How To Get Rid Of Toenail Fungus? A Step-by-Step Guide


Many people get a toenail fungal infection sometime in their life. It’s not often serious, but it’s not nice and hard to eliminate. Usually, we don’t focus much on our toenails unless they’re trimmed or colored. However, they appear pink and glossy, even when they’re healthy. A fungal infection can change that. The infection grows slowly, making the nail change color, get thick, and look weird.

Toenail fungus is a frequently encountered problem that can be difficult to cure. There are numerous treatment strategies available, but their effectiveness often differs. This article will explore home remedies and other treatment options to treat toenail fungus.

What Kills Off Toenail Fungus? Remedies For Fungal Nail Infections

Toenail Fungus

Toenail infections are also called onychomycosis. They are the most common nail problems. About half of nail issues are because of these infections. The condition is caused by tiny fungi in the nail. Both fingernails and toenails can get infected, but it’s often seen in feet. 

What Causes Toe Nail Fungus Infections? 

Fungal nail infections are usually caused by tiny fungi known as fungi (plural for fungus). People get this infection through direct skin contact with someone with a fungal infection, like athlete’s foot or ringworm. 

These fungi also thrive in moist, warm environments, making places like pool decks or locker rooms hotspots for picking up the infection. Additionally, using nail clippers or towels that belong to someone with a fungal infection can spread it

Not all infections come from others, though. Wet nails or wearing sweaty shoes and socks can lead to an infection. The fungi find their way in through small cuts around the nail, cracks in the nail, or the space under it. This produces an ideal environment for the fungi to grow, potentially spreading the infection to other nails or the skin.

Symptoms Of A Toe Nail infection

Most cases are not serious. Some may experience pain or dislike how their nails look, and nails can become:

  • Discolored
  • Thick
  • Fragile or easily cracked
  • Separated from the nail bed

Often accompanied by a fungal skin infection on the foot, like: 

  • Athlete’s foot
  • Ringworm on the foot
  • Tinea pedis (especially between toes)

Who Gets Toenail Fungus? 

Anyone can get a fungal nail infection, but it’s more common in older adults and people with certain health conditions. These include having a nail injury or a foot deformity, diabetes, a weakened immune system from cancer, poor circulation in the legs or narrowed arteries, and fungal skin infections elsewhere in the body.

Sometimes, especially in people with diabetes or weakened immune systems, a bacterial infection can also happen along with a fungal infection. This can result in more serious issues.

Home Remedies To Treat A Toenail Fungus Infection

Remedies To Treat A Toenail Fungus Infection

▶ Garlic

According to a study, garlic might be a natural remedy for toenail fungus. This study suggests garlic has antifungal properties, but we need more research to ensure its effectiveness.

You could use garlic directly on the affected toenail. Put chopped or crushed garlic cloves on it for 30-40 minutes daily. This might help fight the fungus. 

If you’re not keen on the strong garlic smell, explore other options for using garlic. Garlic capsules are less smelly and easy to use. 

▶ Baking Soda

Baking soda is thought to help with toenail fungus. It absorbs moisture, which can cause fungus. It also might stop fungus from growing more. But it doesn’t kill the fungus. 

There’s not much proof that baking soda can cure fungus infections. It might slow down fungus growth but might not get rid of it. 

▶ Vicks VapoRub

Vicks VapoRub contains thymol, menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oil. These ingredients help in fighting nail fungus. 

It’s been observed that Vicks VapoRub can be beneficial for treating toenail fungus. It’s not a surefire solution, but there have been cases where it has helped. 

Apply Vicks VapoRub with a cotton swab to get it under the nail. Wearing a sock after application can help keep the treatment in place. Applying it three to four times a week is recommended, but daily application is safe, too. 

▶ Tea Tree Tea 

Tree Oil isn’t just for acne. Using tea tree oil on toenail fungus for a few months and some antifungal creams can work. But not many people get completely cured with either treatment.

Remember, tea tree oil is more for bacteria, not fungus. It might not always work for fungal infections.

Don’t put tea tree oil directly on your skin without diluting it. Mix it with another oil, or use a tea tree oil cream. Apply it to your toenails two or three times a day.

Common Toenail Fungus Prescription

To treat toenail fungus, you often need different treatments, mostly medicine. Here are some common ones:

1. Terbinafine: Take a daily pill for 6 to 12 weeks.

2. Itraconazole: Take these capsules daily for 6 to 9 weeks.

3. Fluconazole: Take this medicine every week. The time it’s needed can change.

4. Ciclopirox: This is a nail polish. Put it on your nails daily for up to a year.

5. Efinaconazole: This is a liquid you put on your nail. Use it daily for 48 weeks.

Remember to talk to a doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment. 

How To Prevent Fungal Nail Infections?

Remedies For Fungal Nail Infections

To prevent fungal nail infections, even if you’re not treating them, it’s important to follow some tips. Ensure that your hands and feet are clean and dry.

Wear shoes that fit well and are made of natural materials, and use clean cotton socks. These help your feet breathe. Keep your nails short and use your own clippers or scissors. Throw away old shoes that might have fungi. Treat athletes’ feet quickly so it doesn’t spread to your nails.

Wash your towels often. If you go to a nail salon, make sure they sterilize their equipment. Don’t share towels or socks with others. Also, don’t walk barefoot in public places like pools or locker rooms. You can wear special shower shoes to protect your feet.

Sum Up

Toenail fungus is a common problem that makes nails look bad and is tough to get rid of. Tiny fungi cause it, leading to discolored, thick, and cracked nails. People often catch it in moist, warm places or from someone else.

It’s more common in older adults and those with certain health issues. Home remedies like garlic and Vicks VapoRub might help but aren’t always effective. Prescription medicines like Terbinafine or Itraconazole are often needed. Always consult a doctor for proper treatment.


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Dr. David G Kiely is a distinguished Medical Reviewer and former General Medicine Consultant with a wealth of experience in the field. Dr. Kiely's notable career as a General Medicine Consultant highlights his significant contributions to the medical field.

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