Toenail fungus is a common condition that usually starts as a yellow or white spot beneath the nail. As the infection gets worse, it may cause the nail to become yellow, brown, or black, thicken, and crumble around the edges. This infection can spread from one nail to another. Affected nails may separate from the nail bed and may produce a slightly foul odor.
Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus is commonly caused by moisture trapped in moist, warm, and dark environment (inside your shoes) where fungi can survive. Fortunately, this foot condition is curable and you can get rid of the infection without spending a fortune. Here are the best home remedies for toenail fungus and tips for healthier toenails.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it effective in treating toenail fungus. It is also mildly acidic and helps in preventing the infection from spreading to other areas. It is advisable to combine equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water. Soak the infected toenail in this solution for at least 30 minutes before drying the area thoroughly. Repeat this process daily until you completely get rid of the infection.
Another way to use apple cider vinegar is by mixing it with coarsely ground rice to make a paste. Apply this on and around the infected nail and use a toothbrush to scrub the area.
You may think that Listerine is only effective in cleaning your mouth, but this mouthwash contains numerous ingredients that can assist in eliminating toenail fungus! It contains eucalyptol and Thymol, which are effective in treating inflammation and fungal infections. Its Salicylate content also promotes the sloughing off of dead skin cells, allowing new skin cells to grow.
To treat nail fungus, fill up a foot basin with Listerine mouthwash or combine it with apple cider vinegar. Soak your foot in this solution for at least 30 minutes and scrub the nail with a toothbrush. Rinse it off and dry thoroughly. Repeat this treatment twice a day for best results.
3. Vicks VapoRub
Most people have used Vicks VapoRub for treating colds and clearing sinuses as it is designed for cough suppression. Studies have shown that the thymol content in this chest rub is indeed powerful when it comes to destroying candida and dermatophytes that cause toenail fungus. To use, simply apply a small amount of Vicks VapoRub to the infected nails daily.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains antifungal and antiseptic properties, making it one of the most effective home remedies for toenail fungus. It is also useful for treating skin infections, such as acne, ringworm, athlete’s foot and scabies.
It is advisable to mix a few drops of tea tree oil with one teaspoon of other carrier oil, like coconut or olive oil. Apply the mixture to the infected toenail using a cotton ball. Leave it on for at least ten minutes and scrub the nail using a toothbrush. For best results, repeat this treatment three times a day.
5. Oregano Oil
The oil of oregano contains antiparasitic, antiviral, analgesic, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal properties. It kills not only fungus, but also mold and other causes of candida present in your system. You can try using oregano oil alone or mix it with olive or tea tree oil. Apply this on the affected nails and leave it on for 30 minutes. Rinse and dry your feet thoroughly. Follow this treatment twice daily for positive results.
Garlic is one of the best home remedies for toenail fungus due to its powerful antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Its effects are as strong as its scent, especially on areas that are hard to reach, such as your nail bed. To use, simply crush one or two garlic cloves and press it on the infected nails. Cover it with a bandage and let it sit for a few hours. Repeat this natural treatment daily to clear the infection.
You can also use garlic oil mixed with white vinegar and let it penetrate deep under your toenails. Cover it with a bandage and let it sit for a few hours. Eating crushed garlic cloves daily is also beneficial.
7. Change Your Diet
Eating healthier foods can help your body combat conditions such as toenail fungus. Give your body the essential nutrients it needs by consuming more vegetables, cultured daily or fermented foods, high quality proteins from fish, chicken, eggs and beef. During your treatment, it is important to include more garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, coconut oil and unsweetened cranberry juice in your diet.
Keep in mind that sugar (all types), grains, fruit juices and alcohol create a favorable environment for fungus to thrive. Avoid these foods at all costs. Instead, eat more foods that promote healthy bacteria, such as yogurt and kefir.
8. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice is also useful for treating infected toenails due to its antifungal and antiseptic properties. It also contains citric acid that can prevent the infection from spreading further, making it one of the recommended home remedies for toenail fungus. Simply apply fresh lemon juice on the affected nail and let it sit for 30 minutes before washing it off with warm water.
You can also mix lemon juice with olive oil and use this solution to massage the affected area. Leave it on for a few hours before rinsing with warm water.
9. Coconut Oil
Medium chain fatty acids also work wonders in removing toenail fungus. These fatty acids, such as those found in coconut oil, insert themselves in the lipid layer of the fungal membrane (vital to maintain the life of fungus) and disrupt it, resulting in cell disintegration and fungus destruction.
Simply rub coconut oil onto the infected nails and let it dry naturally. Repeat the application two to three times a day.
Home remedies for toenail fungus may take longer to eliminate the infection than oral systemic antifungals or prescription medications. The key to get rid of nail fungus with treatments mentioned above is consistency. You cannot miss a day if you want to successfully clear up the infection for good. Make sure that you also wash your hands thoroughly after every treatment.