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Here’s How You Can Treat Toenail Fungus at Home

Onychomycosis is a fungal infection of the toenails. Commonly known as toenail fungus, it is a contagious disease that can spread from one toenail to another. The infection results in white or yellow discoloration of the nails, thickening, and corrosion of the tip of nails, among other symptoms. It can lead to athlete’s foot if left untreated. The disease mostly occurs in older males and can be treated by oral antifungal medications. Medications may cause liver problems and other side effects. Even treatment is not permanent, and the disease can often return if you do not take precautions. That’s why many people prefer home remedies to costly medications or treatment. Here are four home remedies to help you effectively deal with toenail fungus.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a commonly available item in any kitchen, and it has many uses other than helping a cake to gain texture. Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is alkaline and is used to treat indigestion and heartburn. Moisture is one of the primary causes of toenail fungus, and making sure that your shoes and socks are dry is as important as keeping your nails dry.

Recent research found that in 79% of cases baking soda prevented fungal infection. In 17% of cases, fungal growth was reduced but not completely removed. Thus if not to treat, then baking soda can at least be used to prevent onychomycosis.  You can use baking soda to keep your socks and shoes dry, as sodium bicarbonate is an excellent absorber of moisture. Put generous amounts of baking soda in a few pieces of paper, crimp the papers shut, and leave one in each of your socks and shoes overnight or whenever not in use. You can also create a paste of water and baking soda to apply directly to the affected nail. Let the paste sit on the nail for at least ten minutes before washing off.


While baking soda is alkaline, vinegar is acidic. It is, in fact, a weak acid called acetic acid and is commonly used in cooking or as a preservative. Because of its acidic properties, vinegar also founds widespread use as a cleaning agent.  However, there is not enough clinical evidence to claim that vinegar can cure toenail fungus. Still, anecdotal evidence suggests that specific properties of vinegar may be detrimental to the growth of toenail fungus.

Vinegar, being a weak acid, is non-corrosive and completely harmless when applied directly to the skin. So you can soak your nails directly in vinegar or a solution of vinegar, water, and turmeric (has antibacterial properties). Add vinegar and turmeric to a bowl of lukewarm water. The ratio of water to vinegar should be 2:1, soak your feet in this solution for ten minutes. Wash off your feet clean.


A mouthwash such as Listerine contains known antifungal substances like thymol and menthol, which inhibits fungal growth, just like the acidic nature of vinegar does. However, much like vinegar, there is no scientific evidence to claim the benefits of mouthwash clearly, but there is no harm in testing its supposed antifungal properties.

Apply directly to the affected area using a cotton ball or soak your toes in a bowl of mouthwash. Do this for at least 15 minutes and then wash off with clean water. You can even combine vinegar and mouthwash in equal proportions and soak your toes in the solution.

Essential Oils

Essential oils have a lot of health uses and are gaining popularity, thanks to their many positive effects. For many years tea tree oil has been in use to combat skin infections. According to researchers, the oil can break down the outer layer of fungal cells and stop their growth. Oregano oil is known to contain thymol, which has antifungal properties. Use small cotton balls to apply tea tree oil on the infected toenails. You can make a blend of essential oils such as lavender oil, jasmine oil, and oregano oil. Apply the oil blend to your toenails at least twice a day and before going to bed.

Home remedies are a cheap and easy way to cure a disease or infection. But if the infection gets out of hand, then a visit to a doctor is highly recommended. Other than these remedies keeping your feet clean and dry should be your priority if you don’t want toenail fungus.

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