Got Toenail Fungus? Try These Best Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection of the toenails. It occurs when fungi called dermatophytes invade the nail bed and feed on the keratin protein in the toenails, causing discoloration, thickening, distortion, and crumbling of the nails.

Left untreated, the infection can spread to other toenails and even fingernails. While there are oral and topical medications prescribed to treat toenail fungus, some people prefer using home remedies because they are inexpensive and have fewer side effects.

This article will discuss the causes, symptoms, and some effective home remedies and prevention tips for treating toenail fungus.

Understanding Toenail Fungus: Causes & Symptoms

Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

Toenail fungus thrives in warm, dark, and moist environments. Some common causes and risk factors include:

  • Wearing tight-fitting shoes and socks that don’t allow airflow
  • Walking barefoot in damp public places like pools, showers, and locker rooms
  • Having a minor injury or trauma to the toenail that allows fungi to enter 
  • Excessive sweating of the feet
  • Using public pools, showers, and locker rooms

Symptoms of a toenail fungus include:

  • Thickened, brittle, distorted, or ragged toenails
  • Debris building up under the nail 
  • White, yellow, brown, or black discoloration of nails
  • Crumbling or separating of the nail from the nail bed
  • Foul odor coming from the toenails
  • Pain or tenderness in the infected toe

If left untreated, the infection can spread to surrounding toenails and even fingernails. Seeking early treatment is recommended.

Also Check: Effective Tips To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections Fast At Home

Best Home Remedies For Toenail Fungus

While oral and topical antifungal medications from a doctor are the most effective treatments, some people try home remedies first due to their convenience, affordability, and minimal side effects. Some of the most popular home remedies include:

  • Tea tree oil – Has natural antifungal properties. Apply undiluted oil to infected nails twice daily using a cotton ball. May take 3-6 months to see improvement. 
  • Apple cider vinegar – Acidity fights fungus. Soak toes in a mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part warm water for 15-20 minutes daily. Rinse after. Also, apply vinegar directly to nails 2x/day.
  • Baking soda – Creates an alkaline environment to discourage fungal growth. Make a paste with baking soda and water and rub gently onto infected nails. Rinse after 5 minutes. Repeat 1-2 times daily.
  • Vicks VapoRub – Contains thymol and menthol that have antifungal effects. Apply to clean nails at night, and put on socks. Continue for 3-6 months. 
  • Listerine – Thymol in mouthwash kills fungi. Soak feet in a basin with equal parts Listerine and warm water for 15-30 minutes daily.
  • Oregano oil – Has antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory benefits. Apply 2-3 drops diluted with a carrier oil like olive oil on infected nails twice daily. 
  • Garlic – Contains ajoene and allicin that may inhibit fungal growth. Crush raw garlic and apply the juice to affected nails, or add minced garlic to foot soaks.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Fizzing action helps remove nail debris and kills fungi. Apply 3% solution to nails with a cotton swab once or twice daily.

Prevention Tips For Toenail Fungus

Prevention Of Toenail Fungus

Along with treatment, taking preventive steps can help stop the recurrence of the fungal infection:

  • Keep toenails trimmed short and filed smooth to avoid injury
  • Disinfect pedicure tools before using 
  • Wear clean, dry socks and rotate shoes daily to decrease moisture
  • Wear shower shoes or flip-flops in public pools, showers, and locker rooms
  • Apply antifungal powder or spray to feet and shoes
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places
  • Disinfect home pedicure tools after each use
  • Throw away old shoes and socks to avoid reinfection
  • Keep feet clean and dry to avoid fungal growth

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Toenail fungus is a common problem that can cause embarrassing symptoms and discomfort. Thankfully, there are several home remedies using natural ingredients that have antifungal properties to combat the infection.

Tea tree oil, vinegar, baking soda, Vicks VapoRub, Listerine, oregano oil, garlic, and hydrogen peroxide applied directly to affected nails may gradually kill the fungus. Combining these treatments with preventive hygiene can help get rid of toenail fungus and stop it from coming back.

However, home remedies take patience and consistency over several months. Seeking medical treatment may be necessary for severe or persistent infections.


Q: How long does it take for home remedies to cure toenail fungus?

A: It typically takes 3-6 months of consistent application of home remedies like essential oils, vinegar, or Vicks VapoRub to fully cure a fungal toenail infection. Improvement is gradual since the infected part of the nail must grow out. Have patience and stick with it.

Q: What’s the fastest home remedy for toenail fungus? 

A: Tea tree oil is likely the fastest home remedy because of its potent antifungal properties. Apply it neat to the nail 2-3 times per day and it may show improvement in a few weeks. Combine with other methods too.

Q: Is toenail fungus contagious? 

A: Yes, toenail fungus is contagious. It can spread from person to person in damp public places like locker rooms, pools, and showers. Avoid direct contact with infected nails and always wear shower shoes in public areas to prevent transmission.

Q: Can I use home remedies if I’m diabetic?

A: People with diabetes should use caution and consult a doctor before trying home remedies. Tea tree oil, vinegar, and oregano oil are likely safe options. Avoid soaking feet for too long. Prompt medical treatment is recommended for diabetics.

Q: Are home remedies as effective as prescription medicines?

A: No, prescription oral antifungal medications and medicated nail creams are still considered more effective than home remedies. However, home remedies can be beneficial, especially when treating mild cases or if prescription medications cannot be used. Consult a podiatrist for the best treatment plan.

About the Author

Nicole Carter is a dedicated and passionate nutritionist, committed to helping individuals achieve their health and wellness goals through the power of proper nutrition. With a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Science and years of practical experience.

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