The 10 Best Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus

home remedies for toenail fungus

Toenail fungus, also called onychomycosis, is a common fungal infection of your toenail. The most noticeable symptom is a white, brown, or yellow discoloration of one or more of your toenails.

There are many over-the-counter and prescription medications available to treat toenail fungus. However, these treatments can be expensive and have potential side effects. Some people prefer to try home remedies to treat their toenail fungus.

This article discusses 10 of the most popular home remedies for toenail fungus and whether scientific evidence exists to support their use.

What Causes Toenail Fungus?

Toenail fungus is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments, such as sweaty shoes or showers. They can also be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person.

The most common type of toenail fungus is called Trichophyton rubrum. It’s also the most contagious.

Risk Factors for Toenail Fungus Include

  • Wearing tight, closed-toe shoes
  • Working in damp environments, such as a swimming pool or laundry room
  • Having a history of athlete’s foot
  • Having diabetes or another condition that causes poor blood circulation to your feet
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Wearing artificial nails
  • Walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms or pool areas
  • Having family members with toenail fungus

Some of the home remedies to treat toenail fungus include tea tree oil, baking soda, garlic, snakeroot extracts, apple cider vinegar, menthol, mouthwash, oregano oil, probiotic rich foods and protein rich foods.

[ Recommended: Is Vinegar and Epsom Salt Good for Toenail Fungus ]

1. Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil
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Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antifungal and antibacterial properties. It’s used to treat a variety of conditions, including skin infections, scalp problems, and toenail fungus.

  • To treat toenail fungus with tea tree oil,
  • Mix one part of the oil with eight parts of warm water.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the mixture
  • Apply it to your nail for 20 minutes daily.
  • You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil to a foot bath and soak your feet for 30 minutes. [1]

[ Recommended: Tea Tree Oil to Treat Toenail Fungus: How to Use ]

2. Baking Soda

Baking Soda
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Baking soda is a natural disinfectant that can be used to treat various fungal infections, including toenail fungus.
To use baking soda,

  • Mix one part baking soda with two parts water.
  • Apply the mixture to your nails and let it sit for 10 minutes. [2]

[ Recommended: How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Toenail Fungus ]

3. Garlic

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Garlic is a natural antifungal agent that can be used to treat toenail fungus. To use garlic, crush a few cloves of garlic and add them to a foot bath.

  • Soak your feet in the mixture for 30 minutes.
  • You can also apply a garlic paste directly to your nails.
  • You can do this twice daily. [3]

[ Recommended: How to Get Rid of an Ingrown Toenail at Home ]

4. Snakeroot Extract

Snakeroot extract is an herb with antifungal properties. It’s commonly used to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.

  • To use snakeroot extract,
  • Mix one part of the extract with eight parts of water.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the mixture
  • Apply it to your nails for 20 minutes daily.

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar drink for sinus infection
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Apple cider vinegar is a natural antifungal agent that can be used to treat toenail fungus.

  • To use apple cider vinegar,
  • Mix one part of the vinegar with two parts of water.
  • Apply the mixture to your nails and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • You can also soak your feet in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water for 30 minutes.

[ Recommended: Does Epsom Salt Help a Sprained Ankle ]

6. Menthol

Menthol is an essential oil that has antifungal properties. It’s commonly used to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections.

  • To use menthol,
  • Mix one part of the oil with eight parts of warm water.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the mixture
  • Apply it to your nails for 20 minutes daily.

7. Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be used to treat toenail fungus because it contains antifungal properties.

  • To use mouthwash,
  • Soak a cotton ball in the mouthwash
  • Apply it to your nails for 20 minutes.
  • You can also add a few drops of mouthwash to a foot bath and soak your feet for 30 minutes.

8. Oregano Oil

Oregano Essential Oil for Acne
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Oregano oil is an essential oil with antifungal properties. It’s used to treat a variety of conditions, including toenail fungus.

  • To use oregano oil,
  • Mix one part of the oil with eight parts of warm water.
  • Soak a cotton ball in the mixture
  • Apply it to your nails for 20 minutes daily.

9. Probiotic Rich Foods

Probiotic rich foods are fermented foods that contain live bacteria. These bacteria are known as probiotics and they’re beneficial for gut health. Probiotic rich foods include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso soup.
This remedy lacks scientific evidence.

10. Protein Rich Foods

Protein rich foods are an important part of a healthy diet. They help build and repair tissues, produce enzymes, and regulate metabolism. Some protein rich foods include chicken, fish, beef, tofu, and legumes. It helps in the re-growth of toenail. This remedy lacks scientific evidence.

When to Consult a Doctor?

If the toenail fungus does not improve with home treatment, or if the toenail gets worse, you should consult a doctor. The doctor will prescribe antifungal medicine, which is usually taken for 3 to 6 weeks. In some cases, the toenail may need to be removed.

Prevention

Toenail fungus can be difficult to treat and it often comes back after treatment. Therefore, it’s important to take preventive measures to avoid getting the infection in the first place. These measures include:

  • Wearing shoes that are well-ventilated and made of natural materials, such as leather or canvas.
  • Wearing socks that are made of natural fibers, such as cotton or wool.
  • Avoiding walking barefoot in public places, such as swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers.
  • Keeping your feet clean and dry.
  • Avoiding sharing shoes, socks, or towels with others.

Precautions

If you have toenail fungus, it’s important to take measures to prevent the infection from spreading. These measures include:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly after touching your infected toenails.
  • Disinfecting any tools that you use on your nails, such as nail files or clippers.
  • Wearing shower shoes or sandals in public places, such as locker rooms and showers.
  • Avoiding contact with people who have athlete’s foot or other fungal infections.

Toenail fungus is a common condition that can be difficult to treat. If you have toenail fungus, it’s important to take preventive measures and consult a doctor if the infection does not improve with home treatment.

Caution: Be careful while dealing with essential oils. These oils must be diluted before using them. Pregnant women and children must not use these oils without a doctor’s consent. People with sensitive skin must do a patch test before using these oils. If you experience any irritation, discontinue the use of these oils.

Sources:

  1. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/tea-tree-oil
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22991095/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6865177/

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