Home remedies have been called lots of things; ‘holistic‘, ‘natural‘, ‘practical‘, ‘cost effective‘ and on the negative side ; ‘ineffective‘, ‘a waste of time‘ and ‘no substitute for conventional treatments‘. No doubt the debate will continue. But when it comes to toenail fungus treatment, home remedies definitely deserve discussion.
We define ‘toenail fungus home remedies’ as treatments that use common, easily available products that you could lay your hands on in most households. For nail fungus infections the most commonly used are vinegar, beer soak, Listerine, Vicks Vapo Rub and Tea Tree oil.
We have reviewed these on our website, because they may be effective at treating early stage or mild toe nail fungus infections or for preventing healthy nails to become infected. But it should be noted that these toenail fungus remedies have not been clinically tested fungal nail infection treatment and the directions that accompany the products do not include their use on nails for curing this disorder.
How to use home remedies for toenail fungus:
- First clean your nails thoroughly and remove any artificial nails or nail polish. Use a nail file to smooth out rough edges. If you have time, soak your feet for 20 minutes in hot water as this helps soften the nails and surrounding skin. But ensure you dry them thoroughly afterward.
- Try a vinegar soak. This involves soaking your fingers for 15 to 20 minutes in a mixture of 1 part white or apple cider vinegar to 2 parts warm (not hot) water. If this concentration of vinegar irritates your skin, you can decrease the amount added to the water. Ideally soak your hands once a day, unless they become dry or irritated. Note that vinegar is likely to have a bleaching effect on the nail that may give the impression that the fungus is receding, when in fact all it is doing is masking the discoloration.
- Some sufferers have reported success with using Tea Tree Oil for nail fungus. Tea Tree Oil is derived from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, native to Australia. It has been used for centuries by the Aboriginal population, and in the last century has become popular internationally due to its antiseptic and antimicrobial (including antifungal properties) properties. It’s simple to apply; just add one or two drops to affected nails, the surrounding skin and cuticles several times a day.
- Another commonly mentioned toenail fungus home remedy is Vicks VapoRub. It contains menthol and eucalyptus that have anti-fungal properties. Apply the solution or ointment to your nails, cuticles and surrounding skin and let the treatment soak in. To avoid it rubbing off (it does not have the rapid-dry properties of specialized nail treatments) put on a clean pear of natural cotton socks.
Other nail fungus treatment home remedies such as Listerine and Acidophilus beer soak could also work, but according to the reviews we have conducted, Tea Tree Oil, Vicks Vapo Rub and Vinegar soak are likely to be more effective.
If you find that none of the home remedies for nail fungus work, then the next step – before moving onto prescription drugs – is to consider a topical antifungal medication such as ZetaClear, Tineacide, or Funginix or a pharmacy strength topical nail lacquer such as Loceryl.
These contain proven anti-fungal agents, do not require prescription and have been demonstrated to assist in treating nail fungus and contribute to the promotion of healthy nails. They are more likely to work than the toenail fungus remedy options identified above. Click on the links that follow to read our reviews of these three products:
Some users apply a home remedy for nail fungus as a companion treatment to other medications. Either by applying the home remedy to the infected nail in conjunction with (or in preparation for) an antifungal treatment or by using the home remedies on healthy nails to reduce the risk of cross-infection. This makes a lot of sense especially when you realize that the so called ‘home remedy’ Tea Tree Oil is an ingredient used in some of the most popular specialized nail treatments such as Zetaclear and Funginix.