Toenail fungus is a common problem, and it may sometimes be more serious than it seems. If left untreated, it can linger and cause the toe to crack, grow thicker, and even fall off. This is why it’s important to treat the problem as soon as it appears. If one or more affected toenails are already damaged by the fungus, it’s best to use a topical antifungal cream and/or oral antifungals prescribed by a dermatologist. But if you notice toenail fungus when it has just started to grow, you can try to treat it with home remedies.
A few simple and effective home remedies for toenail fungus include the following:
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can provide an antifungal effect, and its other potential uses seem to be endless. To use vinegar to treat toenail fungus, do this:
- combine equal parts of vinegar and water in a tub;
- put your foot (or both feet) in the solution for twenty minutes;
- dry your feet well afterwards.
Repeat the procedure once daily for a couple of weeks.
Allicin, a compound found in garlic, has potent antifungal and antibacterial properties. Apply garlic the following way:
- crush (or blend) a few cloves of garlic;
- cover the affected toe or toes with the garlic paste and leave it on for half an hour;
- wash your feet with soap and warm water afterwards and dry them well.
Repeat the procedure once every day until the fungus is gone.
3. Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains substances with antifungal and antibacterial properties. While the oil may help you treat toenail fungus, it renders antifungal creams ineffective if you use both treatments together (the same applies to other oils).
Use coconut oil the following way:
- apply coconut oil on the affected toenails for 15 minutes;
- wash your feet with soap and warm water afterwards.
This remedy can be used as often as it’s convenient for you, but it’s best to use it a few times every day.
4. Baking soda and borax
A combination of baking soda and borax makes a powerful antifungal mixture. Here’s how to make it:
- combine a small amount of baking soda and borax (equal parts of both) with a little water to make a paste;
- apply the paste on the affected toenails (wet your feet prior to that);
- leave it on for 10 minutes, then wash your feet and dry them thoroughly.
5. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil can be used in many ways, and treatment of toenail fungus is among its various applications. Use tea tree oil this way:
- apply the oil on the affected toenails using a cotton bud;
- leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes, then scrub the nails with a clean toothbrush.
Repeat the procedure twice every day. Don’t use this and other oils if you’re also using an antifungal cream.
While your toes recover, follow these tips for the treatment to be effective and to prevent the fungus from coming back:
- wash your feet thoroughly with soap and warm water at least twice daily;
- if you happened to get toenail fungus during the warm season, wear only open footwear until your toes recover;
- walk barefoot at home;
- avoid wearing socks made from synthetic fabrics, choose cotton socks instead;
- disinfect your shoes;
- if it’s cold outside and you have to wear closed footwear, keep it dry.
When to see a doctor if you have toenail fungus
The remedies listed in this article can be effective, but you should consult a doctor for the treatment of toenail fungus if you:
- have diabetes;
- have a problem with blood circulation in your feet (such as peripheral artery disease);
- have a weakened immune system.
This article is solely for informational purposes. Do not self-diagnose or self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information provided in the article.