Nail fungus may not cause pain or interfere with activities, but it can be embarrassing and unsightly. Natural remedies, used faithfully, can heal nail fungus and allow you to feel comfortable going barefoot or wearing sandals again. Effective home treatments include vinegar, essential oils and coconut oil.
What Is Nail Fungus?
Toenail fungus, formally known as onychomycosis, is a very common fungal infection that afflicts the dark, moist environment of the feet and can be picked up just about anywhere (fingernail fungus is possible as well and can be treated in the same way, but occurs less often).
Symptoms of toenail fungus are generally limited to the nail itself and begin with a white or yellow patch beneath a nail’s tip. This will worsen until the affected nail thickens and becomes brittle. Other symptoms include changes in nail color and shape; eventually nails will split or even separate from the nail bed.
Nail fungus may accompany other fungal issues like athlete’s foot or a systemic candida infection. The key to completely eradicating nail fungus is to faithfully use the remedy you choose for 3-6 months on a daily basis. If you have a systemic fungal infection, treating it accordingly will be necessary to keep the infection from returning.
Ted’s Toenail Fungus Remedy
The famous Ted from Bangkok, Thailand sent us the following treatment for fungus of the toes or fingers back in 2002:
“This is where I have most of my experience as this is one of the athlete’s most common problems. Even nail manicurists have problems getting rid of this. The fastest way to get rid of toenail fungus or fingernail is vinegar mixed with a 3% hydrogen peroxide. The mixture 50/50. Keep adding it with a dropper or soak until there is no fizzing (if it is severe) and when there is minimum discoloration. Some people will feel as slight pinch after awhile.
This is then followed by getting your hands soaked in a Clorox bleach (in U.S. you use Clorox, in Thailand we used Haiter). A strong concentration is 1 cap per 1/2 glass of water, stir and soak. And leave your finger with fungus for about 1/2 minute. If severe fungus then try 1 cap Clorox to 4 caps water. Again leave for about 1/2 minute. Chlorine will be absorbed through the fingernails during that time.
Rinse in water and dry it and follow this with a 50/50 mix of vaseline and tea tree oil. Put in on the fingernail and put on Band-Aid (in Thailand we use tensoplast) and leave it on for a whole day and repeat the vinegar and H2O2 again, followed by this 50/50 mix of vaseline and tea tree oil again. Doing this for at least 3-4 days. And it should be all gone. Actually it should be gone in 2 days if the required maintenance of reinfection remains. Please remember that Band-Aid is not absolutely required depending on circumstances. It just helps you save time in preventing the reapplication throughout the whole day. I much prefer, especially for the fingernails, to reapply it for a whole week to keep that tea tree oil -vaseline throughout the day. In case of a toenail, especially if you use tennis shoes or shoes that prevent air circulation or no sunlight, then it Band-Aid and vaseline-tea tree application maybe necessary.
The problem about this fungus problem is not the problem of getting rid of them. That’s easy, H2O2 and Vinegar reacts into a very powerful peracetic which is
reactive against fungus followed this by Clorox! And the second problem I solve is how to get an anti-fungal staying on fingernail long enough to destroy them, which is vaseline and tea tree oil. The BIG problem is the fungus that exists in socks, shoes and moisture which makes fingernails or toe nail vulnerable to another fungus reinfection. Use clorox bleaches for socks and change socks EVERY DAY. During the working hour, if possible avoid tennis shoes or shoes which prevent ventilation. For fingernails, avoid getting the hands wet especially dishwashing. To avoid it either wash dishes with a waterproof clean plastic or rubber gloves or use a dishwashing machine. Avoid getting the hands except when necessary. If the hand is wet then you must apply pure tea tree oil (no more band aids after 2-3 days every time it does get wet.
Finally those who have fingernail fungus, avoid using any nail polish as most colored nail polish covers up the fingernail, causing or encouraging fungus growth. Fungus DO NOT like sunlight. Getting your hands expose of fungus and sunlight is helpful. In countries where weather is cold, people often use dark gloves, however they are often not laundered. Try to get gloves laundered once a day, if possible using clorox bleach or other bleaches such as sodium percarbonate (better than chlorine bleaches and safer) or the old standby of sodium perborate.
I have recommended this variation to many people and it works every time. Unfortunately, most who came to me are usually too late and the fungus was so severe, they lost nearly all their toenails or fingernails. It is therefore necessary that you do it before it gets any worse.
To leave in closing, people who have fungus infection long enough may have blood stream with possible fungus infection. For those who who are familiar with peroxide therapy, I suggest you drink that also. To get rid of low level fungus in the blood. This will prevent fungus from getting widespread. I remember reading somewhere that before a person gets cancer, they also have a fungus problem.
