even more despicable than dealing with head lice. The only virtue is that it doesn’t readily spread from person to person, but it can very easily spread to healthy nails surrounding the fungal infection.

Wondering how to get rid of toenail fungus? Just read on.

how to get rid of nail fungus

Causes and Symptoms of a Nail Fungus

  • Nail fungus, medically known as onychomycosis, is the same fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
  • Nail fungus affects toenails more often than fingernails, due to the fungi-friendly dark, moist and warm environment inside your shoes.
  • A fungal infection in the nails is often marked by a discoloration and yellowing of the nails. The infected nails tend to become thick and crumbly as well.
  • A progressed infection may cause pain, inflammation and give rise to secondary infections. The brittle and ragged nails also may separate from the nail bed and emit a foul odor.

Preventing a Nail Fungus

  • Clean your feet and hands regularly, and keep your nails trimmed short and dry.
  • Wear sandals or other open-toed shoes when you can, and always wear absorbent cotton socks when you have to wear closed shoes.
  • Never go barefoot in public places like swimming pools, showers and locker rooms. This will help prevent you from picking up a nail fungus.
  • Wear gloves while cleaning or doing dishes by hand to avoid overexposure to water as this keeps the fingernails moist for prolonged periods of time, making them susceptible to a fungal infection.
  • Never pick at the skin around your nails, as besides giving rise to hang nails it also makes the nails vulnerable to fungal infection.
  • Make sure your salon sterilizes the instruments used in manicures and pedicures. You should also give your nails a break from artificial nails and nail polish from time to time.

Home Treatment for a Nail Fungus

Home remedies and mild over-the-counter applications can effectively treat a nail fungus. They key is to find what works for you and be persistent until the infection goes away completely.

File down the fungus-affected nails with a good nail file as much as you can before starting the remedies for maximum benefit. Keep filing the nail regularly during the course of the remedy. This will allow the treatment to work better and allow your healthy nail to grow out faster.

Here are eight simple remedies to get rid of a nail fungus.

Method 1: Use a Vinegar and Listerine Soak

A Listerine soak has long been doing rounds on the Internet, courtesy of its efficacy against numerous fungal conditions like athlete’s foot and bad foot odor. Due to the disinfecting properties of Listerine, it can also be used to cure a nail fungus.

Alcohol is the active ingredient in Listerine that fights the fungus, so alcohol-free Listerine won’t work as well. Combining Listerine with vinegar works even better, as the acidic nature of vinegar effectively inhibits the fungal growth in the nails.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using vinegar and listerine to get rid of nail fungus

  • White vinegar (inhibits fungal growth)
  • Listerine (contains alcohol that has disinfecting properties)

Step 1. Combine equal parts of vinegar and Listerine

mix vinegar and listerine in equal parts

  • Pour white vinegar into a bowl.
  • Pour in an equal amount of Listerine.
  • Make sure that the volume of the solution is sufficient to soak the affected nails.

Step 2. Soak the affected nails in the solution

soak affected fingernails in listerine vinegar soak

  • Soak the fungus-affected nails in the solution for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with plain water and gently pat dry with an absorbent towel.
  • Repeat twice a day for at least a couple of months.

Method 2: Use an Apple Cider Vinegar and Epsom Salt Soak

The fungus in your nails thrives in the alkaline environment it creates around itself. Vinegar can help maintain an acidic environment in the area, which can inhibit the fungal growth and act as a fungicidal agent over a period of time.

Epsom salt is one of the oldest and most effective home remedies for nail fungus that can be used with raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to cure the problem. Epsom salt is known to effectively kill the fungal growth in your nails over time and also help with foot odor.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using apple cider vinegar and epsom salt to get rid of nail fungus

  • Hot water – 2 to 3 cups
  • Epsom salt (fungicidal agent) – ¼ cup
  • Raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (inhibits fungal growth) – ¼ cup

Step 1. Make an Epsom salt-vinegar solution

make epsom salt vinegar solution

  • Pour 2 to 3 cups of hot water into a bowl and add ¼ cup of Epsom salt to it.
  • Pour in ¼ cup of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
  • Mix the ingredients completely. Keeping the ratio about the same, you can adjust the quantity of the solution according to your needs.

Step 2. Soak the affected nails in the solution

soak toenails in epsom salt vinegar solution

  • Check the temperature of the water to make sure that it’s bearably hot.
  • Immerse the fungus-affected fingernails or toenails completely into the water and let them soak for about 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Pat the area dry with an absorbent towel.
  • Repeat the remedy twice a day for at least a couple of months for full recovery.

Method 3: Use Vicks VapoRub

While there are numerous hacks for using Vicks VapoRub, here we’re focusing on its utility as an efficient nail fungus treatment. This remedy is not only hailed by home remedy aficionados but is also supported by many health care providers.

Camphor, menthol, eucalyptus oil, turpentine oil, cedar leaf oil and nutmeg oil are the active ingredients in Vicks VapoRub that make it effective against toenail fungus. The petroleum jelly base softens the nails and promotes growth.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using vicks vaporub to get rid of nail fungus

  • Vicks VapoRub (acts as a fungicidal agent)
  • Gauze

Step 1. Cover the affected nails with Vicks

apply vicks vaporub on toenail fungus

  • Apply Vicks VapoRub on the clean and dry toenails affected with the fungus.
  • Get the Vicks under the nail as much as you can, and liberally coat the skin around the infected toenails.

