Onychomycosis or, in much simpler terms, nail fungal infection, is a condition affecting the fingernail as well as the toenail. An infection inside the nail starts with a white or yellow patch under the nail, and as it spreads, it causes the toenail to grow thick, discolored and crumbled on the edges. It makes up to 50% of nail abnormalities. They are of four kinds:
- Proximal subungual onychomycosis: Caused due to nail fold, where fungal infection penetrates the newly formed nail plate.
- White superficial onychomycosis (WSO): Tends to create a chalky white appearance or “white island” on nails.
- Distal subungual onychomycosis: It invades the nail bed and underside of the nail plate.
- Candidal onychomycosis: Causes due to frequent immersion in water where a genus called “Candida” invades the nail plate
Signs and Symptoms of Toenail Fungus
Depending upon the various classifications of fungal infections, the signs and manifestations that are seen in the toenail fungus are:
- Thick toenails;
- Crumbled and distorted nail edges;
- Pain in the toes;
- Dull or yellow toe nails;
- Slight foul odour;
- Infected nail separates from the nail bed;
- Development of fungus-free skin lesions, called Dermatophytids;
- Rashes or itching.
What Causes Nail Fungus Infections
Nail fungal infections are caused by tiny microscopic organisms, called fungi. Fungi do not require sunlight to survive. Generally, a cluster of fungi, called dermatophytes, are responsible for the fungal infection of the toenail. On the other hand, some yeasts and molds are also the reason for these infections. Besides this, the other causes are:
- Weak blood circulation;
- Humid or soggy work environment;
- Tight or ill-fitted footwear;
- Intense perspiration;
- Genetic or heredity;
- Weak immune system;
- Wearing socks and shoes too much that prevents feet from exposure to air;
- Walking barefoot in damp public places, like swimming pools and gyms;
- Early damage or infection to the skin or nail.
Toenail fungus can happen to anyone; however, there are various specific categories, which are more prone to toenail fungal infection, like people suffering from AIDS and diabetes.
Best 17 Home Remedies for Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus can be treated at home by simply using natural ingredients, available in your kitchen.
1. Tea Tree Oil Against Toenail Fungus
Tea tree oil is considered to be an excellent antiseptic, and it works great on fungicide infections. Take pure tea tree oil and add a few drops of olive or thyme oil to it. Apply it to the affected area with the help of a cotton ball and keep it for ten minutes. Eventually, gently rub the nail with a soft toothbrush. This remedy will work affirmatively if the infection is not too old.
2. Use Baking Soda to Treat Nail Fungus at Home
To cure toenail fungus, blend a half cup of baking soda with a one-fourth cup of peroxide, half cup of Epsom salt, and four cups of hot water. After making this mixture, add a one-fourth cup of white vinegar to it. Soak the affected toe first into vinegar for a few minutes and then, apply this paste to the affected nail. Wrap it with a bandage or tape. For about four weeks, repeat the process in every ten hours. If this remedy is followed properly, the toenail fungus will disappear quickly.
3. Orange Oil: Remedy for Nail Fungus Infections
To get rid of toenail fungus, orange oil is also a good option. It can be applied with the help of a dropper between toes and on and under toenails, daily. Let it sit for at least one hour. Orange oil can also be used with an equal amount of any carrier oil.
Note: It is advisable to test some diluted orange oil on a small part of the skin before applying it to the infected area as it can cause allergic reactions and can have side effects.
4. White Vinegar Against Nail Fungus Infections
To kill toenail fungus, white vinegar is also a great ingredient. For the treatment of toenail fungus, mix one part of white vinegar with two parts of warm water and soak the infected foot in it for at least 10-15 minutes. After the soaking process, rinse the footwell to prevent fungus from spreading further.
Note: In case of sensing any irritation, add more water to the solution and repeat it every alternate day.
5. Cure Nail Fungus Infections with Garlic
Use garlic oil, mixed with an equal amount of white vinegar, to cure toenail fungus, naturally. Apply it to the affected area and cover the toe with an elastic bandage. This mixture slows down the activities of the fungus because of the anti-fungal properties of allicin, present in garlic. In case, garlic oil is not available, you can mix some olive oil with crushed garlic. Eating a clove of garlic on a daily basis also helps a lot.
6. Apple Cider Vinegar: Home Remedy for Toenail Fungus
To kill the fungus, affecting the toenail, mix equal parts of apple cider vinegar and water to make a solution, which is an effective foot soak for toenail fungus. If followed properly, the remedy will show its result in a few weeks.