Also fungus problem of fingernail is also evidence that your body is also deficient in some other minerals. When you are deficient you are also very susceptible to fingernail/toenail fungus infection.
A possible sign of this is if people whose fingernails are brittle most easily get fungus in toenail or fingernail as there are tiny cracks in your nails allowing the nasty fungus to hide.
You can test the brittleness of fingernails quite easily! An ordinary fingernail if you cut up your fingernail and bend is 90 degrees, a normal fingernail will not break completely. My fingernail is better than normal, it will bend even all the way and still will not break. When it does get brittle, it might mean your body is silicon deficient, magnesium deficient and very likely that your body blood serum is high in calcium. Too much calcium is a common problem. Another overlooked problem is places where water is fluorinated it tends to cause your fingernail and bones to become brittle as well as your fingernails – so avoid fluoridated water. Fingernails are a good indicator for future events when you get old or whether you will have osteoporosis. As long as your fingernails remain flexible, it is a good sign that the bones are not brittle.
You can supplement them with silicon or magnesium. The details of supplementation is beyond the topic of this email. Also, people who have brittle fingernails do not get complete protein supplementation or have poor source of proteins. Proteins keep fingernails tough and resistant as well as your bones – not calcium. Calcium is like a chalk you write on the blackboard, but what makes them so difficult to break and resistant to fungus due to lack of brittleness is the protein. Foods rich in hyaluronic acid are also important.
However, you need to follow the mentioned regimen which will best get rid of fingernail fungus. Get your hands/feet dry as quickly as possible. It is a common practice after washing or bathing to just let them dry by themselves. This is a mistake. Use alcohol or wipe them clean dry after getting wet is extremely important as fungus loves water and moisture. Keep carpets and rugs free of fungus by using hydrogen peroxide during the cleaning of them and this will prevent reinfection. Use well ventilated shoes such as sandals if it is toe nail problem. Avoid gloves if it is a fingernail problem. Avoid hand dishwashing if it is at all possible.
In Thailand, fungus is a difficult problem to get rid of since the source water usually comes from the use of illegal well water instead of from public utilities.”
Natural Remedies for Nail Fungus
Below are some of the more popular remedies to treat nail fungus, according to our readers over the past 20 years.
Vinegar is acidic, making it an effective antifungal. You can use apple cider vinegar, but plain white vinegar works well too and is less expensive.
First you need to find a basin big enough to soak your feet in. Then put a vinegar and water solution in the basin. (Use ½ vinegar and ½ water.) Soak your feet for 20 minutes each day. You should be able to use the vinegar solution for 2 days. Make a fresh solution every other day.
If you also suffer from athlete’s foot, this treatment option may kill two birds with one stone.
Essential oils are concentrated plant oils. Tea tree oil, lavender oil and oregano oil are all strong antifungals. They smell quite strongly. Chose the one that appeals to your sense of smell so you won’t mind using the treatment daily for many months.
After you shower simply add a drop or two of essential oil to each infected toenail. Most people can tolerate tea tree oil or lavender oil neat (without diluting.) Oregano oil is very strong and can burn the skin. If you decide to use it neat on your toenails, avoid contact with your skin. You can dilute oregano oil in coconut oil, which also helps to fight fungus. Add 40 drops of oregano oil to 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil.
You may wish to use this treatment before bed at night and wear designated cotton socks to protect your sheets.
Castor oil is a thick and smooth oil. It does not have a strong smell. It can be applied daily to the affected nails. If you use this at bedtime you may want to wear cotton socks to protect your sheets.
Coconut oil is another great antifungal oil. Like essential oils and castor oil, apply to the nails daily for many months.
Fungus thrives in a moist environment. If you wear shoes all day, and especially if your feet sweat, fungus is more likely to grown and may be harder to treat. Most people must wear shoes at work. Choose shoes that are made of leather, cotton, or canvas so the feet can breathe. Wear cotton or bamboo socks. Synthetic materials retain bacteria and fungus and don’t breath.
When you are at home, go barefoot or wear open toe sandals or flip flops as much as possible. Allow your feet and nails some time in the sun each day. If you happen to live near the ocean, a daily walk in the shallow water may solve you problem as salt water can kill fungus!
If you have symptoms of candida (chronic systemic fungal infection) you will want to consider a more comprehensive treatment plan to heal your entire body.
Some basic changes to help your body heal from a fungal infection would include reducing the amount of sugar and processed foods that you eat. Eating probiotic foods daily like kefir, yogurt, or kimchi can also facilitate healing.
Have you tried a natural remedy for nail fungus? Please send us some feedback!
Continue reading to see which remedies our readers used to treat their nail fungus and how they fared.