Step 2. Wrap the toenails in gauze

wrap a gauze over vicks covered nails

  • Wrap a gauze bandage around the toes with the infected nails, securing the Vicks over the affected area. Avoid wrapping the bandage too tight.
  • Do this before going to bed and leave it on overnight.
  • Repeat every night for 2 to 3 months for complete recovery.

final using vicks vaporub to get rid of nail fungus

Method 4: Use Tea Tree Oil

Essential oils are effective fungicidal agents, capable of inhibiting fungal growth and promoting healthy nail growth. The anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils can be especially helpful if there is pain and inflammation in the affected nails.

Of all the essential oils, tea tree oil is perhaps the most beneficial against a nail fungus. If your nail fungus is odorous, you can also add orange or any other citrus essential oil to combat the foul smell. Use the essential oils in a small amount of nourishing carrier oil like olive oil.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using tea tree oil to get rid of nail fungus

  • Olive oil (provides nourishment) – 1 teaspoon
  • Orange essential oil (combats foul odor)– ½ teaspoon
  • Tea tree essential oil (fungicidal agent) – 1 teaspoon

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

mix the oils together

  • Put 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a small bowl and add ½ teaspoon of orange essential oil to it.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of tea tree essential oil to it and mix well.

Step 2. Treat the nail fungus with the essential oil blend

apply tea tree oil blend on nail fungus

  • Dip a sterile cotton ball into the essential oil blend.
  • Put the soaked cotton ball over the affected nail, saturating it entirely. Make sure that you get the oils under the nail bed.
  • If the surrounding skin feels sensitive to the essential oils, apply a coat of petroleum jelly first to protect it.
  • Multiple applications throughout the day will keep the infected nails saturated with the healing essential oils.
  • Continue using the remedy for 2 to 3 months for full recovery.

Method 5: Use Hydrogen Peroxide

Generally used to disinfect cuts and wounds, hydrogen peroxide can also get rid of a fingernail or toenail fungus. It is an effective remedy that is safe for the skin and is also used to treat a yeast infection.

Using hydrogen peroxide in a hot water soak along with white vinegar and baking soda can yield great results. Hot water softens the hard nails, allowing the healing solution to penetrate deeply. Vinegar and baking soda further help soften the nails and inhibit the fungal growth.

Things you’ll need:

things you'll need for using hydrogen peroxide to get rid of nail fungus

  • Hot water – 1 quart
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide (fungicidal agent) – ¼ cup
  • Baking soda (inhibits fungal growth) – ½ cup
  • White vinegar (inhibits fungal growth) – ½ cup

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

combine the ingredients together

  • Pour 1 quart of hot water into a bowl and add ½ cup of white vinegar to it.
  • Add ¼ cup of 3% hydrogen peroxide to it as well.
  • Add ½ cup of baking soda and mix the ingredients together.

Step 2. Soak the affected nails in the solution

soak affected nails in solution

  • Soak the infected nails in this solution for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with plain water and pat dry with a towel.
  • Repeat once or twice a day, especially before going to bed at night, for a couple of months.

Method 6: Use Coconut Oil

Using coconut oil in your beauty regime is no longer limited to removing makeup or making your hair and skin gorgeous. It is a simple remedy that you can easily follow to cure the fungal infection in your nails.

The medium-chain fatty acids like caprylic acid present in coconut oil are responsible for its antifungal properties. The oil also nourishes the nail bed and improves the crumbly appearance of the infected nails.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply coconut oil to the infected nails

apply coconut oil on nail fungus

  • Simply apply some coconut oil over the nail fungus 2 or 3 times a day.
  • This remedy may take a few months of regular use for effective results.

Method 7: Use Decolorized Iodine (White Iodine)

Iodine tincture is an effective remedy for a nail fungus, due to its powerful antiseptic and antifungal properties. Applying normal iodine tincture will stain your nails a dark shade of brown, but you can use decolorized iodine to treat the fungus without staining your nails.

If decolorized iodine is not readily available in your area, you can place an order with your pharmacist or order it online.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply decolorized iodine to treat the nail fungus

apply decolorised iodine on nail fungus

  • Apply the clear iodine over the affected nails. For ease of application, you can also use a clean nail polish brush or a cotton swab.
  • Saturate the nail entirely and let it dry.
  • Repeat application several times a day for 1 month to get noticeable improvement in the condition of your nails.

Method 8: Use Cornmeal

Cornmeal is a natural antifungal agent that has been found beneficial in treating a nail fungus. Regular use can help with the pain and discomfort associated with the fungus as well as promoting healthy nail growth.

Step 1. Combine the ingredients

add cornmeal to a bowl of water

  • Put ¼ cup of cornmeal into 1 quart of water and let it sit undisturbed for 1 hour.

Step 2. Soak the infected nails in the cornmeal mush

soak infected mails in cornmeal mush

  • Soak the nails with fungus in the cornmeal mush for about 30 minutes.
  • Rinse with plain water and pat dry with a towel.
  • Repeat every day before going to bed for 1 month for good results.

Tips

  • You can substitute olive oil with grape seed oil in the essential oil remedy.
  • You can infuse coconut oil with camphor to treat a nail fungus.
  • Combine one or more remedies for faster recovery. For example, follow soaks and footbaths with topical applications.
  • Do not mix the hydrogen peroxide and iodine remedies.

References:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/basics/symptoms/con-20019319

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/basics/causes/con-20019319

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nail-fungus/basics/prevention/con-20019319

Summary of How to Get Rid of Toenail Fungus

how to get rid of toenail fungus

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