Alternatively, an anti-fungal scrub can also be prepared by making a paste of grounded rice flour and a few spoons of apple cider vinegar. Use this paste directly onto the affected area and gently scrub it. This will also remove the dead skin cells.
7. Use Lavender Oil to Treat Nail Fungus at Home
Because of several volatile compounds and antiseptic properties, lavender oil also acts as an effective natural home treatment for toenail fungus. Apply it with the help of a cotton ball beneath the top edge of the infected toenail and nearby area. Wear a pair of thick woolen socks after applying them to let them work more effectively.
8. Use Listerine Mouth Wash to Treat Nail Fungus Infection
Listerine mouth act as a powerful anti-bacterial agent. Make a solution of Listerine mouth wash, some vinegar, and undiluted lemon juice. Soak your foot into it for 10-15 minutes. This is also a fantastic toenail fungus home treatment.
9. Oregano Oil: Home Remedy for Toenail Fungus
Oregano oil has strong anti-bacterial, antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-parasitical, anti-fungal, and analgesic properties. That is why; oregano oil can also be used to get rid of toenail fungus. Mix oregano oil with a teaspoon of pure olive oil and apply this mixture to the affected area with the help of a cotton ball. Follow this remedy daily in order to get positive results within a few weeks.
10. Lemon Juice: Home Remedy for Toenail Fungus
The citric acid in lemon juice helps in stopping the spread of bacterial and fungal infections in the toenail. Apply fresh lemon juice directly onto the toenail for ten minutes and rinse it with warm water. Repeat this daily for one month.
Lemon juice can also be mixed with olive oil. Use it to massage the affected area.
11. Use Vicks VapoRub to Treat Toenail Fungus Infection
To treat toenail fungus with the help of Vicks VapoRub, first of all, wash the foot thoroughly and cut and trim the nail. When the foot dries completely, cover the toenail with Vicks vapoRub. Once done, cover it with a bandage or gauze. Wear socks after doing so. Repeat the process daily to see effective results. Depending upon the fungal infection, it will take ten to six weeks to recover.
12. Vitamin E Oil: Home Remedy for Toenail Fungus Infection
Gently rub Vitamin E oil to get rid of toenail fungus.
13. Onion: Easy Remedy for Toenail Fungus
Peel an onion and cut it into slices. Rub a slice on the infected toenail. It is a natural treatment for toenail fungus.
14. Use Turmeric Powder to Treat Toenail Fungus at Home
Add some water to prepare a turmeric paste. Apply it to the affected nail. Allow it to dry. Then, wash it off. It is also a good natural cure for toenail fungus.
15. Cure Nail Fungus Infections with Yogurt
Yogurt is a probiotic food that helps in fixing the problem of toenail fungus fast.
16. Hydrogen Peroxide: Home Remedy for Toenail Fungus Infection
Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide solution with an equal amount of water. Dip the infected toenail in this solution for at least 18-20 minutes. This remedy will help in the quick healing of toenail fungus.
17. Use Rubbing Alcohol to Treat Toenail Fungus Infection
Dip infected toenail in rubbing alcohol for a few minutes. Then, dry your feet thoroughly.
Homeopathic Remedies for Toenail Fungus Infections
There are a few homeopathic remedies that are helpful in the problem of toenail fungus.
1. Zetaclear: It works effectively against nail fungus and promotes healthy nails. It contains natural oils and eliminates the fungi, encouraging the growth of the nails.
2. Fungisil: This solution effectively fights the fungus infection and heals the area. It is a veritable homeopathic preference for nail fungus treatment.
3. Nail – RX: This herbal treatment works effectively for killing bacteria and the organisms that are responsible for the infection.
4. FUNG-B-GONE: It contains vinegar, which stops the fungus growth and eliminates it.
Preventive Measures for Toenail Fungus Infections
- Keep your nails clean, dry, and short.
- Don’t share your socks and shoes.
- After touching infected nails, wash your hands properly.
- Make sure that the tools, you are using for the purpose of pedicure or manicure, are sterilized.
- Wear sandals or shoes in public pools and places.
- Don’t bite the nails.
- Make use of anti-fungal powders or sprays.
- Instead of trimming your nails with your fingers, use a clean nail clipper.
- Change your socks daily.
- Avoid wearing too-tight shoes.